Saturday, December 1, 2012

Thankful is an Understatement

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Its crazy how much can happen in two weeks time.  The very day of my last blog post, I went to my niece Liliana's first birthday. She and Alexia looked adorable in their pink poofy party dresses. Are you kidding me? This blown up picture of Lily is way too cute. Frog centerpieces and frog fondant cake? adorable.  Oooh I could make a cake like that! Cute idea. I wish Mike could be here to hang out but I understand he has to work. Wow, I feel weird...very hyper. Maybe I had too much coffee this morning. All these kids are adorable....wow these families are really growing. Where is my mom? I'll leave her be...she is always chit chatting. Ok, what the hell is going on? I have a pounding headache that I now can feel in my chest. I'll sit with my cousins. Guys I feel really weird....pounding headache. Just breathe said Brianna. Im trying but this headache is like nothing I ever felt before. Where is Kevin? He should be here any minute.  Should I pick him up? It will probably be faster for him to just walk here. I don't feel well to drive. Wow I am so hyper. My father came over to snap a pic I told him what was going on and that I was going down. Dad, I think Im going to faint.  He took me right outside to get me in the car to take me home. Oh, good!! Kevin! Let me lean on your shoulder for a minute. Kev, I feel really weird....something is wrong. Dad, pull up....I have to throw up..don't want people to see. Something is wrong dad....shit a tumor on the brain. No Lisa, don't say that its probably just a virus. Holy shit....is this what people experience when they get migraines? This is terrible. I feel bad if people actually experience these.   Oh no my dad is missing his granddaughter's first birthday. Not okay. He must go back right now. Anthony and Brianna could stay with me. Holy shit I have to throw up. My poor cousins, they must be freaken out. Thank God they are here. This is bad...what is happening. Jeez, the light is killing my eyes. Oh no I need to throw up again. I cant even talk. I'm just going to sit here with my eyes closed. Poor Brianna and Anthony.  I want to talk with them but cant even think straight. Door opening......who is it? Yes! Mike is home. That is so comforting. Babe, I really don't feel well. Really sick. Maybe I have a virus....my dad said he had this last week. Ok I can sleep. Just stay calm and keep your eyes closed.  Pain killer didn't help the pain. Holy shit what is happening? I never experienced pain at this intensity before. I think I need to go to the ER. No I don't feel like waiting there. It will pass. Wow its 6am already. Mike has to go to work. I love when he tucks me in with more blankets and kisses my forehead before he leaves. Comforting....we will get through this. Thank God my parents are here. I need to get my ass to the ER. My parents will update Mike.  I'm not changing. Who cares.....slippers will be just fine. Woah, there are so many lights and my eyes hurt. My poor parents. I hate pain meds but please give me something. I need relief. Yes triage person, history of melanoma... that's correct. Doctor will be in shortly. Were taking you for some tests. 

Brain MRI shows tumor on right side of brain. It hemorrhaged. Its good its on the right side of the brain. Doesn't deal with coordination.  It has to come out. Ill need surgery.  Mom, did you call Mike? Let him know. We are transferring you to Northshore Manhassett. You will be admitted. Okay, good I can request Dr Beg. He will tell me the right place to go.  Let me text Erica and let her know I wont be in work for a little while. Okay the pain is better. Holy shit I need brain surgery. What surgeon is best? Shit, Stephie had so many complications with her brain surgery. Im scared. Mom, contact Mike B please. I want to go to NYC hospital. Dad, we need to research. Oh boy this is really happening. Just another bump in the road Li, you will get through this.  Ok, I need to take a lot of cellect and supplements from Switzerland. Tumeric is good for inflammation. I'll take a lot before surgery. Mom, please call Fred and Dr Rau to inform them. Dr Rau will let me know what to do after surgery to minimize side effects. Does this have something to do with myofascia release treatment? Is this related to my shoulder pain? Mom, please call and schedule a vitamin infusion for every day next week. Lets replenish the good stuff.

We decided on NY Columbia Presbyterian Cornell Weill. With some minor transportation coordination issues, I finally was transferred to Cornell Weill by ambulance on Tuesday. My mom by my side is so comforting. Ugh she must be so worried. Despite it being a holiday, I was fortunate enough for my surgery to be scheduled on Wednesday. I'm so incredibly thankful for my quite extensive clan of family and friends. I feel the love and positive vibes. I really do. Like going through my body like electricity. We have to pray to Madonna Del Stella and Padre Pio. They will comfort me.  It makes it easier in time of crisis when you have unconditional love and support. I appreciate the visits and that sense of comfort having those people who care about me around. Grandma is so with me... I feel her presence and she will get me through this. 

Tears....F@*k! How did this happen. I was doing so good and such a good path...felt like things were reversing and getting better. I'm angry. This shouldn't be happening. Not with cellect, not with Switzerland, not with all the good I have been doing for my body. People are going to have their comments. See that holistic stuff doesn't work. Who cares Lisa. Bottom line is you know you feel better and will be okay.  Tears rolling down cheek. Don't worry Lisa. We love you. You will get through this. Stop tearing Lisa you have to be strong for everyone. You cry they cry. Oh boy! everyone looks so worried. Don't worry everyone i will be okay. Ugh. Now Thanksgiving is ruined... I'm here.. Last year I was in Switzerland, now in the hospital for surgery. Wow we have a lot to be thankful for. Yes, I can do Black Friday shopping. Mike bought the IPAD. Shopping on morphine....dangerous. Mike is it okay if I shop? Sure Li, its fine. Thanks babe.

Seriously this is the neurological resident? He looks like an elf of some sort."You have a brain tumor." Probably related to the melanoma. Its on a good side. We will cut the bone take it out and then staple the incision closed. We will shave a little piece of your hair and the incision will be right here in an "s" shape. No!! my hair!!! Shit! How much hair? Okay not the end of the world. I look good in hats. I'll blossom style it for awhile. Ok obviously cuter hats then Blossom. Fedora...yeah.

We are going to insert Brachytherapy in your brain once we get the tumor out. Brachy..what? They are radiation beads that will stay in forever. The radiation frequency will diminish in three months time. Very calmly I said I'm not getting that. My dad said we will look into it. I said absolutely not getting radiation pellets inserted in my head for life. Nothing about that sounds okay or my speed. Oh good Mike agrees. Elf man said he will have to see if its okay with Dr Schwartz. Made it clear that it was not an option for radiation pellets to go in my head. My body. My decision.

Tomorrow morning is the surgery. Mom is here with me and Mike will come back in the morning with my dad. I have to wash my hair. Oh no! When will be the next time i could get a blow out? Wow Im out  of it. I guess the pain meds. I hate how my mother cant sleep well here. Surgery was postponed till 4pm. Oh great. Mike and dad will come in a little. Hour later nurse says I need to get a brain MRI then right into surgery. Make up your mind people. Buzzzzz!! No my hair!! Tears. Mom is it bad? No Li its only a little. Oh shit this is really happening. Ok Lisa, after this MRI you will go into OR. Just sign this....says craniotomy on left side with placement of brachytherapy. Very calmly....no thats not correct. I already explained to Dr. Schwartz and elf man that I am not getting bracytherapy and the surgery is on the right side. Come on people. This is serious. Focus.... think before you speak. Okay I will cross it out. No please go fill out a new form correctly. Then I will sign. .

Five hours later, pain is unbearable. Im cold. Cant breathe. Is there a tube around my neck? What the hell is going on I should feel no pain. This is horrific. Where are my parents and mike? Excuse me I cant breathe and I feel a knife going through my brain. You just had brain surgery. No shit but I should not be feeling such intense pain. We are going to try and find your family. Where are they? Please find them quick. Cover me. I'm cold. Can i please have some water. Oh thank god!! Mike. Please can I have a drink. Ice chips with mango coconut water? This is the best thing Ive eaten in awhile. I can live off this. Pain is unbearable. Please get nurse. I need something.

There is a wave in my head. Oh no! please tell me that I don't have fluid on the brain. Why do I feel like a wave is going back and forth in my head. Its okay that's normal. They washed your head and probably got water in your ears. This is a very strange feeling. Ugh this pain. Its 150 on a scale from 1 to 10. We gave you everything. Okay we will get the pain doctors. Hurry please. Stabbing  pain that  is way too unbearable. Morphine pump is going to be administered. I hate it but I need to manage the pain. Okay this is getting better. Headache is getting better. Try and sleep. More ice chips with mango water please. This wave is getting old. This head wrap is too tight. I don't care I'm pulling off. Please Mike loosen it. They wont even know. That's why I have this pain. Thank you!!! That is so much better. They had it wrapped it so freaken tight.

Wave is gone. Pain is tolerable. Its Thanksgiving and I have so many people here who love me. I feel pretty good. I don't feel like I had brain surgery. Makeup is on, all washed up, walking around by myself, feel really good. Thanks to my aunts and mom in law some Thanksgiving dinner in the hospital. Stuffed mushrooms and pastina. Yum. I'm doing so well they could move me out of ICU into stepdown. Pain is not bad anymore. Stop using the morphine pump....you don't need it....poison for the body. Washed up, leggings on, makeup on, leopard scarf. jewelry on and comfy blazer. I feel good and want to go home. But you had brain surgery three days ago. That's okay. I feel great and want to go home. We will check with Dr Schwartz. Thank you.

Emily and Dave!! I am so fortunate for my amazing friends. Ugh I feel bad that they took the trip here before the long trek back to Boston. But Emilina is so comforting. Happy to just have them here. Pretty flowers. They are always on the road....don't know how they do it. But truly thankful to have them here. Thank goodness this brain saga didnt happen when we were visiting them last week. Spleen surgery was when we were visiting them in Boston.

Good news! Friday night and I'm going home. Not only am I going home but I feel so good. Like nothing happened. I passed all Mike's OT tests.....I can text, walk, I have strength, I know where I am and am totally with it. Yes, home it is!! Cant wait for my own bed and just to be with Mike and cuddly Marli. So now what? Nothing really. We will take off the head wrap.  Oh no!! so nerve racking. Don't worry Dr. Schwartz does a great job. You wont be able to tell. Mike I don't want you to see. Li, don't be silly. Okay here goes. Snip Snip. That's it? You cant even tell. My hair covers it. whew! Yay! Lets take a picture. Why is everything going so smoothly? We will get you an MRI and then you can leave. Take these three medications, follow up with local oncologists and get staples removed in ten days. Wow I can go back to work on Monday then. Lets pack up this room....wow we accumulated a lot over a week. Ugh that MRI was so loud and annoying. All looks good. Brains clear. You can go home. Do you want a wheel chair? No. That's silly....I'm totally fine to walk. I'm not one for this whole patient thing.

Home sweet home. Wow its spotless. Not surprising...that's Mike.  I love our home. So cozy. Just where I want to be. I know I have to rest but I love visitors. Everyone is so kind. I have such good people in my life. Lucky girl for sure. Marli!!!!! Oh no she is sick. Maybe she ate too much. She probably is out of sorts and missed us. Dogs sense things.

The weekend was for sure busy with company, delicious food, get well gifts, puzzling, banangrams, lots of texting, movies, Dexter and Homeland and relaxing.

I'm okay to go back to work. I feel fine. I will take one more day to relax but getting restless and antsy. We have an audit coming up and i want to be up to date. I want to check in with the boys. It will be good to get back. I'm so appreciative for my supportive co-workers. Wow, we have been through a lot together. Erica, has helped me so much. Truly appreciative.

Fred called. Believes it is related to myofascia release treatment releasing the pathway causing hemorrhage. Cornell Weill called...the tumor is related to melanoma. No shit people! They suggest chemo and radiation. Very calmy said okay but no thank you. No pathology report is in yet. So how do you know its related to melanoma and why are you suggesting deadly treatments?  Please just send me my pathology report when it gets in. I will not be following up at Cornell Weill. I will continue my own path. Thank you for your time and assistance though. Switzerland is ready and scheduled for mid February.

By Tuesday it settled in.....something strange happened. This was meant to happen. Its like a demon was lifted.  Just like my spleen filled with dead cancer had to come out, this blocked energy in my head had to be released. I feel so bizarrely amazing. Its not like I'm doped up on pain meds either. Ive been taking 1/2 a pain killer a day for shoulder pain, which is nothing .My emotions cant tolerate anymore than that. They make you sad and cry. Not worth it.  

Euphoria?  A state of intense happiness and self-confidence. That is what I'm feeling. I feel so free, clear headed, loved, confidant, stress free, and like I didn't undergo any surgery at all. I have no pain on my head and sleep on the incision side like there is nothing there. I have been so productive, wired, clear, and like I can do anything and everything that I want. Not foggy and out of it like I was for some months now. Something was released. I went back to work on Tuesday and had the most productive work week that I had in a really long time. Writing paperwork was nothing. I was like a machine. Tasks have been so easy and manageable. I put up Christmas Thursday before work all by myself. The house looks adorable. I just love Chirstmas and decorating. I know its crazy.  I feel vulnerable in a way by even writing this.... But something spiritual went on these past two weeks and all that went on was just another part of the healing -one -step closer- to- remission- process. Im at peace, relaxed, and just plain old focused. Thank you for all those positive vibes, prayers and good thoughts. I truly believe that it is that supportive pack like energy and love that is bludgering my cancer to death.

Not sure how long euphoric feeling will last but I'm going to enjoy it when it's here.


So much love and thanks.

Love Always,

LiSa



 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Rebuilding





Its been awhile since my last post and so many are contacting me to see how I am doing. Thank you for your concern and well wishes. Like in most of our lives, cancer diagnosis or not, a lot has been going on. Hurricane Sandy for starters!!!! Thinking back I don't even know what I've been up to...time just flies!!!! My 30th birthday was in September and the celebrations were all weekend long. My parents and Mike had a surprise birthday party for me, Mike took me out east to the wineries overnight, and then I had another surprise party with all my family. I couldn't have thought of another way I would have liked to spend my birthday. To say the least my birthday was emotional.  Not because I turned 30 but because birthdays are now always emotionally. When you have a cancer diagnosis or an illness birthdays are a reminder that you survived yet another year and you treasure the memories you made that much more. When your doctor is hesitant to tell you how many more months or years you are going to live it alludes to the fact that it wont be very long. Well its been four years and I'm still here and not going anywhere. The emotional birthdays stem from appreciation and gratitude that I was led down the path I was....giving me a better prognosis and letting me continue to live.

This February will be four years since that dreadful day I was diagnosed. I cant even believe it has been four years. Initially I was in some sort of denial about the seriousness of my cancer, then it hits you and you are overwhelmed, depressed and like "why me?" Then the fight mode sets in, you stop pitying yourself and you become determined to do whatever it is to help yourself and kill the cancer. Determined I was!!! I did everything and anything that would destroy my cancer cells. It was trial and error.....I first listened to my doctors like a good little girl then I began rebelling to do some "outside of the box" treatments. I'm thankful that I chose the path of rebeliion as I know 98% that I would not be here updating this blog if I succumbed to conventional treatments without any diet changes or alternative treatments.

God only knows how long my body has been sick and cancer cells were taking over. Initially those symptoms are getting sick often (low immune system), weakness and fatigue then when the cancer really takes over the symptoms are more apparent externally such as enlarged lymph nodes and pale coloring. Just like it took time, like my whole life, for the cancer to take over, it takes time to rebuild the body on a cellular level. By taking cellect , changing my diet, and doing all the other natural treatments, I started rebuilding my body one cell at a time. We have so many freaken cells that this takes a long time and patience is required. Not only does the cells have to rebuilt but your emotional state has to also heal. Any trauma requires healing and for our heart and soul to deepen to a new level of awareness and understanding. So, four years later, I am at a very different place. I came to terms with the fact that I have cancer and I know that my body continues to heal and that complete remission is going to take longer than expected and will require a life long dedication to optimal health  and nutrition. Fortunately, I don't perceive this as an inconvenience but rather a blessing. It led me to be healthier and focus on what really matters in life rather than materialistic things and nonsense.

So do you wonder how I have been feeling? I'm doing pretty good energy wise. I am no longer fatigue like I used to be. My blood work is great which is a very important indicator in the world of cancer. My biggest complaint as of lately is that I have been having trouble with my shoulder ever since I had an invasive lymph node dissection and my arm was blasted with radiation (if i could just turn back the clocks.......) I went to physical therapy three times a week for years resulting in a slight improvement. I tried acupuncture, massage therapy, electric stimulation machines, pretty much anything I could find to alleviate my shoulder issues. In the summer, I began having severe pain in my shoulder where I could barely use it. I went to several orthopedic oncologists who indicated that I have a tumor in my bone marrow. This tumor is pressing on my bone causing it to fracture which quite clearly explains the excruciating pain I have been in. So, the orthopedic oncologist suggested two different types of VERY invasive and horrific surgeries. As of right now its a no brainer....absolutely not unless it becomes last resort in the future. So there are several other treatments that we are looking into that could be beneficial. My friend Beth, who now rests in peace, had a magnetic frequency machine that she purchased from Switzerland. Keith, her amazing husband, was nice enough to allow me to borrow it. Since using this machine I have been feeling 70% better!!! I know part of it has to do with Beth being present and offering me healing energy.  :)  Then I spoke to Fred the other day at the cellect support group, and he is convinced that the pain and dysfunction in my shoulder is due to a blockage (pinched nerve etc). My myofascia release therapist also agrees with this explaining that the pathways can be blocked resulting in the shoulder not receiving what it needs to. Its funny because I feel like my shoulder is dead, okay maybe use of the word "turned off" would be more optimistic. It actually feels as though it is not receiving what it needs to. Decision making is not my forte. Which can be a good thing because what if i just opted to get such a scary and invasive surgery when a series of gentle chiropractic or myofascia release visits can release my shoulder pain?!!!
Ill keep you posted....

Before ending, I would like to say that my heart goes out to all those effected by Hurricane Sandy, especially those people that I know personally. I still cant get over the fact that this horrific Hurricane occurred in my own backyard.  It is very scary and mind boggling how our weather patterns are changing so much that they are putting us at danger. There are many parts of Long Island that look like a war zone. So scary and sad.......I lost power for 8 days and dealt with all the inconveniences such as long gas lines and hostile people that most people dealt with. However, I consider that nothing and am fortunate that all my family and anybody I know was not physically harmed by the hurricane. I cant even imagine the anger and trauma that so many people went through in the past month since Sandy. Luckily, with all the resources being offered people will be able to rebuild their lives,  and not lose sight of the most important thing, that no matter what we have to deal with in life, we can rebuild and repair and one day look back and remember it as a passing nightmare. As long as we have love, family and support we got it all!!!

I wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving and hope that people take the time to express or think about what they are really thankful for in their life.

Strength, peace, and love,

xoxo

LiSa

Friday, August 31, 2012

An Instant Connection

It’s incredible where life takes us and who we get to meet along the way. I can’t recollect when exactly I had the pleasure of meeting Beth King. I do remember the location and that moment of instant connection. We were at a cellect support group. I attended the monthly meetings and she was a new face in the crowd. I felt her eyes on me as the meeting was in progress. I kept wondering why I was the one person she was drawn to. Maybe because I was young like her? Maybe I knew her from somewhere and just couldn’t recall? She eventually mouthed to me “Lisa” in a questionable tone. I was confused…thinking how does she know my name? Then she explained that she was at the support group that day because she read my blog post. She recognized me from pictures posted on my blog. That was it from the moment on we had this connection, one that will never die.

We exchanged information and soon after spoke on the phone, sharing our personal battles with cancer. Beth, who looked like she was in her early thirties, was a forty something mother to three beautiful children. I remember being shocked. She looked amazing despite her battle with inflammatory breast cancer. I learned that Beth loved to dance and had a successful dance studio and hot Pilates studio. She became an inspiration from that day on. She invited me to her studio for a class and I regret so much for not taking that opportunity.

The cancer world becomes this interwoven web where us patients all begin knowing the same people and treatment providers. Beth and I were going to many of the same doctors and healers and had the pleasure of crossing each other’s paths often. Its not easy to explain but these appointments are draining and emotionally painful, however when you have the pleasure of seeing that beautiful smile of Beth’s and her husband, Keith’s incredible dedication to his wife and children, even if it was a quick “hello, goodbye, stay strong” moment it made everything better. We would chit chat during our vitamin c drips and share treatment options with each other. The Paracelsus klinik is a place I find very comforting and feel very much connected to. So when Beth returned from Switzerland and we shared all our stories about Dr Rau and the rest of the staff and our mutual connections overseas, it was comforting. She looked so much better. Her coloring was more vibrant, her extremely inflamed arm went down considerably, and that smile was still shining on. That was even more comforting.

Last week, when I did my every now and then “thinking of you, just checking in” text to Beth, Keith responded that I need to gather up the troops to pray as Beth had fluid in her heart and was fighting for her life. I prayed and prayed but I honestly thought that she would be fine and that she was not going anywhere. Several hours later, I received a text from Beth’s phone written by Keith saying “ She passed away today Lisa. She loved u kid!” I felt so angry and distraught that this amazing woman who fought so damn hard to be here for her husband and children was now an angel looking over us. I truly knew in my heart that she was going to make it, I never thought differently. I guess I was in some serious denial. I cant really pinpoint how I feel but part of me feels like I let her down. Like I didn’t steer her in the right direction. I know I shouldn’t think like that but I do. For those battling similar battles, like myself, it is so very emotional when those who were fighting beside us pass. It’s just a vivid a real reminder of just how unpredictable this journey is.

Why is it that the really good people who have so much love radiating off of them and so much to offer to the world, have to be taking at such a young age?

Earlier this week I had my first vitamin infusion since Beth passed. I dreaded the moment of walking in to that place all week, knowing that it was going to be terribly painful and heart wrenching. I even contemplated going elsewhere to get a vitamin drip. And just as expected, it was so hard to be there without that beautiful smiling face. I cried and cried and just recollected all the moments, both fun and serious, that I had with Beth. The other patients asked where “my friend” was since they haven’t seen her for a couple of weeks. I had to share the heart breaking news with the other cancer fighters in the room. They too were so distraught. We all cried together. So here we are, in a little part of Beth’s world, her weekly infusion place, and that feeling of loss was soooo prevalent. So just imagine in here bigger world…… her family, friends, her studio, her everyday life…..just how much she made an impact and will be missed.

I didn’t know her extended family or her children well, however I did have the pleasure of experiencing the loving and glowing energy when I visited her home and attended her fundraising event. You could just feel the warmth and love that Beth had for her family and vice versa. Sometimes I just don’t get why things happen in life but I do know that Beth will forever be an angel watching over her amazing and dedicated husband and she will always be there to comfort and shine her love on her three children and steer them in the right direction.

Tomorrow is her memorial service and celebration. Everyone was asked to wear white. Something about that is so comforting. Perfect color for celebrating a beautiful soul that will forever touch my life.

http://www.loveforbeth.org/LfB/home.html


miss and love you Beth....



 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Raw Thoughts



" There is life before a cancer diagnosis and life after the diagnosis....life will never be the same as before." Somebody at the klinik this week said this to me and it really had me thinking. Prior to my devastating news years ago, life was good....Mike and I were living it up and enjoying all the stuff that most young couples enjoy. We were both happy, our love for one another was radiating and we were settling into our careers.

Then BAM, Lisa has stage III melanoma....and has to undergo surgery, chemo, and radiation. And if thats not enough a year later Lisa has stage IV cancer....the cancer metastasized to her spleen, hip bone, lungs, and liver. Clinical trial? Conventional? Holistic? Decisions decisions... On top of it all a month or so after initially diagnosed Mike proposed.... a day I will never forget that will forever make me smile ear to ear and elicit goosebumps instantly on my skin. The whats-suppose-to-be-joyous wedding planning, was tainted with my, with our, fight against cancer. When I was in it I was happy to have a distraction and truckin along with treatment, decorating our new beautiful home, and for the meticulous Virgo in me, hastily, rather than anally, planning our wedding. I was happy as ever on our wedding day but I was sick, and not myself. I used every little ounce of energy in me to enjoy and dance the night away. The Italy wedding and honeymoon was also tainted by the cancer. I lost energy to go gallivanting toward the end of the honeymoon and became really sick from indulging in all the delicious Mediterranean cheeses and bread.  Our Italy wedding was amazing as anything but I was so weak ...so sick...so emotional.

Looking back, our young lives were so impacted, and we both began to feel the normal stressors that come along with cancer. We were so strong, together, but there comes a point where it builds and builds and you begin to break. Truthfully, no one really knows the impact unless your living it first hand. Will Lisa live? Will this be a life long battle? These thoughts are tough and take there toll. Do I work and take a paycut? No, I cant... I would feel horrible not contributing to our household. Im not a homebody....my mind needs to be preoccupied. But should I dedicate my time to healing and curing myself? The dietary tweaking was constant. Should I eat this? Am I allowed this? I will just stick to vegetables because I know thats safe. But NO.....what about protein, fruits, and grains? There were many losses to get used to. Do I continue to go to Switzerland? Its disgustingly costly....I feel terrible the astronomical amount this is costing my parents. My dad worked so hard....for what....sending his daughter for this ridiculously costing holistic care? Why do I have this privilege to undergo this biological treatment? What about other people who are suffering that would never be able to afford this? There was always important decisions to be pondered about. Socially things became difficult....I couldnt drink alcohol, I could no longer indulge in the fun Italian dinners at my in-laws, I had to eat very specifically and Mike was supportive and followed my strict diet.  Mike's diet changes brought me guilt. Its unfair... I wanted him to enjoy his lifelong comfort and "manly" foods. Despite knowing it was healthier for him you still get comfort out of seeing those people you love enjoy their food, especially their traditional foods. I was so focused on curing myself. I had tunnel vision....cancer....I need to cure this cancer....what could I research next....what could I blog about.....what else should I do to help myself...infusion? acupuncture? work? preparing healthy food? morning regimen of ....enema, drinking supplement drinks, taking drops and downing pills? physical therapy? lymphatic massage? exercise? Hmmm....how much can I fit in a day? What about whats most important? My relationships, my amazing husband and making time for those people in my life that keep me going. That naturally gets lost in this I -got-to-fight-this-god-damn-cancer journey.  

So, yes, its very true that life prior to being diagnosed will never be the same but whos to say which is better? Im thankful from all that I learned since being diagnosed. I feel a hell of a lot healthier now then I did in the past and I learned how to treat our bodies. Mike as well....he is super fit and health conscious. Everything happens in stages....baby steps...and eventually the balance between extreme diet and a healthy diet routine comes into play. You learn that your allowed to indulge every once in awhile and have to live a little. You find peace in talking to fellow cancer/life threatening disease warriors. The importance of "giving back" becomes that more heightened. Who is truly there for you is revealed. You learn to appreciate life for what it is and focus on whats really important rather than the gluttony and the need to want want want. You lose patience for people's bullshit. You distance yourself from those who lead stressful days and unnecessary dramatic antics. After going through a very tough situation first hand, its difficult to wrap your head around the nonsense and the unnecessary drama that people create in their own lives. You learn to let go and realize that its not worth it to stress about. These are only things that could harm our morale and central nervous system. You appreciate everyday for what it is and enjoy it. You feel a real sense of gratitude that you are fortunate to have the opportunity to be able to undergo such life changing yet costly treatment. You learn that anything is possible with the support from one another. You value relationships that much more. You learn the beauty ad intensity of a parents love for their daughter.  You learn to balance and prioritize whats most important for the mind and body and spend time with those people you love in your life. You learn to be conscious of breath and value your body on a totally new level. You learn that positive attitude and energy is critical. You learn that cancer is NOT an outside invader and that the internal milieu must be completely revamped. The dietary changes and new lifestyle becomes routine and not so alien-like.  You learn the power of love and that its the number one and best treatment that one will ever have. You learn that life post cancer diagnosis is better in many ways then pre cancer diagnosis....

Much Love and Appreciation,

LiSa



Round Four in Switzerland



Well here I am in Switzerland once again, on day 6 of treatment. I dont even know where the days went. I had well intentions of blogging often but something about these intensive trips to the Paracelsus Klinik makes you just want to hang low and do nothing on your free time (which is not very often). This time around my energy is the best its ever been which can be contributed to my toxic spleen and lymph nodes now being freed from my body. Or should I say my body is freed from those nasty little bastards? My mom and I were actually able to get up enough steam to make a trip to lake Constance in Germany. Which was gorgeous and a beautiful day of sitting by the lake and watching the cute European kids carefreely jumping in the ice cold lake in their under garments. A trip to Germany always is nice with a nice beer (eventhough I hate beer) and a pretzel but I started the liver cleanse on Saturday, so..... so much for that! Ill tell you more about the joyous liver cleanse in a bit.

Its been the same type of treatments for the most part as well as the same comprehensive, and I mean VERY comprehensive testing. Treatments consists of hyperthermia (aka heat box), infusions of a medley of homeopathic goodness, oxygen, ozone therapy, local hyperthermia to needed areas, magnetic therapy, other electric magnetic therapies, a neuromuscular massage, cupping, colon hydrotherapy, and of course injections injections injections.

I could honestly and proudly admit to all of you that Im now a homeopathic injection junkie. Im a human pin cushion when Im here. With two Dr appointments a day, one with dr Rau and one with his sidekick, Dr. Felix, I have been getting many injections a day. Its considered neurotherapy where different homeopathic remedies are injected into a specific spot, or trigger point, on the body to help the problem areas. So for me this includes fresh cells (like stem cells but biological/natural...one goes in each butt cheek), injections into my new incision area, neurotherapy for my colon and digestive system, stimulation of the liver (for liver cleanse), and injections into my "spleen scar." Apparently these injections into the scars are extremely important because scars tend to block meridians with all the scar tissue causing loss of energy flow in the body. Also it helps with cosmetics...never hurts to be a little vain. It dawned on me to ask Dr. Rau if he could inject my shoulder (aftermath of frozen shoulder and just pure stiffness and chronic pain) and he laughed and said he never had a patient who begged for more and more injections like I  do. We all laughed. Hey, Im here to get better so if that means getting poked and prodded at...bring it on!

The treatments in general have been going well. The hyperthermia went quite fine...I reached 102 degrees which is good. Only issue was my left arm swelled up due to the recent surgery so I opted to not have a second hyperthermia treatment this stay around. I read the last book of the trilogy of Fifty Shades of Grey. Nothing like a racy novel to keep you distracted in a freaken heat box. I absolutely LOVE my manual massage everyday. My shoulder freed up alot since it has been being digged at the past 6 days. Once again its painful but one of those pleasure pains because you know its helping and releasing. The fact that we are able to focus on my shoulder, which is not life threatening, this time around says a lot in itself.  Im determined to be able to have my almost full mobility back and I will succeed!! It will just be a matter of finding a good neuromuscular massagist back at home and being diligent with my stretching...for both arms.

As I mentioned earlier, the comforting part about schlepping to Switzerland for treatment is the comprehensive tests. Its comforting to know whats going on inside our bodies and whats causing what. So the test include a variety of things....very thorough blood test, thermography, heart variability which measure the unconscious central nervous system, heavy metals test, ultrasound,  stool test, food allergies, tumor marker level, fatty acid test, and dark field microscopy. So despite waiting for most test results the following is what has already been discovered....

1. My blood is looking great, Im in normal ranges for everything :)
2. My thermography was "better than ever" (said Rau). It did show the wrong bacteria in my colon and lots of air being trapped inside digestive track.
3. My unconscious nervous system is working good.
4. AND the ultrasound showed my liver is CLEAR of any lesions, tumors or the alike!!! Despite being somewhat apprehensive about this since my latest scans in the states showed activity on the liver, Im pretty stoked. I explained this to the Dr and asked him probably about 15 times if he was sure and he said there is CLEARLY nothing on my liver. Ok, thanks Doc, Im taking this news and running with it!!!

All in all this is really good and an improvement. The next three big results are the tumor marker, the stool test and the heavy metals test. Based on my last heavy metals test Im high in arsenic and copper, however both of these went down from the previous test. So in my infusions a chelation agent has been added to help lower the levels of heavy metals in my system.

So where is this body of mine at during this point of time, you ask?

1. My energy is improving ( i think the removal of toxic lymph nodes and the ending of the black salve fiasco helped ) :)
2. Im having pretty severe digestional issues such as an always full feeling and inflammation of my colon. 80% of our immune system is in our gut so given all the stress my immune system has been under I need to rebuild the flora and good bacteria in my gut to relieve these very depressing and quite uncomfortable symptoms.
3.My new incision from the removal of the black salve tumor is looking okay. As dreadfully expected I do have swelling in the arm :( Pathology reports from removal of lymph nodes did not note if the cancer in the lymph was dead or alive. Dr. Rau explained that after using black slave pathology reports cant determine this.
4. My right arm, from the original lymph node dissection, is still stuck in many areas but has improved 80% from the beginning.
5. My hair is growing like wild fire and my nails are as strong as anything...which both speak volumes to health.
6. And the biggest question I get.....How many more tumors do you have? This is a tough one. Based on tests here all my organs are functioning great and nothing else can be detected. My liver and black slave lymph node were my last two that I was working on. However based on my last pet scan there were "light ups" in several areas. Quite honestly, I dont buy into it and am 99% sure I will never under go a pet scan again. They are false positive and depressing. I feel good and my blood tests speak for it and there are no lumps or bumps to be found so thats what I focus on.  
7. Emotionally....Definitely on an upswing but  of course I have some more healing to do and dealing with all that I, and those closest to me, have dealt with along the way will be a life long struggle. The fear will always be there but like anything else we must let a positive attitude persevere and keep on truckin!!


Thanks for following my journey! And guess what? I just adore comments :)

Peace and Strength,

LiSa


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

**DON'T LOOK ** if you have a weak stomach. Determination to get this tumor out once and for all!!!

As promised, here are the pictures from my journey with black salve.  Black salve is a herbal based treatment that has been around for thousands of years by use with Native American Indians. Black Salve is said to have anti-cancer properties. It has been known as an  “escharotic”, which literally means, it creates an “eschar” (a piece of dead tissue). In cases of skin cancer treatment using the Black Salve, the belief is that the eschar is the dead tumor. After treatment, the eschar will be expelled by natural body processes over a short time (usually within 5 – 14 days even if the tumor is quite deep). So those who have been following me know that something like this is right up my alley. I didn't dive into this blind, I had some guidance from Dr Rau in Switzerland but since it was new to him I contacted Dr. Adrian Jones in Australia, who has a great amount of experience with black salve.

I captured as much as the journey as I could but i didn't get a picture every step of the way so I will do my best to explain whats going on. I started on December 10th and continued until about the end of January. The pics are all of my armpit.....according to my brother, the professional photographer, I took the pics too close up and it is not always clear what body part you are looking at. So if your confused...my armpit it is!!! Here goes......

Here is the original tumor/swollen lymph node...about the size of a golf ball.

another shot of the original tumor



Let the journey begin...... applying the black salve. Tingly feeling but not pain per say


Holy Sh*t!!! Its working!! An eschar (scab) is forming!! Note :this is like a day after first application




The first "birth" of dead cancer...very exciting moment.
(about a 2 days after application)


Same as above, just flipped on "dry" side

Yup thats the tumor exposed...I just wanted to rip it out!!


Chunk of dead cancer that came out

Bits of cancer debris that literally just spewed out after I put some pressure on the site

Lots of blood and draining

After another application, things are a bit stuck

Just three days after the above picture, amazing how fast it heals

This is when the pain begins.......I was advised to put the salve on continuously to get the deep rooted tumor. As you can see from the picture it became very swollen and was trying to surface

Pieces of dead cancer that came off the bandage



Amazing how beautifully it heals after it is so raw and open




I know!!! Nasty as all hell!! I dont have to explain how painful this was...the picture says it all. This is when the cancer was really surfacing and trying to break off

And breaking off it is......


side profile.....the cancer separating from my skin

Big chunk expelled. Mike put his hand to show size

Other side of tumor, we call it the "oyster." LOL sorry if you like oysters and it ruins your appetite for them


Healing pretty well, no more black on right side of picture......one down, one more to go


The skin grows back within days...incredible. tumor still exposed. at this point i have dreams of myself cutting it out with a kitchen knife....luckily I didn't go insane enough to actually carry through.



After another application, another bis piece fell off (didn't get a pic). Tumor is considerably smaller at this point.

Healing, skin is pretty raw and inflamed. The thought of reapplying make me weak and nauseous. The tumor is stuck and tugging on lymph nodes underneath. According to Dr. Adrian Jones i would have to reapply everyday to get the root of this thing out. I'm very anti pain medication and the thought of having to take around the clock percocets doesn't sit right with me. Without pain medication there is no way i could survive despite my VERY high tolerance for pain.
The above picture is not the latest. The site looks very good with a very small black looking scab.

I'm very happy I used black salve and have no regrets. However due to the size and how deep rooted the tumor was it was pretty grueling. I would for sure use salve for a small lesion or tumor. I have my little container waiting just in case.

With much thought, research, consulting, and contemplation, I decided to go for surgery. The lymph node swollen underneath (that was new with the use of salve) freaked me out. However, the way it was explained to me by holistic docs and Fred was that the lymph system was backed up due to trying to get rid of this cancerous tissue. Due to the lymph being blocked the fluid was building up in my lymph system causing the lymph nodes to becomes inflamed (not necessarily cancerous). That definatly put my mind at ease. So anyways, yesterday I had whatever was effected taken out. Dr Beg agreed to just take out what was wreaking havoc and maintain as much tissue and mobility that he can. The surgery was in and out...took about three hours. I have a small drain to get rid of any excess blood. Tomorrow I will go to Dr. Beg and get the drain removed and a bandage change. Pathology reports in about a week to see what exactly were in those bastards.

Not that I want to jinx myself but I feel absolutely fine and like I didn't even have surgery. Yesterday was a fine day but I figured the anesthesia didn't wear off yet and the pain would come. However I'm still in no pain or discomfort, despite not taking a lick of medication. We had a nice day of watching movies and playing my favorite.....scrabble. Mike and I set up the bed with all the pillows to ensure I was upright and comfy but I wound up just sleeping normal all curled up. I had a great night sleep and woke up because I was feeling energetic. So I write some emails and texts and hit the sack again.  Could it be that I feel more enegetic now that that dead tumor is no longer blocking my lymph system? If so that would be incredible! I woke up this morning and went to the gym because I had great energy. I figured it would be good to work out and get the lymph moving.  I know I know.....dont worry ...I just did the bike and some leg presses. I am absolutely fine to even go back to work today but you could just imagine the whispers I get from my darling husband, parents, etc......"just rest, take it easy".... So I guess one day of that wont drive me too crazy. So tomorrow, or maybe even later, back to work I go.

Hopefully the salve pics didn't make you too weak and horrified.

Strength and peace,

xoxo

Lisa


Monday, May 7, 2012

I wish people knew what I knew...


Okay, so I went to Philadelphia to the cancer treatment center of america and as much as I wasn’t impressed I don’t want to say the place was horrible. After two solid years of doing hardcore holistic and integrative approach, an offering of being blasted with chemo with a side of a little acupuncture and reiki is not my idea of holistic or integrative treatment. These cancer hospitals are funny…they know how to work it and market themselves. We had up to a 6 night stay in a Radisson for a one time fee of 75 bucks and all three meals were included for myself and my caregiver. A plus is that they offered good quality food, such as green juices made to order, healthy grains, and coconut water. But they also had there share of crappy foods such as chips, bacon, cookies, pizza, etc. If you require a flight for transportation that is paid as well for both you and your caretaker and you are picked up from the airport in a limo with the CTCA logo on the side door (of course). Which is a little strange but I guess for people who are scared out of their wits this could be an added bonus and mask the stress for a quick minute. So all in all it was a traditional cancer hospital with a whole bunch of fluff.
 
As for my personal experience, every doctor that came across me didn’t know who the patient was…me or my mom. They were all shocked in how good I looked and said that they were expecting a different “look” based on all the reports they received and the fact that I had my
spleen removed 6 months ago. I was encouraged to get a pet scan to get an idea of where my body is at. I reluctantly agreed, was injected with the radioactive glucose, and underwent a stupid pet scan. The results were completely energy sucking and frightening. Every other sentence in the report had “likely metastasis, suspected metastasis, etc.” It took me a couple of minutes to realize I was falling under their ‘lets scare these people into chemo tactics’ and came to my
senses and remembered all that I learned about how false these pet scans are. Basically the SUV (sugar uptake value) is what needs to be looked at and if it is above 12 there is something going on that needs attention, however even in this case it could be inflammation or infection rather than cancer. If the SUV is a number as low as 2 it is nothing to even being concerned about. The average Joe could have a pet scan and have several ‘light ups’ with a low SUV. This is what I
learned from being in Switzerland and from Fred (Cellect) but of course the cancer hospitals say an SUV above 2 is worrisome, which is plain old bullshit. But the kicker about my pet scan was they actually noted that I had my ovaries, my uterus, and my gallbladder taken out. Hello???? I have all three of these and if they don’t know what is even inside my body how the hell would I trust their reports of what is going on inside my body?? Anyway the areas that lit up were by my
abdominal area (pancreas, liver) and when I spoke to Fred he explained that this was because I just had my spleen removed and inflammation is to be expected and will probably take up to 6 years to fully heal. It also noted that the area under my arm (the black slave area) is necrotic (aka dead.) However they still said it is dangerous and it could spread and yada yada. Hello once again???? It’s dead!!!!! Do they ever focus on the positive and let people know the good things without turning it into a gut wrenching scary moment? So once I got the pet scan results I was a little frazzled but then I centered myself and recalled all I learned and focused on how Im feeling, my energy, how I look, and that I know for damn sure that this cancer in my body is dead. Once I reviewed my scans with Fred I felt much better because he pointed out all the bogus crap they write in these scan reports and gave me a different twist on what’s really going on inside my body that made much more sense to what the cancer center was telling me.

So as I mentioned last post, my main reason for the visit was to inquire about getting surgery. When I met with the surgeon he initially said since the cancer is systemic it is not suggested to get surgery. However, he then examined the area, took one look at it and said he thinks this would be an exception and should come out. Hmmm….interesting, maybe because he knows its dead??!! He even said when showing me the images of my scan on the computer, that the one under my arm is necrotic (dead) but stated that this is not necessarily a good thing as it could get ugly and spread. He did not agree to go easy and only take out the nodes that were affected and
said he has to take out lymph node strands 1 and 2. He said this is for my own good. Oh okay Mr. Surgeon, removing most of my lymph nodes under my arm and a bunch of tissue and leaving me with lymphedema and frozen shoulder is for my own good? Thanks for looking out Mr.Surgeon…or not!!!!

It dawned on me that I should give Dr. Beg, my original surgeon, who I trust and feel comfortable with, a ring to see if I could get an appointment. Sure enough I got an appointment that same day, left Philly, and met with him. Within seconds, he took a look of the area and agreed to take the tumor and only what was affected out. We made an agreement that if he sees anything else that look suspicious and has to come out once he is in there that I would allow for him to take it out. I said by all means and that I just want whatever is black out. So no regrets to going to Philly as whatever takes place along the way is what makes this journey the educational journey this is. However, I could have went right back to my original source, Dr Beg, and got what I wanted without a trip to PA. So my surgery is scheduled for May 22nd at Northshore Manhasset. It will be an in and out surgery and according to Dr. Beg nothing compared to a lymph node dissection.

I’m super happy to get it removed because my lymph system is being blocked right now because of all the deadness and we need to have that lymph pumping and working to its best ability. However, going under the knife always has the chance of new complications and I’m not looking forward to another beautiful scar but it is what it is. This whole journey, I followed my heart and my gut and I know its leading me in the right direction. And as far as this surgery, I just know that it’s the right thing to do to get me that much closer to remission.

Also, I spoke to Dr Rau in Switzerland and he is on board that I get the surgery, however feels I should come there for intense treatment for immune system up building and to help the healing process soon after the surgery. So not only will I be getting the surgery I will also be going back to Switzerland in June sometime.

We had the Long Island run this weekend. Mike, my parents, and my amazing friends and family were there to support!! It was invigorating and inspiring as usual. May 20th we have the 5k melanoma walk/run in Eisenhower Park. You can choose to run the 3 miles or walk it. For more information go to www.ccmac.org . The more people there the more support I have….. so come join us if you can!!!!!

Other than that things are going well and I’m just looking forward to all that the remainder of the spring and summer have to offer.

Oh, and black slave pics to come soon.

Peace and strength,

LiSa

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Project remission!



It's amazing how time flies.... May is already here. I don't even know where I left off in my last post. Oh wait, yes I do....those were the days of black salve. I was applying it pretty often and sure enough chunks of the tumor were being discarded. I know.... gross but truly fascinating!!! It was getting smaller and smaller but the pain was getting worse and worse. I had no choice but to take the pain meds to dull the pain but with pharma drugs comes other problems. After all I've been through, pain is something I could handle and the same goes with taking pain meds. However, since lymph nodes are like a string of pearls, the vacuuming out of the enlarged lymph node caused the attached lymph node to become inflamed. I cant explain the emotional turmoil of when you feel an enlarged lymph node/tumor, especially a new one. You dont know whats going on....if we just had a camera to see whats going on in our systems...but no such luck with that. So of course you freak out and think the worse but luckily the positive person I am, realized that it's most definitely inflammation from the black salve literally sucking out the cancer. Needless to say it freaked me out and  between the immense pain associated with using the salve (because the tumor is larger than a quarter) and the new "pop up", I decided to look into possible surgery of getting the tumor removed. It is a purplish black color that I truly believe it is dead. Back from my visit to Switzerland, I know that my lymph system is clogged and I have to get things moving in there. A clogged lymph system not only makes it much more difficult for the immune system to fight but it also bogs down the system and wipes me out. Plus we cant forget that Im spleenless which makes the other filtering systems work that much harder.  Having this area, that my body is very ferociously trying to fight, removed will give my body the opportunity to put its fighting skills on other areas of my body that needs attention.


 Due to all the stress from being weak and not knowing what the future entails, I just been in a rut. Not eating and exercising the way I should. Don't get me wrong my diet is very restricted compared to how it use to be prior to cancer but not as strict as I should be. I mean to get to remission I have to stay focused and take the diet very serious. I have a very strong sensitivity to wheat, yeast, sugar, and cow milk products yet I've been consuming them here and there. My body then becomes that more stressed and fatigued and the vicious cycle continues. I felt my best when I avoided all these foods. My body had the opportunity to fight the cancer rather than food sensitivities. It's amazing how quick the body gets addicted to these crappy foods despite our body practically begging us to eat more clean and more active. So back on track I will be. Exercise as well....it is SOOOOO critical for our body to function correctly. I know I feel better when I exercise its just the time trying to squeeze it in. Ive been getting creative... walking with the boys at work (they could use it too :) .


Other than getting back on track with my diet, I continue being diligent about my weekly medical treatments. Its a lot and also very time consuming. I have a weekly vitamin drip that takes anywhere from 2 to 4 hours, acupuncture, lymphatic massage, and its really important that I make time for epson salt baths, my rebounder, and my hwave machine for my bached up shoulder). Tomorrow until Wednesday my mama and I will be going to the Cancer Treatment Center of America in Philadelphia (Yup the one always advertised on tv) for a consultation on whether or not I should opt for surgery on this tumor. I want the surgery but I want to dictate how I want things done. In the world of surgeons and egos this is not an easy task. But hey its my body and I worked to damn hard to get where Im at and I dont want anyone messing with what they dont have to mess with. Apparently they are a conventional hospital with a more holistic and individualistic approach. I'm going there with a realistic mindset and am aware that it could be one big marketing ploy. I'm looking to get the least invasive surgery possible. I fear surgery considering my last lymph node surgery left me with 20+ less lymph node, horrid frozen shoulder and lymphedema. Luckily my healing toolbox is bigger and better and I now have the knowledge and resources to combat any side effects that might occur.


Life can be so frustrated because each and every one of us has our struggles and our "when the hell is this going to get better" moments but the bottom line is ... It's all in our attitude. Positive things happen to positive people. Sometimes we just have to step outside of our comfort zones and think the impossible and just make it happen!!! So, my friends, here I am in project remission at FULL FORCE. My attitude has always been positive but like any human being I have my moments of vulnerability and weakness. But here I am, in the rink with my quite tough looking pink boxing gloves, ready to take this cancer down once and for all.


I have dreams about the huge celebration we will have when the day finally arrives. Literally......the last dream was at a celebration carnival with all fun games and circus animals and all good wholesome foods substituting the normal sugary high fructose corn syrup crap at fun places. Fresh popcorn with olive oil and sea salt, cacao covered fruit, roasted chestnuts,  homemade organic fruit sorbets,  okay and gelato (Im sorry just a little)!!!  As for cotton candy.....I cant...its just plain old evil.


Mike and I were able to escape to Florida for a little while, it was nice to get away and enjoy eachothers company. We experienced the new rides such as Harry Potter and The Simpsons At Universal!!! We love our roller coasters !! I could have used a couple of more days of R & R, hopefully my mom and I will have the opportunity for this in Philly. Our annual long island run is on May 6th and the CCMAC melanoma walk is on May 20th. Both are at Eisenhower Park. It would mean so much if you joined us in our efforts to support my natural fight against melanoma. Let me know if you want to join!!!! To donate go to www.ncrf.org and hit the donate button. In the next post, I will include the images (as promised) of my black salve experience. As you will see a lot of the tumor came out. Do not look if you have a weak stomach!!!


Much thanks for your continued support,


Peace and Optimism,


LiSa

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Dear February....you are a pain in my ass.....Love Lisa



Three years ago this time a year my world turned upside down. Early February 2009 was when I found out I had stage II melanoma, almost exact to the date in February 2010 is when the cancer came back to play and went to stage IV and February 2011 was hell emotionally. So here I am in 2012, with the month of February still being torturous. However its different this year, bittersweet torture....if that makes sense. I have been using "black" since December 22nd and little by little pieces of tumor have been expelled from my body. In the beginning the pain was tolerable as the "black" was dealing with the surface cancer. I didnt even require any pain medication, not even over the counter. Then about a month ago I applied "black" as I normally do and holy sh*t!!!!! My poor mother...I was literally jumping on the couch, pulling my hair out and screaming like a psychiatric patient. Thats when I knew I, or I guess I should say "black" was at a whole new level. Literally, the black was way beyond the first couple of layers of my skin and burning into tissue that was much deeper. The tumor was fairly large, and part of it was surface and parts of it were under healthy skin closer to my lymph nodes. So the burning through healthy skin was what brought on the INTENSE pain. I have a high tolerance for pain but this was unbearable and with several pep talks from my parents and mike I decided not to throw in the towel and keep up my crazy ass decision to stick with "black." However if I was going to continue I had to deal with all my negative beliefs about pain killers and how they ruin your body and suck it up and take them. So I changed my mindset and embraced the mood-swing, messes with your digestion, high as a kite feeling, and horrible nausea pharmaceutical drug percocet. My priority right now is getting this god damn dead tumor out of my body and if thats what Im going to do I have to take something to ease the pain.

Not like the pain was bad enough, I decided, with the advice from my doc from Australia (specializes in "Black"), due to the tumor being "stuck" to place more black on the open and raw skin that black was just put on the previous day. Aahhhh!! That was no joke....there was a point that two percocets did not ease the pain. Lots of self talk and visualization of this bastard coming out once and for all got me through it. So at this point, there is a lot going on under my arm. The perimeter of the tumor has severed from the healthy skin and seems as though it is ready to be expelled from by body. Which is awesome however scary at the same time. Like I said earlier, it is very large so the wound is going to be large...basically a gaping hole in my armpit. Pretty dangerous and I guess painful so I will require wound care that I dont have set up yet. I have a dr appointment soon to hopefully set that up. These dr's are funny though, they dont want to offer you care if you are doing insane crazy things such as putting black salve on very large tumors.

I think black is an incredible way to go, however I think it is more appropriate for people that have much smaller and manageable skin cancers or tumors. Because as I said earlier, the beginning was fine when the black was targeting the cancer that was close to the skins surface. I have no regrets as I believe everything happens for a reason but on the same hand I would not feel comfortable encouraging another person to use black on such a large tumor. As far as a small skin cancer, such as a mole or something, I would in a heartbeat.

Im still curious as to whats going to happen. Will it require more black? Will it ALL come out? How is the open wound going to heal? How bad will the scar be? How is this tumor actually going to fall out? Will it be a clean cut or something I will have to manipulate? I have been documenting the black experience but considering how gruesome it is, I am not posting them on my blog as of yet. I think it is worthwhile posting eventually as its fascinating, however I will do this all at once in one blog and will warn people in the title..."Warning .....gruesome photos"

Other than black, I have a lot going on....as usual. I continue to work full time, go for my weekly vitamin drips, living a healthy life,  doing my daily health regimen, and Im going to school to be a certified health coach. I LOVE it!!! Not only will I get to help others reach optimum health but I learn others way I could help myself. I have been practicing health histories, so if anyone is interested in being one of my guinea pigs let me know!!! I would love any help I could get.


Oh my god!!!! Mid editing my post I took a dinner break and ran out with mike and I come home to find one of the large three tumor eschars hanging off!! It came right off!!!! A HUGE chunk of my cancer is gone!!! I can't even f*ck'n believe it... Black actually worked! Im on Cloud nine right now :) going to call my Australian doc now and talk it through!!!


thanks for all those positive vibes and prayers!!


xoxo


Lisa



Friday, January 13, 2012

The Black in my days continues...



My first application of Black Salve aka "Black" was on December 10, 2011. So here we are a little over a month and we still have more work to do. Lots of fluid and parts of the tumor have came out resulting in the tumor being much smaller than what it started out to be. Around the end of December when I applied more, there was stinging and a reaction but it seemed to be that the tumor was stuck and was having trouble having its roots severed. I know I try and be like a Doctor and all but lets face it I have no experience with this stuff and am winging all of it. Who would have ever thought I would put some black stuff on myself to break my skin open to release a dead tumor from my body.....absolute craziness. As I said many of times, I will do anything in my power to get to the beautiful word REMISSION. Actually its not that beautiful it still has an associated -with- cancer feel but you know what I mean.....So feeling kind of stuck because the tumor was stuck I decided to reach out to a Dr. in Australia who has much experience with Black. I scheduled a phone conversation with him this past Saturday. In preparation I sent him a detailed health history as well as explicit and gruesome pictures of what the salve has already accomplished. In the cutest Aussie accent he explained to me that the tumor is dead and since it is a lymph node it is deep rooted. He said he was confidant that the remainder of the tumor would come out if I was to be diligent and put the salve on everyday. He said I could leave it on for 48 hours rather than the normal 24 hours, take it off and leave it off for a couple of hours and than put it back on again for 48 hours and basically repeat until this son of a b*tch is out. So come Monday I reapplied and left it on for 48 hours and I know I'm tough and could handle a lot....but Jeesh....that was some painful 48 hours. I required pain medicine....I started with my all natural pain drops that I got from Switzerland and then required the harder stuff. I felt like saying screw it and rubbing the black off but with lots of self talk and encouragement from the family I decided to grin and bear it. My dad reminded me to say "Nam-myoho-renge-kyo" , a Japanese chant of some sort to make your thoughts come true, as I pictured the pain as the cancer being ripped away from my body. I know I know....the things we do. But these days I believe in it all and why not give it a whirl? The Black created a very strong reaction, my skin blistered and became raw like you wouldn't believe. For this week I have to go against the Aussie Dr's directions of putting it on daily due to my cousin getting married tomorrow and me not wanting to be in excruciating pain somewhere in the corner of the catering hall.

The plan = come Sunday I will reapply and have Black Salve on everyday until it come out. I will continue this for several weeks and have much pain relief on hand. Why not be a "normal" person and get surgery? First off being normal is over rated and second off it will be hard for me to find a surgeon who will agree to JUST take out the dead tumor rather than extra tissue which will make recovery more difficult. Furthermore, having surgery will not guarantee that they will get all the cancer whereas Black's job is to detect that crap and spit it out of the body. What if for some reason Black doesn't get it all out? Despite being very confidant that this will work I'm also a realist and know it may not. If that's the case I will look high and low until I find a reputable surgeon to remove my dead tumor and nothing more.

There is something comforting when everyone you are working with is on the same page. Its something that rarely happens in the world of cancer, especially when on the holistic route. However, my mother went to cellect support group and mentioned to Fred that I was using Black. He said that he has not heard much about it but the bottom line is that the dead tumor needs to come out. See cellects job is too kill everything and make the body in better balance. However, when there is so much to kill it remains contained in the body. This effects the body in other ways because it still notices something bad that needs to be worked on which as a result causes the body to continue working overtime and become fatigued or run down. So for me the deadness pooled in my spleen, thus the reason it hemorrhaged and needed to be removed. Then the lymph node died off and became a hard scar like tissue which the body cant just break down and remove. Unfortunately this needs either surgery or some random and quite secretive salves in this world we lived in such as Black. So anyways, Fred agreed that I should give Black a try and see if it works, if not opt to have the surgery. He even offered his connections and said he will find someone who will just be willing to remove the tumor. So my friends, time will tell. I really hope and believe that the Black will work. I know its going to be a hell of a couple of weeks....painful as anything but nothing I cant get through.

If this tumor comes out I and Mike and my immediate family will be ecstatic!! We will be singing from the roof tops for sure. From there we will have to see if the baby spot on my liver is still present....if not.....cancers in the clear!! I will schedule an MRI or ct scan to see how my livers holding up soon. Of course a lot of good happened in 2011 as that's when my body was fighting half this shit off but I put 2011 behind me real quick. It was a tough emotional and heart wrenching year, but with all turmoil comes growth. It is that growth that 2012 will show. I never embraced a new year like I did 2012, I feel in my gut that I will finally be able to move on. I will never move on from the world of cancer as my heart is now embedded in it to help others suffering and I will always have to be on point to be sure my melanoma doesn't come creeping back. Melanoma likes to come back and visit and in order to keep it from intruding the diligency must be there. However, when it is no longer considered stage IV and a direct battle I will be able to live my life rather than spend my days fighting for my life. That is an amazing thing.

For those of you that don't know, I'm now a psychic junkie. I used to be skeptical but now I'm a believer. I totally understand those who don't believe in it and feel its some voodoo nonsense but when days get so bogged down by sadness it is nice to hear some hopeful news about your future. I went to a psychic recently and my grandmother came through....she said she sees 'remission' and that I have long longevity. She reassured me that she is hearing all my daily prayers, and even said I am overwhelming her a little. Well maybe its not only me and it is all the other people praying to here just knowing she will come through ;). She also said in my current employment role I'm a healer and I was born a natural healer. Grandma said that I have a whole lot of papers around me having to do with education and I should go for it. Wow.... even from  up there she is such a smart cookie!!

It has always been my passion to help others and now being through all I have, I'm even more passionate about helping people who are facing life threatening diseases or even every day discomforts that are preventing them from enjoying their lives. Its incredible what our bodies are capable of as long as they are provided with the right nutrients and we are balancing our stress.  So, the Virgo I am, and always wanting change and something new, I am going back to school to be a holistic health coach. I am super ecstatic as I cant wait to graduate and begin helping people reach optimum health. Its a career that I could eventually incorporate into my current career as a health coach compliments a career as a social worker very well. Best part is I get to learn how to treat my own body along the way. I will heal others as I heal myself. Whats more rewarding than that?

I hope everyone is doing well and I wish you all a happy and healthy year in 2012. This weekend should be a fun one celebrating with the family. Tomorrow my younger cousin, Kathleen, is getting married and I have the honor to be one of her matron of honors and Sunday is my sister-in-law, Jessica's birthday. And Monday relatives from Italia are visiting! Good times good times!! All good things to celebrate with our families :)

I will be sure to keep you updated on black. Feel free to say "Nam-myoho-renge-kyo" and picture what ever it is that your heart desires. Need a suggestion? For this damn cancer to go away!!!

Peace and Strength,

LiSa