Monday, January 21, 2013

Peeling the onion


2013. January. Time flies. The month of January and with February approaching usually is bittersweet for me. I can’t help but recall and visualize the initial “you have melanoma” moment and all that followed after it. Lymph node dissection…Dr Beg…caring bridge…learning who in
my life is really there for me…radiation…..grueling interferon…endless research…constant doctor appointments…lymphedema….huge arm wrap for a week plus to alleviate the fluid ...lymphedema treatments…arm sleeves daily….long sleeve shirts in the summers…loss of an insane amount of hair….weakness…sadness…frozen shoulder…physical therapy 3+ times a
week….hip pain…limping...”your cancer metastasized, now stage IV”…stomach pains …emergency splenectemy… Ipilimumab trial weeks before our  wedding… colitis …weakness… Hippocrates in Florida …cellect…trips to Paracelsus in Switzerland …  Dr. Rau…tumors melting away… tumors dying off and needing to be surgically removed….black salve ….insane pain…surviving the torment cancer has on your relationships…tears…learning all natural and holistic…self awareness…H wave machine…importance of breathing…daily enemas…green juices…eating all raw and organic…vitamin infusions three times a week… mistletoe shots…medicinal drinks, drops and pills every morning, afternoon and night…finding a balance between extreme diet vs. and “mostly healthy but okay to indulge” diet… weakness… pure exhaustion…extreme arm pain due to tumor in bone marrow…horrid headaches and vomiting… emergency craniotomy…feeling of euphoria…radio frequency ablation to arm tumor…incredible pain…incredible relief…
a completely different Lisa.

Thinking about all that I wrote above and even writing it made me realize just how much pure craziness and triumph I experienced. Coming to four years of being diagnosed with stage IV melanoma, I could happily say that it is no longer bittersweet for me. Being a survivor and feeling better than I ever have since I was diagnosed makes me completely ecstatic. I could easily dwell on the past and the “poor me” mentality but thats just not me… there is nothing I am bitter or angry about. Not only have I grown into a healthier, more appreciative, knowledgeable, down to earth person but so have Mike and my parents. There is nothing we take for granted. Sometimes I think people misunderstand the severity of stage IV melanoma. I should have been dead years ago if I was an average statistic. Its not dramatic antics, it’s the real deal. Melanoma at such a late stage rarely equals surviving, never mind feeling and looking better now then you did at he start of the diagnosis. It usually has a much more grim ending. If it wasn’t for cellect, the holistic remedies, unconditional love and my amazing ability to think positive I would NOT be here today. I’m so incredibly thankful for being blessed with being guided to the holistic path. Somehow, somewhere along the line the universe did anything against its power to turn me away from being blasted with chemo and other “cell killing” drugs.

I have been doing my best at reversing my biological chemistry and killing off those cancer cells for four years now….and I still have my work cut out for me. Its a life long journey. Which Im fortunate for, at least I will always be mindful of being healthy which will naturally lead to good things. If you look at my history…..the cancer initially stemmed in one lymph node…..after the “immune system killing” drug interferon and radiation, it spread like wildfire. I don’t think that is a coincidence that the cancer spread after being blasted with artificial unnatural immune system killing drugs.  After some time on cellect and other holistic means, some tumors melted away others got bigger. Those that got bigger were dying believe it or not. As cancer dies, it causes the tissue to expand and become inflamed; resulting in the pain I had in my stomach and head. The inflammation caused symptoms which resulted in emergency surgeries. Both the pathology results of my splenectemy and my craniotomy were necrotic aka DEAD cancer cells. WOW, I just realized in my last stream of consciousness like post, I never shared that the brain tumor was dead. As you could imagine this news made that euphoric feeling that more pronounced. 

Speaking of necrotic….several days before Christmas, I went to Mt Sinai for a procedure called radio active frequency for my shoulder. Basically I had such severe pain because the tumor in my bone marrow was getting larger resulting in my bone fracturing. Hellllloooo?!!! Bones breaking in general is painful. Them breaking slowly is hell!! It was an “in and out” four hour procedure where they stuck a probe into the tumor, guided by an scan of some sort, and pulsed it with radio active frequency. We chose this procedure because it had success in limiting pain and had a chance of killing the tumor. Well it wound up not being an in and out procedure for me. I was put under anesthesia, and similar to my brain surgery, woke up in such intense horrific horrible pain that was way too unbearable. Even the doctor and the anesthiologist were hurting seeing me in so much pain. It was so bad I had to be admitted for an unexpected night at the hospital for pain management. I was out the next day but prescribed with pain killers which I needed for the days following. However, the pain was worth every second. The tumor was dead and basically liquid that needed an outlet to be released. So that little pin hole in my skin where they stuck the probe oozed to the point where the huge bump on my shoulder went down 90%, resulting in a significant relief of my pain and reduction of the inflammation, therefore the tumor size. Lets just say no more pain killers and better arm movement.

Cancer is not something that just pops up one day….it brews in a body secretly for years. Once we have symptoms it pretty much has taken over. Of course it is best to be proactive and live a healthy and non toxic life but once you are diagnosed with cancer you have to bring your A game. It’s like peeling an onion….it takes many different strategies (layers) to get to the core of complete health and happiness. Nutritional replenishing, diet, support system, breathing, managing stress, meditation, spirituality/faith, exercise, power of love and touch, dealing with deep seeded emotional issues, power of positive thought and acceptance of self are my personal layers to deal with any sickness. In order to be completely healthy all of these layers, perhaps one by one or several at a time, need to be satisfied or “peeled back” to get to the core of the onion… HEALTH!

I love the feeling of loving life, having so much to smile and be thankful for. I completed my course of being a holistic health coach. I look forward to helping others who are struggling with an illness learn just how invigorating and life transforming some simple changes could be. Other than continuing to take care of myself and of course, my husband, I don’t have many other plans as of right now. I am currently in Florida with Mike and our besties, Em and Dave, and next month my mama and I are headed to Switzerland for a rejuvenating and healing trip at Paracelsus.

Its amazing how if you relax and take a seat on the ride of life, the universe will just take you just where you want to be.

Happy and Healthy 2013!! Wishing you Optimism, Smiles, and Success!!

Much love and xoxo’s,



Nicole said...

Hi Lisa!

I have been following your blog for some time but am posting for the first time today. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

I'm a physician, and I have a family history of melanoma. I've always said that if I ever got cancer, I would do whatever chemotherapy the doctors threw at me, because that would be my best chance at living. I truly believed that. And I have to say, your blog has really changed my thinking. Everything you're learning and sharing with us makes sense, and here you are, four years after being diagnosed with what is known to be a terrible, aggressive cancer, and yet you are feeling good and enjoying life. I think that's remarkable.

When you think about it, it seems like so many people with cancer die from effects of the chemotherapy. And before they die, their quality of life is nothing to be desired. By sharing your experiences, you are truly making a difference. You certainly have for me. Thank you for giving to the world this way!

amanda said...

I just love you so very much.

Nicholas said...

You are truly the epitome of what the modo "Livestrong" is all about. You are an inspiration to us, and to all that have cancer and are at the end of their ropes. Keep moving forward, stay positive, and God Bless. Looking forward to you next blog on how awesome your vacation will be!

Dj318 said...

"FORTE" ................ keep the miracle going by your amazing strength. Love, Aunt Bea & Uncle Enrico said...

YOU are AMAZING... i am just floored at the strength and wisdom inside of you Lisa...

here i was this AM feeling rather sorry for myself... OMG... i am now feeling ashamed for the lack of strength and negativity inside of me..

Reading your blog just turned me from negative to positive...

I thank you from deep inside.. i send you the biggest hugs.. lots of love.. you are a hero..


Unknown said...

Such a beautiful post Lisa.Your words are so moving! It is amazing to look back at the past four years and everything you have been through. You continue to be a a source of motivation and insipration for me and everyone around you. Love you so much!

Gregg said...

Hi Lisa: I hope you remember me. We met at Paracelsus a little over a year ago. I am the guy with persistent Lyme disease. I am so happy to hear you are doing so well. I have thought about you often since we met and have followed your blog since. You are truly inspiring. Can you get in touch with me as I have a question about your most recent post and have lost your email address. Mine is Thanks, Gregg Sessa

Kristina R said...

I saw your info on Christina's foundation website. I've been take a holistic approach to my stage 3 diagnosis. Quick question, have you ever done research on candida (yeast overgrowth) and cancer? I'm curious to know your thoughts.

Susan A said...

I have come across your blog after researching about melanoma and alternative treatments, and I am so glad to hear about the dead cancer cells at the end, that is just so awesome! :) Very happy that you are well now. Praise the Lord :)

Caite from Pennsylvania said...

I actually just found your blog today. I was diagnosed with stage 2 melanoma two years ago. I had the lymph node dissection and other than that, my follow up has been little to none, as all of the physicians and specialists tell me that all I can do is "monitor" my moles. I'm a nurse and my kids are so little (3 and 4 years old), that I've been experimenting with natural treatments to maintain health and try and stop cancer from recurring (the specialist at the melanoma clinic told me that she would be shocked if I make it to 5 years post surgery without another melanoma occurring). I've started the megadose vitamin C regime and I've had very positive effects so far on other lymph nodes that have been inflamed in my body. Congrats on fighting such a hard battle and overcoming it! That is a lot for one person, and from reading your posts you've got a great outlook. Good luck with your journey in this!