Dr appts this week and what I'm doing

lisa42 Member Posts: 3,625 Member
edited April 2011 in Colorectal Cancer #1
Hey there everybody,

Just thought I'd share how my dr appts went this week. I met with the naturopathic doctor on Tuesday and with my oncologist on Wednesday. Most of the appt w/ the onc Wed was spent talking about what the naturopathic doctor wants to do, as he himself doesn't have much more to offer me other than his kind words and a hug each time. I still don't seem to qualify for any clinical trials that I'd want to participate in and it is still his opinion (as well as Dr. Lenz's from USC and Dr. Fanta's from UCSD) to keep on what I've been on for over a year now (Gemzar, Avastin, & 5FU- changed recently from Xeloda due to hand/foot major problems). According to the three of them, there are no other procedures that I can get right now either- don't qualify for surgery due to the location and number and size of tumors (innumerable subcentimeter tumors in all areas of the lungs, 4 areas of concern in the already resected liver, and a rectal tumor that is just a 1/2 cm). I actually could qualify for things to be done on the liver, but no one wants to stop chemo long enough to do any of those. Cyberknife could be an option for the liver, but with the lungs so bad off, they don't think they'll do it. I talked about the rectal tumor recurrence a while back and how my doctors were considering surgery (by Dr. Ramamoorthy at UCSD, a very good colorectal surgeon)- radiation there is out since I already had it & cyberknife was considered but decided against since the rectum is so thin the cyberknife could create a whole in the rectum & would need emergency surgery), but we decided not to do anything to the rectal tumor as it's not causing a blockage and my pain and problems are actually stemming from fissures and internal hemorhoids and not the tumor itself (I had a rectal exam and scope a few months back to determine this) I do have major rectal bleeding daily- they believe it could be from the tumor but is probably from the fissures and internal hemorhoids. I take all sorts of suppositories and ointments for those, but it still is a problem- no fun.

With all that said, my oncologist just kind of says to keep on what I'm on- the Gemzar isn't too toxic and I'm doing alright on it. It kind of is acting like a bandaid, but isn't keeping it back as much anymore, and my CEA continues to rise- now up to 295. It's gone up down up down, but has had an upward trend as it's now the highest ever (I never knew what it was at diagnosis, as my then-oncologist never ran a CEA test until I learned about it and asked him to). Onc said we can monitor me fairly well with the CEA and he'll want to scan again mid-June.

So we discussed what my naturopathic doctor is going to have me do...
The week of May 9th, I will be doing intense sauna detox therapy. The idea is that heavy metals and many chemicals/pesticides (which I've been tested and found to have in me) detox the best by major sweating. I am going to be supervised by a nurse who will be checking my vitals and administering IV minerals when needed, giving lymphatic massages, and just helping me out throughout the day. I will be there 5 days that week from 9 to 5 and will have over the course of the day five 20-30 minute sauna sessions. I have to shower and change my clothes each time to not reabsorb any toxins back in through the skin. They provide the cotton clothes for me each time I change and provide a personal shower that has filtered, non chlorinated water (which they strongly advocate putting filters on our house tap water- they say if you don't want to drink tap water, you shouldn't bathe in it either, as our skin absorbs everything it is in contact with- makes me want think twice now about sitting in the jacuzzi in our neighborhood with its strong chlorine smells wafting up in the steam- hmmm). I may end up doing this week long sauna therapies twice- on my "off chemo" weeks- so week of May 9th and maybe again week of May 23rd.
In addition to the sauna therapy, the ND changed my supplements to better address my diarhea and digestive upsets. All that I'm now on from ND was read and approved by my onc, and he was fine with the whole sauna therapy thing once he realized how well supervised I will be- he did write a note to the ND, however, that I should go more slowly with the saunas, maybe only doing 2 or 3 the first day or two and see how I do, given the fact that my cardiovascular system is compromised with being on Avastin and having numerous lung tumors.
When I first started all this "natural stuff" almost 3 months ago now, my CEA went down several points. But then it went back up after that, even though I was continuing on the supplements. It's my ND's belief that whatever I'm doing, natural or traditional, it isn't going to work until I "get all the toxins out of the body". So, feeling quite desperate, I am going to do it.
Oh- another thing- I talked with the ND about taking apricot kernals. He said B-17 (laetrile) is a good thing to fight against the cancer, but the apricot kernals also have arsenic which is not good for me. I said that I read about the pros and cons of it and that several advocates of it claim that it is only harmful against the cancer cells, not the healthy cells. He said well, there are ways to get B-17 without the arsenic & that he does not recommend I continue eating the apricot kernals (as I had started the prior week).
I do note that my ND is a licensed naturopathic doctor and even though it's not probably scrutinized as much as regular medical doctors, he does have a license that he could still lose if he recommended a laetrile treatment- he shared with me he used to work with someone who was brilliant in laetrile treatment, but that man did end up losing his license.

The ND had a "serious" talk with me about my stress levels at home & about needing to sit down with my family and really get them to understand, as I am still trying to function as "supermom" and am really wearing and stressing myself out. He said "you're like a basketball player in the 4th quarter when the score is tied and we don't know how the game is going to turn out. You don't get another chance if things turn bad, so we have got to do everything possible for your health. Stress is HUGE in contributing to cancer and preventing treatments from working- all that we're doing for you could be completely blocked by stress hormones in your system." Wow- scary stuff. Pretty hard to avoid stress in our lives, but I guess i need to put my foot down more in my family. With a husband and three kids all dealing with major cliical depression, it's pretty hard to get them to do or see anything in a rational, nonselfish way. I feel like I have four little toddlers at times- even my husband seems so helpless. But, it would be even worse for them if I died & I need to impress that upon them, that they need to step up and help me out more. I do EVERYTHING around the house and lately I just can't do it, so it doesn't get done & the house is looking like a wreck lately.
I did have a good discussion with everyone separately yesterday (except my son- need to talk to him today) & I think it was productive with my girls. Maybe with my husband, but talking to him about such things depresses him even more & it's a mad cycle. My kids are all on depression meds, but hubby will still not agree to take anything. He did come home yesterday talking about vacation plans, which always perks him up. I think 4th of July week we are going to take our ski boat to Laughlin, Nevada- stay in one of the big hotels there & take the boat out on the lake and/or river there for 4 or 5 days. Also thinking of maybe taking a short cruise out of LA harbor to Catalina Island and then Ensenada. We've never been on a cruise before. Not a very big cruise, but a cruise all the same. We are now looking forward to those events. I already checked on the calendar & found non-chemo weeks that we can do these things in and I won't have to alter any chemo or treatments due to vacation plans, as I have done in the past three years (and my CEA would always go up when I missed a week or two of chemo due to vacation, so now I won't have that worry with shorter trips).

Well, I've rambled on here, but I guess I always do that, lol!

Hugs to all and here's to new and different things hopefully helping me along with the chemo-



  • pepebcn
    pepebcn Member Posts: 6,331 Member
    Lisa, this sounds great , I wish can do it! I'm sure this must
    be excellent for the health, also some relaxing days will help in all that stressing journey .Let us know the results , I will really be monitoring your progress with lots of interest!.
    I wish all this works , I'm pretty sure about!.
    Hugs Lisa !
  • jjaj133
    jjaj133 Member Posts: 867 Member
    Wow, you sure have a lot
    Wow, you sure have a lot going on. I will keep you and you family in my prayers.
  • jjaj133
    jjaj133 Member Posts: 867 Member
    Wow, you sure have a lot
    Wow, you sure have a lot going on. I will keep you and you family in my prayers.
  • abmb
    abmb Member Posts: 311
    You are one STRONG person!
    Lisa with all that you are going through you are really the cement that holds your family together. I hope they all wake up and realize they need to help you more so that you can relax a little. Not sure how old your children are, but if they are old enough, maybe you ought to go on strike for a few days and let them take care of themself so that you can just concentrate on yourself. When my children (i have 4) were in there teens, my husband worked 2 jobs, and I was over stressed with doing everything at home and running them to games or practices, just running myself to the ground, I would go on strike and everyone would have to make their own dinner and clean up after themself. I would do this and I wasn't fighting Cancer, I was just tired. so if your children are old enough to microwave a meal and clean up after themself, maybe you should try it. Sometimes one day can make you more relaxed and everyone else can see what you really do for them. I will keep you in my thoughts & prayers. God Bless. Margaret
  • Fight for my love
    Fight for my love Member Posts: 1,522 Member
    OMG,dear Lisa,you are the
    OMG,dear Lisa,you are the "supermom".I can't imagine being sick and meanwhile still taking care of everyone and everything at home.I don't have a job now,but after a long day at home cleaning and cooking already make me exhausted.It's time for you to concentrate more on yourself and also for everyone else in the family to pick up their own responsiblity.I hope all your sauna therapies goes well.Best wishes to you and your family.Take care.
  • mom_2_3
    mom_2_3 Member Posts: 953 Member

    You are amazing! You have such strength. I am in awe of you.

    I am glad that you have some fun trips to look forward to. Sounds like you will have a blast! I always always always keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

    Much love from NJ,
  • Crow71
    Crow71 Member Posts: 679 Member
    Hey Lisa
    The detox sounds good - pretty intense.
    I hope you can make some more progress with your family. They've just got to come around. The vacation sounds very nice.

    Stay strong and focussed, (you always do)

  • sasjourney
    sasjourney Member Posts: 395 Member
    Keep it up!
    Hi Lisa,

    I have been thinking about you and I am glad to hear that your ND has other options that he believes will help you. They sound very promising and make a lot of sense. I am so sorry that you have so much to deal with at home. I wish I could help you out in some way. Maybe we need a mom's weekend away for some R&R. I am glad you have some fun vacations planned with your family. You deserve it!!!!

    As always, you are in my prayers. Stay strong and keep fighting, my friend.

  • tootsie1
    tootsie1 Member Posts: 5,044 Member

    I love that you go for it! You are not giving cancer an inch. You're just fighting it tooth and nail, girl!

  • lisa42
    lisa42 Member Posts: 3,625 Member
    my sweet 11 yr old
    I must add on that my sweet 11 year old daughter Allison didn't have any homework tonight because of a field trip tomorrow, and so she decided to clean the bathrooms and do the dishes for me! Yay, we're making progress :)
  • Buckwirth
    Buckwirth Member Posts: 1,258 Member
    Best of luck. The trips sound fun, enjoy them and your family.

    I don't know what I would do without Kathy, and if the roles were reversed I don't know I could do what she does. I would probably be a lot like your hubby. I know I would be lost.

    Your friend,

  • Kathleen808
    Kathleen808 Member Posts: 2,342 Member
    I continue to keep you in my prayers. You are very strong but you need a break. I think you may have to just take it. You don't need permission from your family. You need to just stop doing some of the work. Your kids are old enough to do their own laundry. I know with your daughter once she doesn't have "any clothes to wear" she will do her own. They can also help with cooking. Your 11 year old can even do some cooking, easy stuff. I will pray for your family to realize they need to step up.
    Take the time for yourself my friend.

  • Kathryn_in_MN
    Kathryn_in_MN Member Posts: 1,252 Member
    I am so happy to hear that you are getting firmer with your family, and that you have talked with them. You have been dealing with too much for way too long. I put my foot down when I had to start back on chemo. I had always done everything, and my family expected I would continue that. But there is no way physically that I could. And I also didn't want to spend every moment I actually had a little energy or felt good doing things like housework when I had very capable family that could stay on top of it. I assumed since they were all teens and adults that they should have already done this on their own. But NEVER assume! Once I talked to them and explained the situation, they all pitched in and worked out a cleaning rotation.

    You are very strong, and I admire your strength. But being strong doesn't mean you have to do it all when that isn't the best for your health. Sometimes being strong is knowing when you have to make a change, even if you suspect your family isn't going to take it well. Once again you've shown your strength in doing what needed to be done.

    I hope your family steps up for you and takes some of the stress off.

    The suana sounds interesting and worth trying. I'm glad that the ND and the onc are working together on this, and that you will start slow and be monitored carefully.
  • pete43lost_at_sea
    pete43lost_at_sea Member Posts: 3,900 Member
    the house is looking like a wreck lately
    dear lisa,

    my house is a wreck as well. i am glad i am not the only one.
    why do you think i started the walking post. to get out of my messy house.

    a really good update and your onc sounds supportive.

    sorry to hear about the mets and depression at home. i guess its understandable as your kids and husband love you and your going through one tough battle.

    the nd stuff about stress is so spot on. its true at a cellular level.
    read biology of belief by bruce lipton. its excellent and interesting.

    the book backs up current priorities.

    1 love, faith and hope. meditate and pray
    2 destress, thats why i treat the attacks here as if its a joke
    its hard to stay calm, especially when under family pressure. i have been
    pressure here and at home.

    i have been wearing a blue wrist band for 4 months now, it reminds me to be calm.


  • luvmum
    luvmum Member Posts: 457 Member
    Dear Lisa
    You are a supermom indeed! I cannot believe how much you have been doing during your chemo treatments. I have to say, I have been doing a lot in the past few months and I'm totally exhausted too. However, compare with what you've done, I'm speechless.

    You've always asked me to have sometime for myself no matter how busy I am. You have to give yourself time to rest, to enjoy life and to relax too. Don't stress yourself out! It's really not good for your health. My friend had recurrence twice because of different types of stress. It's really not worth to jeopardize your health.

    Please take very good care of yourself and relax relax relax.

    I will continue for pray for you and your family.
    Love and hugs
  • SisterSledge
    SisterSledge Member Posts: 332 Member
    Hi Lisa
    I don't write here much but you have been in my thoughts a lot as we seem to have some similar family issues with stress, depression and teens. I'm so glad you're moving in good directions health and home-wise...hooray!
  • plh4gail
    plh4gail Member Posts: 1,238 Member
    Love you so much Lisa! I
    Love you so much Lisa! I want the best for you always!!

    Love and hugs, Gail