When Cancer Comes Knocking...part 3
Cancer is a journey, but you walk the road alone. There are many places to stop along the way and get nourishment - you just have to be willing to take it.— Emily Hollenberg
Before her diagnosis as terminal, my Stephanie found herself looking into the eyes of the medical professionals who had told her only a few months earlier that the scourge that had plagued her was absent from her body.
Looking into those eyes, she no longer saw the reassurance that their eyes had held at her last visit. Rather their eyes held the look of one who is perplexed, unable to explain what they know. And, she knew. Having volunteered for the American Cancer Society for so many years, she knew, that cancer does not vanish. It is not here one minute and gone the next, eradicated.
Oh, sure sometimes, for a while, it goes away. Sometimes it is conquered. Sometimes there is a respite from it. But often it returns. And if it does, it returns with a vengeance. When they told her it was back and that it had spread throughout her body, to her kidneys, to her lungs, to her bones, to her chest wall, her right leg, she was prepared. Somewhat. But, not really.
Crash, Burn, Get up and Go Forth!!!
The renewed assault against the disease that seemed to have a will of its own began. It was devastating. The chemo, the radiation, the chemo, the radiation….gradually her body began to break down even more. Her organs began to suffer after months of treatment. And the treatments began to weaken the already weakened systems of her body.
Sadly along the way this time, a chasm developed between Stephanie and me. I suppose that I should say right here that I am this wonderfully together Mother who was not disturbed by this new turn of events. That in fact was not the case.
I already felt that I was losing her. Fear had crept into my mind. My faith had not been shaken. I knew and I know that the Lord is walking with me every step, every half step, that I take. But I am a human. And, I was shaken by the news that it had spread even more.
We have learned that we will crash and burn for a moment as we acknowledge new mountians and then we dust ourselves off and go forth....LIVING each day.
Music Says It All
Renewed and ready to push through whatever was to come.
For us to drift apart left me saddened, grieving. And I did not want to grieve. She was here. Still on this planet and I did not, do not want to miss a minute of any part of any day that I can share with her. But it happened.
The hole that had developed in our relationship did not last long. It may or may not have had something to do with this abyss our lives had fallen into. The abyss we had tried and still try to deny exists. It does not matter what caused it. The only thing that matters is that it ended and is forgotten.
I believe it was a cleansing time, a time for us to distance ourselves from the fear, the pain, the anguish, and the ravages of this war we had been caught up in since Jay, my grandson, was a baby. When we had been able to accept once again all that our lives were confronted with, the rhythm of our relationship continued. And for that I am so very thankful.
Momma and son....taking time to enjoy themselves a bit
He is on the Planet and We are so Thankful
Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.
Jay, my grandson
As I write this part of our story, I wish that I could say that Jay is free of Behçet's Syndrome. What I can say is that most of what the doctors told us many years ago has not come to pass. This disease is a wily one. It presents and invades within bodies as it sees fit.
Jay has had good days and bad days for all of his years. He still has treatments. He still gets far sicker than others do when a cold to him becomes something far worse. The sores still plague him and right at this time are of special concern. His stomach causes him great distress but through it all he has maintained this attitude of, "This is my life and I am gonna' live it." Truthfully I am not sure if I could have as positive an outlook as she does. There is no bitterness in his life. He does not have room for it.
In one or both of the other articles in this series, I shared with you that Jay taught us how to live. He still is teaching us. His lessons to us go something like this:
Life is not the way you expect it to be. Choose to recognize that perhaps you might wish it to be another way. But the reality is we can not change some things. What we can do is make peace with them and choose to redefine our expectations for how our life will play out. We can then go about the business of living each day.
His Momma's diagnosis came after Jay's and her definition of living became is to get up every day and be alive. Experience, feel, see, say, and do all that the day will offer. No boundaries to her love, to her joy, to her resolve to make each moment count.
As of this date which is now December 28, 2012, my now seventeen year old grandson is now on chemo again. He went through almost a year when he did not need to take it. Now his numbers are not good, not where they should be, so the chemo has returned and it ravages him each time he has the injections. It renders him very ill for several days. And then he is back to his old self once again.
Smart fat choices
Avoid saturated fats and trans fast.
They are said to increase cancer risk: Sat fat is found mainly in animal products such as whole dairy products.Trans fats are in many foods. Avoid foods labeled as: hydrogenated vegetable oil, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, vegetable shortening, margarine.Trans fats are made by adding hydrogen to vegetable oil to keep it from being less liquid and more solid which is a way to keep them from spoiling, not a good thing for your body.
If you must have fats, the best ones are from plant sources and can be kept at room temperature. The best ones of these are : olive oil, canola oil, nuts, and avocados. Include also omega-3 fatty acids which fight inflammation and support brain and heart health. Salmon and flax seeds are good sources for those.
Fats you should not consume are in many foods.
- Cut down on red meat, whole milk, and butter.
- Use oil oil for cooking. Canola oil also is a good choice.o
- Read food labels. If it says hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated you do not want it.
- Cut fat off of meat and do not eat the skin on chicken.
- Select non dairy products.
- Eat nuts and seeds in your soup, salad, and other foods. Choose: walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, hazelnuts, sesame seeds, and pecans.
Choose high fiber foods:
raisin bran, barley, oatmeal, oat bran muffins, popcorn, brown rice, whole-grain or whole-wheat bread, whole wheat pastas
apples, pears, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, bananas, apricots, citrus fruits, dried fruit, prunes, raisins, mango, raspberries
black beans, black-eyed peas split peas, lima beans, baked beans, kidney beans, pinto, chick peas, navy beans, lentils
broccoli, spinach, dark green and leafy, peas, artichokes, corn, carrots, tomatoes, Brussels sprouts, potatoes
- Eat less meat.
- Eat red meat sparingly.
- Make a fist. That should be the size of the serving..
- Use a small amount of meat to add flavor and texture to your food instead of using it as the main food in the meal.
- Add beans to your meals often.
- Choose leaner meats, such as fish, chicken, or turkey. .
- Stay away from processed foods like hotdogs, sausage, deli meats, salami.
Nutrition is key to overall health not just as a way to avoid cancer.
- Eat fish such as salmon, sardines, herring, and black cod. Watch out for mercury which can be found in many fish.
- Increase consumption of foods that contain antioxidants which will protect you against cancer. Eat fruits and vegetables which will help.
- Brightly colored fruits and veggies should fill your plate daily. Snack on them as well.
- Use garlic, ginger, curry powder to add flavor and for their ability to fight cancer. Choose also: rosemary, coriander, basil, turmeric. Add them to soups, salads, casseroles, or any other dish.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Steam veggies when cooking and in that way vitamins and minerals in them will be preserved. Use the water from cooking them in soup or some other dish.
- Be sure to wash all fruits and vegetables with a vegetable brush is possible. It will help rid them of much of the pesticide residue that is on them.
Life is lumpy...
One of life's best coping mechanisms is to know the difference between an inconvenience and a problem. If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire, then you've got a problem. Everything else is an inconvenience. Life is inconvenient. Life is lumpy. A lump in the oatmeal, a lump in the throat and a lump in the breast are not the same kind of lump. One needs to learn the difference.
Every day is a gift.
There is no end to these writings. Because as I stated somewhere in these ramblings, this is everyone’s journey who has loved ones ravished by a catastrophic illness. The uncertainty, the long, scary nights, the anguish, the euphoria when a new hurdle is straddled ill be ever present. Alll of us who walk this tightrope can relate.
Your friends and famly that do not live with loved ones who suffer daily with cancer or some other equally as debilitating do not understand what it feels like. So precious they are, they want the person to be well the next time you speak with them about that loved one. And so do you. Often it is not the case.
I would that life had not offered these challenges to my precious daughter and grandchild. But I know I have been forced to assess what I value and have found that all of the things I have can be taken away and my life will be not diminished in the least.
It is my daughter and my grand-boy that I cherish most. All of my other loving family and friends, the Angels, that have supported me all of these years also give me strength and courage to keep on keeping on day after day, year after year. They have helped to give my daughter and grandchild and me to keep our faith and have lifted our spirit and will to survive.
Hope ever-present and all pervasive once again offers us the olive branch. The peace found in the turmoil. The calm and the knowledge that we can continue to believe in what today will bring.
When I do go … and I will… The tombstone ( with no body…within it) shall read.. Don’t cry because it is over .. Smile because it happened.. That is all .. nothing more.. ( these words above are written by stephanie kathleen mcgillis, April 12, 2010.)
The Journey Contnues
The damn cancer has become even more invasive for my daughter. She has just completed a horrid round of radiation treatments..
The prognosis is not good but it has not been good for most of this walk.
We continue to remain hopeful and live one day at a time.
It is about choosing
You can read more of this journey at:
When Catastrophic Illness Comes Knocking part 1
When Cancer Comes Knocking part 2
Source for nutritional information;
copyright 2013 pstraubie48 ™ All Rights Reserved
© 2012 Patricia Scott