Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Glass Box

I hate saying this. I hate that this is the situation; that this is how I feel. But, this is a tumor blog and it's where I go to share my journey, so here goes nothing....


Tonight I went to a couples baby shower. It was at an understated, yet trendy bar full of friends. There was laughter, and hugs, and back slapping, and smiles. The celebration was for a specific husband and wife, but half of the women there were pregnant, so by default, it was a celebration for several along side. 

I got the chance to catch up with my beautiful friends, which was lovely, and yet painful. I even cried on the drive home, which is incredibly rare.

Throughout the evening, as I got caught up with people's lives, I couldn't help but notice the disparity between who I would be if I hadn't been diagnosed (a career, the ability to drive, financial stability, perhaps children). As I listened to people speak, with a smile on my face, I felt myself mourn for my old self. I mourned the person I could have been, of who I was on track to be.

I love watching my friends deliriously happy, so excited with their life's journey. But it's also confusing. It's uncomfortable that being around friends makes me both happy, filled with joy, and yet regretful, deeply saddened. I hate that I feel that way.

Currently, I am stuck on a hamster wheel of treatments and won't be finished for years. My life is lived in 4 hour increments, and I should be thrilled by that luxury since it implies that I'm doing well. But it is also extremely taxing. I can handle the stress when I live in my bubble, when I bound around the house being silly with Dan, or off jogging with Emma. It's times when I'm social that hurt too much. That make me feel isolated within a crowd. I can't relate. It's as if I'm in the room, but surrounded by a clear glass box. Alone. This girl who used to be incredibly social, even labeled vivacious by some, has morphed into an introvert. A person more comfortable by herself.

I am very grateful to be alive, please don't get me wrong, but I don't know if I will ever get used to living in limbo. I am putting all of my energy into these treatments, all of our money, and energy, and if they don't work then I will have wasted precious time that I could have spent crossing stuff off of my (yet to be written) bucket list. 

I hate that I'm so self absorbed that I couldn't even completely enjoy such a special occassion. Lots of "hate" in this post. I hate that too.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Last Minute Cherry Sale (Short Window)

Sorry for the short notice, but I just received the call that cherries will be delivered to my house this Thursday (July 24th) and available to pick-up that day, or the following day, Friday (July 25th) any time. 

The cherries are by pre-order only and I need the numbers by the end of the night tonight. Here's the info:

Organic Bing Cherries
1 bag = 1.25 lb = $7.50


If you or some friends, or coworkers are interested, please send me your orders. You can pick them up at my house anytime Friday day, evening, or night. If you can't pick them up until Saturday, I'm sure we can work something out.

Thank you for the support, and I'm sorry this is such short notice!

Love,
Jess

PS Email me if you have questions or want to place an order. (jessoldwynttf@gmail.com)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Medical Marijuana: Friend or Foe

Since I shared out loud, opening myself up to friends and strangers about my diagnosis, I have been inundated with suggestions about adding cannabis to my protocol. Sometimes it's been under the cloak of privacy, other times it has been aggressively splattered on my old Facebook page. It is a divisive subject with loyal believers of its' healing properties, conversely others remain afraid of the psychoactive effects, fearful that it deteriorates lives. The first time I ever smoked pot was in high school. I think I was 15. Growing up on San Juan Island, we were taught in our fifth grade drug class that Marijuana grew naturally in our environment. We were taught how to spot it, and that we were to find an adult to remove and destroy it. As a kid, I was fearful of drugs, but marijuana seemed different. I never grew a liking toward it, though I experimented, and throughout the years would still play around every several years with friends. The pot made me unable to do my favorite things, though, like talk a lot, be quick witted, or harness my boundless energy. I still have friends that are regular pot users (which seems like such a lame way to describe it), and they're great. They're brilliant, and hilarious, and successful in their careers, but for me, it was like a rolling haze throughout my brain, shutting doors along the hallway of Thought Process. It was a bad fit.

With that being said, when people shared anecdotal stories of shrinking tumors, the alleviation of pain, or of enhanced sleep, I listened (or read the emails) with the same skepticism I hold toward anti-seizure medications, or standard of care. I would analyze their words and feel my throat ache with the memory of my old cigarette smoking ways (gross - still can't believe I ever lit up). I thought, Man, maybe it could help but at what cost? Smoking causes cancer too, remember? So I tabled it. I have two brain tumor fighting friends who use cannabis as a treatment. One smokes a puff before bed, and the other uses a resin of 1:1 (THC:CBD) orally on a cracker at night. Until recently I had only seen said anecdotal accounts - no scientific evidence to verify cannabis as a viable glioma fighting tool. I shy from believing third, fourth or linearly further removed stories. But, Stephen of AO and I have been scouring, researching, reading, discussing, and we've found information to support the use of medical marijuana for glioma. There's a trick, though, a caveat; there are things to know.

Now, this is not an exhaustive post to teach you everything you need to know about medical marijuana, this is just a basic overview of why I think you should acknowledge the relevance of the treatment. And I'm including a few things you should know as a brain tumor fighter, or as a discerning individual who reads this blog for fun.

Marijuana/Cannabis

  • There are over 80 cannabinoids in each plant (THC is the most known, CBD is second most prominent)
  • THC is known for its psychoactive effects
  • CBD is not psychoactive
  • CBD balances THC's psychoactive effects
  • CBD has shown impressive results in alleviating seizures, insomnia, anxiety, and tumors
  • There are plants that have been bred to have only trace amounts of THC (causing zero psychoactive effects) but up to 18% CBD (the good stuff)
  • Industrial hemp which will not get you high, naturally contains a CBD of 3-4% which for a non-bred strain is considered high CBD. 
  • The way to ingest CBD is not by smoking. You need to take it as an oil, a resin, by juicing leaves or buds, or turning it into a smoothie.
  • THC has been shown in studies to lower immune response (the extent of which is unknown)
CBD & Adult Seizures
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7413719

CBD & Childhood Epilepsy
http://www.gwpharm.com/Clinical%20Use.aspx

CBD & Sleep Inducing and Anti-Epileptic Activity
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7028792

Like I mentioned, this is not intended to be exhaustive. I just wanted to give a starting point for others. This is merely a little introduction so that you can research for yourself and decide if it's something you may want to use in your cancer fighting. And for those who don't have cancer, I hope this helps open your eyes, and your mind to medicinal marijuana - it certainly did for me. The benefits, and merits of the plant are not debatable. It is proven. The sticky part (ha!) is that it gets a shady (double ha!) rap because of the recreational use which upsets many. Luckily, in my state, marijuana is legal. It's still cost prohibitive to get the doses I need, though. If I purchase the CBD it would cost $56 a day for me to cut seizures, stabilize my infamous sleep issues and copy the proven dosing to fight my glioma tumor cells. I can't afford that. It is frustrating to see something that could help me so much, but I can't attain it, not in the quantities I need. And all of those benefits without any psychotropic effects. Isn't that amazing? CBD could increase my quality of life 100 fold, let alone extend it.

I read, while doing research, that the Washington state House passed a bill (1888) in February to legalize the farming, processing, and sale of raw industrial hemp and related  products. As far as I can tell the bill was stuck in the world of revisions and rereading in the state Senate, now WSU is conducting a feasibility study with an end point of January 2015. The point of argument in the Senate is whether the WSDA should be the sole source of seed or just certify the seed. Hopefully they can figure that out.

The most ironic part of this whole issue, this whole post, is that a major portion of my parents business has until recently been comprised of industrialized hemp imported from (at times Hungary, Romania, and Poland) other countries. It was in the form of hemp twine, cord, thread, even fabric. With sweaty brows, and dust covering my clothes, I have literally heaved shipping containers worth of the stuff, never knowing the amazing power hidden in my arms. I'm coming around, though. Things are changing. I hope this information helps you see the benefits we can harness from this amazing plant.

The Earth has so many secrets still. Lets keep our minds open.