Monday, January 10, 2011

First Naturopath Appointment

Sorry I've been sporadic with my posts lately. I tend to be all over the map with emotions just before an MRI. I have to admit, during the post-less days, there was some crying. Ok, ok, it was more like sobbing. Thankfully, our friends and family rallied around us. Usually, Danny and I are fine. We've got a wonderful life, we laugh all day and night, and we know that we're lucky. I just love him so much, and I never want to leave him. The idea of this tumor can be a bit overwhelming. On a daily basis, I don't think about long term, or worst case scenario, there's just no point borrowing trouble. But sometimes, when an MRI comes near, I have to start looking at the reality.

The reality is that I have a malignant brain tumor. When I get the results of the scan, if the tumor has grown, I have to make the decision about radiation. The doctors have said that radiation won't extend my life, however, it should put off the symptoms of the tumor. I'm still on the fence.

For the first time, I'm confident that my brain will show a clean scan. I hope I'm not jinxing myself, but I feel great. My mental processing is bouncing back. I still get pretty bad headaches, but sometimes, in the area where the tumor was resected, deep in what I imagine is the void, I feel a soft tingling, almost like a gentle tickle. I take it as a good sign. I'm healing...I can feel it! Of course, if that feeling is actually the tumor growing it's the most gracious little tumor in the world, quiet, and stubborn, and gentle. Either way I'm feeling a sense of hope, still nervous, but full of hope. It's tingling right now, in the back left side of my head. Not a bad feeling, it's almost like an intra-cranial massage.

Also over the past several days, Danny researched and made an appointment for me with a naturopath. I'm hoping it'll be a good fit. He has dealt with numerous astrocytoma cases, along with more severe tumors like glioblastomas (which is what my type of tumor is expected to progress to). He works directly with Swedish, and I'm very excited to gain from his knowledge. I've been grasping onto different studies, looking for the best way to make healthy choices. I'm hoping that he'll say that sugar isn't bad for me, and that sourdough bread is a miracle cure. Just kidding, I'm not that foolish.

Here's his bio (courtesy of

Chad Aschtgen, ND, FABNO

Dr Chad Aschtgen, ND, FABNODr. Aschtgen specializes in integrative oncology, providing expert naturopathic care for patients with cancer or interest in cancer prevention. He welcomes patients at every stage of diagnosis and treatment. Whether newly diagnosed, currently receiving conventional treatment (including chemotherapy, biological therapies, radiation and pre-/post-surgery), in remission or with advanced disease, individuals facing the difficulties of cancer have a great resource in Dr. Aschtgen.
He works closely with his patients to create customized and dynamic integrative treatment plans that take into consideration all aspects of an individual’s health and medical care. Dr. Aschtgen’s patients receive safe and effective natural therapies specifically designed to improve health, decrease symptoms and aid in fighting disease. Additionally, with a commitment to patient-centered care, Dr. Aschtgen is available to engage in communication and close coordination with other elements of an individual’s care team, including family members, general physician, medical and/or radiation oncologists, surgeon, care manager and other health practitioners.
Board certified in naturopathic oncology (Fellow of the American Board of Naturopathic Oncology –FABNO), Dr. Aschtgen received his Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from Bastyr University in Seattle, Washington. Subsequently he completed a two-year, hospital-based naturopathic medical residency at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) – Midwestern Regional Medical Center, outside Chicago, Illinois. Following completion of his naturopathic oncology training, Dr. Aschtgen remained on staff at CTCA until his relocation back to the Pacific Northwest.
Dr. Aschtgen is an active member of numerous professional organizations: American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP), American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians (OncANP), Society for Integrative OncologyWashington Association of Naturopathic Physicians (WANP). (SIO),
A former instructor for the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), Dr. Aschtgen continues to enjoy many outdoor activities, including hiking, climbing, camping, skiing and kayaking. He lives in Seattle with his wife, Christina, and their two young children.
In addition to regularly scheduled appointments, Dr. Aschtgen is available for introductory consultations to discuss the possibilities of incorporating integrative naturopathic medicine into your life and care.

I'm pretty excited for the appointment, and yet nervous at the same time. We're meeting at 9:00 Thursday morning, followed by a speech therapy at the UW. Yet again, I seem to make my MRI's count with numerous doctor's appointments.


  1. "So Cal" PattiJanuary 10, 2011 at 9:40 PM

    I have NEVER had any doubt that you will conquer this! Change your thought pattern to the fact that the tumor should be more afriad of you! It knows, as the rest of us do, that you are determined, disciplined and surrounded by family, friends and long distance supporters who love you and cheer you on! The blessings keep coming your way- this Naturopathic Doctor sounds like a wonderful addition to your treatment team. Stay positive and keep moving forward!

  2. Jess it's your tenaciousness that keeps surfacing over and over. Think of an ant farm how those ants go up, down, sideways, cockeyed moving moving moving to reach their goal. That's you -- a really pretty ant! -- and the new doctor sounds like he has really good energy and positive ways. You're the 1%. xoxoxoxo


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