Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Radiation: Simply Foolish

Alright, alright....I'll admit it....I've been depressed. I've managed to continue living, putting one foot in front of the other, but deep down inside my soul I'm not my happy self. It just happens sometimes. For those who have been around me, I'm sorry. I've been cranky. For example, I said the following during the Super Bowl: "How stupid is this halftime show, Madonna isn't even singing. This is such a freaking joke." Woah, grumpy! Yikes.

Here's a few photos taken over the past week, see if there's anything you recognize:

I am pooped. This protocol is exhausting. Basically, I'm doing natural chemotherapy. It's high doses of artemether twice a day on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursdays are the high doses of sulforaphane. On those days I can't even eat because I'm so nauseous. I curl up into a ball and want to die. At least I don't have to lose my hair :) Then, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday I drink my green upland cress drink with daikon radish then in the afternoon I take various mushroom supplements and shark liver oil. On those three days I can finally eat antioxidant rich foods (I can also cheat if I want).

This whole thing takes a lot of work, and a lot of thought. It's wonderful to have this opportunity, but man is it draining.

I can understand why people give up and just listen to their doctors. It's hard to put in the research, the shopping, the preparation, the effort, and the day-in day-out reminder of a horrible cancer that does not have a positive outlook.

Walking home from the retirement center today, I picked up a book that I had on hold at the library and I want to share an excerpt. The author was diagnosed with a glioblastoma in '95, the most aggressive and deadly brain tumor out there:

"In the meantime, conventional medicine has its limits, and cancer patients need to explore treatment options not yet incorporated into conventional medical practice. Patients must be willing to go beyond their physicians' advice, and sometimes follow options contrary to that advice. This is not an easy road to travel. Newly diagnosed patients are confronted with a disease about which they are largely ignorant. For better or for worse, they often are at the mercy of their physicians. Some physicians will actively resist any approach to treatment other than their own, even when they concede that their treatment offers little promise. Therefore, patients need to learn how to acquire medical information on their own while exploiting their physician's knowledge and expertise." - Ben Williams (Surviving "Terminal" Cancer)

This book gives exactly the affirmation that I need. It helps remind me that I'm not crazy to avoid radiation, that I'm not stupid, that maybe I'm I pioneer. Maybe? Maybe I'm a pioneer? I'm not the first to use this treatment and have success, but maybe I fall into the category of pioneer. I like the ring of it. But as I write this I think maybe I should stop fluffing my feathers.

A final quote from the book that also makes me feel better:

"Oncology also ignores the critical distinction between diseases for which effective treatments exist and those for which effective treatments are lacking. In the latter case, the practice of prescribing standard treatments that have a known record of failure is simply foolish. Yet, for many cancer patients, the standard treatments are all that are offered." 

That quote directly speaks to me. That is exactly my journey with my oncologists with regard to radiation. It seems it would be simply foolish to do it. It has a record of failure.


  1. Don't stop fluffing your feathers (as you put it)....every time you get tired, bummed, or grouchy simply remind yourself the truth...you ARE a pioneer, and a brave one at that! And you're doing a great job! You're going into uncharted territories and you're going to be helping out so many people because the information you learn from your experience will spread important knowledge to others! You should be paid for this it's so important. Thank you and keep up the hard work! We are all supporting you and rooting for you, Jess!

  2. Jess, you're not one of the herd of sheep or cows, you live to the beat of your own drum. Sometimes a drum has to be tuned up, you know, like steel drums they put them by a fire to tighten them up, they don't take them to the steel drum doctor to be re-beat; they gentle do it themselves. That's what you're doing, and it's hard to get perfectly tuned, but when you do (which is really quite often) you wail and we love it.

  3. P.S. Great photos!

  4. Jessica,

    Not only are you one of the strongest people I have ever seen, but so inspiring, you are! A girl going through one of the the hardest things imaginable, (I don't know how you do it with so much patience and grace). I really want you to know how wonderful and smart you are (but you already know this) :) Love your blog girl, keep believing in YOU! You're in my thoughts always.

  5. You keep fluffing those brave beautiful pioneer feathers,Jess. Your Madonna comment (made me laugh) is true, not at all grumpy. You said what a lot of us were thinking.
    Love Thoughts & Prayers

  6. I agree, keep fluffing those feathers!!! You are amazing, a pioneer and a strong fighter! Feeling depressed doesn't make you any these of any of those things, it just shows you're still human despite acting like a superhero :)

  7. So glad you are reading this book. I just finished reading it myself and it's pretty incredible. Hope it continues to speak to you where you need it; it gave me a boost! Your friend, Jess

  8. Jess
    Just to let you know I still read your blog although I don't always comment. I still pray for you every day and continue to be inspired by you! All the best and remember... you or Danny can call or ask for anything!
    Rich and Andre`


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