Friday, August 30, 2013

Change is Good

First, before I get into my post, I am sending a huge hug and thank you to my buddy Jess (Abu Dhabi), her father Leopoldo, and my adorable mother-in-law Linda. I forgot to mention that back after the first brain surgery in 2010, Linda sent us some info on the chlorotoxin, but we all thought it was nuts. Then, a few months after that Jess's stepmother's (Leopoldo's wife) sister traveled to procure some chlorotoxin while she was undergoing chemo for her cancer (I hope I'm remembering that correctly). Anyway, I wondered if it would even work for me, for brain cancer, but it all seemed too outlandish, it seemed crazy, and unattainable. As a side note, last I heard, Jess's stepmother's sister is in remission.

Recently, when we heard about the clinical trial at UW we remembered that that chlorotoxin had been in our minds and bounced around in our mouths a few years ago. That started a chain of events and once we started looking into the venom, Jess offered to help me track it down. (Most websites are in Spanish and lucky for me, Jess is fluent.) Once we decided 100% that we were going to do it, Jess's dad offered to bring me the venom from the Mexico side (the clinic has a satellite in Mexico), being that he lives in Texas and has family in Mexico. Anyway, turned out my parents wanted to go to the source and see the scorpions, and meet with the people who are harvesting the chlorotoxin. But all of this was expedited with the help of Linda, Jess, and Leopoldo, and I am SO grateful!

My other news is pretty big. I have decided, after struggling for weeks, to go back to my Densmore Diet. That's my new name for it (derived from the townhouse community where we were living at the time). It's the diet I was on from Oct 2011 - April 2012. During that time my tumor did not grow. The majority of my diet was comprised of vegetables, then lean meats (organic, wild, grass fed), minimum amounts of dairy (grass fed, organic), nuts, no sweets, an apple or two a day, and green drink after green drink after green drink. I drank zero alcohol, and I ran almost every single day (some days twice), it was glorious. And just for the record, the Densmore Diet was restricted calorie, but I didn't care because the food was so good! And technically, the diet was restricted, but I didn't over analyze the calorie counting. I was an eye-baller, not a weigher.

It has been very hard to come to this conclusion, mainly because I've read all of Seyfried's research on the restricted ketogenic diet, and I know that the RKD has been proven to stop, slow and even reverse brain tumor growth. However I can't seem to stay on the diet  I'm going to list all of the reasons why I'm reverting back to my old Densmore Diet:

1. After about 10 days on the RKD I start to get stomach cramps. I get black stool (nasty!), indicating irritation, and blood in my upper digestive tract. It's something that is easily eradicated with the ingestion of veggie carbs or legumes, but it's not fun. So I fall off the wagon to soothe the symptoms, then once I feel a little better I try and get back into ketosis, but inevitably it happens again. A constant cycle.

2. When my blood glucose hovers between 50-70 it causes massive cravings. Bad cravings. Not immediately, but after a several days. The most common one is for chocolate chip cookies, and eventually, I always give in. I end up yo-yoing. My body freaks out when my levels are that low, and the powerful urge to grab a cookie is just a survival mechanism. I never reach for an apple either, it's always the sugar packed baked goods, probably because they'll spike me back up the fastest.

3. It's really messed up to hate yourself for eating too much broccoli and kicking yourself out of ketosis. Trust me, it's happened to me many a time. It's disheartening. I end up feeling like I'm always on the verge of failing. Then I do fail, and with that I feel like it isn't just an isolated fail, but that I'M a complete failure.

3. The RKD makes me feel physically gross.

4. The RKD makes me feel like I'm constantly eating just to eat but there is no joy in it.

5. The RKD makes me feel fearful about every minute, every blood glucose reading, every food choice.

6. The RKD has taken away my cardio, and my weightlifting (spikes blood glucose too much). All I have been left with is walking (or maybe gentle yoga), which, as much as I try, I am not passionate about. Exercising has been a joy and a major connection between Danny and I, and I miss it. I miss the slogging (slow jogging) through the rain with Emma, of feeling the blush of my face, the forced deep breaths engulfing my lungs with life.

7. The RKD removed my joy of cooking because no matter what you do, the recipes are not delicious. (Not enough veggies!) Not to mention I don't have the energy to cook for me AND Danny so we end up eating separately. Different foods, different schedule. It's lame. Also, I cook and eat much healthier than Dan, but most of the time he's left to fend for himself and it's bad for his health.

8. No cancer performs exactly the same, no tumor behaves the same. There are people that have much outlived their diagnosis, some even for decades, and no two people have done the same exact thing, eaten the same exact diet, lived the same exact life.

9. I found my tumor by listening to my body. I asked for the MRI that found Hermie. Why would I keep fighting my body, who clearly HATES the RKD. Seriously, it's insanity. I'm trying to force something, and at a certain point you need to step back and assess your behavior and choices.

10. I am a healthy woman, and I want to live a long happy life, and the RKD makes me question my quality of life. A life without kale smoothies, sauteed brussels sprouts, unlimited garlic, and onions, and zucchini, and watercress salads, and apples, is no life at all.

11. The second you stop doing the RKD your tumor will quickly return (there is evidentiary proof in Seyfried's research). The diet is not a solution. It will not save you; it will not cure you. It's fabulous to aid in your treatment, to enhance efficacy, but it's never going to fix you alone.

12. I could go on further, but I think you're getting the gist...

I can still learn from my RKD experience, and clearly I want to do whatever I can to be healthy, have a healthy body, and brain with no tumor, but I also want to live. Really live. I want to be smart about my choices, and some may think I'm foolish, or that I'm giving up (don't worry, you can't say or think anything worse than what I've felt about myself) by not being on the restricted ketogenic diet, but we are all different, and I have to listen to my body. The wonderful thing is that I can always get back on the RKD. I have the books, the recipes, the measuring tools, and such. For now, I need to not just be alive, I want to feel alive. And if that means green smoothies, and salads, and crudites, and apples, then so be it. It's not like I'm baulking at avoiding alcohol or processed foods, I don't care so much about that stuff. If jogging, and veggies and some crunches and squats are what kills me, then it is what it is.

Every suggestion, every research paper, every non-invasive treatment, every supplement, the best diet, I wanted to do it all, but it's just not that simple. In fact, it's impossible. I'm doing the best that I can, and I'm going to forgive myself for not being able to master the RKD. In life I'm really trying to be kind to others, and that includes myself. The relief of allowing myself vegetables and exercise has already lifted my soul. I can feel my body relax, and that is worth quite a lot!

My new favorite green smoothie...

Kale, Parsley, Ginger, English Cucumber, Coconut Water, Lemon, Splash of Pineapple Juice

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Oh no!

It's happening already....

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Day to Day

Good morning! I've got the venom routine down, now I'm fiddling with the diet. I emailed the clinic too see if their "low fat" instructions have to do with an interaction with the venom or if they are purely giving nutritional advice. If there's some sort of interaction with the venom then I'll be all about the green drinks again (Yesss!!)), but if it's just a suggestion for general health I'll stay with the restricted keto (or a version of). I have the restricted keto ingrained in me, I still check my blood glucose, and I get a visceral reaction when my glucose is above the 70's. I become very fearful that I'm feeding the tumor, and that's not good. In a way I kind of wish I never would have purchased a blood glucose monitor. It's weird to be afraid of eating a whole apple. On the RKD you can have apple, but just a little bit and you have to eat it with some fat to keep the ratio.  It's complicated. I love the benefits that are shown with the RKD but I dislike the reality of the lifestyle.

On a very positive note, Dan sold our truck! We now have October's immunotherapy shot paid for. Yay! You know what ISN'T fun? You get penalized by your insurance when you only have one car. It's a good business model for the insurance companies because they want families to have all of their cars with the same company, but if you are a one car family you get zero discounts (unless you guys know of any companies that support single car families...please let me know), and you pay much more for the same service. Ugh.

Man. Dang it. Just got interrupted by a phone call from my health insurance. Somehow they think they need to call me every few weeks to ensure that I have end of life directives, and they want to assess if I will need hospice soon. If that's not depressing, and terrifying, I don't know what is. I got a little upset and told them that I would call THEM if things got worse, or maybe they would notice from my claims that I was clearly having problems when that time comes. I don't need an effing reminder of what I'm going through, or what they're expecting to have happen. It makes it hard to stay positive. I've had a few conversations with friends about my confusion over the term "cancer", or the concept of being "sick". It's weird because I feel pretty great, but clearly I'm not normal, or technically healthy either. That's why I'm doing all of these treatments. That's why my life revolves around research, supplements, immunotherapy shots, diet, and now the venom. I'm healthy, but at the same time I'm stuck in this fog of responsibility, always oscillating between fear, hope, reality, and dreams.

As I have MRIs every three months, and shots in NYC every two months, and supplements four times a day, and now eight applications of venom a day, it can be very overwhelming, and although I feel physically well, my life does not feel "normal" by any means. I'm stuck in these tiny bubbles, always one moment to the next, one day at a time, and don't get me wrong, I love it. I LOVE being alive! But we can't ever plan for a trip, for an actual wedding or wedding celebration, or a holiday, or anything long term like having children. That fact doesn't normally bother me because I'm literally living in the moment, but when I'm slapped with a phone call from the nurses of my insurance company, it all comes crashing back to my consciousness. One day leads into another day, and before you know it it's been over three years of a diagnosis, of doctor's appointments, of MRIs, of brain surgeries, of traveling for new and better care, researching and researching and researching. I love my life, and I'm very happy, but it is also scary sometimes to think that this could be my life up until the end, just day to day. Each three month span brings with it the fear of recurrence and thus more significant treatments like chemo or radiation. I've already dodged the radiation bullet once by saying no thank you, but there is always a lingering fear of a time when I may be so desperate that I'll acquiesce.

On days like today, all I can do is find something that makes me laugh, and this is it, a picture of Jules and I a few days ago being ladies who lunch. Keeping it classy...

Monday, August 26, 2013


It's been a busy several days. Rested for a bit, then headed up to Friday Harbor to attend a memorial for one of my classmates. Tough stuff. I made it home Saturday night, just in time for the arrival of my newest additional treatment.

My parents arrived in Seattle at around midnight this Saturday. They had traveled to procure a treatment called chlorotoxin. They got it from a clinic, and I know some of you will think we're crazy because there's only anecdotal reports, but who cares. Why not try it! The worst thing that could happen would be a lowering of the inflammation in my body and at best it could cure me.

There's an actual protocol to follow, and please know that the clinic that they went to was incredibly thorough, wanting all of my pathology, radiation reports, blood work, among other stuff. Before my parents even flew out on their journey, the clinic in had reviewed all of my medical history. In fact, this clinic had the most thorough evaluation of my medical situation out of all my dealings with doctors.

So yesterday morning I began my treatment journey with the chlorotoxin. It will last for three months. I have four times a day that I measure out 25 ml of my dilution (it's suspended in distilled water), I hold the amount in my mouth, swishing it around under my tongue for one minute, then I swallow it. Also, four times a day I use a different dilution (much more concentrated). I lay on my back and suspend my head over the edge of the couch, using the camera app on my cell phone to direct the dropper, I release two drops of the diluted chlorotoxin liquid into each nostril.

The first time I did the nasal drops, we had used the same syringe to extract the pure cholorotoxin and put it in the distilled water. Not remembering that, when I had the first drops I'm pretty sure the entire green lake area heard a guttural scream. My eyes instantly released streams of tears, and I barely kept myself from sneezing. The burning sensation eventually lessened and I was fine. About 10 minutes later my right arm and hand started acting very, very weird. Not like a seizure aura feeling (which I also feel in my right hand), but just a very, very odd sensation. Then, there was a rushing, like waves ebbing and flowing between my fingers, my hand, and my elbow. Then, like a fog lifting, I could feel my hand again! My hand was healed! It felt magnificent. I couldn't believe it!! We looked at my two hands and on my right hand we noticed the pads of my palm, along with my pinkie and ring fingers, were bright red. Lot's of blood flow happening. We reminisced about how I couldn't feel my right hand after the first surgery, back in 2010, and it felt so weird that I never wanted my hands to touch, or hold Dan's hand - or really use my right hand at all. A real tricky situation for a right-hander. It got better before the second surgery, but again in October of last year, after the third surgery, my hand was funky again. My right hand, arm, leg, and foot are all off, and as far as I can tell it has not been getting better. Anyway, for a brief few moments, perhaps even five minutes, I felt normal again. But, as things go, the sensation faded, and as it did, my arm, hand, leg, and foot became exhausted. It was as if I had just finished a full marathon without ever having trained.

I haven't had a repeat of the healing episode during any of my other applications, but we believe that's because I accidentally had a stronger dose at the onset. All of the other times that I've ingested the drink, or used the nasal drops, have been innocuous, but since I already know from the inception dose, that this is not just a random treatment. At times it feels like it's just distilled water, because there's really no taste, but there's definitely something about this stuff. Even if it was just working on lowing inflammation, I'm happy with that. And if it was cleaning out tumor cells, then Hell Yes!!

So, I'm adding this treatment to my newcastle disease virus treatments. (The clinic says that the chlorotoxin does not interfere with immunotherapies, chemotherapies, or radiation. In fact, they work synergistically.) I have a three month supply, and although I have 8 applications a day, it is already getting me into a fabulous routine. I can do the drink, and the nasal drops at the same time so I only have to get to the kitchen at 8, 12, 4, and 8. They want me to eat a low fat diet (the exact opposite of the keto - isn't that how it always works), and vast amounts of raw vegetables and fruits. No alcohol and no smoking are the directives which will not be a problem. I'm very excited for this phase of my cancer life. I thrive on routine, and I love a good challenge.

A HUGE thank you to my parents for doing incredible amounts of research, corresponding with the clinic, and then of course for traveling all the way to procure the chlorotoxin.

Here's a photo of my first shot of venom. Delicious :)
You know, this chlorotoxin thing sounds crazy. We first learned of it back in 2010, but it seemed outrageous. However, the real turning point was when family friends who were dealing with their cancer at University of Washington had a conversation with their oncologist, and he mentioned that clinical trials with the chlorotoxin are underway at the university. It's not to drink it (of course, that would be too simple), instead they are working with a form of synthetic chlorotoxin (gotta do synthetic so that they can patent it), to paint tumor cells to increase accuracy during surgeries. Anyway, I don't know the whole story on that, but when we connected those dots we immediately decided we needed to go to the source, and give this stuff a shot. We refuse to wait for years, and years, perhaps decades for clinical trials to become standard of care.

Hopefully this chlorotoxin is cleaning out the inflammation, and cleaning out the tumor cells. I'm very impressed by my accidental overdose with the nasal drops, the reaction was nothing less than a miracle. If my parents and Dan hadn't been there to witness, I think I would have ended up over time discrediting my own account. It's just too wild. But it did happen, and I'm pretty excited about it.

Below is an interesting article about the chlorotoxin. The more you research it, the more anecdotal articles that you find. There's not a lot of empirical data out there, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't work.

Thursday, August 22, 2013


I'm home safe from my whirlwind trip to NYC for my shot. I'm pooped, and plan to rest for a few days, but I wanted to share this amazing video sent by two of my friends (random that they both sent it). I like to think I'm a happiness outlier, one of the weirdos that's easily satisfied, or sees the good in most stuff. The thought that I may be that way makes me smile, so even if it's not necessarily true, I already got some endorphins from the concept so I guess that's something! Not that I'm so amazing, I just really enjoy being happy, and I'm very grateful that it seems to come pretty natural to me. 

Hope it makes you laugh as it did for me.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Tuesdays are my new favorite.

Just a little adorable picture to make you smile, curtesy of my sweet Annie. 

Hope it makes you as happy as it makes me! I'm off in a couple of hours, so I'd better keep doing last minute laundry. Clearly, I'm delaying my chores.

I don't know how business travelers do this. I'm exhausted just thinking about this trip. 

On a happy note, my blood glucose this morning was 76. I'm dropping back down to the target rate. Dan even cooked a few hard boiled eggs for me and packed celery along with cucumbers for snacks to keep me honest. It's not the perfect keto ratios, but it's better than dark chocolate covered almonds or quesadillas. :)

Ok, back to the grind. Enjoy your Tuesday!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Shot Six

Well, I have to start all over with ketosis again. I had a bit of a bender. Sometimes the pressure to eat so perfectly is overwhelming. To avoid all sugar, even fruit, and severely limit vegetable intake is incredibly trying. Seyfried's restrictions on diet, with glucose and ketones, are above and beyond restrictive. I try, and I fail, but I'll try again. 

The problem is that I can't seem to keep in ketosis for long periods of time. After a few weeks my willpower disappears. I don't know how to overcome my weakness. I wish it was simple. I wish I was better at this, stronger. 

Tomorrow I fly to NYC for another shot. Today I'll fast, tomorrow I'll stick with the ketogenic diet, and hopefully, by Wednesday, shot day, I will be back in ketosis again. I know it's important for me to be in ketosis during shot times. I need to deprive the tumor cells of food, to weaken them so that the virus shot can clean them up. That's the whole point about being in ketosis, when you're in ketosis you are starving the tumor of food. Oh well, what's done is done. All I can do is try again. 

Oddly, all I want to do is eat badly. My willpower is gone. Heaven help me. At times like this I wish I lived out in the country. Since I don't drive, I'd be stuck at the mercy of our pantry/fridge which purposely has nothing fun. 

The bender was absolutely worth it. Now the trick will be to stop. :) A photo from the weekend, happy birthday to Jules!

I'd better lock myself in the house...I'm  badly craving a chocolate chip cookie and coffee. No bueno. Is my willpower on vacation? Ugh.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Doctor Help

I need some advice. It's kind of laughable, but I don't have a general practitioner, or an internist. I have had such bad luck with doctors, they don't respect my research, and typically pooh-pooh my treatments/supplements/diets. I need a doctor for basic health, one that can monitor me, request blood work, and collaborate with my New York doctors. I'm looking for someone who is open minded who will respect me and will work as a teammate. If anyone has a great doctor in the Seattle area, I would be very grateful if you could give me their information.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


Good morning friends. I can't believe next week is shot week again. Back to NYC for a quick 20 hours. Crazy! I've been so incredibly exhausted lately, too much summer fun with friends, and moving, and such. But the weather has been superb, and the sunshine has been intoxicating. It's impossible to nap, and I'm only getting about 7 hours of sleep a night (on a good night). I know I need more sleep, that I'm still recovering from October's brain surgery, but it's hard to zonk out when life feels so good. Not to mention the sun zaps all energy, but it's too hot to nap.

Here's my office for this morning. I'm hidden at a local cafe, behind a bamboo fence. Fun to change it up. I love living right in GL, able to walk a block to fun little spots. Since I don't drive, it's important for me to feel connected to the community. Note my editor, Emma

My day is another, full of research. I've been looking into adding DCA into my supplements. Apparently, it can help the mitochondria of cancer cells start to function properly. The mitochondria is the guy in the cell that does several things including programing apoptosis (cell death). That's the problem with cancer cells or damaged cells in general, they don't want to die. DCA also helps break the process of glycolysis for cancer energy, among other things. There are a few supplements that you need to take along with the DCA, like thiamine, and alpha lipoic acid. I would need to be careful about caffeine because it can potentiate the effects, but I think I could be careful and figure it all out. I've been reading up on DCA for the past few weeks. It seems like a nice addition to my treatments.

I'm off to focus on the DCA. Enjoy your day!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Dirty Little Thief

I can not believe this, but someone stole our bicycle from behind our home. The new home is in a high foot traffic area, and honestly, I didn't think much of it. But Danny and I put the bike behind our home, it was out of view, and some jerk took it. 

Unless, of course, a friend took it to fix the two flat tires - but I have a feeling that isn't the case. Dan had just grabbed the bike from his brother so that we could fix it up for me to use. I've only ridden a bike once in over three years because of the surgeries, and the seizures, and I was so excited to start back up. And in a blink it was gone. Dang it! Evil thief. Guess I don't have to buy a basket for the front.

I don't throw this card out there much, but it's pretty mean to steal a bike from a cancer patient. Even if they don't know it at the time. 

I keep picturing a tall, lanky dude on our bike cackling his head off as he wheels around Greenlake. Oh well. At least I've got my walking sticks to get me out. 

Clearly we're going to need to be really good about securing our things. Guess it's a good lesson. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Big Year

Welp. I did it. I turned 33 yesterday. WHOOP! (Three is Dan's lucky number so maybe this will be doubly lucky?!?) To celebrate my birthday month, I decided to challenge myself to stay in ketosis and not eat a pinch of sugar. This coming from a girl with an embarassing sweet tooth. I had been weak, and cheating, and I knew I couldn't do it alone, and that's when Libbey swept in to the rescue. She's doing a different diet, a whole foods one, and I'm doing restricted keto, but it doesn't matter, it's all about the support between us. I think Libbey's husband is doing it too, and with a third diet, our friend Christel. 

All I want to do for the month of August is eat whatever I want, and splurg, eating lemon cupcakes with sourcream icing (never even had one but it sounds good), and strawberry rhubarb pie, and rosemary garllic sourdough bread with red pepper reserve goat cheese but oh well. It's been nice to vent with friends, and be able to complain at all hours of the day about everything I'm missing. :)

The power sugar has over me, and the power of carbs is tough. But it's August 7th now and the cravings have finally started to dissipate. (I started on the 1st.) It did not feel like a birthday without a sweet. But, it would be really nice to start a tradition of brut nature champagne (minimal carbs), and keto meal. 

We did get a fabulous group of amazing friends that Dan recruited for a potluck and bocce. It blew me away. I told my brother Kaal, this morning, that I honestly didnt think I even had that many friends in Seattle. Because, who counts their friends? But it was truly amazing, and it made me giddy watching everyone visit and laugh and tease and tell stories. 

Here's a pic of Emma and I on our 7 mile walk to and fro to meet Dan for work...

Saturday, August 3, 2013

RATS! Scar Tissue vs Tumor

Horrible news. Yesterday morning I received a phone call from UCLA. To start at the beginning, the MRI report I've read was from UW, and I've been waiting for UCLA's report. Flash back to yesterday, I received a call from UCLA's oncology department wanting me to come in for an appointment on August 12th. And the woman didn't know why. she had zero information. I was so confused, and panicked. Usually I deal directly with Dr L's office, but this time it was the chemotherapy sector. YIKES. My heart dropped. I asked if it was about my MRI results and the kind woman had no idea. So I asked for someone to call me with more information. Then Dan emailed Dr L, and I called her office. The waiting period was incredibly painful.

A while later, we received a response from Dr L, and a phone call (within moments of each other), explaining everything. Apparently, there is an area on my MRI of hyper intense T2 signal that has slowing been growing. The doctors can't be sure if it is scar tissue or tumor tissue, so they want me to fly down to LA and get a dopa pet scan along with a regular MRI. If it's tumor they want me to start some sort of chemotherapy. 

After talking with both doctors, we all agreed that this is not an urgent matter as I'm not presenting with symptoms. So, Dan and I decided to wait and schedule both scans in October at my regularly designated time for scans. If I have any new symptoms I am supposed to immediately schedule the scans and fly down to LA. 

I'm very saddened, and feel nauseous about the turn of events, however I'm relieved and grateful that UCLA is so thorough and can provide better care than any hospital in my area. There's only a few hospitals in the country that do the dopa pet, and I'm reminded of the fact that it's paramount to go to the best, to travel for doctors, to not stay stuck because it's convenient to use the neighborhood or regional hospital. Your life literally depends on it. Doctors are not equal. Hospitals are not equal. Treatments are not equal. 

Although I felt scared by the news from UCLA, and yet relieved that it isn't definite tumor growth, Dan and I made a last minute decision to join a indoor bocce ball birthday, and I'm so glad we did! There's nothing better to put a smile on our faces than friends, and laughter! It was fantastic! Laura's probably going to kill me for posting this pic, but I'll deal with her sassy wrath later. :) These girls are so fun, and kind, and real. I just feel like life is constantly extraordinary. I don't know why I got so lucky, but I'm going to soak up every minute.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Super Slice

Created a new take on a Waldorf salad tonight, keto style, and although I didn't serve fish, I was still able to do some filleting. Ouch. Thank you Dr. Dan. Don't worry, there is a bandage under there.

We are still unpacking which is taking the majority of our time. Next to that we have been fixing random things on my car so that we can put it up for sale. We are all about downsizing, and simplifying. Although I would love to drive again, the soonest would be early September (stupid seizure). I've been keeping little Rosemary, my 2000 explorer because she's paid for, and of course, I love her. However, we really only need one car. And if I do start driving there's an amazing service called Car 2 Go, so I can always find a way to do what I need. If I wouldn't have had the seizure in March, it's possible I may have started trying a few little trips on side streets. I'm apprehensive about driving and that's why I haven't pushed it these past few years, but with the restricted ketogenic diet (started at the end of March - after the seizure), I feel like a whole new person. My body feels better, my mind is clearer, I even have more energy. Granted, I'm still not interested in highway or interstate driving, but slow sweet little old lady driving for an errand or two sounds pretty dang appealing.

I'm still absorbing the MRI results. Sometimes I realize I'm even holding my breath. I quickly inhale, then tip my head back, closing my eyes, and I say a little thank you for this amazing gift. The glorious gift of life that never ceases to amaze me. And it's mine. This is my life! Wow. I am alive and breathing and I love and I receive love. What a beautiful thing. To breathe fresh air, and laugh, and dance, and talk to my bro on the phone, or barely escape peeing my pants from Dan's tickles. To make tea in the morning and think of Dan's mom because she bought me a beautiful turquoise tea kettle, or the multitudes of phone calls to my parents each day just to share a stupid story about a plant, or to check in. (The fact that they still answer my calls is a miracle.) The contagious laughter from quips of my friends, with hilarious YouTube videos, their hugs, their kindness. The support I've received from blog readers - I don't know how you do it, no one has ever said anything mean (and truthfully, if you did, I don't remember...), and I know I write some ridiculous things. I just feel grateful. I know I'm cheesy, but I can't help it. 

Having come from deep fear when we have watched Hermie grow, I must say that I am eternally, exceptionally, unimaginably thrilled and humbled by the ability to enjoy and live this extraordinary life. 
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