Wednesday, February 19, 2014


Possibly in this very moment the good folks at UCLA on the tumor board are reviewing scans of my brain to determine if I'm stable. All I can do is hope that they have the same findings as UW. Ultimately, if they don't agree with UW, if they believe they see new tumor growth, it will be significant. I go to UW for the scans, but I don't get treated there. UCLA's opinion is what matters to me. They are the doctors that follow me, and make recommendations on treatment. So, I sit here crossing my fingers waiting for my decaf green tea to cool enough to sip. Yesterday, probably no doubt due to stress, I had a very small seizure. Seizures suck. I hadn't had one in months, so there goes my streak. It was a simple focal seizure, so it really wasn't a big deal. It's just a bummer. My simple focal seizures occur with an aura, which is basically a premonition of a seizure. I have a few seconds to prepare myself. I grab a lorazopam and place it under my tongue, then find a dark, cool, quiet place. My right arm then begins to tingle, the sensation growing up toward my face. Sometimes it reaches my head, always only effecting my right side. The  yesterday, though, the tingling hung around my right elbow, never spreading. Of all the options I was pretty stoked (no grand mal, no loss of consciousness)! A very benign seizure indeed. I've had a panic attack in the past, before I ever even had a seizure, and that panic attack was tenfold worse than my little focal blip. This guy lasted seconds, and if I was a good liar I would have tricked myself into believing it wasn't even a seizure. Damn years of self assessment.

Of course it's disappointing, but it really isn't as devastating as it used to be. I actually feel like it wasn't even a big deal. I made the decision last year to live my life fully, with a happy heart, not to dwell in the fear of seizures. Living in fear is useless. It's preemptive. In a bad way. It's an oxymoron, because if you're living in fear you aren't actually living at all.

So today, to get back on the horse, I went for a run. I did my interval training, two minutes of walking by two minutes of escalating sprints, finishing off with 6:30 min mile chunks. It was a quick workout, only 30 minutes of cardio, but it's something. And it made me feel alive. Those sprints, with drips of sweat rolling down my temples, are ethereal. They're powerful. And healing. They are encouraging, and emotional. They connect me to a place of deep gratitude. They humble me, and allow me to go on. In the big scheme of things, what is a little seizure blip? In my world, not much. Because I won't allow it to hold gravity. It's gone with all the other dead weight I've let go. It's freeing.

Instead of freaking out about the overexcited brain waves and short circuiting in my grey matter, in true Jess form (I like to think) I switched my focus to things I can do to alleviate the problem. I already live pretty well, but I battened the hatches as far as food goes, and immediately made an elixir to lower the inflammation in my body. Scientists have long documented that inflammation causes seizures and that seizures cause inflammation. (What a nasty cycle.) So, twice a day I've been drinking a quick shot, and you may think me crazy, but heck it seems to make my body feel fantastic. Here's the recipe:

1. Juice half a lemon (include the pulp, and a shred of peel for the lemonene - which has shown chemotherapeutic properties)

2. Mince a clove of garlic (as you see in the photos you can tell I was lazy today, should have chopped more finely, the tinier the better), a 1/2 inch of ginger root & 1/2 inch of turmeric root (leave it out for 10ish minutes to allow the alliicin in the garlic to form)

3. Shoot it! No need to chew, that's what all the mincing was for. I love just tossing it back, it's a real breath saver. Garlic breath isn't that bad when it's after dinner, but for breakfast? Gross.

Ginger and turmeric's properties are synergistic and compounded when eaten together. And I think we all know our stinky allium friend is a crazy cancer cell killer and immuno builder.

I'm all about maximizing nutrients, and with that said, although I love my local grocery store, I am very excited to start my first PNW greens garden. My new urban salad farm. (Thanks for the help Larry!) There are little seeds in there waiting to sprout. I've got two different types of kale, romaine lettuce, rainbow chard, and a variety of red lettuces. I can't wait!

I'm a busy girl, with all sorts of distractions. Instead of focusing on the manipulative little monster trying to nestle in my head, I'm dancing my way through life, only slowing when my brain forces me to. And it feels good. It's funny, seizures used to terrify me. I'm relieved to have put them in their place.

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