Sunday, March 28, 2010

Charting a New Course

I decided to make a few changes over the last few weeks regarding my alternative medicine treatments.

During my last chemo break I continued the vitamin C treatment only to find that I really did not feel very well, the afternoon of the treatment and during the following few days. I was terribly tired and just felt lousy overall. Also, the neuropathy continued to worsen.

I did speak to the “fellow” who is working with my oncologist about the neuropathy and later, the oncologist. Both said it would continue to get worse. The fellow said if it gets really bad they would cut back on the treatment, either by lessening the chemo dose or the frequency of the treatments. When I spoke to the doctor, she said neither of those were options for me as the cancer would begin to grow again; yes, scaring the s..t out of me!

Not to be defeated, I decided to try a few things on my own. I learned on the internet that Vitamin B is supposed to help with neuropathy, so I called the doctor and ordered up some pills. One of the effects of neuropathy is that you can lose muscle control/mass, so I now keep a weight near the sofa. When I sit for any period of time, I put the weight under the balls of my feet and roll it back and forth. This is my own idea, I really don’t know if it will help. I also started doing some exercises with my hands using the dumbbell. I had learned these from an exercise program geared toward basketball players that were designed to strengthen the hands. I am also getting some squeegee balls that Jean picked up at a convention to work my hands.

Finally, I made a series of appointments with an acupuncturist. Dureet works in an office two blocks from our condo. What I did not know until we met is that she works several days a week with cancer patients at the American Cancer Center. She is very familiar with neuropathy, and recently attended a workshop at Sloane Kettering on the subject. She said her patients do see results – although it may take time. She also said that acupuncture has been shown to help people with allergies, so I am hoping it will help with my sinus issues as well. Another good aspect to this decision is that it is much cheaper than the vitamin C infusions; two acupuncture sessions are less than one C infusion. They will take less time (1 hr vs. 3) and, to top it off, I get to lie on a heated bed. Tuesday is my first session.

I have felt surprisingly well during this chemo break, having many days with lots of energy. It has also been a busy week. My art class ended on Wednesday and I signed up for another which begins in a few weeks. Thierry and I have been to two concerts, and I went bowling with the family and friends (TD paid Curlew a visit). I haven’t bowled in probably 20 years – it was great fun. Dad came and coached Juan (my brother-in-law). Mike was the big winner. I managed to break 100 the first game, bowled 78 in the second.

We’ve booked a number of day tours that we will take when we are in Italy. In case I didn’t mention that yet on the blog (with Facebook things get confusing), we are going to spend two weeks in Florence in April. We rented an apartment and plan on taking day trips to see Tuscany. We also booked a hotel in Venice, where we will spend two days. Lauren and Mike will join us on the second week. We are all very excited. I have never been to Italy.

It was a great week, and tonight another great meal at mom’s – I’m cooking!

NOTE: The picture of the Kimmel Center stage was taken by Thierry on his cellphone. We heard a performance of Mahler's Symphony #2 by the San Francisco Orchestra conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas. The bowling picture was taken by Joan on my cell phone.

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