Tag Archives: cancer blog

Therapeutic Cannabis for Pain

Note: I am largely off the internet at the moment. Guests have graciously offered blog posts that I believe will be of interest. Today’s is by Wendy E. N. Thomas, an extended member of my family. Wendy has appeared on NH Public Radio, WZID, WMUR Channel 9, and been featured in Parenting NH, Backyard Poultry, Woman’s Day, and Reader’s Digest for her chicken stories and adventures in thrift. Find her blog at https://simplethrift.wordpress.com/

By Wendy E. N. Thomas

I’m the mother of six kids. I have a job and I volunteer for community events. To look at me you’d never know that every few hours I either vape or eat an edible made from cannabis.

But I do.

I am a card-carrying member of the New Hampshire therapeutic cannabis program. This means a few things:

  • I have a physician who has known me for at least three months and who can vouch that I have a condition that fits the state’s criteria and I have symptoms that are on the state’s approved list.
  • I have a condition which has not responded to other treatments.
  • And I am allowed to purchase therapeutic cannabis at an approved dispensary.

In my case I have Lumbar Stenosis, a condition that arose from a combination of being hit by a car when young resulting in many orthopedic surgeries (years of favoring one side of my body) along with multiple high-weight baby pregnancies. And to top it all off, I have chronic Lyme disease that has left me with muscle and nerve damage, as well as arthritis. My poor body didn’t have a fighting chance.

My approved back condition comes with the approved symptom of chronic pain. Like many others who have chronic pain, in the past I have been on pain contracts (a narcotic prescription renewed every month). I have tried supplements, diets, and eaten so many over-the-counter anti-inflammatories that my gut may never recover. When you are in pain, you’ll try anything.

But I’d still be in pain. All. The. Time.

After hearing a friend’s story of how therapeutic cannabis helped him with his pain situation, I decided to try it out.

First thing you need to know about therapeutic cannabis – it’s not about getting high.

It’s about having a low dose of CBD/THC in your body at all times. Everything is measured and labeled. You know exactly how much you are taking.

Could you get high if you wanted to? Of course, just as you can get drunk on alcohol if you want to.

But for many of us who have been left on couches, numbed out by narcotics, when we are given something that finally tackles the pain, we don’t want to be zoned out – we want to get back in the game.

I am a writer. I need to have a clear mind when I write – I write while using my small doses of therapeutic cannabis.

I make plans for my daughter when she needs a ride, I shop, I read books, I make dinners for the family, and I watch the news while using this product. No one can tell, except that I seem a little more active these days. A little more excited about getting outside.

Since starting the NH therapeutic program, this is what I’ve found:

  • My pain level has gone down roughly 90 percent (I still have pain but there are times–extended moments–when I have no pain at all).
  • I haven’t taken one Motrin in the past five weeks (even though it’s rained almost the entire time and I don’t do well in rainy weather).
  • My muscle tremors have stopped.
  • My shooting nerve pain has stopped.
  • My blood pressure has gone down 29 points.
  • I sleep through the night.

There is definitely a stigma attached with marijuana, MJ, the wacky weed. We’ve all been taught that drugs are bad – did you see what they do to your brain? Recently Attorney General Jeff Sessions even said that “Good people do not smoke marijuana.” Pot is seen as a bad thing, an entry drug into hell. But here’s the thing, there is much we don’t understand about this plant. Sure it can make you high, but it also has a lot of healing properties. We shouldn’t be throwing the baby out with the bathwater. When used therapeutically, cannabis can literally give people their lives back.

Recently I participated in a 5K walk, something I wouldn’t have been able to do before starting the therapeutic program. I got a medal when I crossed the finish line. It hangs on my office wall – a reminder to never, ever give up.

IGF-I, the Key Factor in Cancer Growth

Note: I am largely off the internet at the moment. Guests have graciously offered blog posts that I believe will be of interest. Today’s post is by Robert Cohen, the NOTMilkMan. He heard my interview on the CBS NYC station’s Bob Salter Show and called me to connect. I love his sense of humor, though this post is scientific in nature.

By Robert Cohen

There are hundreds of millions of different proteins in nature, and only one hormone that is identical between any two species.  That powerful growth hormone is insulin-like growth factor, or IGF-I.  IGF-I survives digestion and has been identified as the key factor in breast cancer’s growth.

Women between the ages of 25 and 65 have been successfully targeted by the marketing representatives of the dairy industry’s milk promotion board. What the dairy industry neglects to advertise is the fact that cow’s milk contains a IGF- I.

If you believe that breast feeding “works” to protect lactoferrins and immunoglobulins from digestion (and benefit the nursing infant), you must also recognize that milk is a hormonal delivery system.  By drinking cow’s milk, one delivers IGF-I in a bioactive form to the body’s cells.

When IGF-I from cow’s milk alights upon an existing cancer…

“Human Insulin-like growth factor (IGF-I) and bovine IGF-I are identical. Both contain 70 amino acids in the identical sequence.”
– SCIENCE

“IGF-I is critically involved in the aberrant growth of human breast cancer cells.”
– Journal of the National Institute of Health

“Estrogen regulation of IGF-I in breast cancer cells would support the hypothesis that IGF-I has a regulatory function in breast cancer.”
– Molecular Cell Endocrinology

“IGF-I is a potent growth factor for cellular proliferation in the human breast carcinoma cell line.”
– Journal of Cellular Physiology

“Insulin-like growth factors are key factors for breast cancer growth.”
– Journal of Cellular Physiology

“IGF-I produces a 10-fold increase in RNA levels of cancer cells.  IGF-I appears to be a critical component in cellular proliferation.”
– Experimental Cellular Research

“IGF-I plays a major role in human breast cancer cell growth.”
European Journal of Cancer

“IGF-I has been identified as a key factor in breast cancer.”
The Lancet

“Serum IGF-I levels increased significantly in milk drinkers, an increase of about 10% above baseline but was unchanged in the control group.”
Journal of the American Dietetic Association

“IGF-1 accelerates the growth of breast cancer cells.”
SCIENCE

“Poor absorption of lactose may more than double the risk of ovarian cancer in women.”
– American Journal of Epidemiology

“Galactose is linked both to ovarian cancer and infertility…women who consume dairy products on a regular basis, have triple the risk of ovarian cancer than other women.”
– The Lancet

“Interest in the role of the IGF axis in growth control and carcinogenesis has recently been increased by the finding of elevated serum (IGF-I) levels in association with three of the most prevalent cancers in the United States: prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, and lung cancer. IGFs serve as endocrine, autocrine, and paracrine stimulators of mitogenesis, survival, and cellular transformation.”
– Journal of Cellular Physiology

“IGF-I reacts in a synergistic manner with estrogen, and plays a role in the growth and proliferation of ovarian cancer.”
– Journal of Clinical Endocrinology

For more, please visit http://notmilk.com/drharris.html

See also http://notmilk.com/drlarsen.html

This Surprising Prescription is Free

For ye shall go out with joy, And be led forth with peace; The mountains and the hills shall

forest bathing
forest bathing

break forth before you into singing, And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

Isaiah 55:12, JPS Tanakh 1917

 

Have you ever walked into a forest and felt bathed in peace?

It’s not your imagination. It’s real.

The Japanese have a phrase for taking in the healing properties of the woods: shinrin-yoku, or “forest bathing.”

Studies “show that forest environments could lower concentrations of cortisol, lower pulse rate, lower blood pressure, increase parasympathetic nerve activity, and lower sympathetic nerve activity compared with city settings.”

Dr. Johanna Budwig, a biochemist, wrote that walking through a forest can recharge our batteries.

Even simply looking out a window at green plants is healing. Post-surgical patients who could look out on trees and grass got out of the hospital sooner, had fewer complications, and took fewer pain medications than those without such views.

Other benefits include

  • Improved sleep and mood
  • Increased energy levels and ability to focus
  • Decreased anxiety, depression, anger, confusion, and fatigue.

In other words, it’s not just relaxing to be in a forest. It’s healing, and here’s why: you are literally being showered with essential oils that prevent the growth of attacking organisms.

Like cancer.

Plants are busy sending out chemical signals called phytoncides that ward off insects and help fight bacterial and fungal disease. When we breathe in these phytoncides, our bodies’ immune systems create more natural killer white blood cells that go after tumors and viruses.

So maybe take your next “bath” among trees and imagine they are clapping their hands, showering their joy and healing balm upon you.

Thriver Soup Ingredient:

Find ways to get out into the woods, or at least get a view of plant life, as much as possible.

Sources:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2793346/

http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/90720.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phytoncide

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forest_bathing

http://www.hphpcentral.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/5000-paper-by-Qing-Li2-2.pdf

Budwig, Johanna. Flax Oil as a True Aid Against Arthritis, Heart Infarction, Cancer and Other Diseases. Apple Publishing; 3rd edition (December 1, 1994), p. 50.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2793341/

Ulrich, R. S. (1984). View through a window may influence recovery from surgeryScience. 224:420-422.

How to be Fearless

She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.

Proverbs 31:25, Christian Bible, New International Version

 

I rarely paid much attention to clothing; I was more interested in developing who I was.

Well, it finally dawned on me about 10 years ago that I needed to get a little more with the fashion program. I was sitting next to my friend Laura Dailey in a nice restaurant. She was wearing the current style. I felt silly sitting next to her in my 15-year-old dress, even though it has been my all-time favorite style, pattern, and color mix. I finally conceded that I needed to set it aside. *sigh*

Do you have a favorite outfit that’s outdated? Frustrating, isn’t it?

I needed fashion guidance after recovering from my cancer ordeals. Tracy in Houston generously bought me some beautiful, fashionable dresses when I stayed with her right after my 2009 sarcoma diagnosis. My sister Roselie clearly loved watching me try on and then wear the pretty clothes.

When Thriver Soup was published, I knew I needed professional help with my wardrobe. Amy Elliott Elberfeld, Doris Gibbons, and Patti Raggets came over and went through my clothes. Keep, donate, trash. Out went 3 big black bags of clothing. Amy also gave me a lovely silk scarf that fit my skin tones perfectly and a couple stylish necklaces. She then took me shopping for a couple of outfits.

Painful, but I felt grateful. And fearless.

So I learned that fearless and fashion can go together. Fearless about letting go of what’s no longer serving me, and welcoming what does.

Find out how to become more fearless in my 10-minute video recently posted on the FashionNotFear blog (filmed by my fearless fashionista friend Laura Dailey).

Today I might not be Heidiva the Fearless Fashionista, yet my friends helped make my wardrobe more current and suitable.

Still, my friend Mim teases me: “When I think of fashion, I think of my friend Heidi.”

And we chuckle.

Thriver Soup Ingredient

Clothing ourselves for fashion can help us fit in and feel more confident. It helps us laugh a little more heartily in the face of life’s difficulties. And then we can take our new-found fearlessness and apply it to other areas of our lives.

When the Deceased Call

“`Enter paradise; no fear need you have, and neither shall you grieve!”‘

Sura 7:49, Qur’an

Some people will be surprised by who enters eternal paradise, which is depicted as beautiful gardens, according to the Qur’an.

Sometimes those in the Elysian Fields temporarily pay visits to earthly plots. And sometimes they let us know when they have arrived. By phone, even.

What would you give to receive a quick call or text from a deceased loved one, letting you know he or she is okay—or even nearby?

This immeasurable gift came to me in a dream one warm morning in mid-February.

The phone rings and I pick it up. I hear, “Hi Mom, I’m in the flower garden.”

It’s my deceased son’s voice.

I wake up, filled with that oil-and-water mixture of deep gratitude, love, connection, joy—and terrible sorrow. Sound familiar?

I don’t rise quite yet. I bask in the afterglow and wallow in some grief.

Then I go to his garden, started for him behind my bedroom window. Along with the many crocus blossoms I’d already witnessed around Valentine’s Day, I discover that Tristan’s first daffodil has just opened its sun-ripened orifice. He had come to see his beautiful flowers and be near me.

When I started the garden more than a year ago, I had no idea my son would come calling in the middle of winter to see his first daffodil open. With help from several friends I had planted the flowers so I could sit and reminisce and make an offering. For him to visit surpassed my wildest expectations.

Oddly, his timing coincided with the passing of a pastor who, along with his caring wife, had gifted my son with coral bells for his garden. It was like Tristan had visited that particular morning, in time for a memorial gathering, to also say “thank you” to Gary and Liz for their thoughtfulness and for indirectly helping me heal my grief.

While I did not know Gary well, I knew he had worked for years with my friend who also had lost her son. My friend gradually attained serenity and acceptance around her son’s passing.

The moment she learned that Tristan had passed, she arrived to sit by my side, hold me, and sob with me. Yet through her tears, she glowed with the radiance of peace. I looked  her in the eyes and said, “I want that.” And she helped show me how. Because Gary had shown her how. Gary’s loving influence continues now through me. And Tristan’s lost life will be used to help others make better choices and also let go of grief and enter paradise.

Thriver Soup Ingredient:

How have you connected with a deceased loved one? A friend of mine places a rose under a specific tree at the Kentucky Horse Park each year when she visits, honoring a special friend. The possibilities are as open as we are creative.

Source:

http://www.islamicity.org/quransearch/action.lasso.asp?-db=Quran&-lay=tblMasterTranslit&-format=SReply1.asp&-op=cn&Topics=1674&-token=Gardens%20of%20Paradise%3C!–Asad–%3E%7C%7C%3Cta%3Etrue%3C/ta%3E%3Ctt%3Etrue%3C/tt%3E%3Cts%3Etrue%3C/ts%3E%3Cdc%3Etrue%3C/dc%3E%3Ctx%3Etrue%3C/tx%3E%3Cal%3Etrue%3C/al%3E&-Sortorder=ascend&-Sortfield=cv&-find

Discover 3 Kick-butt Keys to Thriving Despite Cancer

Discover 3 kick-butt keys to thriving despite cancer. Important attitudes, behaviors, and major life choices are explored in this episode of Breast Friends Cancer Support Radio network. Listen for tips on managing chemotherapy, the difference between being healed and being cured, reducing pain levels, and getting out of the hospital early. Find genuine hope and practical options to improve outcomes.
https://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/97339/3-keys-to-thriving-after-cancer

 

Mesothelioma Website Gives Virgil a Chance to Survive

Note: Virgil Anderson is alive today and receiving life-saving treatment because he found an organization that provided him with the information and support he needed. As we all share what we learn from our journeys with cancer, whether ours or another’s, we can give each other more options and genuine hope. Thank you, Virgil, for sharing this with us.

Virgil writes:

My story of illness and cancer is similar to the struggles of others: I was diagnosed at 50 with the devastating type of cancer called mesothelioma. I am now very sick and fighting for treatment and for my life. I am limited and unable to enjoy the activities I once did. Just breathing is difficult for me now, and I can blame all this on exposure to asbestos.

My message is an important one, and I want to educate people about the risks of exposure to asbestos. I want other people to know that prevention is important with mesothelioma and that early detection and diagnosis are crucial for effective treatment. Avoid asbestos, but if you have been exposed, get diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.

I grew up in the small town of Williamson, W.Va., and my story with asbestos began in high school. I worked in demolition, taking down buildings with tools and with my own hands. It was hard work and I was exposed to asbestos-laden dust. Disrupting asbestos in older buildings is one of the top ways people are exposed to asbestos fibers.

After that job I moved on to others, including working on cars. I tore out and replaced hood liners and made repairs to cars, including working with clutches and brakes. All of these parts contained asbestos. Without knowing the dangers or how to protect myself, I was again exposed to asbestos fibers.

Asbestos was once used extensively in so many applications, especially in the construction of buildings. The real dangers of inhaling or accidentally consuming this mineral were not known until the 1970s when regulations were finally put into place. Because I never knew the risks, I worked for years around asbestos and now I have mesothelioma.

I am now living with the consequences, as are many other older Americans. Mesothelioma sneaks up on you many years after asbestos exposure. I now have a hard time breathing and even walking. I spend much of my time in bed, unable to do normal daily tasks. My symptoms include chest pain, a terrible cough, and shortness of breath.

Treatment is limited for me. Treatment for mesothelioma is already difficult, but my cancer has spread to the lymph nodes so surgery is not an option. I am hoping to undergo chemotherapy, which may shrink the tumors and bring me some relief, but a cure for this disease just isn’t possible.

I hope that by sharing my story as far and as wide as I can that I will reach people who may still be able to take steps to prevent mesothelioma or to get screened and treated early. If there is any chance you think you may have been exposed to asbestos, do not wait to talk to your doctor about it. Monitor yourself for symptoms and get screening tests to catch this terrible disease early. My story should help others avoid a similar fate.

 

Psychosocial Support in Cancer Care

Psychosocial support in cancer care was addressed briefly Oct. 8 at the National Leiomyosarcoma Foundation patient symposium in St. Louis, Mo.  This was one of several cancer treatment topics that I have been reporting about.

Dr. Yasmin Asvat, clinical psychologist at the Siteman Cancer Center, said, “What is a healthy emotional response to a diagnosis? All emotional responses are valid and appropriate. They’re human responses.”

Initial emotions can include sadness, anger, shock, disbelief, denial, and for a few, acceptance.

“Our bodies are looking for balance to be restored,” she said. “If we are not getting to adjustment and acceptance, how can we live well through this journey?”

Thirty percent of patients experience chronic distress after a diagnosis. “To what degree is the distress interfering with the ability to cope effectively?”

Normal feelings like sadness, fear, and vulnerability can become disabling feelings like depression and anxiety.

“Distress can be experienced throughout the cancer care trajectory,” she said.

Dr. Asvat sees her role as partner in balancing patients’ goals with fears. She tries to provide physical interventions and strategies for fatigue, pain, insomnia, and developing a healthy lifestyle.

Trumping Donald by Creating Beauty

I’m going to make everything around me beautiful. That will be my life.

Elfie Dewolfe, 1859?–1950

 

A friend who was upset about the recent U.S. presidential election read to me the above quote by an American actress and interior decorator. She now is taking this message even more closely to heart.

Others are deeply upset by the election of Donald Trump. One friend cried, feeling that her entire life’s work on behalf of women suddenly was stripped away.

Hidden Voices: Biblical Women and Our Christian Heritage
Hidden Voices: Biblical Women and Our Christian Heritage

A blog reader identified this response as a “time of stress for women.” She wrote, “I had hoped that you would speak yet again for those Hidden Voices.” She was referring to my first traditionally published book about women from the Christian Bible who had been silenced for millennia and only now are being heard with the respect they are due.

“Just know that we value your voice, which can console and comfort in facing the unknown future (culturally, socially, politically, in terms of faith, family, etc.),” she added.

Among the unknowns are how peace and justice issues in our nation could be affected. One response has become the creation of a Women’s March on Washington scheduled for Inauguration Day, Saturday, January 21, 2017, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Lincoln Memorial, 2 Lincoln Memorial Circle, NW, Washington, D.C. As of today, according to the national Facebook page, 96,000 people are “going.”

Look on the internet and you can find many protests against the election of Donald Trump. If you feel so inclined, these might be a way for you to make your voice heard.

Another outcome that is feared is the loss of medical insurance currently made possible for many through the Affordable Care Act, especially among those with pre-existing conditions—like cancer patients.

I know I would have passed away long ago if I had not had the conventional medical care I needed.

Naturally, this is extremely frightening for some.

Yet we always have options. If there’s anything I learned in psychotherapy, it is that I don’t have to play victim anymore. I have choices I can make. Even author Viktor Frankyl (1905 to 1997), father of logotherapy, had choices while interred in totally controlled Nazi German death camps. And he survived.

I recall a family member who, just a few years ago, did not have medical insurance for surgical removal of large kidney stones. So he got on the phone and called one provider after another, obtaining their price points and then asking the next ones if they could do better.

He got major surgery done for about $5,100, a whopping 83% savings, using the phone and the free-enterprise system.

One cancer patient chose to have her surgery done in India. It cost less to fly over and even do a little vacationing there than having the surgery done in the United States. She was happy with her results.

It’s so easy to experience resignation and take on a co-dependent victim stance. To get out of these moods, I have a practice of stopping the mental stories and instead paying attention to these energy-in-motion (e-motion) sensations of hurt, fear, and powerlessness as physical experiences in my body. When processed in a healthy way, I then rise up into textures such as peace, no-thing, and/or gratitude. My body lets go of the stress and I can make better decisions. This powerful healing process is explained in the “Mapping the Emotions” section of Thriver Soup, pp. 183-235.

Once I complete the map, I am able to do as Elfie Dewolfe says and “make everything around me beautiful.”

Thriver Soup Ingredient

How can you make your life more beautiful right here, right now? I focus on making the world a better place through my blog, speaking, and writing. I’d love to hear what you are doing to make the world a more beautiful place so these ideas can be shared with others.