Tag Archives: cancer treatment | chemotherapy

How to Reduce the Pleading of Your Bone Marrow

“whisper of blood, and the pleading of bone marrow”

Knut Hamsun (1859–1952)

Knut Hamsun, awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1920, urged writers to describe the “whisper of blood, and the pleading of bone marrow.”

I’m a writer, and I understand the pleading of bone marrow at the physical level. And I worked to reduce that pleading during 42 days of chemotherapy spread over two years.

Some cancer patients live on maintenance chemotherapy, which involves receiving bone marrow stimulants like Neupogen or Neulasta after each infusion to keep white blood cell counts up.

One patient who had Neulasta for dozens of cycles was told she had widespread bone metastases. Upon further investigation, those studying her situation agreed that what appeared to be metastasis in the bones was actually not cancer, but the long-term effects of the marrow stimulant.

The shots cause bone pain and are extremely expensive. When long-term use of these shots causes serious damage, why not try adding some safe integrative therapies that strengthen the body to avoid the shots?

I was offered the shots after each cycle, yet I turned them down because I wanted to try natural means for keeping my white cell counts up. It’s necessary to have white blood cells to prevent infection. If levels drop too low then chemotherapy is postponed, which can create its own set of problems.

I did not want the bone pain and the enormous additional stress it would add to my body on top of the chemo. Rather, I wanted to strengthen and support my body.

I used diet (lots of carrots, cooked mushrooms, and bone broth), acupressure, visualization, and Emotional Freedom Technique.

I ended up needing only one shot one time to raise my white cell counts.

No one has studied whether what I did could work or not, and no one will because there’s no money to be had. Alternatively, no one will ever try to prove they don’t work, again because there is no money to be gained. I don’t think any of the things I did worked on its own. I think it was a healthy dose of each process done faithfully that made it possible for my body to produce enough white blood cells to get me through two years of aggressive chemotherapy with only one shot.

Did my processes work to keep my white cell counts up? It appears, based on the fact patients are routinely given the shots because they are not expected to keep their white cell counts up, that it probably did. I don’t know anyone else who has been able to avoid those shots (I’d love to hear from anyone who has!).

As always, discuss with your oncologist before passing up the shots. My blood counts were closely monitored. It took a big commitment on my part to work at these processes every day. For me, it was worth it.

What is your life worth? What is your health worth? Are you willing to try safe integrative therapies to give your body every single fighting chance you can? There are so many things that can be done that have not been scientifically proven, but if they are safe and you discuss them with your doctor, they just might give your body the edge it needs. Sometimes it takes it all to turn the corner. It did for me. And that doesn’t mean it will happen for everyone, because we are all different.

But I was not going to sit back and let the doctors and only scientific studies determine what I would and would not do. If I had done that, I know I would have died at least six years ago.

I chose to do everything medical and everything safe that I could.

And it worked for me. Maybe it will work for others. That is my hope, because often with this disease, we are without real hope. I want the suffering to stop. I want the pleading of bone marrow to stop. And so I share what I did.

Thriver Soup Ingredient:

Vince Lasorso at Whatever Works Wellness Center in Cincinnati created the “Bone Marrow Healing” CD I used during treatment, and occasionally now when I feel a cold coming on. The visualization involves feeling—not seeing—one’s bones lighting up. I highly recommend it.

More information on what I did to support my body during chemotherapy can be found in Thriver Soup.

Sources:

Knut Hamsun, “Fra det ubevidste Sjæleliv,” Samtiden, September 1890

How to Let Go of Fear, Sorrow, Powerlessness: MySevenChakras Podcast

He restores my soul. He leads me in the path of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk in the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for you are with me, your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

– Psalm 23, discussed on MySevenChakras Episode 198 with Aditya

Aditya asked Heidi Bright:

  • When did you first come to know that you had Cancer? 
  • What type of Cancer did you have?
  • How did your Cancer end up getting detected?
  • What was your initial reaction when you received your diagnoses?
  • How to go about reducing the impact of chemotherapy?

These were just some of the questions , so if you’re curious about how Heidi overcame cancer…. listen to the podcast till the end: 198: From an aggressive end stage Cancer to radical remission. It’s possible! with Heidi Bright

Alternative Practice – Holistic healing.

Action Step – Going out, doing everything I can to be healthy. I was not going silently into that dark night so I picked myself back up. I worked with that fear and sorrow and that absolute powerlessness. I continued all my healing processes.

Major Life Lesson – There is a genuine hope, and there are always options.

Life Purpose – To share my message about healing our attitudes, behaviors and being able to make major life choices that we need to.

Wisdom Round:

Best Advice – Get to a therapist. Manage my emotions in a healthy way.
Personal Habit – It’s the map of emotions, and that’s the practice of experiencing the sensations in my body without thinking about them until they leave.
Book Recommendation – Waking the Warrior Goddess by Dr. Christine Horner

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.

Chemotherapy Clinical Trials

Chemotherapy clinical trials for leiomyosarcoma (LMS) were discussed briefly Oct. 8 at the National Leiomyosarcoma Foundation patient symposium in St. Louis, Mo.  This was one of several cancer treatment topics that I am reporting about during the coming weeks.

There are 70 different types of sarcoma, and treatment is moving toward individual types of sarcoma using genetically specific molecular therapy, said Dr. Scott Okuno, Chief Medical Officer in Sarcoma Alliance for Research Through Collaboration, a non-profit research cooperative,  and professor of oncology at Mayo Clinic.

“As we get deeper into LMS, we find molecular subtypes of LMS,” he said.

He explained that adjuvant treatment is preventative. Typically a tumor is removed and the patient is given additional treatment to eradicate microscopic metastatic cells.

Neoadjuvant treatment is given prior to removal/ablation of a tumor, and is used to shrink the tumor and eradicate any microscopic metastatic cells.

In determining which path to follow, the physician will look at outcomes. For neoadjuvant treatment, for example, perhaps 33 percent (about three of 10 patients) will have a recurrence.

With adjuvant treatment, there might be another 33 percent reduction in recurrence—which means instead of three out of 10 patients with recurrence, there will be two out of ten patients with recurrence.

Chemotherapy is given when a tumor cannot be surgically removed.

In clinical trials, a tumor has to decrease in size by 30 percent to be considered a partial response.

Progression has to be a greater than a 20 percent increase for the treatment to be considered no longer working.

Sometimes the lump might get bigger but the tumor is dying, so the percent increase in size is allowed. One needs a sarcoma specialist to determine if the growth is from dying cells or from a growing tumor.

Dr. Mohammed Milhelm, director of the Melanoma Program at the University of Iowa, added, “We really don’t know what’s going on inside the tumor.”

Dr. Okuno said Gemzar and Taxotere together aren’t showing much difference beyond just what Gemzar can do. Dacarbazine alone doesn’t make much difference. Yet when Gemzar and dacarbazine are combined, patients tend to have better outcomes. A difference in outcomes also was found in the rate of infusion—for example, infusing the same amount of chemotherapy over a longer period of time can result in better outcomes.

Using unicorn unction

unicorn horn“ … perfectly conscious of the sanitary virtues which resided in its [the unicorn’s] nasal protruberance, and would dip its horn in the water to purify and sweeten it ere it would drink.”

Graham Everitt, Doctors and Doctors’

 

Medieval literature contains references to the horn of the unicorn being full of healing energy, according to William Jackson in The Use of Unicorn Horn in Medicine. “It was even said that poisoned wounds could be cured merely by holding a piece of the horn close to them,” he writes.

Some European royalty claimed to have unicorn horns, and some ceremonial chalices were made from these rare and exotic treasures because they were believed to neutralize poison. These objects most likely were made from the long, single tusks from narwhals, which are medium-sized Arctic whales.

A tapestry at The Met Cloisters in New York City depicts a unicorn dipping its magical white horn into a poisoned stream to purify the water so onlooking animals could safely drink.

Perhaps a little unicorn unction could be useful for dealing with the side effects of poisonous chemotherapy.

During 2014, a five-year-old said she wanted to ride a unicorn when she finished chemotherapy. Lily Raffray’s wish was granted—a party was thrown for her, complete with a ride on a beautiful white horse sporting a unicorn horn.

That seems like some pretty sweet medicine to me.

Thriver Soup Ingredient:

For fun, add a little unicorn magic to your chemotherapy experience. Place a unicorn on a home altar, wear a unicorn pendant, or cut out a picture of a unicorn and tape it to the chemotherapy infusion bags or your water bottle. Then ask for the blessing of healing unicorn-like unction in your experience to reduce the side effects of the poisons.

Sources:

Everitt G. Doctors and Doctors. London: Swan, Sonnenschein, Lowrey & Co; 1888, as found in “The Use of Unicorn Horn in Medicine,” The Pharmaceutical Journal, 18 Dec. 2004, by William Jackson, referenced Aug. 11, 2016, from http://www.pharmaceutical-journal.com/news-and-analysis/features/the-use-of-unicorn-horn-in-medicine/20013625.article

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

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/girl-celebrates-end-chemo-magical-unicorn-ride/story?id=26275119

Community Press shares Thriver Soup’s message of hope and healing

“There were times when Heidi Bright prepared to die after being diagnosed with a terminal cancer in July 2009.

“Today Bright delivers a message of hope and healing through her book ‘Thriver Soup’ and speaking to groups. This is the third traditionally published book by the Milford author.”

Please read more at

http://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/local/milford/2016/05/17/milford-womans-book-shares-tips-surviving-cancer/84500320/

Mary Celebrates Sarcoma

​Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name.

Psalm 103: 1, Christian Bible, New International Version

 

Mary Connolly shares from her heart her journey through a devastating cancer diagnosis to celebrating sarcoma with a thankful heart.

At age 21, while still a college student, synovial sarcoma was found in her leg. Meanwhile, her sister was undergoing gamma knife surgery for a brain tumor.

Mary had surgery that left her unable to lift her right foot upward. She had to get her car modified with a left foot pedal. Away went all her beautiful, beloved shoes. That was just one of numerous challenges she faced, including in her relationships with family, friends, and potential boyfriends.

Mary turned these challenges into opportunities. Now when people ask about her foot brace, she uses that as an opening to raise awareness about sarcoma.

Mary’s faith played a huge role in her healing journey. Her book, Celebrate Sarcoma, is filled with her prayers and Bible verses reflecting her struggles with her understanding of God.

Eventually she came through to the other side of depression. Mary wrote, “I decided that I wanted to do something meaningful with my life. Something that would not just benefit my family and close friends, but an even wider circle of people. I decided that I could be nothing but thankful for how the cancer brought about positive change in my life…. God has blessed me with a maturity and insight that many don’t have even after experiencing successful careers. For this I am grateful.”

Reflecting back on her experience, she writes, “As much as I have despised cancer for the havoc it has wreaked on me, I have reached a place where I can’t imagine my life without this experience and the journey on which it has set me. I am grateful for the lessons I have learned, the relationships I have built, the experiences I have had—some that have brought tears of sadness or joy, others that have brought laughter or mourning.”

Through it all, Mary has reached a place where she can celebrate sarcoma. She looks forward to working with young adult cancer survivors.

 

Thriver Soup Ingredient:

The sale of Mary’s book will benefit orthopedic cancer research at The James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute in Columbus, Ohio. The book is available athttp://www.amazon.com/Celebrate-Sarcoma-Mary-Connolly-ebook/dp/B00Q9X5EHG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1449889641&sr=8-1&keywords=celebrate+sarcoma .

Thriver Soup Article: Mary Celebrates Sarcoma, by Heidi Bright

Patricia’s Journey with the Purple Dragon

Once the soul awakens, the search begins and you can never go back.

John O’Donohue

The soul of Patricia Moreira-Cali has been stirred into full life by a purple dragon known as leiomyosarcoma. It is a rare and aggressive form of cancer, and for women it usually starts in the uterus.

On April 23, 2013, Patricia’s uterine “fibroids” were found to be cancerous, and she began a perilous journey that continues today. She bravely talks about her first year after the diagnosis in her book, My Journey with the Purple Dragon. She goes into vulnerable detail about her emotional experiences and her search for a cure.

“Friends and family are not with you at all times of the day and night,” she wrote. “You are alone when the tears seem endless, when the sorrow is so painful that it’s hard to breathe, when the grief cuts through your core, when you long for the freedom to feel healthy, and when you are introduced to death, and somehow you befriend it.”

She experiments with a variety of complementary treatments while doing conventional chemotherapy. “I have no doubt that the treatment of cancer, and many other chronic diseases, requires a holistic approach,” she wrote. Among her choices were to visit John of God in Brazil, and she describes her experiences there.

Gradually, the reader witnesses Patricia’s inner transformation. “A new me is emerging, growing and flourishing, somehow,” she writes.

When she reaches the end of her first year of treatment, she finds an enviable place of serenity. “I have detached from much illusion, and I feel mostly at peace within.”

The book is self-published and could benefit from professional editing, yet overall it is a moving story of courage and a roadmap for others on the journey with cancer.

 

Thriver Soup Ingredient:

Profits from Patricia’s book sales go to leiomyosarcoma research and to support a poor child with cancer through her non-profit Helping Children Heal (HCH). Her book can be ordered at http://www.purpledragonjourney.com/order-now/

 

Sources:

Patricia Moreira-Cali, My Journey with the Purple Dragon: Living with a Rare and Aggressive Cancer. Bloomington, IN: Balboa Press, 2014:78,100, 105.

Thriver Soup Article: Patricia’s Journey with the Purple Dragon by Heidi Bright