Category Archives: Conventional Methods

Chemotherapy, Surgery, Conventional Companions

Releasing scars

My father liked to say that scars are signs of a life well lived. As an Eighth Air Force B-17 navigator during World War II, he would know. He flew 32 missions over Europe, well beyond the “Lucky Bastard Club” level of surviving 25 missions.

I must have lived my life really well because I’ve got lots of scars to prove it. I have a long one on my bikini line from a C-section. Eleven years ago it got a connecting scar that runs all the way up to my sternum, a life-saving gift from my first cancer surgery.

I look like I have a big anchor on my belly. It reminds me of medieval anchoresses, who lived in deep seclusion to seek out their greatest possible happiness. My anchoress status bought me not only life, but a whole new life that includes deep and growing joy. And the scars don’t have to limit me or weigh me down anymore.

What to do about all that internal scar tissue? I have lost several non-essential organs and am lucky to still have my bladder. But my insides are packed, nevertheless, with loads of scar tissue.

I found the answer in fascia (body-wide connective tissue) release, which involves compression and then extension of scar tissue. My practitioner is Lauren Clark Cadman, who I met at a HIME wellness event in Cincinnati two years ago.

At the time I was looking for another option for healing my hand that had been broken in three places after falling off a galloping horse. Physical therapy was unable to help me with the long-term inflammation and swelling. I could not curl my hand, and typing was a painful issue—especially because writing is my “thing.” Lauren cleared it all up in eight sessions and I regained full, pain-free use of my hand again.

I decided to let her work on my abdominal scar tissues. I learned that during each session, it’s best to lie quietly, breathe deeply, and listen intently to my body while she’s working.

Recently she was compressing around my bladder. While she held one spot for a long time, I saw an image of a donkey nose. I chuckled and told her what came to me. As I talked, the scar tissue relaxed and let go. It was being stubborn like a donkey until it was recognized and given the attention it wanted. Then it no longer needed to hold on so tight. I could feel blood flow going down to my toes, loosening up more tissue.

During my most recent session, she was again working around my bladder and intestines. The right side of my body gave a big twitch. After the session, I went to my car and soon found myself crying. I cried off and on for the rest of the day. I understood more deeply how emotional pain is stored in the body, and it’s this kind of pain that can create digestive issues and chronic dis-ease. Lauren quotes a common saying that “the issue is in the tissue” because the subconscious mind stores painful memories in fascial tissue. It’s a way for the brain to protect us until we can safely process our feelings. When we are no longer in fight or flight mode, the body is able to let go of the pain. Crying is a normal and healthy result of this treatment.

I’m not expecting the visible scar tissue on my skin to disappear, but the internal holding is letting go, giving me more space on every level.

I now have more freedom of movement in my entire body–also in part because of practicing tai chi daily during the past couple of years. I used to be much more stiff and had to put a lot of effort into getting in and out of a saddle. Not anymore.

I ain’t done yet, though. This week I woke up from a dream in which I was taking the wooden covering off a mummy. Oh no, my cover’s been blown! More wrappings of myofascial scar tissue in my abdomen need to be released.

It’s time, I’m ready, and so is my body.

Anchor’s away! I’m sailing into my bright new life with good health.

Clearing Chemo Brain

Do you have difficulty with simple mental tasks and short-term memory? Do you feel like your brain is all fuzzy and foggy? Like you’ve got glue between your synapses and the thoughts can’t make the leap into clarity?

I struggled with this for a long time after 42 days of chemotherapy infusions spread out over two years, not to mention anesthesia from seven major surgeries. When I finished my final chemo treatment, I could barely string three sentences together.

A lot of this furry focus cleared up during the first year, but it still persisted. A friend of mine, who only had six treatments, was told she went from being very, very smart to being very smart.

Not good enough. I am a traditionally published author. I need to be able to think and make connections. I need clarity and focus.

The first helpful idea, thanks to Julie Loewenstine, was to take a teaspoon of Brahmi leaf powder (water hyssop) every day. After a year of faithful supplementation, I made noticeable improvement, but I was still frustrated with that gluey sensation gumming up my synapses.

Less than a year ago I talked to my medical Qigong practitioner, Lani Lee, in Columbus, Ohio. She recommended a full month of eating two cups of organic parsley or cilantro every day. I had read that these herbs help pull heavy metals out of the body, and my brain probably had a lot of platinum stored in it from my eight cisplatin treatments. (I call myself the million-dollar miracle woman because of how expensive these treatments are—and I’m worth every penny!) And who knows what else was sticking around in my noggin. So I ate lots of Mexican dishes with cilantro piled on top and drank lots of chicken broth with parsley stirred in.

That helped tremendously, but I still wasn’t there yet.

During the spring I discovered, from reading about how to recover from trauma as part of my research for my next book–Grieving an Addict–that neurofeedback can help. So I started with Kristin Wooten during the summer. It involves sitting in an easy chair with electrodes on the head and listening to music from a computer that is designed to help the brain see what it’s doing and self-correct. Each correction is noted with a blip in the music.

After about twenty sessions, I found this was helping me make that last jump into being able to fully think once again. I am enjoying how my writing flows much better than before, and also has greater clarity.

Of course, many other aspects of my life have helped me clear out chemo brain. And for my writing, my editor, Mary Langford, has made a huge difference. She worked with Master Storyteller Sidney Sheldon for five years and he told her that, in some areas, she was a better writer than he was. I feel most fortunate to have access to her skills through grants from the Ohio Arts Council.

And I feel deeply gratified that I finally have my brain back.

Another advantage of neurofeedback has been its help with persistent insomnia. The local sleep clinic was unable to help me. I haven’t arrived where I want to be yet, but I’m moving in the right direction.

What have you tried that helped you regain your brain?

Clearing chemo brain is a crowning achievement. Photo by Judy Peace while we were celebrating my nine years free of cancer.

Virtual Panel on Gynecological Health Nov. 5

A medical panel of experts has come together for a virtual meeting on Thursday, November 5 at 3 pm CT. 

Topics to be discussed:

  • Options to treat uterine fibroids: when is surveillance acceptable
  • Surgical treatment options available for women with uterine fibroids; traditional surgical hysterectomy and myomectomy (vaginally or abdominally), laparoscopic hysterectomy, and myomectomy, and laparotomy using a small incision in the abdomen
  • Use of power morcellation- what you need to know
  • Importance of imaging findings in guiding approach
  • Importance of following up on tissue diagnosis: leiomyoma/fibroids vs presence of cancer
  • Risk factors for uterine sarcoma / leiomyosarcoma
  • Lessons to be learned from those experienced in treating uterine LMS

To participate, please contact Annie Achee of the National Leiomyosarcoma Foundation:  annieachee@aol.com

For more info, please visit https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ORaJRVl3x9YISH6tH7jwRrwxJNzW-G0rza6kG-bR79s/edit

9 Years Free!

This month I am celebrating nine years free of any evidence of cancer and free of any kind of cancer treatment! After being told to get my affairs in order.

So grateful for my life and to be alive and well!

Currently I am doing neurofeedback and BodyTalk, and advancing in tai chi, along with all my usual self-healing techniques. And drinking daily green sludges–er, smoothies. And as the nurse said yesterday, “still taking 150 supplements.”

Recently did a fun corn maze with my son near Dayton. They had a sunflower patch, symbol of sarcomas.

Another 6 Ways to Improve Your Immunity

“One study demonstrated that significant changes take place in the brains of those who practice mindfulness meditation, even after only eight weeks of daily practice. Their moods lifted and their immune systems were strengthened.”
Thriver Soup, pg. 314

“According to Donald Yance, herbalist and certified nutritionist, licorice also blocks tumors and enhances the immune system. If you have any high blood pressure issues, I suggest using licorice in which the DGL (glycyrrhetinic acid) has been removed.”
Thriver Soup, pg. 149

“So maybe having a treat every so often is a way to increase the joy in life and give a little boost to the immune system. Denying myself an occasional treat isn’t terribly nurturing for the soul.”
Thriver Soup, pg. 150

“Probiotics in general can facilitate digestion, help the gut maintain regular bowel movements, stabilize the immune system, and assist with detoxification.”
Thriver Soup, pg. 140

“Reishi mushrooms can increase white blood cell and tumor-fighting cell production, cut off the growth of new blood vessels to tumors, and reduce the migration of cancerous cells. They have been known to decrease the toxicity created by chemotherapy drugs. When looking for a supplement, select one with a higher level of triterpenoids, which provides the most benefit. The more bitter the tea or tincture, the more potent it is. The recommended dose is three to five grams per day, or ten to thirty drops.”
Thriver Soup, pg. 134

“Don’t sprout alfalfa seeds, said Sally Fallon in Nourishing Traditions. The resulting sprouts promote inflammatory illnesses and suppress the immune system.”
Thriver Soup, pg. 133

10 More Ways to Improve Your Immunity

“Laughter gives your diaphragm, abdomen, lungs, chest, and face an enjoyable little workout. It also increases oxygen levels in the blood and tones the whole cardiovascular system. After laughing, all your muscles relax, including your heart. Your blood pressure and pulse rate temporarily drop. You might be able to tolerate pain a little better, and your digestion will improve. Your immune system also functions more optimally.”
Thriver Soup, pg.  287

“Green tea has been shown to stimulate the immune system, inhibit metastasis, reduce inflammation, provide anti-oxidants, promote the effectiveness of radiotherapy, and detoxify the body.”
Thriver Soup, pg. 149

“Moving our bodies can help balance our hormones, reduce blood sugar levels, reduce inflammation, decrease fatigue, protect our immune systems, and reduce the risks of recurrence.”
Thriver Soup, pg. 172

“Sea vegetables provide a great number of necessary minerals and vitamins. They help the body detox and are rich in iodine, which is toxic to breast cancer cells. Both wakame and kombu stimulate the immune system and encourage cells to die in a normal way.”
Thriver Soup, pg. 137

“I also found out that stress depresses the immune system by repressing the white blood cells.”
Thriver Soup, pg. 178

“Aloe vera has an anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor gel that stimulates the immune system and protects against the ill effects of radiation treatment.”
Thriver Soup, pg. 136

“The practice of qi gong assists the energy flow, helps the body stay calm, can improve with cellular regeneration, and slows the aging process. The practice is linked to improved bone density and better immune responses.”
Thriver Soup, pg. 175

“Some studies suggest the sunshine vitamin might provide some protection against colon, prostate, and breast cancer, probably because it helps control cell growth and maintain a strong immune system. Vitamin D is crucial for bone health, enabling the body to absorb calcium, and assists the body with maintaining normal blood levels of phosphorus.”
Thriver Soup, pg. 148

“Repressing threatening emotions depresses the immune system.”
Thriver Soup, pg. 184

“Honey has been used since ancient times as part of traditional medicine. It works as an antibacterial, antioxidant, antitumor, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral agent, probably because of its flavonoids.”
Thriver Soup, pg. 47

ABCs of Thriving in Life

Great news! My October annual X-ray shows I continue to be free of any evidence of disease. Eight years now, after being told to get my affairs in order!

To celebrate this year, I’ll be sharing healing options LIVE at 11 am this Saturday, Nov. 9, at the Valdez Main Library in Tucson, AZ. Come with your questions.

If you’ll be anywhere near Tucson on November 9, I’d love for you to join me for this conversation. Hope to see you there!

The ABC’s of Thriving in Life
Saturday, November 9, 11 AM – 12:30 PM
Joel D Valdez Main Library, 101 N. Stone Ave., Tucson AZ 85701

Discover 3 key ingredients you can apply immediately to thrive in every area of your life. Learn simple new ways to update your Attitudes, Behaviors, and major life Choices to assist with conquering dis-ease and feeling better—for anything from anxiety to cancer to what to do during retirement. This uplifting presentation includes a gentle guided visualization so you can discover your own clues for experiencing more vibrant health.
https://pima.bibliocommons.com/events/5db0a83d75016939005ef066

#cancertreatment #sarcoma #inspirationalspeakers #thriveon

NLMSF’s “Tackling Leiomyosarcoma” at The James in Sept.

The NLMSF.org symposium “Tackling Leiomyosarcoma: A Team Approach” was brief and to the point, held in Columbus, Ohio, during September. Here Floor Backes, MD, at The James, talks about ULMS.  Thank you, Annie Achee and Mitch Achee, and all who made this program possible!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joel Mayerson, MD, spoke about a surgical perspective on LMS of the limbs. Here he identifies the differences between benign and malignant tumors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here is another informative slide: