Quick Blog Health Update:
I consulted with my doctors last Friday after getting the results back from the recent CT scans and MRI’s and the good news is that things seem pretty stable across the board. The brain was stable, the spine seems stable, and we are still waiting to get a read on the lungs. I’ve got to drain some fluid off the lungs to get a more clear picture of what is going on. Hopefully that will happen this week.
I meet with a new doctor this week at Stanford to assess additional treatment options to help attack the cancer on the spine and a spot on my liver. For the most part we will hold course and have scans in another 6-9 weeks. So basically, great news and looking forward to ongoing treatments and maybe a few new ones to be added as we uncover new information.
I had the opportunity to visit with a Palliative Care Physician and her team a couple of weeks back. I had never heard of such a role, but several nurses suggested it would be worth my time.
Wikipedia (the new modern-day encyclopedia some of us used to pull off the shelf to learn stuff back in the day): Palliative care is a multidisciplinary approach to specialized medical care for people with life-limiting illnesses. It focuses on providing people with relief from the symptoms, pain, physical stress, and mental stress of the terminal diagnosis.
The visit was interesting in that the doctor asked me lots of questions about how I was doing and inquired about my medications. She asked me how I felt about my drugs and if I thought they were working for me. This is a difficult question for me, because I honestly don’t really know if the drugs are working for me, I mean I think they are, but I don’t really know.
She is talking not just about the Chemotherapy and Radiation I have received but she is talking about all of the medicines they give me to counter act the Chemo and to try and improve my quality of life. I don’t really know if they are working…I try different arrangements of the drugs to see how I feel but it is not easy to figure out what makes me feel better. There are also drugs I am taking to improve my vitamin B and D levels and other things to improve my overall health.
She suggested some drugs I could take and my initial reaction was, “I don’t need to take those drugs,” “Why would I need to take those kinds of drugs?” she said, “because they can boost your energy and give you more life during the day when you want it.”
I had a preconceived notion of these drugs based upon a lifetime of hearing about them and knowing others who took them for certain reasons such that I believed they were not something that I needed. My frame of reference colored my opinion and my beliefs were blocking my ability to be open to something new. I realized that I have always been a person that does not even like to take an Advil, I hate taking pills, I have always believed that if you eat right, sleep well, exercise, participate in a good community that pills probably will not help make your life better.
She challenged my view by saying in your current state, the medicines you are taking are killing all of your cells, both good ones and bad ones, and if you don’t do anything to help yourself, you are in a position where your body cannot just fix itself. You must learn to love the drugs I am suggesting for you and to take your pills and appreciate that they are there to assist you…not hurt you…and that your body does not have the capability at the moment to repair itself, so you need help.
This was tough for me to hear and actually it was not until Jan debriefed the meeting with me and pointed out that my frame of reference or belief system was getting in my way and that I needed to be open to new ways of thinking and framing up of the situation.
I am learning to love and appreciate the various sets of drugs I can take, I am choosing to believe they can help me fight cancer and improve the quality of my life. Like anything, if we believe it is working, it probably is and visa versa if we believe whatever we are doing is not working, it probably won’t work!
Since my meeting I have done some research and found they are doing some interesting things at UCLA that I think speak to some of my reflections and is worth checking out for those with an interest in the intersection of various things that promote healing and well-being.
The Norman Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology at UCLA investigates the interactions between the brain and the body, the role of psychological well-being for health and recovery from illness, and the translation of such knowledge into effective behavioral strategies that prevent disease, promote healing and enhance well-being across the life span.
We all face beliefs about ourselves or others that limit our ability to see something new. I challenge each of you to find one thing to alter or shift that might allow you to see someone, yourself, a situation, a family dynamic, a work challenge, etc. in a new way. As we all do this, it really makes us better understand people and things and opens us to learning. I am grateful that I have done this with my drugs and I’m looking for new things every day to broaden my horizons!