Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Good and Weird News

It has been a very busy summer, and I am happy fall is here. I love the cool weather, it makes me feel new, alive, more motivated and happy. Phil has been doing so well. In every way. He has been living life as normal, but even better - with the new wisdom gained from his experiences. He is enjoying his job and I have been enjoying my days while he is gone, when I can catch up on just breathing, being, and healing. His medication is working wonders for his emotional stability, which is a key element for Cancer survivors who have gone through chemo and radiation. Look at him! Couldn't be hotter!



The majority of my time goes into taking care of him. I wouldn't have it any other way. We are eating better. Phil ate whatever he could stomach during his year of cancer. This meant McDonalds, In and Out, Snickers ice cream, you name it. He was skin and bones and any calories we could get in him was good. But recently we both hit a wall (esp me) and realized it was time to eat right. I have been reading so much and many different types of books on post cancer diets (vegan, vegetarian, paleo, specific carbohydrate diet, GAPS). There are endless definitions when it comes to "Eating right", so I like to get as much info as possible before making statements or plans. 

Just in the past 3 wks I have felt so much better mentally and physically. Phil is the same. Though it is no guarantee that eating perfectly organic, etc will prevent cancer from coming back, but I do think it helps and it just makes life so much better to enjoy. Food is the fuel to our machine, and that is one thing we CAN control. After experiencing so much helplessness, it is empowering to see evidence that we've been doing the right things for our bodies.

Mainly we have given up grain, sugar and most dairy. I eat cheese occasionally. Everything is organic. We eat more vegetables then anything. Organic meats, but only a palm-size amount, and not every night. Seeds, nuts, some legumes and then a few fruits a day. I'm off alcohol (sugar), and into juicing. I love my lemon water every morning. Every week we enjoy a treat day. Instead of going all out, we enjoy a few foods/drinks that we love- I have found this to be a key element in sticking with this lifestyle- it is realistic. Phil is more lax then me about the diet, but he is also much more active so I make healthy stuff for him, and he usually makes good choices on his own, but enjoys a few more treats then me ;) I have lost a little weight, but it is not the main reason for the diet change. It is bonus. For years I have tried diets and I have yo-yo'd. The best diet is the hardest, eat well and exercise. It might not shed pounds fast, but it does it in the right way. The main reason was we were feeling so yucky, cloudy, unmotivated, down. It's no way to live.

I can't say I would've done anything differently in the past year as far as eating habits. Phil would say the same... we were surviving. I had to live on hospital cafeteria food with very little options as far as healthy ones. Besides, I wanted carbs and sugar for comfort- and honestly it worked in a way! I don't really want to regret much in life. And in this case I just think we do what we can. When you can do more, then go for it. Now is that time and we are reaping the benefits. I turn 30 next May. I'd like my 30's and Phil's to be healthy ones. 

I am working on a blog with my recipes which friends have been asking for. It takes A LOT of brain power to make healthy meals twice a day (I make his lunches for work too), and sometimes I think I'll go crazy! So I also think having a blog to look back on for ideas would be great. Once it is up I'll put a link to it in the sidebar. I want to share all of my healthy discoveries with you friends!


Now for the weird part

Last weekend Phil got very sick, throwing up all day Monday. The next day he woke me up and said, "I'm jaundice".  For those of you who don't know, that is the first symptom Phil had when his body told us he had Cancer. The tumor was blocking the bile duct, thus blocking bilirubin from filtering through his system. That day we went in for a blood test. Results were fine, his blood count good. Then he had a CT scan, which ended up showing some kind of small mass in the bile duct. The Dr. was vague so we didn't let ourselves get too worked up. Then our friend Tom did some research (so sweet) and discovered that gallstones are a regular complaint from post chemo patients. The buildup of bilirubin and just chemicals in general can cause stones to form in the gallbladder. In the past few days his jaundice actually has subsided and is now completely gone.

We wonder if he passed a stone. Note that his bile duct is now misshapen from all of the treatments and it is more likely to cause issues with things passing freely through it. He didn't experience any pain however, which makes me question if the stone could have been big enough to be called a "mass" by the Dr. Either way we will know this week, hopefully tomorrow- because he just had a pet scan Monday. That is the test where he drinks a sugary liquid, lies in that big white machine and it takes a scan of his whole body. Hospitals use this as last resort because one treatment is the same as a year's worth of radiation. However it really is the only way to find cancer, because cancer feeds on sugar- thus lighting up the bad parts. If there is a lit up area, it is cancer, and we will quickly do what must be done. If it is not, then we will do more tests to figure out what it is and go from there. There are natural ways to flush out small stones, but sometimes very large ones can form which cannot be past, and must be removed surgically. 


Whatever it is we are very calm, collected and determined to stay positive through it. Phil had one day with a few hours of desperate tears. I held him, wondering how on earth could he be so brave to go through this again. But the next day while he was at work I texted him and asked how he was feeling. He said, "I'm good. I've made peace with it. This is how my life will be from now on." My breath was taken away. When he got home he was upbeat and said, "I am determined not to get weak again, to keep working and to not go back to where I was." I just couldn't and can't understand the degree of bravery. Of course I for a moment panicked about being thrown back into the life of care-giving, sleeping on that chair, the smell of the hospital, dealing with pain medication, puking, sadness- worst of all wondering if I would lost my other half... But the next day, like Phil- I felt calm. I wasn't worried and I let go of it all. "Throw your burdens on Jehovah"...I felt, okay, what can be worse that last year? If it ever did get that bad there would be no surprises. 

Cancer is old-hat now for us, and we feel like it is something we might have to contend with for a long time. So there's no point in worrying anymore. We have been shown time and time again that Jehovah provides the peace and support we need at just the right times. All of you dear friends and the congregation praying for us as well. Jehovah hears them, and is giving us what we need to deal with this. Besides IT MIGHT BE A GALLSTONE ;)

I will post as soon as we find out the results. I thank you all once again for your continued support in following our journey. I hope you are all hanging in there in your own bubbles. Much love,
Hollie




5 comments:

EL said...

Thinking of you both ♥♥♥I am sure it will all be ok! Liesel

Zazou said...

This made me bawl. Both in remembering my care-taking days for my husband when he was sick, and for the open, heartfelt way you expressed yourself. I know Jehovah sees you and cares for you. And I am adding my prayers to the many others being said for you both. xoxo your friend in South Carolina, Susan

Dave Sturgeon said...

Hollie Wollie Doodle xoxo Thanks for the update sweetie. You're both so brave and inspiring. Keep positive, we'll get through it together, no matter what! Love you, dad

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