Baldies' Blog began originally in the UK by a 26 year old journalist with a blood cancer on a mission to inform the world about bone marrow donation.

He has since died, and I took on the cause of making cancer care more transparent for everybody.

Cancer is a disease that will touch everybody through diagnosis or affiliation: 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed and 1 in 3 woman will hear those words, "You Have Cancer."

I invite you to read how I feel along my journey and
how I am continuing to live a full life alongside my Hodgkin's lymphoma, with me controlling my cancer, not my cancer controlling me.

I hope that "Baldies' Blog" will prepare you to handle whatever life sends you, but especially if it's the message, "You Have Cancer."

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Friday, January 9, 2009

My Problem is in my Head

I’m becoming a little disenchanted with the traditional medical community, not that I don’t still have a great love for their endeavors.
I think it’s time for me to explore healing more, specifically in terms of me.
I saw a neurologist at DHMC yesterday, Dr. Jenkyns. He appeared very intelligent and capable. I’m scheduled for an MRI/MRA next Friday.
I used to joke that anybody could be a neurologist, so long as you had the compacity to write EEG, MRI, and MRA.
There, job done.
I wanted to be a neurologist.
Jenkyns, being the intelligent man he his, understood that with my co-morbitidities (other problems), that traditional treatment would be difficult.
We ran down my neurological history: A fractured skull at birth, a period greater than 20min. without vital signs, 4 sports related head injuries beyond that all resulting in the loss of consciousness but all for less than two minutes. I recovered from my birth and by eighteen months I was deemed neurologically “normal” or identical to my twin, Heather.
At thirteen, around when I began my menses, I started having “menstrual” migraines which often correlated with my hormonal fluctuations.
I changed my diet by omission: beer, wine, cheese, deli meat, and chocolate, which failed.
I tried four different types of birth controls.
I took tryptan (like imitrex) medications prior to my period and through out to prevent the occurrence.
I tried massages, reiki, cranial-sacral therapy, acupuncture/pressure.I’ve been to apothecaries in China town, NYC and tried their suggestions.
I've read volumes of healing manuals from Western cultures (thanks Pauline), and looked into what the abenaki tribe would do with this (I think it was a spiritual meeting with a healer), in combination with smoking a set of herbs (no jokes about me smoking the herbs, please).
I’ve been to pharmacies in the Heights where they’ve recommended Native Latin American therapies.
I’ve tried energy healing.
I tried the laying on of hands and the sacrament of the sick, much like I’ve tried to find an adjuvant cure for my cancer.
I’m a health nut, and I like to think that health and healing is just as much an art as it is a science.
Neither art nor science has been working.
These headaches continued until 2006 when I became menopausal. Then, WHAW-LAW, no more migraines. YES!!!
Now they are back, possibly as a side effect of a trial treatment I received to ward off Graft V. Host.
The effects of GVH are minimal. I think it is too early to say if it has worked, but unfortunately, the neurological side effects are difficult to manage, especially with all my allergies (the “no” drugs and their cousins which may cause the same effect of dyskinesia), the interactions (a combination of my lexapro (an anti-depressant) and a tryptan (imitrex, relpax, those things) would cause the dreaded SEROTONIN SYNDROME) make it extremely difficult to suggest ANYTHING.
Steroids as a medical bandaid I won’t accept unless the Pres. of my healthcare, Alyea himself, orders it.
Jenkyns' suggestion for symptom management: try that ONE alternative thing that worked when you were a teenager. He also gave me a list of other alternative therapies to try, Sam E 200mg 3x a day, Riboflavin 400 mg once a day, feverfew 380 mg 3x a day, fish oil 1000mg 3 x a day, all one at a time of course.
I drove directly to Bannon’s Pharmacy/Granny’s Garden in Claremont. They are who I always see when traditional medicine is not helping.
I gave them my list and they got EVERYTHING for me. I could have just sat on the nice cozy benches and stared at the antique apothecary bottles if I wanted.
I opted to try Benadryl 25 mg at night and the meds from a box I recognized that stated “Migraine Relief” containing 48 chewable tablets. I found my old cure.
Unfortunately, among the working agents in migraine relief are BLOOD ROOT and Bella Donna.
I used to work with blood root as a teenager. It fascinated me. Parents, never under estimate what your kid can get over the internet. My family is lucky I was just experimenting on animals with Native American cures.
Blood root, which if I remember correctly is found in the Lake States and was commonly used by the natives of this area to treat surface tumors, can cause a proliferation of cells in response to its use (Weil, Spontaneous Healing). I.E. blood root may cause cancer.
I used it in the past in liquid form on a friend’s dog (Jared, do you remember this?) in junior high. That poor baby was all riddled with tumors and they were just waiting for him to die. When applied properly, the tumor sloughed off, just like it said it would. This was not enough to save its life; however, it was just a group of junior high school students' experiment in palliative care.
I certainly never wrote that one up for my science teacher.
Bella Donna I’m less familiar with, but I have heard it is poisonous.
Eitherway, THIS WORKS. I have no idea WHO TO ASK the blood root question. I’ll email Melissa, the reigning current VP of my care.
In the meantime, I’ll continue to use this.
***PLEASE THANK T.McCracken for the use of her cartoons. See more of her genius health related cartoons at *****

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