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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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Adventures in Alternatives

"Thyme Heals all wounds." -silly Hillary

The first time I saw a naturopath, he asked me, “What do you want to receive out of therapy?”
I was startled by the question. What do you mean what do I want to receive? No one has ever asked me that question before, not in two and a half years and dozens of providers.
I was dumbstruck and speechless, “Uh, I don’t think I understand your question.” I stammered out.
This is my ultimate cop-out, the I-can’t-quite-conjure-up-an-answer-to-this-surprise-question response.
“What is your goal for this type of treatment? What do you want to receive?” he asked, rephrasing the question gently.
I’d never thought about this before. I thought the goal of all therapies was very clear, but having been asked, straight forward, face-to-face with this naturopath, this “out of bounds” doctor, I was shocked and searching for an answer.
I wanted to be cured, but that wasn’t the whole reason, and it wasn’t the reason I was seeing this Doctor. I wanted more and I didn’t even know it until he had asked me that simple question.
“I guess I want to feel as good as possible. I want my body to be in the best possible shape my body can be in prior to my transplant (This took place in March 2008).” The Doctor shook his head, accepting my answer, and started writing.
Until that moment, I had never thought of “prepping” my body for treatment. I’d never said the words out loud. I’d never been asked the right question or knew there was even a possibility I could strengthen my body in preparation for treatment.
After the shock from the question had worn off, I had bought the list of medications, and had made it safely back to my hotel room, I passed out cold, oddly comforted and content after seeing a new doctor. I was comforted that I saw a provider that knew I was a person who had specific goals in mind and who wanted my input on what the ultimate outcome I wanted to achieve as a goal.
You’d think the answer to this question would be obvious. It’s a common assumption that everybody wants a cure, but what about in the meantime? There is a significant period of time between diagnosis, treatment, and cure with surgeries, chemotherapies, and radiation all mixed in.
Then there are wait times, when you are at home recovering from the previous treatment and anxiously awaiting the next scan.
What about practices during the treatment to improve quality of life by complimenting therapies? Why just “anti- drugs”: anti-emetics, anti-psychotics, anti-depressants, anti-inflammation, anti, anti, anti, against, against, against. These all work on the theory that the problem all ready exists and must be halted in progression.
If they are common side effects, can’t we take measures upfront in the form of complementary (I like to call it complimentary) therapies, medications, or diets to prevent or at least minimize them?
YES! I thought I could.
I was on a whole new roll.
I had been trekking along one path and all the sudden veered off into unknown, unchartered territory, right where I wanted to be!
Hooray for me.
I took the regimen from April 28 until July 2nd, during this period, I started to regain my vitality. I had energy, and I felt like myself. I did have fatigue that required napping, but I was able to throw my sister’s wedding shower, dance for hours, and stay up all night at the Bachelorette Party (we watched the sun come up on the ride home).
I think that’s pretty damn good. I did accomplish my goal, but even better, during the period of using this regimen I had two PET scans. And magically, low and behold, my tumor had shrunk!
I’m now officially rooting for the underdog.

3 comments:

brynn said...

I always root for the underdog! :)

Anonymous said...

Hillary
you may even be 1/2 german if your donor was from there. I still think She is a little french girl. I wonder if you can get citizenship because your bone marrow transplant makes you 1/2 French?? or German. Maybe you can get the treatment under that countries socialized medicine??

Bekah said...

Here's to being the underdog.

Sending, Much Love,

B