Archive for the ‘Cancer’ Category

Christine Lowry

Christine Lowry
Christine Lowry
Jan. 29, 1953 – Sept. 29, 2008

Christine Lowry passed away peacefully at 5:50am on Monday September 29. Her brother John was with her when she died. John had been living with her and taking care of Christine for the last three months.

Christine fought a 3+ year battle with colon cancer. She underwent several rounds of chemo as well as radiation. She wanted to get well and she wanted to live. She started this blog to reach out to other people who also have cancer and pass along information that would help.

Although Christine made a living as a legal secretary, her true passion was music and radio. She worked in college radio in the late ’70’s – ’80’s at KALX at UC Berkeley, and KUSF at University of San Francisco. More recently she was on the air at KGGV in Guerneville as well as KOWS in Occidental. She also spent some time as a silversmith, had a keen interest in astrology and tarot.

Christine was a good friend of mine for the last 28 years and I miss her terribly.

A memorial service will be held for her at the Guerneville Community Church, Armstrong Woods Road (home of KGGV) at 4 P.M. on Tuesday, October 7th. The service will be followed by a remembrance celebration with her family and friends.

If you were a friend of or knew Christine, please feel free to post a comment and share some of your memories.

Vidya

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A Break In The Clouds

Well, last night I had great pain so I took some morphine around 2 a.m. but woke up this morning feeling wonderful, pretty healthy and ‘in my body’ and so much stronger than I had in a long time -weeks I’d say. To say I am happy about that is a super understatement. So I celebrated by going to Pat’s for breakfast, forgot to mention that an appetite came along with the new found strength. I knew what I needed, very light scrambled eggs on dry toast with a huge glass of orange juice. So I went there and got that and enjoyed it very much, thank you. Perhaps there could have been some health advantages if I had trolled on over to the wonderful Howards, but there is companionship at Pat’s that somehow misses being on the menu but is definitely there for me. Even when I go there and don’t speak a word its fun for me to listen to the banter between everyone else . They always remember Simon too.

This week has seen a couple of visits to doctors. Monday I went to the Russian River Health Center and got tested for a urinary tract infection (trying to find the cause of the pressure in my abdomen). Seems there’s ‘something’ there so I get the antibiotics for the infection and some Prilosec to help with the gas pressure. The doctor mentions possibly an ulcer, that sounds likely to me, but we will see. He prescribes then tells me to come back in two weeks and they will do more comprehensive tests to see what is going on generally with me.

Back To The Oncologists

I’m starting to hate that word oncologist, making me nauseous. Wednesday I got another appointment at the Oncologists and met with my nurse practitioner, after having my blood pulled. They weigh me and I now weigh 132 lbs, this is a bit freaky, always wanted to be slender but haven’t weighed this little since adolescence (and I mean since starting adolescence). I will enjoy the look while I may but it does send out warning signals yelling “cancer” shhhhhh.

Cheryl (my nurse practitioner) sits down and immediately says that they now think that the pain is caused by the cancer – not gas. She read me my CEA levels (readings which show how much cancer is active in your blood) and my levels had gone from 17 to 27, not encouraging, under 6 is normal. So, she insists I get back to some chemo asap, like tomorrow or the day after. I went for the day after but will be there . . . they sure know how to frighten you at these places.

Later I thought that the level change might be because I had a liver cleanse and it shook up my system and the blood pull with the high reading might be from the one after the cleanse (as it should have cleaned some cancer out of the liver) Oh well, who knows, I’m getting so I almost don’t care. I feel like grandma sometimes, always talking about this ache and that pain (not that my grandmas ever did, they were angels).

Getting Used to the Morphine

I had to take some morphine late this afternoon after all. I am trying to be more accepting of this. The pain is there and has to be taken care of and the morphine works on deadening the pain. If I am going to take morphine every day then I want to figure out how I function on it, so I started doing some housework, danced around a bit and just started to act normally rather than lying down on the bed – something I have done way too much of these past few weeks.

So, all in all I still feel great. Maybe I did end up taking the morphine but I managed to operate normally on it and now the morphine is out of my system I still don’t feel any pain.  I think it might be my next assignment to figure out the pain management as I don’t want any more pain.

That Darned Pain

Well, it seems like the pain might be toning down a bit, but I’m not sure. Today I took about four droppers full of morphine, and still I felt twinges. I wanted to go to the Strawberry Festival that KGGV put on today, its a major event for us and I didn’t even volunteer to help prepare (because I’m feeling sick so much of the time these days) I got up and took a quick walk with Simon this morning. He made the walk short himself, he just turned around and pulled me back home. ‘

I lay around with the computer for a while, around noon I thought I was ready to go to the festival so I walked on down, I made it about a block, I had to lean against the library to compose myself I was in such pain. So I put it off for a while, went back home, lay down, then did some more morphine which did the trick as far as giving me the confidence that I could make it to the festival.

The Strawberry Festival

There was a live broadcast going on which sounded great, very good recordings to whomever set that up. Blues Daddys, Thugz, Peggy Day and the Gypsy Nights, Midnight Ramblers, KGGV All Stars and a trio who were incredibly good and in fact a sextet from someone’s description Greg Hessler I think. And an accordionist who played between sets and was a blast. I made it there at around 4 thirty I think. I shuffled over to the chocolate fountain looking at it lovingly but remembering the mantra “cancer loves sugar” well, that took care of most of the food, but I grabbed myself a few sticks of strawberry kabobs and ate them unadulterated which was fabulous, all organic too, the local health store Food for Humans donated all the strawberrys – thank you Food for Humans. Everyone looked to be having the greatest time, including me even though I did feel twice removed because of the morphine I expect. Got a photo from the Ranger of me holding the reins of some fleeing horses in our Wild West flashback photo stand. I will treasure that.

I spoke to Hunter while I was there. Hunter hosts a show at KGGV about dealing with aids, excellent show. Hunter and I talked about the Mr. Leather contest he attended in Chicago. He came in 23rd in the WORLD. Hunter is 63 but they had the audacity to ask him whether he had a problem communicating with the youngsters out there. What a strange question and it says a lot about the guy asking it. I’m quite sure that Hunter could have spoken to the youngest contestant there about leather alone for 40 mins no problem. Anyway YAY to you Hunter and for speaking out for all 63 y.o.s (how ancient). Spent some time with Robert also at the festival, we talked about the meeting coming up for me – the meeting will be on Monday evening and everyone that wants to be part of the organization to support me who can be there will be there. Robert was telling me that physically he can’t make it, but reassuring me that he will be part of the group. Definitely Robert has been the person in Guerneville that I have been calling when I want someone to do things with. Thanks Robert.

Pain

There it is again, thats how it is with me too . . . sometimes nothing then ouch ouch ouch, sometimes I scream what the heck, stop it stop it stop it. And then it goes away. Or I hope it does, sometimes it stays around for hours on end. It seems like weeks now that I have been dealing with this pain and I don’t like that. I doesn’t sound like gas to me but might be some digestive upset. I was going to ask my doctors about it but I slept through my chemo appointment on Friday (I lay down around ten fortyfive a.m. and woke up around five in the evening) It seems that any day after taking the morphine I am sleepy all the time. I don’t like this as its not healthy but I can’t move around with this pain anyway. I think on Monday I should go to my local general doctor and see if I can get a test for a urinary tract infection or something that might explain whats going on in my insides.

Working on that Gas

Well, another day with quite a bit of pain in it. Maybe I asked for it at first, I drove down to Monte Rio to have breakfast at a cheap breakfast place I go to sometimes. I didn’t eat too much; eggs and toast essentially, gave the rest to Simon (dog). Had an orange juice too, that was GOOD. Afterwards I walked with Simon on Monte Rio beach, that was nice – there were many ducks around and Simon behaved himself by not chasing any of them.

Well, so far no pain, just a bruised feeling left over from last night. After breakfast I dropped into Safeway and bought myself some Gas-X. It took a few hours before pain of any amount came on so at that point I took the Gas-X, I mean if this is caused by gas then I would be stupid not to try and get rid of it the easy way I took a dose of 2 capsules (their daily limit) but noticed no difference. Over the next hour I took another one but it made no difference, I ended up taking 4 but by then I had taken so much morphine and smoked more joints so who knows about any difference it might have made.

Morphine Dosage

So I was at the point where I was hurting, feeling pissed off and desperate and reached for the morphine. I took two droppers full which should have been more than one dose. No effect, this is pretty frightening, when the pain killers don’t work you know you are in for a bumpy ride. I rolled another joint, that helped a little – sometimes I think its the ritual – but still I returned for more morphine and now am, while not in pain, in discomfort. I am trying not to lie down so much either, I think it makes me more nauseous. What keeps me going with this though is them telling me it wasn’t caused by my cancer (because the tumors aren’t where the pain is.) I have a feeling this pain might be connected to my belly button problem.

Plans for the Meeting

Beth called me again and we went over more about the meeting to come (where everyone who agreed to help me as my sickness progresses gathers together to meet for the first and only time.) It will be held in a room in a resort in town, the Dawn Roadhouse I think.

I am so looking forward to this meeting, I feel like I am just arriving at Guerneville for the first time and have the chance to meet all those people that I have, to date, only seen. Vidya might be able to attend telephonically (its a 90 min drive from the Bay Area!) so it looks like things will just fall into place, I hope so anyway for Beth’s sake. Beth is going through some stresses of her own too, with family moving in with her, so prayers for Beth who has been my guardian angel through this.

Community Church

Well, I’m still going to the Church, and feel very comfortable there. I wish I knew the tunes to some of the hymns but thats my only complaint! It is a nice experience to go there, sing hymns, listen to the sermon, hug and introduce myself to other members and afterwards we all eat a meal which another church member brings! It’s very loving and very down to earth. Last week I took my meal and sat by the KGGV garden which Peter and Damien and others have been lovingly tending. I love gardens, don’t you?

Continuing the Oleander

I am in my second day of Oleander and so far feel nothing, which is OK, at least its not making me feel nauseous. I ended up liking the liver cleanse more than I thought I would. It was very gentle on my system and worked over a period of three days. Yesterday I did my show on KOWS and bought a blackberry turnover and a carrot/beet juice from Howards before my show. I drank all the carrot/beet juice but could only get down a little bit of the turnover. By the end of my show I was feeling dicey, Robert called to see if I wanted to go to the third KOWS meeting, I wasn’t sure at first but by the end of my show I was feeling discomfort and I carefully drove back home.

What A Body Can Do To You

Once I got home I lay down, just clasping my stomach, it would turn out that I was having one of my episodes, when the abdomen just hurts so much its unbearable. After about 15 minutes of this I took three Endocets (generic for Percocet), that did nothing at all, certainly didn’t stop me from throwing up. It took about an hour or so to figure out that the meds weren’t working so I rolled my self around to get to the bathroom to get my morphine. This time I followed the nurses’ instruction which was to start off with a half dropper full, then a quarter dropper. She did promise the results were instantaneous, although I gave myself 20 minutes for it to kick in. Nothing in the way of any relief. So I went back and took another whole dropper worth and after a while that seemed to kick in to relieve the pain. Thank you Lord!!! However I found that exhausting on my system, dealing with that amount of pain.

Good News for Me – I Think

Well, Thursday came around and I was to meet with my nurse practitioner and afterwards my doctor. I was told that he would be talking about a new kind of chemo and perhaps pain management. So, I arrive at the oncologist and they have no record of an appointment for me. Well, it was last minute, it was only arranged yesterday I told them (they send me over to scheduling.) Scheduling thought it sounded suspicious and assured me that I wouldn’t see both my nurse and doctor. Well . . . So, I waited and waited and after about 30 minutes I was brought into one of the little cubicles they sit you in. Had my blood pressure taken: 100/60 sheesh a little low I think, but good enough to get me here. Temp is OK, oxigination is Ok, weight is lower at 143lbs.

Nice Surprize

So after all that I wait a little and along comes my nurse practitioner. She seems happy and says she doesn’t understand why they have called me in for a special appointment because the ct scan results are good (then why didn’t they give them to me sooner than 6 days after they were available?) Anyway, it seems there has been ‘growth’ but very very small so this is actually good. Maybe now it will slow to a halt, then reverse and just go away. I asked about the pain, which has been enduring, excruciating and frightening. My nurse thought that my pain wasn’t caused by my tumors (because the liver hasn’t pain receptors, which is strange as the doctor told me in February that my pains back then were probably from a tumor growing into a nerve ending in the liver.) I don’t want to argue so I didn’t, she then said that it actually could be gas, which can be incredibly painful, but for days on end? I guess with the damage to the colon and the whole system there it wouldn’t be too unlikely that I could end up having bad gas problems. Anyway, I took it under consideration, went out and celebrated with a dish I shouldn’t have had – orange sesame chicken. It tasted delicious but I threw it up when I got back home. Should know better than to eat meat, its funny but I’ve never liked meat and I have never craved it as much as I have going through some of this chemo.

KOWS Meeting

Saturday brought the next KOWS meeting, 11 a.m., it was a potluck, which means a trip to Safeway in my case, I really should learn to cook. There are three starter meetings, I guess we couldn’t agree on a date and chose three equally! Ha, that bodes interesting times at future meetings. I make it through two hours of the meeting with my stomach making comment after comment:  growl, whine, growl, growl, and then my ‘gas pains’ or whatever kicked in and I had to excuse myself, all doubled over tippy toeing out of there gently so I wouldn’t throw up inside. And, I made it most of the way up the driveway before the vomit came again, but safely on the gravel and around the rose bushes, I hope they (the roses) didn’t mind. Hope people don’t think I am rude for shuffling out so early (we were only about a quarter of the way through the agenda). There are some amazingly talented people at KOWS and I look forward to getting to know them. I really want to go to tomorrow’s meeting also, especially as Jeffrey Weisman is going to be there, it would be nice to see him. But I have an offer of a dog walking adventure out at the coast with Noel from KGGV and that sounds great.

KGGV and Beth’s Wonderful Offer

Beth (KGGV’s station manager) came by my home the other day and offered to set up a system for me, so that should I need help I can get it. I was amazed and it seems that many people have offered to help out and join a team which Beth is putting together, mostly people from KGGV and the Community Church. Beth wants me to reach people I know who would like to be part of this, I find this hard but I started off by asking Donna who works at Pat’s Restaurant, my breakfast dive, and has offered before to give me a ride should I need one to chemo. I asked Donna if she would like to be part of my team and she said yes with enthusiasm!! Well, that was easy but I am having trouble going forward from there. I have to learn how to do these things if I want to get better because I have to open my eyes to how wonderful life really is and can be, and meeting all the wonderful people who are willing to help me is bound to do that. This is exciting for me, I think there will be one big meeting with everyone next Thursday and after that there is a system set up and it all goes ‘automatically.’  I slept well that night and woke feeling wonderful and cared for.  What more could you ask for.

Going Back To Church And Coming Back To Health

Its Monday, Memorial Day, today. Yesterday I went to the Community Church for the first time, for several reasons. My medicine man suggested I join a church, the church has been praying for me for a year and I thought its time I acknowledged that. I got up and walked Simon on the beach, and along to Pat’s Restaurant where he gets his almost daily treats, I felt a bit better but it still hurt when I walked on an uneven surface, naturally enough. I went to Pat’s for breakfast, I had hardly eaten for three days so I needed something, ordered fruit and bagel, but couldn’t manage the bagel. Fortunately Peter from the station popped by and ate with me, updated me on ‘stuff going on’ I enjoyed the company.

Made it to Church

Well, thought I might feel just too feeble to make it to church, but actually I did OK. I walked to Church, well almost all the way, another radio DJ and church member stopped to give me a ride, meeting lots of angels on my journey. I got there a little early and talked with Beth and other people new to me. I was nervous but it was a sweet experience. There were hymns to sing that I didn’t know the tunes to, but it was fun singing, then a reading, then we stand up, move around and introduce ourselves around, then down in our seats for a talk and another reading. And at times the congregation would talk back. Well, I’m probably describing that wrongly, but anyway I enjoyed it and plan to go back. Afterwards there is food prepared, taken in turns by the congregation I understand (oops that means me someday!). I had a great time but left after lunch as I was starting to feel lightheaded. Beth dropped by to give me some flowers later, they are beautiful and sit in my living room as I type looking magnificent.

Feeling Better

This morning I felt a bit better, I had to take some meds last night as the pain woke me up and wouldn’t leave. But so far its 9:30 and no need for meds so I am grateful for that. Today I start the liver cleanse that goes with taking the oleander. The first few days are easy, I just drink a liter of apple juice in addition to my regular diet, there is epson salts later on – not as delicious but will cross that bridge later.

Got My CT Scan Results

Well, I went in on Wednesday, after drinking my chalky vanilla and chalky banana flavored drinks, I shouldn’t complain they certainly could taste worse, I hear the pina colada flavor is the best. Did my ct scan at 8 a.m. so that the fast wouldn’t bother me too much, and it didn’t. So I think I was out of there by 8:45 a.m. and off to home. But before I went home I stopped off at the Parkside Cafe for breakfast, I remember going there with Vidya recently and ordering something wonderful and healthy, but for the life of me couldn’t find it again on the menu so I ordered eggs, which I shouldn’t have, but they tasted great regardless.

And Then The Pains Came Back

Wednesday I started getting pains in my abdomen and pelvis again, so bad that I took my pain meds. At this time I had incredible constipation so I was loathe to do it (the pain meds make the constipation worse), but there is something in the convincing nature of pain that makes you act to stop it. Wednesday was mostly spent in bed, Thursday too . . .. Thursday it got so bad I reached for the morphine. Don’t know what it is about that morphine but I can’t get the dose right. It said to take 1.25 ml (very little amount) but that didn’t make any difference so I took about .75 ml more and that didn’t do anything either so I added another couple of 25 mls, no difference. At this point with the pain and fear I just lay there, David came around and put a heat pad on me that helped some, but I was confused about my meds and what I could take/mix between the Endocet and the Morphine. It was too late to call the doctors office.

I spent quite a bit of time crying too, not only because it hurt, but because this time it feels like the cancer has come back and I was so sure that the medicine man had ‘cured’ it, I know there was some effect from him but it seems the cancer is monstrous in its need to fight back.

Another of “Those” Phone Calls

So, Friday arrives and its time for me to go to chemo, but after two days in bed with awful pain I knew I wasn’t strong enough to cope with it so I called up the office, told them my situation, and asked if they could call with my ct scan results. A few hours later I got my call, OK not to do the chemo, but without going into any details the cancer has grown. This really gets to me, knowing that it was a ct scan rather than a pet scan too, where more detail is show, this growth must be quite noticeable.

I held myself together though and listened to the nurse tell me how they would schedule a visit with the doctor so he could go over the new results, give me another chemo option (please god no more chemo) and get another pain killer for me (they are talking patches now). When I hung up I cried. I guess this is good, so many times I have thought about my cancer and very seldom have I actually cried about my situation. But, where to now. I know I don’t want to do any more chemo, it is too brutal and it doesn’t work for me. I would love to go to Dr. Slavin but I am very far from having the money for this procedure.

Oleander Soup

Before getting my result from the ct scan I had already ordered some Oleander from Sutherland OPC http://www.sutherlandiaopc.com. It seemed reasonable in price, $45 Including shipping) for what normally would be a months supply but as I am further on it will be about $135 a month, very affordable (comparatively). I am to start a liver cleanse before starting the oleander.

Oleander is supposedly very effective in ‘curing’ HIV also, there is a clinical trial showing amazing effects, I will get it onto this site as this should be another tool in any cancer fighting package. Oleander has been around as a cancer ‘cure’ for about 5000 years, can be very toxic and there is certainly a way you can make your own oleander concoction but its complex and I would rather have someone else go through all that palaver. I mention that you can make your own concoction as at this point in my journey I have severe cynicism about buying pre-packaged expensive ‘miracle cures.’

Handwriting Analysis

Well, for fun I had noticed on a local bulletin board that there was a handwriting analyst who wanted people to write to her, she was preparing a book and wanted a variety of samples. I love attention and free analysis so I emailed her and she agreed to take me on. I was to list my issues in a letter to her. So I listed my inability to find a date over decades and she gave me some advice about changing my handwriting to change my ways (I give mixed signals by all accounts.) I also need to emotionally feed myself more (have more fun I think).

I thought her analysis was good but then she started to tell me about people she knew who had ‘cured’ themselves of cancer. This happens quite often to me, of course, its natural enough and doesn’t usually bother me. However, this time it practically made me angry, there was no asking me what I had done to help with the cancer only telling me ‘you have to follow this persons routine” you have to follow that persons routine, and I got angry with her. Didn’t help though, so I wrote down about six telephone numbers of people that I probably won’t call and I cried down the phone, she took that as a need for us to pray – she led the prayer asking God to send me people to guide me (like her I expect she meant). I expect I over reacted completely but in a way I’m glad I got angry at her, well I guess it made things more entertaining for us both.

Today its late Saturday, tomorrow I am planning (if no pain) to go to the Community church. This is a local church right next door to KGGV, they pray for me each week — Beth the station manager attends the church and Pam Tinnen the pastor works at KGGV also, in fact I heard Pam had wanted to counsel me but was unsure whether to approach me with this directly or not. For sure now I know I need some severe counseling, at this point death is a REAL option and after four days solid of pain I have to read the writing on the wall. Anyway, my medicine man told me that I needed to join a church also (for my emotional health) so I will try this out. I do hope I feel healthy enough to go. Beth also spoke about getting me organized with a system that will help me out with driving etc. I cried again, this is 100% what I need right now and I don’t know how or who to ask for help. Beth called before the handwriting analysis so it wasn’t as a result of that particular prayer, but she was certainly sent by some higher power.

Another Chemo Session

Well, have missed a couple of chemo sessions, which is my idea of a good thing. One I missed when I went to Southern California for a family reunion, the other when I went in the following week with a normal temperature but raging white blood cells, and a raw red throat – they sent me home with antibiotics saying I must be fighting something off, but this was a really good sign as its hard for a cancer patient at this stage to produce that high level of white blood cells.

Ct Scan In My Future

My Nurse Practitioner is setting up some ct scans for me to see whats happening inside. She mentions that if I tried to get a second PetScan within such a short amount of time it would be difficult – probably taking weeks just to get a response. Somehow I wonder how much detail the ct scan will show, but I am hopeful that things have improved since last time. Even though I have occasional twinges of pain its a manageable thing.

Medicine Man

Well, I still haven’t gotten to meet with my medicine man, but his life is in chaos at the moment. Of all my healers I think that I have appreciated his work the most, but I think I need another treatment or two. Plus I need a talking to about my attitude. I’m a pretty emotional person and anger has been in my life too much recently – I read somewhere that the CDC says that 85% of illness has an emotional cause – this I can believe. I have to manage this anger and cut it out. My medicine man suggested that I join a local church (or at least try it out) I wonder if this might be a way to help ‘manage’ my mind. Hey, I got that sky blue scarf yesterday, I went to Sebastopol and the first store I went into had this loverly sky blue shiny scarf (as prescribed by my medicine man), I went up to it and saw with disappointment that it cost $25, but as it was exactly what my mm prescribed I wanted to get it. However extracting it from the display it got caught on a wooden piece and the material was pulled. I asked the woman behind the counter if they had another one the same color, no she didn’t but she suggested I try another shop up the street (how nice!) so off I trot and am astounded at the price of silk scarfs and don’t find one I could afford which is sky blue. Then back to the first shop where they sold me the scarf at half price to compensate for the imperfection! Lucky me. Now I just have to find a Virgin Mary statute at a local Catholic church to work with, per my medicine man.

Another Chemo Session

Friday came and at one thirty I presented myself for my appointment. I felt comfortable with it this time, it has been two weeks since I last had a treatment and I felt strong enough to take it, though this Erbitux seems to be pretty easy to take. Had a short meeting with my Nurse Practitioner, my figures are all ‘great’ and my CEA is about 16 which is good because, if I recall, 6 is about top of normal. It was pretty boring, just sitting in the lazy boy chair for what ended up being 3-1/2 hours, but I didn’t vomit that night, I didn’t feel too bad at all and this is a wonderful thing, because I know how horrific the chemo can get.

A Good Article About The Budwig Diet

http://plantcures.com//budwig.html

This is a great little site, giving good info for a cheap and honest diet to improve the immune system.