When you or a loved one is diagnosed with cancer I think everyones head just starts to buzz a bit. You see the doctors mouth moving but really can’t hear anything. I think our body just kind of shuts down to protect itself… even if it is for just a moment or two. I can not for the life of me imagine hearing these words while sitting alone in a doctors office. I know when Peter was diagnosed the air left the room. While neither of us are “wallowers” there certainly was a deep panic, horror, sadness, fear and helplessness for a few moments as the doctor was speaking. Then it was time to gather information, snap out of it. It is incredibly tough to be a passenger along for the ride when a loved one is diagnosed with cancer or any other life threatening or debilitating disease. Part of dealing with it is learning everything there is to learn, so you can be the best advocate that you can be. It takes away the total helplessness. I did nothing but research everything I could find for months… it became my job. I took notes, asked pages of questions to every doctor we visited. I can not imagine facing something like this without an advocate!! That is what I’d like to share with anyone struggling. The more you know and learn, the less helpless you feel. The more you learn about the condition the more equipped you are at caregiving and also finding the right treatment plans and options that your loved one has. You can surly accept whatever is spoon fed to you in the midst of the fear but then you are just along for the ride… feeling helpless. Peter already had so much knowledge about CLL after watching his brother Steve struggle for so many years with it. He knew immediately what he would and would not do considering treatment. In that few moments of Buzz in the doctors office when he was given a diagnosis, I think what snapped me back was when he said I will not do chemo. It’s so hard not to let the fear grab ahold and gallop away. For myself I found that prayer and research helped me rein it in. There is so much cutting edge medicine out there… but we needed to find it. I researched everything I could get my hands on. I can’t imagine how it must have been before the internet!! There is so much information out there.. good and bad. I have mentioned before that I didn’t really find a support site for spouse or partners other than the take care of yourself stuff. Being a passenger along for a ride when Peter is in the drivers seat with no steering wheel was beyond overwhelming in the beginning. We both have strong faith that the path he is supposed to take will open when the time is right… and it did. I not only researched treatment options.. standard forms, medicinal treatments but also alternative treatments and philosophies. Any thing it takes to save Peter and heal him is what we will do. We are both interested in integrated medicine and alternative therapies and lifestyle changes that can be mixed with western medicine. Any treatment that can do no harm or work to enhance treatment is what we decided to embrace. Peter’s diet used to be pretty unhealthy prior to my moving in with him. Since that time he has been eating natural and organic meats, vegetables, fruits and grains. Now we have added juicing to his routine.. nothing but organic non GMO items and adding turmeric and wheat grass. He was taking immune boosting herbs up until his clinical trial began. We use essential oils… primarily frankincense and myrrh (both are boosters of cellular health and immune boosters…. being used in cancer research… the 3 wisemen were wise indeed), once Peters strength returns we exercise and do a bit of yoga, reduce stress however we need to and I also went and took training and became certified as a Reiki practitioner. Reiki is a Japanese based healing and relaxation technique used for centuries. Some religious people may think this is voodoo but I assure you my lineage is faith based. It has done amazing things for Peter’s stress relief and seems to improve his blood count numbers. Reiki is recognized in the health field and is even offered in many hospitals to patients and their family’s.
If you don’t know about Reiki I include some links for you.
For information on essential oils I include these links.
As far as diet and alternative thoughts.. integrative ideas I offer these links..
Eat foods as close to nature as possible. No GMO’s, No hormones, No antibiotics added to foods, eliminate added sugars and high fructose corn syrup which is hard… they are in nearly all prepared foods, eliminate pre packaged foods. If you can not pronounce the ingredients because they are all chemicals… DON’T EAT IT!!!! Shop local and fresh, eat what is in season. Yes, it costs more.. but I can say without hesitation… cancer costs more!!!
One of the best pieces of advice I was given early on was to just sit together and talk deep, make a plan, find your truth and balance… and support each other 100% in whatever decision is made… and then block out all the noise around you. Everyone has advice.. and it all comes from love & caring… but ultimately the decision is personal. Everything is weighed, measured, and prayed about. This is the advice we took & followed. Between the clinical trial and all the other integrated treatments Peter is doing great… and we focus on his healing.
The bottom line is this… whatever it takes…