Thursday, 31 December 2015

Welcoming 2016 at Longitude 0 Degrees!

It was a year full of surprises, uncertainty, anticipation, and not exactly by design - adventure! In 2015 I let the universe lead me. I started the year by quitting chemo, but by the summer I was thrust into a seemingly promising clinical trial, but, two CT scans later showed that our efforts have been naught. The cancer progressed and I had to quit. 
I have changed my circles this year too, it was a necessary step to reduce the toxicity in my life. I realised I wasn’t stuck and I had choices and I can implement them. It is liberating.
I believe things happen for a reason and we just need to let it be, give it the time and place to transpire. Listen and harness the power of coincidence and circumstance. The events of the year brought us to a felicitous location so perfect to welcome 2016 and immerse in all the sacred energies this important part of the world is believed to give out. 
We are starting the year at Longitude 0.00° - Greenwich England. Each year, thousands flock to the Royal Observatory to have their selfies taken on either side of the prime meridian line. The prime meridian of the world runs from the North pole to the South and divides the eastern and western hemispheres of the world. Its original location was agreed at a meeting in Washington D.C . in 1884 using a telescope. Once agreed, it became the official position of zero degrees longitude.
The Greenwich Meridian separates east from west in the same way that the Equator separates north from south. Inextricably linked with Greenwich Mean Time, it also sits at the centre of our system of time zones, and is the basis for maps around the globe. Its path is determined by the location of an historic telescope, the Airy Transit Circle, which is housed at the Royal Observatory here in Greenwich. Its position is marked in hundreds of other places too. On its path from pole to pole, the Meridian passes through England, France, Spain, Algeria, Mali, Burkina Faso, Togo, Ghana and Antarctica. The time at 0° is called Universal Time (UT) or Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). With the Greenwich meridian as the starting point, each 15° east and west marks a new time zone. The 24 time zones extend east and west around the globe for 180° to the International Date Line. When it is noon along the prime meridian, it is midnight along the International Date Line. In an article published just a few days ago by Mail Online states though that improvements in GPS tech show that the exact location of 0 degrees Longitude is out by 100m putting it in a line that cuts through Greenwich Park, by a bin. The observatory is expected to now place an official marker to highlight the location of the adjusted line.
Geomancy, the art of placing or arranging buildings or other sites auspiciously. Although dismissed by skeptics and the scientific community as being superstition, new research proves that there is more to this practice that is in revival, along with this new found consciousness that abounds in this day and age. People are starting to realise the connection between the earth, its innate energies,  its inhabitants, and how this harmony may be achieved.
Look along the Greenwich Meridian on a map, and you will find a whole raft of places that seem to mark or make use of their location on the line. Some are more recent celebrations of the co-location, but many date back hundreds, if not thousands of years. The Greenwich Meridian was seen by those of previous ages as an ancient Axis Mundi or World Axis, a symbolic connection between heaven and earth. The rediscovery of the science of Geomancy has allowed us to perceive the land with holistic and spiritual understanding. We now know that the ley-lines and earth energies create surface patterns that are influenced by the Sun and the Moon.
Greenwich Meridian Line
Stone temples and earth works stand as silent testimony to this ancient fact, as we have seen. To add another dimension entirely, a hypothetical east-west meridian drawn at right angles to the Greenwich Mean, would cut straight through the Round Tower on its mound at Windsor Castle, Cardiff Castle, Syon House and the ancient church of Ogbourne St George in Wiltshire, where this lateral line meets the St Michael ley, discovered by Paul and Hamish Miller back in the 1980’s. The Greenwich Meridian also cuts the St Michael ley at its critical Royston node, producing a right-angled triangle between the three points. There is a great amount of evidence that Greenwich was the centre of a cosmological scheme that extended right across southern Britain. The Roman temple ruins in Greenwich suggest that the Axis was set out in the distant past by a priesthood skilled in stellar observations and land surveying. There are no less than 60 historic sites connected to this meridian, including 24 ancient churches, 12 abbeys and priories, 10 manor houses, 7 royal palaces, bishop’s palaces and castles, and 9 Romano British camps and archaeological sites.
If you want to delve deeper I suggest you read the book Axis of Heaven by Paul Broadhurst.
The Observatory
I know some of you might think it’s a load of nonsense. We’ve been here a week now, when we first came, I wasn’t even aware of the meridian’s significance, I just wanted to see it like the other tourists. My energy levels were really low the first days here, but I notice it quickly improve whilst exploring the borough. When I saw the uphill climb to the Observatory I said to myself there is no way I can get up there without a wheelchair and there is no way I can explore this massive park on foot. Yesterday, Kirby and I ventured out, reached the top of the hill and made it to the Observatory, with energy left to boot. Then someone told me about this energy that ostensibly swaddle Greenwich. The concept of the Earth having energy currents is an ancient one. Feng Shui harmonises invisible currents called “lung mei” and “dragon paths”. Magnetic flows in the Earth’s surface, male and female, negative and positive, a luck bringing site occurs when these lines intersect. Like the concept of Chi - the energy in all living things, geodetic currents works on a planetary scale, representing the flow of energy between power spots. Imagined or not, I can certainly feel this so called force, this energy and I’m not going to waste it. I’m taking full advantage of the exceptionally warm winter the UK is having and what better place to be. It feels like I was led here at this time to soak up all this good vibes. Looking forward to a year of healing and blessings.

Happy New Year from 0° Longitude

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Wise Gifts From Three Wise Men

This is going to be the first Christmas ever where it’s going to be really really really quiet in my household. I don’t even have a tree this year. I’m known to go all out at this time of year, but this year is going to be the exception. We’ve had quite a rough year and we’re using the break as a breather more like, and maybe reflect on the real meaning of the yuletide season. December is always hectic for me but I’m really appreciating being a spectator, watching everyone go about the rush on the sidelines. It’s actually relaxing.
I made myself Frankincense and Myrrh Essential Oils and I’m giving them as presents to cancer patients as well. The only presents I’m giving out this year. The Three Magis who presented these oils to baby Jesus were truly wise indeed. Biblical scholars, Historians,  and Theologians have varying interpretations on the significance and meaning of the Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh, that were given to Jesus that first Christmas night. 

Matthew 2:11

“And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.” 

The Three Kings knew they were going to see a King and these presents were most probably chosen for their spiritual, symbolic, and practical use. In addition to the honor and status implied by the value of the gifts of the magi, scholars think that these three were chosen for their special spiritual symbolism about Jesus himself—gold, representing his kingship, frankincense, a symbol of his priestly role, and myrrh a prefiguring of his death and embalming, an interpretation made popular in the well-known Christmas carol “We Three Kings.” Gold, because of its value may have been a very practical gift that Mary and Joseph had used to live back then. 
Frankincense trees were considered valuable during ancient times, their location often kept a secret. Egyptians used the oil for incense, perfume, and for rituals. Frankincense is mentioned 50 times in the scriptures. It was used as a cure-all for all diseases, and was used to elevate spiritual consciousness. Frankincense is a milky white resin extracted from species of the genus Boswellia, which thrive in arid, cool areas of the Arabian Peninsula, East Africa, and India. The finest and most aromatic is Boswellia Sacra found in Somalia, Yemen, and Oman.

Myrrh was used as an anointing oil. It is a reddish resin that comes from species of the genus Commiphora. Commiphora Myyrha, a small tree used in the production of Myrrh can be found in Ethiopia, Kenya, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and Somalia. 
These two gifts from nature is now making a big come back. People are now realising its potential to stop Cancer. The best Frankincense and Myrrh come from East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula and for some time the region’s most important commodity. 
Myrrh Tree
During my now relentless researching I’ve seen and heard numerous studies made on Frankincense and Myrrh and all with good results. Among them, a study funded by the government of Oman and conducted by researchers from the University of Leicester here in the UK. They were able to uncover how frankincense may be a safe and effective remedy for ovarian cancer. Frankincense claims as part of its vast nutrient profile a unique compound known as acetyl-11-keto-beta-boswellic acid, or AKBA for short. Scientific tests have determined that AKBA is a sworn enemy of cancer.
Here’s what Kamla Al-Salmani, lead author of the paper covering these findings and a PhD student at the University’s Cancer Studies and Molecular Medicine department, had to say:
“After a year of studying the AKBA compound with ovarian cancer cell lines in vitro, we have been able to show it is effective at killing cancer cells. Frankincense is taken by many people with no known side effects. This finding has enormous potential to be taken to a clinical trial in the future and developed into an additional treatment for ovarian cancer.”
It was also mentioned that it is effective on other cancers as well. In Ty Bollinger’s The Truth About Cancer video, there was a brain cancer patient that got cured on Frankincense oil and diet alone. It is anti-inflammatory, anti-tumoral, immune-stimulant, antidepressant and muscle relaxing. It stimulates the limbic system as well as the hypothalamus, pineal and pituitary glands. It is strongly anti-viral, antioxidant, antifungal, antibacterial, antiseptic and expectorant oil. Frankincense has the ability to relax and revitalize at the same time. Recently, a team of researchers from Johns Hopkins University and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem did a study to see what the effects are of frankincense on the mind. They found that it activated the protein TRPV3 that play a role in our skins’ perception of warmth. On the mind, it has a strong anti-depressant and anxiolytic effect which leaves you feeling relaxed. Frankincense helps your mind to rest and simply perceive the world around it. I’m finding out for myself. 
Myrrh was widely used by the Arabian people not only as an anointing oil, but to support healthy skin and treat wounds. Today it is widely used in toothpastes, aromatherapy, skin care, etc. 
Two primary active compounds found in Myrrh are terpenoids and sesquiterpenes, both has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Sesquiterpenes specifically has an effect on our emotional centre in the hypothalamus, helping us remain calm and balanced. 
Myrrh has also been found to have anti-cancer benefits. A study found that Myrrh was able to reduce the proliferation or replication of human cancer cells.

The Three Wise Men brought gifts that were practical as well as befitting a King. The Bible does not tell us the exact number of wise men, and they were not present for His birth in a manger as is so often depicted in nativity scenes every December. It was assumed there were three kings because of the three gifts. There goes the Nativity sets you have on display :)
One Christmas back in Vancouver I wanted to incorporate a Nativity Set into my Christmas decorations, something I always had growing up back in Manila. I had a hard time finding one, which came as a shock because isn’t Christmas about this? It was easier to find Rudolph than a Nativity set, seriously. I have seen them in recent years in shops again like Liberty in London, although still rare. So there must be some shift going on when it comes to Christmas, maybe people are trying to make more sense of the holiday and away from the commercialism it has become. I sure hope so. 
This year, just like Jesus, someone (thanks Ish) gifted me with Frankincense and Myrrh straight from the middle east. Anyone who wants to complete the set with Gold, you’re very welcome…. just kidding!

Merry Christmas Everyone, and a Blessed Year ahead!

Matthew 2:1, 11 shows that the young child Jesus was already in a house by the time the wise men visited and offered their gifts. “Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem. … And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.”

The Song of Solomon 3: 6
Who is this that cometh out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all powders of the merchant?

Psalm 45: 8
All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad.

Leviticus 24: 7

And thou shalt put pure frankincense upon each row, that it may be on the bread for a memorial, even an offering made by fire unto the Lord.

Caroline Reyes-Loughrey Photography

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Counting Birthdays, Counting Life!

And here I am, 51 years! 
I love Birthdays, and I love to celebrate. I miss the times when I would plan my kids' themed birthday parties, they have since said "no more theme parties Mom". I would go all out, from the cake, which I always make myself, to the loot bags, invites, food, and decorations. If sugar wasn't so bad for Cancer I would probably make a cake for myself, and eat it too!
My tiny frame hides my years, I used to loathe having to say my age. I'm not embarrassed to be old but the reaction I get most times is shock that I look young when I'm that old, is awkward. Some of us dread ageing, but there is nothing I want more on my 51st Birthday than to be given a chance to get old, let me correct that - older. I would like to experience "senior moments". 
From here on in, every birthday is a victory, everyday is, but when you reach another milestone year then it's really BIG.
I've had quite a year, it's been very difficult, confusing, challenging, uplifting, informative, surprising,  etc., It's just a slew of emotions, and endless work to keep the Cancer stable, and home life balanced.
But, hey I'm living and I'm not taking that for granted. I'm not saying everyone else is not "living" but  those of us with chronic illness, we can't take things for granted, we may not be able to do as much, but we do "live" more. We have to make the best of what we have left. When I was diagnosed with stage 4 Lung Cancer, I learned the real possibility of not being around to celebrate my birthday. When you've got Cancer, you can't help but ask "Is this going to be my last birthday"? 
It was a long year, I had to live it one day at a time, survive it one day at a time, and that I've reached 51 is the sweetest thing, without the sugar!
Happy Birthday to me :) !
In the end, it's not the years in your life that count, it's the life in your years. -Abraham Lincoln
Wrinkles should merely indicate where the smiles have been. - Mark Twain

Thank You for all the birthday greetings!

Thursday, 29 October 2015

An Unwelcome Update

waiting for my turn
i will never get used to that thing, absolutely hate it

Sometimes things don't always play out as planned or as we had hoped. I was given 9 infusions every other week of the new, very expensive drug Nivolumab. I had two CT scans 3 weeks apart. The results, unfortunately, didn't make me jump with delight. The cancer progressed despite our efforts. We could have given up after the first scan, but the Oncology team wanted to know for sure that what they see is not just an inflammation from the drug, they were hoping it just gets worse before it gets better. The second scan confirmed our worst nightmare though, that it is indeed a progression and with mets on the left lung, which moves me back to stage 4. The new predicted time I have - 6 months without treatment. With the rare mutation I have, there isn't a lot of conventional options left, the team is frantically searching for clinical trials. I'm still actively pursuing alternatives. My Oncologist gave me the option to go back to chemo, but a different cocktail this time, a combination of Docetaxel (Taxotere), taken intravenously and Vargatef (Nintedanib), taken orally. These are both very toxic and would only give me a few months more, if it even works. I know it's there as an option, but I have turned it down. So the drug didn't please, but not that.
It is very upsetting, the news is a big blow to me and my efforts. I have reached milestones in this journey but I'm still running short. I came back from the meeting despondent and crestfallen. My 13 yr. old daughter sat beside me and asked if I could watch a video with her. This alone renewed my conviction to keep going, because after all, hey, I'm still breathing, and I want to live so my daughter can watch as many videos with her Mom as she wants. I've got new things in my arsenal that could be the breakaway I'm looking for, I hope I find my path real soon. Here's wishing the next update will be better. 

Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness. Desmond Tutu 

We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today. 
Thich Nhat Hanh 

If children have the ability to ignore all odds and percentages, then maybe we can all learn from them. When you think about it, what other choice is there but to hope? We have two options, medically and emotionally: give up, or fight like hell. ~Lance Armstrong

 everything is as it should be and this obstacle simply is part of my path

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Lemon and Baking Soda Alkaline Drink


Cancer cells thrive in an acidic environment so it is vital to keep the body alkaline. One of the easiest way to do this is by drinking lemon juice with baking soda. Get some ph strips and test your alkalinity. Avoid food that makes you acidic like coffee, meat, and dairy. A ph of 7.0 is neutral, below is acidic, and above is alkaline. The human blood is slightly alkaline at 7.35 - 7.45. When you are acidic, the body will try and compensate by using alkaline minerals, and if your diet doesn't contain enough, a build up of acids in the cells will occur. Acidosis decreases the body's ability to produce energy, repair damaged cells and detoxify. When you're acidic you are more susceptible to disease and illness. If you're generally healthy, aim for 60% alkaline forming foods but when you are trying to restore health, it should be 80%. Here's a link to a list of alkaline and acidic food. I make my alkaline drink by juicing one organic lemon, then adding 5ml. of aluminium free baking soda. Make this in a tall glass, as it will fizz. Wait till the bubbles relaxes then add about a cup of warm water. Drink first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Drink for two weeks then take two weeks break and so on. It tastes like a salty fizzy lemonade. Lemon juice is acidic but it produces an alkaline environment in your body when metabolised. Sodium Bicarbonate is alkaline and remains so in your body. I have read of cancers getting cured on this protocol alone, or on just the lemon juice and baking soda drink. For some Cancer patients, they were just acidic and switching their diet  to include alkaline food and drinking this concoction was all they needed. They mix 3 parts maple syrup to 1 part baking soda, heat it up on low for 5-10 minutes and consume 3 tsp. a day for 1-2 months. It's like a trojan horse, the cancer cells will go to the maple syrup because of the sugar, and the baking soda will kill it. More on that protocol here. Baking Soda is also effective in delivering oxygen through your skin when you bathe, I mix in 1-2 cups of baking soda in my bath, about twice a week.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

About Caring for Cancer

Cancer is a strong word, for everyone! It certainly defines you and the people around you, and those you meet along the way. That moment when you tell someone you've got cancer elicits different reactions, sometimes awkward, sometimes puzzling, but most times touching sentiments. I'm writing these thoughts from my own experience and from talking to other patients as well. First off, remember that the cancer patient is still the same person that they are, you can talk to them like you normally would. If you don't know how to react or what to say, then tell them that or just let them know you care and are wishing them well. The simplest heartfelt expression of concern is best. Sometimes just listening, or a hug, is good enough. It is good to offer encouragement and to say it's going to be ok, but don't be overly positive which can be seen as false optimism, it discounts the person's sadness, anxiety, and very real concerns in directly confronting the very real possibility of death. It maybe tempting to say you know exactly how they feel, and unless you've been there yourself, please don't. No one knows exactly what a cancer patient feels except the person going through it. A common reaction is people telling you about their own experiences of cancer, their own theories of a cure, whether it's they themselves or someone they know, and while it's good to share what you know, bear in mind that everyone's different, like I've said in my past post, Cancer is individual specific. Don't ever say "oh cancer is treatable now, I've read........., just do this......., it's just like treating a cold these days....., while you want to be encouraging and positive, you don't know how tough it really is. It is very hard to describe the shift the person transitions into. Sometimes the uncertainty that comes with Cancer is overwhelming, and these strong feelings need to be vented out, often to family, friends, and caregivers. If you have been vented on, remember that it is not about you, the frustration and anger that was expressed to you is because you are a trusted person, someone deemed to have that space available for a loved one facing cancer. A safe space every Cancer patient I really wish could have. While it's unfair to expect everyone to make adjustments for you, it's good for anyone going through Cancer to be given a special place in your hearts, it gives them substance. Not everyone with cancer wants to talk about their feelings either, they may want to keep their feelings private or have other ways of expressing it. A diagnosis of Cancer changes a family forever, priorities shift, roles are often reversed. While the cancer patient suddenly takes centre stage, it is important to note that everyone needs to move forward as well. The practical logistics of how this may be achieved is a challenge, so are the emotions that everyone will go through. The urgency of physical and emotional care adds more pressure and can cause anxiety, even resentment amongst family and friends. This is where professional counselling can come in, I've gone this route a lot of times, it eases out the overwhelming burden on the family and your own expectations, it's a cancer perk patients should avail oneself of. 
Practical help is not only welcomed by patients, but also to carers, and the family. I was fortunate to have hired help during the most trying times, the first round of chemo, when I can barely move. Even then, I needed more, and the family needed more practical help. Here is when you can step up for them. To suggest a few, offer to do errands, take the kids out or babysit maybe, give their carer a break, make a meal for them, come by and juice for them, do their laundry, or clean their house, get groceries for them, help with research, or read to them if they can't, drive them to appointments, offer to look after their pets, assist them with hobbies they used to do, leave them alone if that's what they want. If you know them well you'll know what they need. The time they save on chores, they can use for healing or for taking a break from the mundane tasks of daily life so they can actually enjoy what's left of their life, especially if their cancer is late stage. I was talking to a cancer patient and her husband once and they said a lot of their family and friends have become silent. People cope differently with news that someone you know has Cancer, and that's very understandable. Some simply get lost and don't know how to best react so they choose to not do or say anything, they care but are lost themselves especially if the patient is the one everyone used to lean on. Some go on defence mode, and try to avoid the pain they might witness, they can't deal with the stress which again is understandable. Some simply brace themselves for news of your passing basing it on Cancer's brutal reputation. Still, a lot pray and send you wishes in their own quiet way, which is always beneficial. If you can't face us or talk to us, a card, a note, an email to say you care is good enough, at least you've said it while we're still here to appreciate the thought. In this case empathy weighs in more than sympathy. I recently signed up for a personal facebook page, and was touched by the messages and well wishes mostly from my high school friends that I would have missed, posts from the time I got diagnosed, thank you. 
I, personally didn't care how I looked, and still look now after chemo, but a lot of those I talked to are sensitive when it comes to the physical changes one goes through from treatment and the cancer itself, you don't need to spell out how thin they are or how sick they look, it's very likely they're already aware of it. Don't post photos without asking, we're not exhibit material. Respecting one's privacy is important. Ask them who knows and if it's public knowledge or if you can tell someone. Don't broadcast it on Facebook or social media unless you ask permission. Your good intentions are appreciated, just be tactful and respectful. 
More than the practical help though, be there for them. Cancer is more than just a physical issue, sometimes the hardest part is the emotional impact that it brings.You will have to stretch your patience and understanding on this one. Irrationality comes with cancer, in fact it is a symptom of cancer, and with all the chemicals we ingest, we can't always be expected to cope with everyday life with a clear mind and a cheery smile. Even without this, don't you think it's normal for anyone in this situation to be in shambles emotionally? Facing life or death everyday is an absolute fact of our new reality. Give us space - and the allowance we need to grieve our cancer, to deal and face our fears, our frustrations, our questions, and our confused, and varying emotions, don't take it personally. There are times we need to just be, allow us that space, give us our time. Some days we may not be ourselves. Dealing with such intense thoughts and feelings about the uncertainty of life can be overwhelming. Talking it out can reduce some of that anxiety and helps us make sense of what's happening to us, and the events that arise from it. Sometimes even when you have people around, you can still feel alone when you're not getting the support you need and want. Dr. Jeremy Geffen, a prominent US oncologist stresses the importance of psychosocial support in increasing the effectiveness of treatments, conventional or alternative. He talked about emotional healing and it's powerful effects on cancer patients and bridging the gap between, body, mind, heart, and spirit to help those facing cancer. In his book The Journey Through Cancer he offers an innovative seven level programme that cancer patients can adapt. My advice to cancer patients - if you can't find the help you need within your circles, be it practical, or emotional, it is important to go seek it somewhere else, no one should have to face cancer alone. Look at the supportive services on offer right at the hospital. Organisations like Macmillan, Maggies, and Mariecurie are all good options. Sometimes it's better to talk to a complete stranger, someone not involved personally, you can be completely open and honest about your situation. They can see the bigger picture, therapists don't criticise or judge you either. They can provide you with the confidential space you need and discuss freely, even your deepest concerns. Having somebody who can really listen and address your emotions and issues objectively, and then give you the support and encouragement you need makes you feel valued, appreciated, and understood. Create an environment where you feel safe and where you will be allowed to be selfish, sometimes for the first time in your life, remember from here on in what you experience affects every cell in your body. Cancer forums are amazing too, there's a sense of home, of belonging, of community because you share so much. You don't need to define or describe, or explain the phases you're going through. You may come from different situations but you somehow understand each other, you belong to this sub group if I may call it that. You "speak the same language". The support I get from the forums is amazing. I learn from them, I feel with them, I feel the love and support from them. A new family almost., are two of my favourites. Aside from forums, if you want to be really discreet and anonymous but need a safe place to vent out, there's Pencourage and Whisper, which are forums not just for Cancer but for everyone who feels isolated, shut down, or stuck. Journaling is an effective outlet. It is very important to get psychosocial support when needed, Cancer can be isolating and frightening, and your existing circles may not be able to cope or understand where you're at, so expand. Find that safe sanctuary for yourself. Whatever you choose, you need to do this. There are options and choices for you, you don't, and I would say it again, you shouldn't have to face cancer alone. 

Today will never come again. Be a blessing. Be a friend. Encourage someone. 
Take time to Care. Let your words heal and not wound.

A caring heart that listens is often more valued than an intelligent mind that talks.

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel - Maya Angelou 

Compassion, empathy, and love are the real pillars we need to build within ourselves to become human. 

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom Marcel Proust 

Those who care about you can hear you even when you're quiet. 

Compassion and tolerance are not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength - Dalai Lama 

A good laugh and long sleep are the two best cures for anything.  

In solitude the mind gains strength and learns to lean upon itself. Laurence Sterne  
Caroline Reyes-Loughrey Photography

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

The Gift of Summer plus a Quick Update

We're at the end of yet another typical British summer, that means not really summer as I know it but a little bit of all four seasons in one, if you know what I mean UK :) I did sorely miss the summers spent in Vancouver and Seattle. But, I'm so not complaining. When you've got Cancer, the seasons changing is a little more exhilarant. The passage of time and being there to witness it becomes more poignant, almost sublime. Though the first half of the year didn't really turn out as I had planned, I remain hopeful, and, more days of Sunshine is always good!

Summer has always been my favourite no matter which latitude of the globe I'm in. I started off my summer with one thing I thought I will never get to do again - hike! Yes you read that right, I defied common sense and went on a little hike. To everyone with working lungs, this is just a little hike, but my Oncologist would probably tell me I'm out of my mind when he finds out what I did the day before my first Nivolumab treatment. I've been taking photos of this imposing hill in Kinnesswood, Scotland and all I can think of is, I want to get up there. My sensible mind says "you've got lung cancer you lunatic", so for days I would just look at it, that's a great place to meditate and ground, I would say to myself. So while I was walking our Maltese terrier, Kirby, I decided yeah let' s get up there. He got excited, so sweet, he actually found a path to follow, so off we went, stopping once in a while to capture some photographs, to catch my breath, or take the compulsory selfies, which I need to learn the art of, seriously. 

there's the target
How do people take selfies Kirby?
Views worth the climb!
We Made It! and yes there's another tier but that's too steep for me :)
so relaxing up here, air so crisp and fresh!

Wonderful Sunshine!
Time to ground!
This is early morning, that hair just got out of bed, and make up, nah, I wanted to soak up all that fresh air!
Gliders, hmm I want to get into one of those.
lovely day
Summers are always too quick for me, but living these days and seeing what I would have missed, I cherished everyday of it, even when most days lacked the sunshine that filled my past summers. 

Now a quick update. 
I'm on infusion number 6 of Nivolumab and had my first CT scan last week. Unfortunately it showed the cancer has progressed, though not considerably. My blood pressure has dropped dramatically and my blood tests warrant further testing for sugar levels and possible thyroid deficiencies, all in the works as I am writing this. Nivolumab is a relatively new drug and my Oncologist said it is possible that in my case, it takes more time to manifest. I will be given 2-3 more infusions and get scanned again, if this doesn't show that the cancer is responding then it's time to move on and find another treatment. 
It's been a tough half of the year, and I need a sabbatical. My psychologist just validated what I was already planning, to get away for a bit, on my own, and rethink my direction, both on the cancer and, well, my life. As soon as the kids are settled with school, then I'm off to an Ashram or a Buddhist retreat, I have yet to pick one that can best give me the serenity I need at this point so I can come back stronger in body, mind, and spirit.

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.” ― F. Scott Fitzgerald

“I love how summer just wraps its arms around you like a warm blanky.”― Kellie Elmore

Monday, 20 July 2015

Psycho Oncology

Do you have the cancer personality? I do relate to most of it. Apparently people who get cancer share common personality traits. A Shaman I consulted said if you get cancer before 30, it's a nutritional imbalance. After that and before 50 it is mostly psychological, and after 50 it's mostly hormonal. The psychotherapist at the clinic in Spain said lung cancer is triggered by loneliness. After talking to them both I decided to dig deeper on the psychology of cancer. 

Dr. W Douglas Brodie who has dealt with thousands of cancer patients for 28 years observed that there are certain personality traits present in cancer susceptible individuals. I have to say most of them are positive, commendable traits, which, I thought everyone had. I always say doing good should be the norm. Among the traits he mentioned are being highly conscientious, caring, dutiful, responsible, he also said "of above average intelligence". They exhibit a strong tendency toward carrying other people's burdens and toward taking on extra obligations, and often "worrying for others". 
Here's an excerpt,
" they become the caretakers of the world, showing great compassion and caring for others, and will go out of their way to look after others. They are very reluctant to accept help from others, fearing that it may jeopardise their role as the caretaker. Throughout their childhood they have been typically taught not to be selfish, and they take this to heart as a major lifetime objective. All of this is highly commendable in our culture, but must be somehow modified in the case of the cancer patient. A distinction needs to be made here between the care-giving and the care taking personality. There is nothing wrong with care-giving of course, but the problem arises when the susceptible individual derives their entire worth, value, and identity from their role as"caretaker". If this very important shift cannot be made, the patient is stuck in this role, and the susceptibility to cancer greatly increases. As already stated, a consistent feature of those who are susceptible to cancer appears to be that they"suffer in silence", and bear their burdens without complaint. These burdens of their own as well as the burdens of others weigh heavily upon these people through a lifetime of emotional suppression. The carefree extrovert, on the other hand, seems to be far less vulnerable to cancer than the caring introvert described above." 

Dr. Brodie also mentioned that most cancer patients experienced a highly stressful event usually about two years prior to the onset of detectable disease. The event being beyond the patient's control. When the control is lost, the patient has no other way to cope. Major stress suppresses the immune system, and even more to cancer susceptible individuals, excessive levels of stress combined with the underlying personality bring on the immune deficiency which allows cancer to thrive.
Dr. Ryke Geerd Hamer, a German physician known for developing GNM (German New Medicine) also agrees that every disease, including cancer, originates with a very difficult, highly acute, dramatic, and isolating shock. This experience simultaneously affects the psyche, the brain, and the organ. The development of this conflict then determines a specific development in the brain and of the cancer or cancer equivalent disease in the organ. Dr. Hamer further breaks it down into four phases; the conflict which leads to sleeplessness where the individual is unable to produce melatonin, the production of interleukin 1&2 is diminished, then viral-bacteria-yeast-like fungus can invade cells. Melatonin is the primary hormone responsible for regulating the immune system, when there is not enough of it, production of interleukin 1 and interleukin 2 is diminished. IL-1 protects against infection, and IL-2 regulates the activities of white blood cells. Stress induced bacteria or fungus that have pleomorphised in the body are now free to invade normal cells, which further results in normal cells mutating into cancer cells. 
Dr. Deepak Chopra, in the realm of quantum physics theorized that built within the cell is an intelligence system that drives our millions of cells to do what they do and that the connection between mind and body cannot be separated. Something directs these cells to create the chemicals in the body, these cells react to your thoughts. He articulates this beautifully in his book Quantum Healing, read this book, I highly recommend it. He explains it so deeply that it shakes your perception and yet with an understanding of something tangent at the same time.
If you've been reading my blog, you know that I have taken on Dr. Bruce Lipton's biology of belief, that our thoughts can reach every cell in our body. That our cells are directed by our mind, that cell control mechanisms frees us from the limitations of genetic determinism. 

Upon taking on this journey my mind continued to evolve, and is still evolving - to a level beyond consciousness, a level often undiscovered by most. This experience has taught me that I can choose how to interact with life and my own thoughts, and free myself, and deviate from the patterns I thought was me, thought patterns derived from culture, religion, from places, from events, from people, from my own belief systems. I no longer need validation that I had cared. 

So to prevent cancer do we have to be uncaring and selfish? No, because what kind of world will that be? What's needed is harmony, equilibrium, a balance, yin and yang, in people's hearts and minds, in our soul and in the way we nurture our world, and the way we treat the earth and each other. If we all truly care about each other, less people will get sick. I refuse to change the way I care I just won't allow it to influence my energy fields and I'm not going to let bad events or people disempower my own pursuit of happiness. I will become an observer, watch without judgement, and lend myself but I will choose my own thoughts. I have learned how to live in the Now, not dwell in the past, or worry about the future, sometimes we worry about things that never need to exist in the first place, it's just in our thoughts. It is the now that is here and real, live in it! 

Few of us ever live in the present. We are forever anticipating what is to come or remembering what has gone.
To give and not feel that one has given is the very best of all ways of giving. - Max Beerbohm 
Do your little bit of good where you are, it's those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the World. - Archbishop Desmond Tutu 
Give your stress wings and let it flyaway. 

And finally, here's some quotes from bright minds that influenced the evolution of my mind.....

In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.  
 If we are creating ourselves all the time, then it is never too late to begin creating the bodies we want instead of the ones we mistakenly assume we are stuck with. 

The character of our life is based upon how we perceive it. 
Just like a single cell, the character of our lives is determined not by our genes but our responses to the environmental signals that propel life.

It all depends on how we look at things, and not how they are in themselves. 

Be miserable. Or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it's always your choice.
 How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours. 
If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. 

Self control is strength, right thought is mastery, calmness is power.
 As he thinks, so he is, as he continues to think, so he remains. 
 A person is limited only by the thought he chooses.