Sunday, January 24, 2010
Sorry we haven't posted much this week. (Dave tells me he likes to check the blog to see how he's doing!)
Another weekend has come and gone. We still have plenty of visitors that come by which is awesome, however Dave occasionally has a hard time staying awake. (I just want to remind visitors not to come by if you're sick, but wait until you're healthy. Chemo affects the immune system and it's harder for Dave to fight off colds/flu.) The main side effect of chemo is fatigue. Dave has gone past the point of being tired, to being exhausted, and just falls asleep whether he wants to or not. (So we apologize to visitors that he's fallen asleep on!) Often he just needs a catnap and he's good to go again, but in general he needs regular naps throughout the day. Unfortunately he still doesn't get a good nights sleep and finds himself awake numerous times through the night.
The past 3 or 4 few days haven't been great for Dave. He also seems to have a lot of pain at the site of the feeding tube. It felt better for a few days after they cauterized the opening on Monday, but then it started to hurt again. Today was a little better, but in general - he's just not feeling great anymore. He was feeling so good until this past week that it's hard not to get down a little, but I have to say that he bounces back quickly and is usually laughing at something in no time!
We've become very interested in Wheatgrass and/or Barley grass juice. (The first time anybody mentioned it to us was the IV nurse at St Joe's that put in his PICC line. She credits it in part for her husband being alive today after he was diagnosed with inoperable, untreatable bowel cancer and sent home to die. See this post from Jan 4th - click here. Since then we've heard about it repeatedly and are becoming very interested in starting to grow and juice this ourselves. (It takes just over a week to grow from seed to harvest.) You can buy it frozen from health food stores, but it's quite expensive and not as good as the fresh stuff. Yesterday morning a friend (thanks Don!) introduced us to some people that grow it themselves and they showed us how they grow it, and juiced some for Dave & I. (Here is the wikipedia link about wheatgrass.)
The nurse also mentioned a wellness center they went to in the states, and gave me this website, www.creativehealthinstitute.com. This place doesn't sell you anything - they just train you how to eat a vegetarian raw food diet, teach you how to grow & juice wheatgrass and help you to heal your own body. We are considering going to this place for a week. It's in Michigan and is about a 4 hour drive - 90 minute past Detroit. We're still a little undecided as Dave isn't feeling great, and heading to the USA may or may not be a great idea while he's doing chemo. We're just thinking the sooner he starts on this the better. I spoke with them on Thursday and they seem very sincere and genuinely just want to help. Please continue to pray to help us decide. (FYI. Right now Dave isn't on a vegetarian diet as I don't think it's wise to jump in without knowing what you're doing. He has cut back a lot on his meat & carbs and eats them with a lot more fresh fruit & veggies.)
My initial response to all of this (raw vegan & wheatgrass) was uncertainty, but in the last 3 weeks our eyes have opened a little. And our prayer life has opened a lot. The reality is that all 3 oncologists we've seen have given Dave a very poor prognosis. I haven't really mentioned this in the blog before, but on December 21st & 24th Dave was told he had 3 months without treatment, and 6 to 18 months with treatment, and to put his affairs in order. I've researched a little further myself and the best 5 year survival rate I've found for Stage 4 Esophageal Cancer is less than 3%. There is no Stage 5. My intention here is not to frighten or depress anybody, but just to clarify that what traditional medicine is offering, is just to buy a little more time at best. We would be foolish not to pursue alternatives.
And this is where our frustration with traditional medicine begins. Despite the fact that they told us Dave's cancer was caused by chronic acid reflux, which is caused by food, they REFUSE to consider diet in the treatment. The reality is that MANY cancers could be prevented by a healthier diet, and it's just not being discussed as a complementary treatment. It makes no sense. If you don't change anything - why would you expect anything to change? I think I've mentioned this previously here, but any hard core cancer survivors that have beaten crappy to no odds from their doctors seem to have a common thread. That thread is a 180 degree change in their diet and often wheatgrass juice has been a factor. We saw a well recommended naturopath last week and we believe we're on the right path here.
I'm going to steal a Mark Twain quote here. "There are three kinds of lies: Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics." Fortunately for us, statistics exist because there are variables. The variables here are that every cancer is different for every patient, and every patient is different from the next. Dave has a lot in his favour. He is younger than the typical EC patient and otherwise healthy. Despite my complaints we have immediate access to a great Cancer Hospital. Dave has a fantastic attitude and a huge number of friends praying and supporting him. Most importantly he has a renewed faith in Jesus Christ. Thankfully God is in control - not the doctors!
Thank you all for your concern, and for following our journey. I hate to sound like a broken record, but just knowing that so many people care and are praying is a constant morale booster. Thanks so much!
at 11:31 PM