I have written a ton in this blog about the different components of my treatment from Dr. J to Dr. R. From diet to exercise and from traditional medicine and Eastern medicine. The great news about the Internet is that there is so much information available I have no problem finding reading material to keep up on the latest innovations or trends in Myeloma Cancer. The bad news about the Internet is that there is so much information available I have no problem finding reading material to keep up on the latest innovations or trends in Myeloma Cancer.
Too much information can be paralyzing. If you recall, I read an article in August about iron and Myeloma cells. I stopped taking my multivitamin because of it and dragged my way through August always tired and sluggish. Now I am back on multivitamin (a new natural kind – thank you Marc!) and I feel energetic again.
I have read articles suggesting to have a daily alcoholic drink and I have read articles that say to keep all toxins out of your body including alcohol. It’s enough to make you bat shit crazy – if the Cancer hasn’t done that already. So … I try to practice the theory of “EVERYTHING IN MODERATION”
Myeloma is an individual disease. There are so many different presentations and so many different outcomes, symptoms and treatment plans. Myeloma is an individual Cancer – some people (me) have bone involvement, some (not me) have kidney issues. Some people have para protein in the blood, some in the urine. Some (me) have “high risk” Myeloma. I have a chromosome deletion. Some say that the “low risk” factors that I have (age, overall health, no kidney issues) negate the chromosome deletion.
What am I getting at here? I need a plan. MY plan. MY plan to beat MYeloma is an individualistic plan designed to get the best out of me. Since Myeloma is such an individual disease it requires an individual plan to defeat. Everyone is going to attack this differently and I need to incorporate all the different aspects of my treatment in a way that is MEANINGFUL to ME.
There are three parts of ME that need to be treated – my body, my mind and my soul. The different aspects or techniques used to treat these parts are Western Medicine (Chemo), Eastern Medicine (Acupuncture, Herbs, Detox), Diet/Nutrition and Exercise.
First – Western Medicine or Chemo as administered by Dr. J at Mount Sinai. This is my Friday/Saturday IV drip of Carfilzomib, my daily Revlimid pill and the steroid Dexamethasone. This kills the Cancer cells in my body while at the same time injecting my body with toxins. Chemo is a highly toxic event that takes a great toll on the body. Which is why we incorporated the second part of the treatment plan –
Eastern Medicine – administered by Dr. R at the Center for Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine in Westfield, NJ. The idea behind Eastern Medicine is to get rid of the toxins left inside my body by Chemo. Dr. R’s theory is to eliminate “heat” in the body and allow the body to “cool” by bringing into balance Yin and Yang. (I hope I get this right by the way) Acupuncture is a way of opening the channels of blood flow within the body to promote fluidity and better organ function. He uses pulse technique to find trouble spots where the body is stressed and sets the needles in channels that will promote better flow to decrease that stress. I am telling you that I FEEL GREAT when I have this treatment.
Another great Eastern medicine technique to release toxins is the use of a dry brush (see picture) One of the best ways to cleanse the entire lymphatic system is by brushing the surface of the body with a soft dry brush made of natural vegetable bristles. This stimulates the lymph canals to drain toxic mucoid matter into the colon thereby purifying the entire lymphatic system. I brush my entire body first thing in the morning when I wake up and let me tell you… the results are amazing. Not only do I feel invigorated – I can attest that the toxins are leaving my colon let’s just leave it at that. This brush is the greatest invention for regularity known to man kind. Ex Lax doesn’t hold a candle to this brush!
Another method of Eastern medicine that I have taken on is essential oils. Placing drops of oil on different pressure points on the skeleton helps strengthen the bones. The oils include cypress, oak moss, cedar wood, celery seed and cumin with sesame oil.
Dr. R has also concocted an herbal supplement that I take twice daily which leads to the third element of MY plan – diet and nutrition. The herbal supplement is targeted to my condition and is designed to promote healing. This is counter to Western medicine which is designed to mask symptoms.
My herbal mix is
Raw licorice root
I looked up all of these on the Internet and couldn’t make heads or tails of why or how these work. I will attest to their power however. One day I came home with a horrific headache. I tried Tylenol, grapes (traditional migraine home remedy), sleep – EVERYTHING. Four droppers full of my herbal blend from Dr. R down my mouth and the headache was GONE! The shit works – I am telling you – it works!
Along with Eastern herbal supplements I have cut most carbs out of my diet and all sugar except natural sugar from fruits, etc. Again – GARBAGE IN, GARBAGE OUT. I have to be careful with my carb intake because the bloating from the Chemo has caused enormous weight gain. I have gained about 25 pounds since I started on Chemo just under one year ago. This number is steadily rising as well. OK – better fat and alive than dead and skinny – right?
I had been taking a Centrum multi vitamin for a long time – since about age 40. After reading my blog about how I stopped taking my vitamin my great friend Marc passed on a new vitamin supplement pack.
This pack shown in front of my herb dropper, baby aspirin and anti viral prescription is now my regular morning routine. Eight pills and four droppers of herbs – EVERY MORNING! The supplement pack includes 80 nutrients to promote heart, prostate, immune, energy, joint, muscle and digestive health along with blood pressure health. They are all natural (I love that) and gluten free. On top of all that – and the MOST IMPORTANT element in the detoxification of Chemo is …..
HYDRATION!!! There is not a moment of the day when I don’t have water by my side. I drink water ALL DAY LONG. It is the single best way to pass the toxins of Chemo out of my body. It promotes good kidney health (remember – those kidneys can get kind of nasty with Myeloma) and is just good for the skin and overall well being.
So… why is this MY plan for MY eloma? There are elements of each plan that I choose not to incorporate. Dr. J tells me “low impact” exercise. Dr. R tells me not to sweat “a lot” but those things are important to me. There are times I need to lift heavy weights or go to spin class because my mind NEEDS them. Dr. R has other techniques which he wants me to try including a breathing technique which quite frankly I haven’t had the time to add. From a nutrition standpoint – its not always salad, fruit and juicing. I have a slice of pizza (or two, or three…) every once in awhile. EVERYTHING IN MODERATION. This is MY plan for MYeloma and I need it to work for ME.
So I incorporate the traditional Western medicine – chemotherapy with the traditional Eastern medicine – acupuncture, herbs, oils. I add in a sensible, organic (mostly) diet, a fresh juice from Bohemian Raspberry in Westfield once a day – (by the way if you haven’t been there you MUST order the #bradstrong Juice – Spinach, Kale, Apple, Pear, Ginger, Lemon and Avocado) – its a more expensive habit than smoking – but ultimately much healthier for you!
Then I mix in my exercise regimen. Most days low impact – some days HIGH impact. I do what works for me. It’s “MY”eloma and I will TREAT it as individually as it will ATTACK me.
Since I realized that I can’t follow every doctor, every article, every treatment plan to the literal letter I am in a much better mental place. I have more energy and I feel as if I am making more progress toward my eventual long term remission. The numbers will bear that out I suppose but the important thing as all of my doctors say is … How do you FEEL? Because if you feel good, you are productive, your mind is good there is no limit to what you can achieve.
Cancer isn’t a death sentence. It is a wake up call. A wake up call to lead a healthier life – a life of body, mind and soul. The book says my life expectancy is five to seven years. I am just short of 10 months into this. I have about four to six years to prove the book wrong and get cured. I am betting that we find a cure long before that time is up. I just need to stick to MY plan – to feel great and be productive and stick around long enough for that cure happen. Its a wild ride but one I long to be on every single day.
Thanks for taking the ride with me.
#bradstrong – Its a great day to keep fighting.