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This is the Angel Card I drew while I was visiting my sister. These angel cards are eerily meaningful. Whether or not they are predictors, or if they just happen to give you the nudge you need when you need it—well, I guess it doesn’t really matter. Crystal had the news I needed to hear, when I needed to hear it. My wonderful sister Kim framed this card for me.
I have energy. Its not long, long lasting, but it is palpable. My strength is returning. Yesterday, while walking up an incline, I felt the smallest stirring in my glutes. I may get my butt back yet!
Yesterday Randin and I hired a chef to come a few nights a week to cook, (obviously), but also to instruct us. This woman, Dawn, has also experienced the terror of low, low weight. She’s been to 85 and back, and so knows what I am up against. I really believe she can help me through my weight gain, to do it healthfully, and most importantly sustainably, intelligently, and lovingly.
Yesterday was also a chemo day. The doctors were surprised that my blood counts recovered enough to receive it. They tell me there is nothing I can do to effect my counts, that it is simply something that happens on its own. Read more…
Here’s where I am now: I’m tired of waiting to feel better, so I’m doing things anyway. I’m exercising anyway. I’m eating anyway. I’m washing the dishes anyway. Dr. Asch seems to imply that I will and should be feeling better soon, that there is some latency from Consolidation I and the CNS phases that I need to shed. I admit to feeling a bit stronger, but again I think it has to do more with my do-it-anyway policy than anything else. I just can’t imagine feeling better than this, when the schedule says chemo weekly! I may as well adjust to a body that is poisoned all the time.
Life has been awful and terrifying this past few months. I stopped eating. Went to 85 pounds. Dr. Peterson said, “It’s as if you are disappearing on us.” The truth is I was. I had lost the desire to live. I checked myself into the hospital. Was threatened with a feeding tube. Please don’t panic. I’m not in such a dark place as I was. But I was in a dark place, and touched a level of hopelessness I’d never experienced before:
Life is mundane. People’s conversations are inane. Going anywhere and doing anything is pointless. Read more…
A temporary construction wall inside LDS Hospital has become a place for oncology patients to vent with colorful words and drawings, providing an open forum for the emotions often hidden from those who’ve never heard the words, “You have cancer.”
– A Rainbow of Feelings on the wall, Deseret News
“Now that I’m bald, I can really see my face and my eyes, and they’re beautiful, and I see my heart in them,” wrote cancer patient Brandi Chase.
Caregivers in the cancer unit say it’s been a great form of therapy.
“It can be hard to get our patients up and moving. Sometimes they’re cooped up their rooms for two or three months at a time,” says nurse Tony Hall. “This gets them out and they can see what other people are going through. It helps their mood and makes them feel like they’re not alone.”
Today a total stranger said I was beautiful. This hasn’t happened to me in years. This may never have happened to me. She said, “You probably hear this all the time, but you are so beautiful.”
Wow. What a thing to hear.
Sure, my family tells me this. And my husband too, of course. And I’m sure they mean it! But the people you love are always beautiful. I’ve never considered myself empirically pretty.
This cancer stuff is really working for me. Read more…
I’m learning how to be a person in normal life again, and everything takes so much longer! Seriously. Getting dressed takes minutes now instead of seconds. But all is well as this report soon shows…
I’m back in the hospital, but just for 24 hours. I’m receiving a new type of chemo this week which may or may not make me nauseated. So far I’ve been lucky. Let’s pray my luck holds, shall we? This chemo will be given as an outpatient, for 8 days, over two weeks (I get a 3 day break in between). And of course this will be in tandem with the sexy oral chemo 6MP. I’m not very happy to be back at the hospital, but I love the nursing and doctor staff here so much, it makes it tolerable. Plus there is indoor walking space here.
In other news, I can’t believe how much better I feel since going alkaline. I’m a total convert. I wonder, if there is something I can do to bring FOOD to the hospital for the other patients. And of course the big question is, can they learn to love kale for breakfast? I sure do! Read more…
Out of the hospital for a bit with a lumbar puncture on the horizon, Brandi recaps what’s been happening in the course of her chemotherapy and talks about what is on the horizon. Read more…
Yesterday a dear friend and I were discussing how convincingly folks rattle off speculation as truth, and how, without some thought, easy it is to believe them. One of my father’s favorite truths was that once you start going to the doctor, they’ve got you. You’re whole life thereafter will be nothing but a series of drugs, and treatments, and trials over which you will have no control until they refuse your insurance, break you financially, and finally leave you living under the viaduct.
This truth was so profoundly and emphatically expressed that when my sister and I heard my leukemia diagnosis one of the first things we said was, “For the first time, I’m relieved Dad is dead.” It shook us right out of a two month reverie of grief.
In order to save my life, which in itself is a remarkable question, I’ve had to examine Dad’s lie. Underlying it, of course, is fear. Fear of loss of control. Probably Dad’s greatest fear. Dad didn’t like to lose things. Imagine this: In 35 years of being a milk man, he did not lose a drop of milk to spoilage or damage. Can you fathom this? Not one, not a drop of milk in 35 years. Read more…
Yesterday I spent a little time researching Edward Bach and his Bach Flower Remedies. One of the CNAs (Kishore) recommended I try a few, and of course, subtle as they are I have still noticed a difference in my overall well-being. I’ve always know about Rescue Remedy, but Dr. Bach, and his approach to well-being is lovely, and subtle, and specific. Well. I can’t recommend it enough.
Yesterday I also received the chemotherapy Vincristine. My nurse mentioned it, too, is plant derived. I thought, “Amazing!”
Vincristine belongs to a class of chemotherapy drugs called plant alkaloids. The active agents are derived from the Periwinkle, Pacific Yew Tree, May Apple Plant, and the Asian Happy Tree. Most amazing to me is the periwinkle plant, which grows wild around most homes in Arnhem Land. I’ve often used these little flowers in my daily puja, picking five pink ones (to remember the yamas) and five white ones (to remember the niyamas). I’m grateful to have actually handled and cultivated this plant!
I had a wild experience the other night, after my first dose of the chemotherapy “Dr. Rubicen” (doxorubicin), and being totally, utterly saturated with fluids to the point of a cylindrical shape. It was hard to breathe, laying there.
My room filled with shadows. All my loved ones filed in. You were all there. My brother’s voice, Slade, said, “Brandi, this is going to get hard.” Karen Bidgood’s voice said, “Lay back, you need to get ready.”
So I did. I thought, “Is this it? Is it time to go?” My body began to vibrate, and my mind and ears went straight to the most magnificent AUM.
And then there was silence.
And then my body began to vibrate again, and the my mind and ears were filled with AUM.
I opened my eyes and I was very plainly in my room, very vividly in this life. My life, with leukemia. This is my life, and it isn’t over yet. I’m here to be this now. Read more…