Chronicle of a Stem Cell Transplant (and on through to the other side)

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Rising and Shining

Good morning! As I write this I am enjoying my great big morning glass of Life Force Power-Ade. It seems all the juice and my increased vegetable intake are really doing what they promised to do, giving me a well-needed boost of energy. Since the transplant, and being on continuous chemo, the one thing that has been a challenge is regaining my energy; although, I'll preface that by saying, on average, I am as busy now as I ever was with appointments, writing, research, etc. However, I can't remember the last time I got up this early, willingly, and look what was in my breakfast...

Yep, that's kale, broccoli and a whole shwack of carrots. It's certainly the first time I've taken a picture of my breakfast, but I am just so enamored with the beautiful bounty that is going into my body everyday to help it heal.

Another reason I am feeling so good these days is undoubtedly due to the writing group I am co-facilitating at the Callanish Society. Yesterday, on the way there, I was practically bursting as I was driving - not because I had to go to the bathroom, but because I am so happy to be participating in this kind of work with others who are equally as inspired by it. Sitting amongst over a dozen people who share an innate passion for words and having the time to really listen to each other as we consider, grapple and make sense of what it means to be human...well, there are few things that compare, in my book.

This is one of my pieces from yesterday...

Digesting the sweet juice of spirit
sweating it through the pores
The organs evolve

Do as you wish
But we will grow new again
again again again

Limbs and legs
planted firmly as trunks
sinking deep into earth
Spinning earth
a dervish among weeds


reels her
round and round
Dervish again
whirling whirling whirling

Unimaginable until now
this moment,
earth spinning dervish
in the palm of my hand

It is so much fun to be writing more than magnetic poetry on my refrigerator. I also have three major projects in the works, and just like when I read (I think I have about eight books going currently), I am working on too many things at once which means that it will probably take me four times as long to finish any one of them, but that's just how my brain works.

I am in the process of setting up a non-profit (more on that soon) and I am working on two books (one novel and the other, a patient advocacy handbook that many of you know about), and, I am also now one of those people who can smugly say, "I am working on my screenplay."

"My screenplay" is a big deal for me as it is something I have always wanted to do, yet have never had an idea that I felt I could sustain for long enough to write what was required to go along with the action and dialogue. However, I now have an idea firmly planted and I am very excited about the potential of the characters and their inherent conflict.

Whew, with so much going on in the brain these days, I haven't even mentioned my other good news. Last Tuesday, I had a CT from my neck to pelvis and the results came back as "stable." I was growing increasingly concerned over some recurring pain in my hip area and was trying very hard not to "catastrophise," so it was wonderful to not see any new proliferation of the disease.

We are also making progress with McGill. My records are being reviewed there and we should know this week if I qualify for their clinical trial of a therapy called MGCD 0103. Instead of donning a cowboy hat and heading to Texas, I may be saddled up with a baguette (or Ian) en route to Montreal for another PET scan in the coming weeks, as they like to use their own machines if they are going to be making comparisons in the future.

Speaking of radioactivity, many of you know that last year, after returning from the Prevent Cancer Now conference in Ottawa, I became Chair of the Canadian Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. Unfortunately, I had to step down due to a rather full plate, but I am still hell bent on getting rid of the toxins lurking in the homes of the people I love (and everyone for that matter). There is virtually nothing in your home that can't be cleaned with a little vinegar and water or baking soda. Granted, your house may smell like a bag of chips for awhile, but your body (and the earth) will thank you. Here is a concise article from the Health Action Network Society newsletter that illustrates the importance of making the switch:

In terms of cosmetics, a good rule of thumb is, if you can't eat it, don't put it on your face or in your hair. Remember Clairol's Herbal Essence campaign..."a totally organic experience?" Well, not exactly. You can check all the personal care products you use at: which is a fantastic site compiled by the Environmental Working Group in the U.S. Remember, no parabens - butylparaben, methylparaben, sodium laurel sulfates or other unpronouncables.

Also, if your products, perfume or otherwise, smell nice, they are most likely made with synthetic fragrances that are toxic to the nervous and respiratory systems. Unless it is a naturally-distilled essential oil, it is likely to cause adverse effects and a loophole in our current legislation allows the noxious chemicals used to make things smell "good" to be disguised as "fragrance" or "parfum." Who wants that?

OK, I'll stop ranting now. But if I wreak of vinegar the next time you see me, at least you'll know why.