Normally I do not talk about adverse side effects of chemotherapy because that is a negative topic but I choose to do so today because I am turning it into a positive topic. How? By telling how I treat them so that they do not bother me, or bother me very little. Now, I don’t want anyone to think, “Poor Bobby, look what she has to go through” while reading this! Instead, think, “Wow, look at Bobby, how she is overcoming all those side effects and going on with her life! Look at all the things she can do despite the chemo!” The main reason I share this information is because there may be someone else going through the same symptoms and this information may be helpful to them. First of all, I have some good news to share. My alkaline phosphatase blood levels have decreased again! Down from 150 to 145! Remember, 130 is normal; I am almost there!
Now let me address alternative treatments. There are hundreds of them and one could spend all one’s money - and all one’s time in preparation - with them. I choose not to immerse myself in that, but there are a few treatments that I have found useful. One of them is drinking alkaline water. Cancer cells thrive in acidic environments, so drinking alkaline water is one way to battle the disease. I have already written about this. In fact, Al started drinking it too and it significantly decreased his blood sugar levels for his diabetes! Both of us can feel a difference in our skin. It is not as dry; it is softer and smoother than before. You can buy it in bottles or purchase a filter to attach to your tap water. The alkalizer filter Al and I have is from Japan and puts oxygen into the water to treat it. When Al and I visited Japan in 1991, we found out that they purify their water by adding oxygen to it! In America, we add fluoride and chlorine! No wonder the Japanese are so healthy! Alkaline water comes out of all their household faucets!
Emu oil is another alternative treatment I use. This was recommended by my radiation oncologist for radiation burns. Thankfully I did not get any during my treatments but now my skin is excessively dry from the chemotherapy drug, Alimta, which I take every three weeks for maintenance. When I started trimming the plants in my garden last month, I noticed that my skin was so thin it was tearing and bleeding at the slightest touch. That night I rubbed emu oil on my forearms. I had some scratches from the thorns on my arms. Two days later I noticed that the scratches were healed! It normally takes longer to heal a cut when one is on chemotherapy, a week or more, but these were already healed! I started applying emu oil to my forearms and lower legs two to three times a week and the skin has stayed soft. If I get a cut or scratch, it heals quickly! Al has the same problem with his lower legs, being diabetic. Sometimes it can take a month for an open sore to heal. I used the oil on some of his cuts and he was surprised how quickly they healed! An open sore healed in a week! He now has his own bottle and applies it regularly, too! And both of us have noticed that our lower legs used to be discolored, a dark red. Both of our legs hare gotten lighter.
The other alternative treatment I use is Essiac tea. It is a Native American recipe from the Ojibwa tribe and it reportedly removes toxins from the body and strengthens the immune system. The chemotherapy drug causes water retention. I take a diuretic and potassium but still get swelling in my legs. I wear medical support hose from the Jobst Company to combat this. I started drinking this tea daily and noticed that the swelling decreased! I still need the pills and hose, but there is definite improvement. Also, the age spots on my skin have become lighter. My sister uses this tea daily and says her age spots have lightened up, too!
I also consider my positive attitude to be a type of alternative treatment. When I was battling breast cancer twenty years ago, I learned about visualization, guided imagery, and positive thinking. I was given a cassette tape by my chemotherapy nurse. It played restful music, recited affirmations (positive statements), and told a story that helped me visualize the cancer cells leaving my body. The company that produces these mind-body healing products is called Health Journeys, and is run by Belleruth Naparstek. It offers CDs that are specific for different diseases and conditions – cancer, high blood pressure, stress, etc. I also consider exercise to be an alternative treatment, because it does not require an order by my doctor. Exercise stimulates the release of endorphins into your blood stream, which makes you feel good. Thus exercise contributes to a positive attitude! More importantly, it controls one of my most debilitating symptoms, shortness of breath! The more I exercise, the less I have to stop to rest. And when I do stop to rest, I recover more quickly!God is good! All the time!
Pictures show 2 views of my red double hibiscus bloom before the last freeze killed the leaves. Al had to cut all the dead limbs off, and the third picture shows the “resurrected” hibiscus, with my “Believe” bunny stepping stone. God is telling me that all I have to do is believe and my body will be restored like the hibiscus. The fourth and fifth pictures show the same with the Mexican petunias, death from the winter cold and lush green resurrection .in the spring. The last picture shows a Mexican petunia bloom in the early morning with rain drops on it.