A Little Help From Friends Old and New
It’s interesting when your life gets turned upside down and you become the person people need or want to help especially when you are used to being the person helping others. At first it was such a weird place to be in. There are so many emotions that go with allowing others to help you but when you get over all the crazy thoughts it becomes a pretty amazing place to be. Through this crazy cancer journey I have seen all the good in our community. I have strengthened existing friendships, rekindled old friendships and found a whole new set of friends and warriors all who I feel deeply are now a part of our extended family.
So Round 8 is underway. I was so lucky to have my friend Nikki Feldman drive up from LA to spend the day with me, take me to the doctor, sit with me at chemo, do lunch and help me pick the perfect himalayan salt lamp for my room. Despite it being an infusion day it was pretty awesome! As I was receiving my infusion I found out that Jamie’s, Stella and Dot fundraiser had raised over $750 and that another local Stella and Dot stylist and my friend Cynthia Murphy had raised over $200 at their party. So thankful for my friends and their support in this fight not only on the western side but also for all of alternative methods that I am trying. I also got to peruse the Stella and Dot catalog because guess what I also get free jewelry. It doesn’t get better than that. Oh and the fundraiser was extended so you can still go to: www.stelladot.com/ts/k6lp5 and order away. You can ignore the May 8th date as it is all online.
I have to give another shout out to Scarlett Begonia and my friend and its’ owner Crista Fooks and Chef Joel Huff. They are so awesome. Joel is always up for creating something that I can eat and it is always delicious! It seems to be my go to post chemo lunch spot. If you haven’t been you really should check it out. They do dinner also and I know you won’t be disappointed. Even better is that I eat free until I’m cancer free!
After my appointment and lunch Nikki and I headed to the Salt Cave to find the perfect lamp. While there I spoke with one of the owners who gave me some great ideas on dealing with the dry and cracked hands and feet. She suggested I get some of the smaller salt blocks that are usually purchased to cook with but could be used to assist in the healing of my hands and feet. She explained that the salt would help to pull out the chemicals that appear to be settling in my hands and feet and unable to release themselves causing the itching, dryness and all around discomfort. I have been using the blocks on my hands and putting my feet in a bag with the crystals and each time I have done it my hands and feet look and feel better. This morning as I am writing is the first time I have heated the blocks up and we shall see if that draws out even more of the toxins.
Thank you Krista Kieding for suggesting I spend time in the ocean to heal my hands and feet. It is pretty incredible how much it helped. Next time maybe a wetsuit because that water felt like I was swimming in big glass of ice water.
Prior to my infusion Nikki and I met with Dr. Woliver. We talked about the side effects from Xeloda and decided to take an extra week off to give my hands and feet some time to heal. As of yesterday I’m back on the Xeloda. I have to tell you being off both chemo drugs was a pretty awesome feeling. Dr. Woliver said the windows are opening and it is time to go see Dr. Lenz at USC. Exciting and nerve wracking all at the same time. I sent an email to Dr. Lenz’s, PA Taline and you won’t believe it but literally 10 minutes later I received a call from her. Talk about incredible service. She gave me a list of everything they needed and asked why if all is going so well did I want to come down to see them. Well, Dr. Woliver thinks that just maybe we are inching toward the possibility of surgery. All the updated records have been sent. Many of you have asked why do surgery if everything might just shrink down to nothing. This is something I have been thinking a lot about so when I met with Dr. Han on Monday I asked him what he thought. He said immediately “surgery” it has the best results and the best record for complete obliteration. If the Chinese Herb Doc is telling me surgery I know if and when it becomes an option it will be the right way to go. Now I just have to get to that point and make it happen.
I have to tell you about the Heroes for Justice Awards that I attended the day after chemo. Such a humbling experience. My friend Jody Kaufman wrote the most amazing introduction covering every aspect of my life. Of course it brought me to tears which didn’t work so well when I accepted my award and gave my acceptance speech but the tears and sniffles were all a part of it. When I was writing my acceptance I realized that I would be receiving the award exactly 6 months from the day I was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer. It made the day so much more than it already was. It was my first big milestone because I don’t know if I’ve told many of you but my worst case scenario was six months to live. Six months is now behind me and Cancer you are going down! During the awards portion of the evening Legal Aid played a video they made of some of the work they have been doing with the community. The stories were all so moving and really it is those at Legal Aid, the attorneys, the staff, the board members that should be awarded for the work they do and all the lives they save and change. What are you doing for our community? It doesn’t take much to impact a person’s life sometimes it is even just smiling at someone or saying hello but I know we can all do so much more.
I think I told you all that I had been picked as this year’s recipient for the friendship paddle. Thursday I met the board of this incredible non-profit. A group of guys that came together to support a friend in need 10 years ago, who were so impacted by the deep emotion and camaraderie, that they have continued on to help others in our community. After just meeting many of them for the first time I can tell you that they will all become a part of our extended family. Their true compassion and willingness to give not only financial support by raising funds through the paddle but also emotional support is truly a gift. I feel so honored to be this year’s recipient. It gives me another layer of warriors and energy to draw from as I obliterate cancer. The friendship paddle will be held one of the following weekends September 20, 27 or October 4 depending on the weather. The boats and paddlers head to the islands on Friday and paddle back across the channel on Sat ending with a celebration of life that all will be invited too. I’ve decided that I too will be paddling as long as I’m not on oxalyplatin and don’t have the cold issues I should be able to do it. I just have to decide stand up or prone I’m thinking the challenge of prone might be the way to go but it’s going to take some training. If anyone is interested in putting together a team for the paddle just let us know. It takes a team, a boat, fundraising and commitment. If paddling isn’t your thing then you might want to join in the Trek for Tara that will be ending at the same time as the paddle. If you just want to join the party that is great as well. I would love to have you all with me as I finish the paddle. To be surrounded by all of my friends, family and community will be awesomely amazing! There will be lots more details to come.
I would like to leave you with the following quote:
“Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.” – Joshua J. Marine
Hugs and Kisses