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Saturday, April 01, 2006

Notes from Laura on Her Journey

Thoughts, expressions, and experiences from Laura as she lives well: April 2006 - June 2006

Visit this section to view thoughts, expressions, and experiences from Laura from April 2006 through June 2006.

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Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA – TO THE BLOG – PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE – for Laura only.

April 1, 2006

It’s Saturday early afternoon. I have done my usual Saturday ½ hour jaunt to the hospital to have my blood drawn. It is a big deal because only a registered nurse (rather than a lab technician) can draw blood from my ‘port.’ This is every Saturday. They will read my results at the clinic on Monday and we will modify my protocol based on my latest blood work. Then back to the house to hook up to the IV machine. This has been a hard day so far. I was awake last night at about 2:30 AM and could only doze on and off the rest of the night. Maybe it was because of one more night where the rain poured down, or maybe it was aches and pains and maybe some worry.

I was at the clinic again last Thursday and had another ‘shake and bake.’ Another one!!!! Over the period of about four hours my temperature went from 97.6 to 105.1 and then back down again. My body was shaking so bad that it was painful. They gave me the appropriate treatment which took me down from the peak pretty quickly, yet it leaves me drained and exhausted. We are not quite sure whether I have a low grade infection (which by the way increased my white blood cell count) or is this one more Necrosis? Good news or bad news? I do know that I rebounded more quickly this time and was less wiped out on Friday, so this may be a gradual strengthening of my system.

People are commenting on how yellow my eyes or my skin look. And then how it is less yellow. I hadn’t noticed it myself, not really, yet it is a sign that the body needs more de-toxing. More? Well OK. Let’s see how to do that.

I learned from my oncologist that the hair on my head that fell out from the radiation in Mexico can take up to a year to grow back. It is not the same timeframe as chemo therapy. Who knew? Just another tidbit. Also I learned about the Cancer Hot Line as a resource at 800-433-0464. It was started by Richard Bloch (of H&R Block) after he survived lung cancer. It is a pretty good example of how a Bigger Game can come into existence.

There is a drug that helps increase the white blood count, yet we found out when we ordered it that my insurance company needed to investigate whether I should have it or not, and then they wanted to mail it to me…. Except they didn’t call back with their procedures and then we moved into the weekend when they are closed for business. So I still don’t know about it. It is taken subcutaneously, and 20 treatments cost $4,000, so I am pretty reliant on insurance coverage, which doesn’t seem to be forthcoming. Maybe I was supposed to call them back.

I’m feeling somewhat frustrated. And maybe overwhelmed. There just seems to be so much to do to maintain this health regimen and there is always something that is not getting done -- and today, for whatever reason all I have at my disposal are tears, feelings of fear, and sadness and frustration and I can even see resignation wanting a place at the table. I don’t know what this is all about exactly, and I do know this will pass. When it is ready to. I have thought not to come to the blog with this black cloud, and yet it feels essential that I do, that I bring all of it here. Because my guess is that all cancer rides are up and down and moving around, even when there is no dramatic event to point to. Just because sometimes it feels hard. That’s just the way it is, and the way it will be, until it isn’t.

My friend Nancy is not able to take phone calls anymore, as Pancreatic cancer begins to take her away from us. I continue to send her my love via email and messages, and my prayers. After our conversations I actually know she appreciates these messages even at this time in her journey.

Richard Bloch, in his book Cancer … there’s hope said “I can’t emphasize enough the importance of letting someone who has cancer (or any life threatening condition) know that you are thinking of him and really care.” I guess because I am especially sensitive today that sentence brought up even more tears. I felt something like…. oh, other cancer patients feel this way too. Well yes, of course, Nancy feels this way too. Love and caring to you Nancy. May you travel safe and in the light.

I just discovered, again, that I have sometimes felt shy about asking for your support, like there was something about me that was needy or helpless. Or that this may be going on too long and you will get tired and fed up and start tolerating or disappearing. And yet when I eventually find my feet I realize what a natural yearning wanting support is for someone in my situation. And hopefully it is an opportunity for you.

Maybe we don’t need to have cancer to ask for support from each other. And maybe we don’t need a reason to offer support to someone. What would that world be like, to know we will freely ask for support even when we haven’t done anything to EARN it. And what a world it will be to take a moment each day and decide, who is the person(s) I want to send love or support or a touch to today. And do that. As a daily practice. Even a quick email or a post card. Hmmmm. That feels good to me. Receiving and Sending. What do you think?

Thank for listening. May you be enlivened by life.

Laura

THIS LOCATION IS RESERVED FOR Notes from Laura on Her Journey PLEASE DO TALK WITH HER BY POSTING YOUR COMMENTS TO ‘PERSONAL NOTES TO LAURA.’

Saturday, April 01, 2006 1:53:00 PM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA – TO THE BLOG –
PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE – for Laura only. SUNDAY, April 9, 2006

A little long today, so wait when you have a moment or two to read.


Hello, Again, Hello,

Goodbye, Again, Goodbye, So long, with Love and Sadness and Pride - To Nancy Sarah, a Bigger Game player and a woman of great intention, conviction and ability to activate and make it happen. She had a huge heart, deep compassion and always listened for the messages sent her way. She is gone now. Here are some words from her obituary:

Nancy Sarah was born July 27, 1942. She died on April 7, 2006…

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Nancy Sarah Fund to Support
Women's Success and Freedom. This Fund, which is being administered by
the Rhode Island Foundation, will support women in transition from
incarceration to successful living through grants to both individuals and
programs. Address your correspondence in care of the Rhode Island Foundation,
One Union Station, Providence, RI 02903, and designate the Nancy Sarah Fund.
The Foundation website is: http://www.rifoundation.org/matriarch/default.asp

Most of you didn’t know Nancy but you might recognize from the above paragraph that even in her passing she kept holding her Bigger Game. I spoke with her a couple weeks ago and she was quite excited about setting up this Fund. She was actively on the phone making calls to determine who would administer the Fund and ensure that support was made available to women coming out of ‘her’ prison. I admit I supported Nancy in setting up this Fund, even as she clicked the morphine button for continual pain. I could hear the aliveness and the passion in her voice as she connected with her purpose. I can only tell you how proud I was to know her and gratified I was to be in relationship with her during her last days. It all makes sense to me.

Please take a moment and send a prayer to ease Nancy’s journey. “May you go with Light and Love and Rest With God Nancy.”



And for us, please take a moment to realize that it happened so fast. When I first heard about Nancy’s cancer the talk was that she would have a couple of months. Not to be. It happened so fast. Breathtakingly fast. It has me pause. If I had known it was going to be quite so fast I would probably have talked with Nancy at least a couple of more times.

What has me pause? When I consider that I too could go fast. Really. Or you could go fast. Or other special people in my life who might not be here tomorrow. What else would I want to have said to them? What else would I have wanted to do with them or for them? What is still unsaid? Undone? Unfelt? This has been a powerful inquiry to hang out in this week.

Hhhmmmmm, What IS unsaid? Publicly? Well here’s one. I am sooooooo honored and appreciative to be supported by each of you who come to this page and leave a message, a touch, a word that feeds my spirit. It is one of the most touching things in my life right now. Thank you all, in a very huge and consistent way.

Another thing that is unsaid is my acknowledgement to a circle of fabulous woman. I am privileged and grateful to be supported by a dozen committed and intentional women – women who see that I get all the emotional, physical, spiritual and mental support, necessary for this Cancer journey. I think of them as my ‘A’ Team. As a group we meet by phone twice a month and we get together live and in person every six weeks or so. I have a coaching session with two of them each week. And then each member does what they can to help keep me pointed in the best direction. That means that any one of them make sure I have plenty of stimulating conversation, or research or Kleenex or love or picnics or surprises or presents or shoulders to cry on or parties or laughter. They hold a space for me to complain, to pontificate and to exalt!

Bev & Laura & Shekinah & Judy & Karen & Lisa & Leslie & Stacy & Breeze & Loretta & Caroline & Tricia worry about my finances with me and they look for ways for me to have fun and for Judy to have support. I get cards and calls and affection. This group holds me in a way that allows me to ‘lean-in.’ For this I am relieved and hugely grateful. Most recently grateful for creating an event of delight and dancing and clapping at Glide Church this Sunday morning, and creating an event of savoring and camaraderie and sunlight and “I am Happy” food at Café Gratitude. What a wonderful way to launch the coming week of radiation.

Another unsaid thing -- how blessed I am to have Judy in my life. I am not easy to live with under the best of circumstances, but pain and needles and medicines and radiation and treatments and, well, all of it, seems to bring out my least pleasant side - even more often. But she hangs in there with me, always ready to plug in the IV Machine, or heat up the Vitamin C or pour the electrolytes or drive me to some clinic or another. What a way to start out being retired Judy. Thank you for being my partner, my friend, my she-ro and my sweetest heart.

This coming Saturday is our anniversary of that Saturday before Easter, in 1997, when I was hit by the proverbial bolt of lightening, when I realized how important my good friend Judy was to me, how in fact, she was the most important person in the room, in the world, on that special day. And she still is. She couldn’t quite believe that I was really in love with her… that I was saying no to men. I almost couldn’t believe it either, but the bolt of lightening was not to be denied and seems to this day like the most important turning point of my life.

So let me say aloud here, and to the whole world, I love you Judy with all my heart. Thank you for bringing your smile and your caring into my life. Thank you for your love of jokes and laughter and flowers and fuzzy kittens and helping others and your shyness and your urges to feed me and feed the birds and for taking care of me so well. I hope my love nourishes you even half as much as you nourish me.

And so as I sign off I invite the rest of you to think of what is unsaid in your life. And then say it. But first you might need to look to see what feelings need to be felt. And after, what needs to be done. Because you or I or they could go, really fast, and the only reason it was left unsaid or undone is that you didn’t say or do it. That you thought you had plenty of time perhaps, or you were too busy and doing important things perhaps, or you just forgot perhaps. So assume that it is urgent. That the time is now, right now, this minute. Or soon. Today. With Love, Laura

THIS LOCATION IS RESERVED FOR Notes from Laura on Her Journey PLEASE DO TALK WITH HER BY POSTING YOUR COMMENTS TO ‘PERSONAL NOTES TO LAURA.’

Wednesday, April 12, 2006 5:39:00 PM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA – TO THE BLOG –
PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE – for Laura only. Thursday, April 13, 2006


Hello All;

In 1991 I received radiation treatment for DCIS (Ductal Carcinoma In Situ) a precancerous condition of the left breast. We never saw signs of DCIS or other breast cancer after that but it left me with a skewed perspective of the radiation process. I can remember feeling for the first time that I was a piece of meat. I would go downstairs in the basement of the California Pacific hospital radiation department, to the waiting room for radiation patients, a room full of pertinent and up to date books and tapes about cancer and related treatments and a table with half a puzzle being worked and plenty of chairs for waiting radiation patients. I must say that during this whole journey I learned the most there in that waiting room, from waiting cancer patients.

Eventually I would put on one of those unpleasant gowns and go into a room with a really big machine and often different strangers and sometimes familiar faces. I would layout on the table and they would move me around, lining me up by the tattoo marks they had located on my body. They would say hello, give me instructions, position me just right, rather urgently tell me to not move and then, every time, they would all RUSH out of the room. A few seconds later I would be laying alone on the table while this machine, hovering over my head, begins making a buzzing noise, a light comes on and I would swear that machine manifested a personality, an ominous, authoritative personality.

I can remember the first several radiation treatments -- I didn’t know what to do with myself or my thoughts, as I lay there. And let me tell you my thoughts were not positive. I felt like a side of beef, I felt invisible, I felt like I was being poisoned and paradoxically I felt so alone, diseased and possibly contagious. Not the best kind of thoughts to be having I must admit. You could easily say my thoughts were not a major contribution to my healing process at that point in 1991, although it all turned out OK, sortof.

And so on this past Tuesday, when I went in for my first dose of radiation I was anticipating some advancement in radiation therapy had occurred since 1991. Alas it was not to be. The radiation room was a little nicer, the waiting room had no books or puzzle table for the radiation patients, and there were only two technicians this time, who were pleasant though impersonal. I still felt like a side of beef as they pulled my clothing away so they could line me up with the tattoos they had placed on my chest the previous week (without telling me they were going to mark me for life.) As it turns out the first day takes about an hour to set up the computer and lying on the table for that long was very hard on my back and on my head (oh gawd – my greatest fear is that the brain tumors are growing again?) The technicians still left the room – leaving still me with a large machine hovering over my head, a machine with a red light and a buzzing noise along with a radio playing commercials and local news.
Even though I was prepared due to my previous experience, I got tripped up over my expectations. Somehow I felt they would have something to help me with my thoughts. More touching or personal conversation, maybe some soothing music, and for sure I expected there would be some counseling on what to visualize while the machine was doing its thing. I did think that after 15 years things would have gotten better, and that the mind and the spirit would have been treated as well. I fear that I might be sounding like a complainer here, yet I hope that I sound shocked and disappointed. And that you who will have family and friends and perhaps yourself to escort to a radiation room someday – that you consider this might happen to you and get prepared too. Buy books and tapes by Dr. Bernie Segle and healing and other visualization books or tapes. And most importantly, create the visualizations that will serve you while you are on the table. For some people it is Pac Man, for others it is dive bombers or parachutists.

Carly, my nurse at the clinic I go too calls it a shower of radiant love, and somehow I got from Judy the image of Radiant Glove. A bunch of tiny, little gentle (red) hands that come down and massage the treated areas, dislodging the cancer cells and moving them into the detox centers of my body. Now, today, I am going to work on the theme music I will envision I hear with the Radiant Glove, maybe Rocky - gotta chuckle with that one, eh? Fortunately I take some special IV’s with Vitamins and other magic every day after the radiation, helping to strengthen me while assisting those dead cells in getting out of the body. Thank you again Carly, Joe, Judy and Joseph too.

Thanks to so many of you who have sent me strength and blessings for this experience.

And finally, one fear I have is that because of the radiation I may not be able to talk when I am supposed to lead The Bigger Game workshop on April 21 – 23. The treatment on my sternum area is near my trachea and my wind pipe and my throat – all of which are getting burned by the radiation. So talking could be a bit of a challenge. I will be keeping my eye on that because leading this material has always served me and gets me excited and nourished. I am leading with Caroline so I won’t need to do much talking, I’ll just want to.

I am thinking that this is probably the last time I do a public BG workshop. At this particular time it seems to be right to release the holding of this particular forum. So if you haven’t already, come to the Bigger Game workshop then please do come. It is in Corte Madera, California in the San Francisco Bay area and there will be a 50% discount if you identify yourself as a blogger. (www.thebiggergame.com) And the best news of all is that Emily of K’duite will be there. Just think, its been over 35 years since we shared a stint together in the peace corps. This should be really good.

I do go on and on don’t I? Don’t answer that. Thank you for coming and getting all the way to the end of this. With Respect, Laura

THIS LOCATION IS RESERVED FOR Notes from Laura on Her Journey PLEASE DO TALK WITH HER BY POSTING YOUR COMMENTS TO ‘PERSONAL NOTES TO LAURA.’

Friday, April 14, 2006 3:03:00 PM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

Laura Whitworth said...
NOTES FROM LAURA – TO THE BLOG – PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE – for Laura only

Hello Everyone;

Oh Dear, oh dear;

I didn't mean to say that I was giving up leading Bigger Game Workshops. I mean to say that I am no longer the person who is holding the production of PUBLIC BG workshops. If YOU are the one who wants to invite me and my colleage to come lead a workshop in your neighborhood, company, community or city then please do let me know. Cause I want to attract large numbers of people to 'take on' the world, to tap into Bigger Game playing, large numbers of players, who tap into what needs to be done and who then say "Let's do it."

So I hope that by saying that I am not going to hold the production of Bigger Game workshops, that I AM saying yes to holding the introduction of Bigger Game Workshops to all those who are wanting someone to come to their neighborhood, freinds or company and introduce them to the idea of owning their own life, their own Game.

To having them identify an inch; a way of seeing that something in their lives isn't working; and they are going to do something about it.

The Bigger Game of the Bigger Game Company is to create a sufficient number of BG players and citizen leaders to choose an action and make a difference in how the world operates. It is an exciting and exhilerating possibiity, actually a realistic probablility, that we can shape our own world. That is a piece of work

And so, thank you Pauline for your words, and please know that I am not giving up on The Bigger Game, only shifting who holds a particular piece of it. And hopefully I see one who envisions a new way, a new approach to making it happen.

In the meantime, tomorrow, Tuesday, we look at the blood work and head back to day Number Five of radiation. I hope I can keep on breathing.

Wishing you all some wonderful sunshine, like we had today, after the easter weekend. They tell us there will be three whole days of sunshine. Pick me up off the ground, and oh, anyone looking to do some lawn mowing??? let me know. All the weeds and grass are growing.

Love to you all.

Laura


THIS LOCATION IS RESERVED FOR Notes from Laura on Her Journey PLEASE DO TALK WITH HER BY POSTING YOUR COMMENTS TO ‘PERSONAL NOTES TO LAURA.’

Monday, April 17, 2006 8:37:00 PM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA – TO THE BLOG –
PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE – for Laura only.

April 24, 2006


Hello All;

A cloudy day after.... a day after a weekend of fun and fatigue, a weekend of good work and hard work, a weekend of old friends and new friends, a weekend of abundance and scarcity. I guess you could say a weekend where I got to have it all.

And to be able to be with Emily again after 35+ years. Yes, you may have read her postings here on the blog - where she found me after all these years. My ole Peace Corps friend,roommate and fellow adventurer. It was such a treat and an honor to be with her again. How strange that she looks and feels and sounds pretty much just the same to me.

Thank you Emily, you were always a grounding and expansive influence in my life. It was like a walk down a glorious memory lane to spend three days with you. I just love you.

And to be able to lead with Caroline was such a pleasure and a relief. She is a strong and reslient and grounded co-leader. It was especially a relief when I started to feel, well, not so good right in the middle of the workshop on Saturday. Especially during that time when my brain was feeling literally pressed from all sides, or that time when everything felt physically heavy. Or that time when I started to detox some, sweating copiously. Thank you Caroline, for holding the space, and for holding me. And Pat and Stacy who were cornerstones throughout the weekend.

Another good piece of news is that my throat was not in pain. I wasn't coughing. And I was able to talk up a storm. And I did... of course.

I hope it was good for everybody else cause it was for this extrovert. Except when my mind couldn't find the knowledge or the memory or the word I was looking for. Then there would be a time when I would be fearful -- what is going on with my brain tumors, I wondered. And then, on to the next part of the workshop.

I guess I did pretty well considering I started this workshop after seven days of radiation. I may have underestimated the impact the radiation had on me before the course. I could really tell the difference in my depleted energy and my mental alacrity. I was just tired.

Yet to be in the presence of others as they begin to open up to or begin to glimpse a purpose that compells them, or rather a purpose that comPULLS them, that is a priviledge and a sacred event. One thing for certain, even though it was physically draining, my soul was touched and sparked by the many light bulbs that were turned on this weekend. You could almost feel the world turn a notch, you could almost taste the alternative reality that came into existence this past weekend. And it was gooooooood!!

That brings you up to date on all the doings. Now off to the next dose of radiation. Ouch.

Much love,

Laura


THIS LOCATION IS RESERVED FOR Notes from Laura on Her Journey PLEASE DO TALK WITH HER BY POSTING YOUR COMMENTS TO ‘PERSONAL NOTES TO LAURA.’

Monday, April 24, 2006 3:31:00 PM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

Laura Whitworth said...
NOTES FROM LAURA – TO THE BLOG –
PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE – for Laura only.

Thursday morning.

Hello All;

I'm Getting ready to leave for an MRI test this morning. A viewing of the brain and of the spine. Another test - one that is a turning point. Either the tumors in the brain have increased or not. In either case there will be a change in treatment. More importantly, there will be a change in my stance - in the posture that I bring to the world of my future. And I want to mark it. I want to note this time on April 27th as another specific turning point! There.

And I want to be clear for myself of what I want today. I want an MRI test result that shows no tumors, and that I am cancer free. I want that. I want to be very clear about what I want. To be cancer free -- or moving distinctly in that direction.

I was noticing that my 'wanting' or vision or thought images were getting less vivid. I was getting ready to go to this test without creating what I want. Not OK. So here I am -- seeing my brain as cancer free. My spine too.

And please send your blessings and light for a clear brain and spine scan today.

And then, back to a radiation appointment right afterwards. It's going to be quite a day.

Thanks for your light and your love and for your presence at being here.

Love, Laura


THIS LOCATION IS RESERVED FOR Notes from Laura on Her Journey PLEASE DO TALK WITH HER BY POSTING YOUR COMMENTS TO ‘PERSONAL NOTES TO LAURA.’

Thursday, April 27, 2006 9:00:00 AM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA – TO THE BLOG – PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE – for Laura only.

Hello my friends;

Sunshine! No, let me correct myself. S U N S H I N E! ! How wonderful for us out here in Northern California who have seen wet weather maybe 33 days out of 40 over the last month and a half, and now to have some sunshine along with some warmth. Ohhhhhh, so good.

I have been in a state of emotional ups and downs over the last few days. I asked my oncologist to set me up for another MRI on the brain because I have been having headaches and some pain when I lay on the back of my head. Doing the MRI was challenging just because of how I have to lay on the table (on my head) while the test is administered. It takes about an hour and a quarter or so and includes a lot of noise. And then waiting for the results. “Has the Oncologist called?” I asked as I came in from my latest radiation appointment? No? No word on the day of the MRI. Nothing on Friday by noon, so Isha called his office and asked them to send me a copy of the results. And they faxed them over. The Oncologist was out of the office.

The results are heartening. The results are confusing. They are posted on the main page of the blog, and in summary state that the 2 tumors on the right side “measuring 6-5 mm are stable,” and the tumor on the left may have a possible slight decrease in size. “ There is no evidence of new metastasis.” Yay. Whew. Wow. You should have seen the dance that Isha performed and Judy and Leslie came in from the garden to do a cheer, and me, I think I pretty much sat there feeling stunned. Grateful, relieved and stunned. It wasn’t til an hour later that I started walking from one room to the other and just broke into laughter. A good thing that Isha was there just then – we got to laugh together. A delightful form of relief and release.

It is rather intriguing to us that earlier on in the report it states that the left tumor appears to be slightly decreased in size . . . “which is not well visualized in the axial view and is less well visualized on the coronal view. This may indicate favorable response to therapy or may be due to slight differences in positioning.” We don’t know whether to laugh or cry at this notice.

You see, previous MRI tests at the end of February had revealed three tumors, which they stated had not changed since the January test. However the January tests say the two on the right were 4 mm in size. The April tests say they are 5-6 mm in size but call them stable. I have not heard from my oncologist in person - so we have not been able to talk about these test results yet – probably on Monday. But when I look at the last four written reports from the MRIs I find myself wondering. What does it all really mean? Is the difference between 4 mm and 6 mm significant? Or is a one or two mm growth considered stable? And yet the left tumor, if it is a question of positioning, is it possible that the size is larger and we can’t tell because of the positioning??? Questions and more. Soooo, I am feeling heartened and I am feeling confused.
The next steps are clear. Get additional input, maybe have someone at radiology look at all four MRI’s in sequence. More to be done. Perhaps, while we are here, I can highlight this experience as an example of the type of patient that ‘takes on’ their own treatment. Understands all the results, does comparisons, does the research. Questions doctors and test results and conclusions. And gets answers, and more answers. Hopefully we’ll come back to this topic of patients that ‘take on’ their treatment in the future. Maybe you’ll check out the recent copy of Time magazine about what doctors fear about being in hospitals. I’d hate for your to come on this journey with me without taking away some important ‘heads-up’ for your future dealings with the medical industry.

In the meantime, we, Joseph, myself and the clinic are optimizing the radiation therapy I am receiving. First of all I am definitely making sure to take my detox baths every day. And believe it or not, something that seems to help is to put cooked cabbage on the treatment spot. It pulls out some of the soreness. Most importantly, right now I am on an intensive IV treatment program. I am having 8 IVs every day for a total of 9 days, without a break. Some of them are to chelate the radiation, others are to help target the cancer and some are to strengthen my immune system. In any case, the beat goes on.

Something to chew on in the future, the kind of thoughts and feelings I had when I first considered the MRI results. What if the tumor size is getting smaller? Joseph says that we are treating all the cancer, if it goes down in the brain it should be going down in other parts of the body. What if I am starting to move toward a remission? What if I am not? Maybe I can lighten up on all the treatments, take a break!! NO! Pedal to the metal is what is called for. Isn’t it? What if I live? What if I die? All new thoughts. All old thoughts. And a major questioning of my motivation to hold to the ‘fight.’ To notice the temptation to give up the ‘fight’ and welcoming the opportunity to think about giving up the ‘fight.’ Realizing how weighty, even fatiguing the protocols are. Wondering about the human condition that even flirts with giving up the ‘fight.’ Let me just say that experiencing all these thoughts, the what if’s and the maybes …. What a ride. To put it mildly.

I think I’ll take a break after this IV (It is part of the protocol to take a break in the middle of it – thank God) and go be in the sun.

Thanks for coming to visit. Leave a note, if you will, and let me know you are here -- so I can know and feel your presence.

Love, Laura


THIS LOCATION IS RESERVED FOR Notes from Laura on Her Journey PLEASE DO TALK WITH HER BY POSTING YOUR COMMENTS TO ‘PERSONAL NOTES TO LAURA.’

Sunday, April 30, 2006 11:13:00 AM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA – TO THE BLOG – PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE – for Laura only.


Hi All;

Its been a rough week. Yesterday I came home from the clinic with new IVs around 1:00PM. I started on the IVS from bed and ended up staying there for the rest of the day.

Last Friday turned out to be my last day of radiation. And this week I have been wiped out, exhausted, really tired. The MRI of the spine was not positive. The cancer is more intense in the bone, but, it is not encroaching on any nerves. We should see the results of the radiation on this tumor in a couple of weeks.

It has been a week of coughing, tenderness in the chest, more cabbage (-: daily IVs, and cranium pressure or headaches. Yesterday around 5:00pm I started dozing, off and on, for the rest of the day. Actually that means I had been sleeping, waking momentarily and then unable to stay awake, falling back asleep. And trying to move my head in a way to avoid aching even though I had been taking Ibuprofen. A good thing we had these recent brain scans or I would be more concerned about these headaches.

This morning I am reluctant to get out of bed because I don’t want to find out I have more headaches. Yet today is another trip to see Meddie, the medical healer. So out of bed is a requirement. Gently.

Just a good morning update. A longer blog is in the works, later. Bye for now.

Love, Laura


THIS LOCATION IS RESERVED FOR Notes from Laura on Her Journey PLEASE DO TALK WITH HER BY POSTING YOUR COMMENTS TO ‘PERSONAL NOTES TO LAURA.’

Friday, May 05, 2006 8:00:00 AM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA – TO THE BLOG – PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE – for Laura only.

Hi All;

Can’t talk much, am hooked up to a needle in my arm and antibiotics and sustenance going in my veins after quite a bout with toxins and fevers in my systems. I am getting better, slowly, and will be back when I can. It is quite a ride this cancer trip.

In the mean time I am looking for some cheers… cheers to hear when I am taking ugly medicines that taste like ich. Or other cheers to get that cancer out of my system.
If you can come up with one I’d love it. Hunting and pecking on the computer is very time consuming.

Bye for now,

Laura

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Friday, May 12, 2006 10:12:00 AM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA – TO THE BLOG –
PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE – for Laura only. May 17, 2006


Hello All;

What a ride I have been on. I know it has been a while since you have heard from me. This is the first day I had the energy to write. Not just the energy to type but also the energy to think. So sit back, it’s a bit of a long one…

First, let me tell you a tiny bit about the Radiation experience that I ended early, on April 28th. It had caused me to start coughing again, and I was feeling quite tired. I felt like I was pushing everything, including time, uphill. Then the week after that I started to experience exhaustion – feeling really tired, the kind of tired that you don’t recover from after a good nights sleep. The kind of tired that reduces the brain’s ability to make sense, the kind of tired that creates limp noodles out of previously strong legs. The kind of tired that makes sleep hard to find. I was advised that this was an anticipated side effect of radiation, along with the nausea and raspy throat and general sense of distress. Oh well. Endure I thought. It has to get better.

And then on Tuesday night, May 9th, I had a healing crises of sorts. Judy had gone to town to get some medicine and I was in bed with an IV drip helping to detox the results of the radiation, resting. The next thing I knew my head was pounding, I was floundering around with sweat dripping off of me, vomit in a bowl and on the bed spread and my heart pounding a million miles an hour. I had passed out. I got up and stumbled around the house looking for someone, I know not whom, barely able to hold myself upright. I knew something was wrong, very wrong, and I knew I was in trouble. I was too far out of it to think straight but I knew my temperature was dangerously high. Fortunately I was able to fumble around with the electronic thermometer for a read. I had to do it three times because even in my delirium I couldn’t believe that my temperature was 105.4!!

Then I called Judy, my nurse Carly and then Joseph. Judy was on her way back. Carly told me to call Joseph. I know I was incoherent but I was able to tell him my temperature and he told me that he’d get the nurses over right away. He also told me to get into a bathtub with water that was 90 degrees. I can’t remember things too well, Judy got there and helped me get into the tub – that was no fun to get into cool water, I remember that. When my temperature came down to 99. I got out of the tub and got back into bed.

Somewhere in there my sweet friend and assistant Isha showed up - for another reason - and ended up climbing into bed with me and just held me. I was really out of it Judy said. I was so thirsty but every time I drank water, or anything, I threw up. I was throwing up a lot, or so it seemed, trying to quench that thirst. Carly and Joe the nurses from the clinic showed up. They were emergency room nurses together at another time in their lives, so they brought that sense of efficiency and ‘can do’ attitude. I can slightly remember their faces, Joe with his intense ‘get it done’ attitude, and Carly with her Tinkerbell love touch. I knew I was in good hands, but I didn’t know how much I needed those hands. Eventually Isha moved out of the bed and Joe and Carly rushed about taking my vital signs and continuing to change infusions. The good news is that they had an anti nausea medication that allowed me to drink. The fluids from the IVs were more important than what I was drinking but my mouth was happier. Over the next few hours I spiked 104+ temperature at least two more times, preceded by deep shaking. I don’t think I ever came out of my delirium.

They finally concluded that while a lot of what was happening to me was a result of toxins released in my system there was also an infection in my port catheter that probably came from tumors that were being broken down by the radiation and other things that I had been doing. The only vein they could find was in my hand so I had IV’s running all night through my left hand in an attempt to replenish the electrolytes and fluids that had been used up over the last few hours.

It wasn’t til a couple of days later that Joe, shaking his head, shared his surprise with me, surprised that I had made it! My vital signs and temperature were not so good that night. He told me that he had been in a lot of emergency room situations where the readings were not as bad as mine yet the results were much worse. “You’re one tough lady” he said. In my opinion Joe and Carly saved my life. And that is a concept worth taking some time with.

And then, on top of that, they cancelled a trip out of town the following weekend because they wanted to be near me in case I had another crisis (Thankfully I didn’t.) It was worth noting how easily yet wide I had to open up, to allow and receive the gift of their postponement of a visit to Joe’s kids - because of me. There was no false modesty, no “Oh you don’t have to do that.” There was simply a thank you, tears, relief, appreciation and acceptance.

In looking back at May 9th I can catch glimpses in my minds eye that I was flirting with death during that emergency. And sitting here today I am surprised at how calm I was about the whole thing. Yes, I was throwing up and sweating and even delirious, yet I was not afraid of dying. I felt relaxed and unattached. Death was not the enemy I might of thought. Actually it didn’t really show up for me. Don’t get me wrong. The fight still goes on, but the fight is for life. Not a fight for avoiding death. A completely different approach

It has been over a week now, and I find myself reflecting a lot on that whole experience. There is still quite a bit more digesting to do. More reflection. More examination of my life force. Yet I am relieved at seeing the life I have, happy with the work I do, delighted to see that I would choose this life over and over again. Realizing that I am pretty regret free, at least as far as the choices I have been able to make and the freedom I have. That’s a wow. I mean, to really see that if I were threatened with death and somehow survived that I would still choose this life - that is good, don’t you think?

This week has been one of depletion, and replenishment. I am still tired but that is getting better. I have been taking in Proteins and Amino Acids and Vitamin Bs and chlorella and other fluids by IV. I can feel the strength returning yet my 15 minute walks are still tiring. And I want to talk to you about the toxins I had to deal with, but tomorrow. This has been a long one, so let me sign off for today.

Thank you for hanging in there and please feel free to share your thoughts or your feelings when you get a chance, or, a cheer for when I have to take the kidney tea (the kidneys have taken quite a beating,) or a cheer for when I take Formula M1 & M2. Ich. But you can do it.

Love, Laura


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Thursday, May 18, 2006 5:35:00 PM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA – TO THE BLOG – PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE – for Laura only.

Hello Friends;

It has been an interesting time learning more about the fevers I had on May 9th. I recall what a ride it was that night. I remember feeling calm during a major part of that evening, and I find that I still feel calm, even calmer than before. And I find that I am less irritable and more satisfied by the little things in life. Yesterday I had a break from the IV machines and could do anything I wanted to do, so I went out to this one patch in the garden and trimmed and weeded it with my sister Loretta. Bending and pulling weeds, and trimming unseemly branches, feeling the sun on my back and the dampness in the soil and smelling earth and growth. Now that was a wonderful time. And a wonderful way to be alive. And then back to the IV machine. Inside. What a juxtaposition.

Now for some medical information.

Did you know that when cancer tumors break down (its called necrosis) they release bacteria, viruses and other junk into the body’s system, even staph infection. I had heard of this before but had not been so present to the reality of it as on May 9th. The good news is that I had been engaged in a detoxing protocol pretty regularly for the last several months. As a matter of fact detoxing is a fundamental element of my ‘fight the fight’ program.

Detoxing: What is that? Well it may not be pretty, but we think it saved my life, so it’s pretty enough for me. Think of it this way, when chemo therapy, enzymes or radiation kills off cells (remember that good cells are killed off along with cancer cells so we are talking about a lot of cells) then the dead cells become toxins. Toxins that have to leave the body somehow. Now toxins can leave the body in many ways. Via the blood system, the digestive system, the lymphatic system, the integumentive system (sweat) or the respiratory system.

To keep those systems open and emptying and flowing here is how I detox: I take an infared sauna for 30 minutes to sweat out the toxins, or I take a sea salt and baking soda bath to cleanse the blood or an Epsom salts and apple cider vinegar bath to pull other toxins out of the body. One or the other of these every day, and sometimes more than once a day. Sometimes I take a foot bath with mustard and cayenne to help relieve the headaches, muscle aches and other goopy symptoms. And most importantly I take two coffee enemas each day to relieve the liver of the toxins it has been processing like mad.

I had never done an enema before last summer, oooooohh iiiccchhhhh, who would want to. But then I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I know a lot more now and I can sense by how I feel when my liver is overloaded. Time for an enema. Also, my eyes and skin turn yellow when the liver is working really hard to handle the toxins. Time for another enema. Actually I had never heard of detox baths or the benefits of enemas or colonics before last summer. Now I wonder why everyone doesn’t do them. Especially anyone who is sick or on radiation or chemo therapy.

The bad news is that conventional oncologists wouldn’t know very much about detoxing. It doesn’t occur to them to recommend these simple strategies because they don’t know about them. So, when major toxins broke loose on May the 9th, competing to get out, infecting my body, I was able to fight it off with a body that was not clogged up with toxins, with a body that was able to fight. Stop and think about it. If you are fighting cancer, with radiation, chemotherapy, or any substance, then you have to assume the dead cancer cells have to get out of the body in some fashion. How can that process be helped?

One of my nurses said lots of people go to emergency rooms feeling poorly, and in his opinion it is because they have toxemia that isn’t treated. Whew. Emergency rooms don’t know about treating toxins either. How many people die because of toxins?

When I get better and have more energy I am going to research this – you can count on that.

I notice that when I talk to people about coffee enemas or detox baths that they go a little glassy eyed. They nod their heads and change the subject. Hhhmm, I remember when I was like that, not interested in medical information that didn’t fit into my mental models, or more accurately, the methods and imprinting and models of my parents. Because I can still tell how strongly I am influenced by the western medicine and military doctors that I grew up with. However today western medicine simply says that there is no hope for my kind of cancer – and that makes it much easier to investigate alternatives. Forced to look outside the box. And I am finding a lot out there worth paying attention to.

I don’t know if I would have been as open to the alternative medical front if I hadn’t experienced the tension and disagreement back in the early days of coaching. Which was right? CTI or CoachU. Bickering and squabbling. Some of you might remember those days. And today it hardly matters, but back in the early 90’s there was no getting along. I wonder how alternative medicine and conventional medicine are like that now.

Oh how I do go on. I hope you found this interesting. I have more to say, later, about how what I eat impacts whether I live or not. Don’t worry, I’ll warn you at the beginning.

Thanks for listening to this long discourse. I hope you found something of value. It was good for me to write about it, so thanks again.

Warmly, Laura

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Tuesday, May 23, 2006 9:28:00 PM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA – TO THE BLOG – PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE – for Laura only.

Happy Holiday Weekend,

A time to embrace the coming of summer. A time of abundance, three days, extra time to savor life.

I have been looking forward to some words from you my friends, words to digest and savor, yes Sam, words that nourish and replenish my journey.

Yesterday was a day of tears. The inexplicable sadness and wetness that would arise over and over again, not knowing why. Maybe it was thinking about another friend who is dying of pancreatic cancer, a friend who is in a dark place, not knowing how to be happy in these final days. Or reading a wonderful book about a woman who found great aliveness through the outrageous choices she made after being diagnosed with a brain tumor. Seeking, wondering - what makes for sadness, what makes for happiness.

Wondering, when a cloud passes over why I can’t find happiness in the sudden darkness. Crying and complaining to my team and feeling the relief that always comes from telling the ugly truth. And then feeling the light and happiness that occurs when the cloud passes over. What causes me to feel dark and light? Well unclogging certainly seems to help.

Yesterday I asked my team to stay in more touch. To reach out to me even more, especially when I am not reaching back. As I move through intermittent days of darkness -- a kind of cloudy sadness and shadowed unhappiness -- I am unable to find my smile, my ground, my core and then I tend to hide. And I get grouchy. I can’t predict these times, they come and go at whim, and slap me around. Then a touch is really helpful.

It is during these times that I can’t seem to find happiness. What makes me happy? Now that is a hard question when I am mostly sitting around tied to an IV machine and the rain clouds keep returning. It is also a hard question during the times when I sit in the ambiguity of my future. As a starter, an initiator it can be hard to find my happiness when I dare not start something. And yet I can’t help myself, and Brenda and Melissa and I are working on a cancer book. Working with others to create something, that makes me happy. There is less of that these days.

What makes you happy? When you remove the need for sleep and rejuvenation and have rested enough to choose anything (but travel) you can do, what would make you happy?

Today is a day to return to the art of savoring. I am sitting in a spot of sunlight right now, and I feel it caress my chest while my hands work away on the keyboard. Savoring this moment. Savoring the walk yesterday with Stacy, as we took in all the different shades of green, admiring the brilliance of the rhododendrons, letting the sun sparkle upon us, putting our tongues around words of wonder and curiosity and learning. Another moment to savor. Tricia entertaining me with her new dance steps and later making Judy laugh. Yes, savoring the sound of Judy’s laugh, something that has been missing lately. Aaaahhhh, once again exploring the true art of savoring. An essential ingredient of happiness. And Judy and I both agree that sun and warmth can go a long way toward making us happy. Green trees and birds and flowers and blue skies and nature make us happy. How about you?

Special Note on Savoring: Some key components of savoring exist in the anticipation, and then the retelling about it after. Coming to the event with anticipation and allowing the anticipation to titillate, that is very useful to the art of savoring, and so is telling about it later, allowing the whole body to remember and savor the event. And in the midst of the savored moment all there is, well, all there is is that moment. Being fully present in that moment allows for a full taste, an embodiment of savoring.

In our talk yesterday some of the members of my support team discovered that they had begun to fall into the various traps: traps of “not wanting to bother you” or “being too much for you” or “I don’t know what to say” or other considerations that take people away from those who are dying or fighting. And like them I have my own version of it: “this has been going on too long, I don’t want to bother them” or “ I have used up the amount of attention they should spend on me.”

I have discovered that both sides of these conversations are rather normal in the realm of life threatening illnesses, for all parties involved. So now the question, given that I know this is typical behavior, is to choose who I want to be in the matter of life threatening illnesses. To choose not just who I want to be in the matter, but how I anticipate others will want to be in the matter.

My declaration to you is that I will hold us to be generous with each other. That I will give by receiving and I receive by allowing you to give or touch . And you will receive by giving and by receiving from others. That we will choose who we will be in this arena, rather than get swept away by the challenges involved. And that we hold each other as big and brave. I can feel a twinge as I write this, how arrogant might this appear? I hope instead that it is perceived as an invitation for both of us to step beyond normal behavior, beyond business as usual. And to step into who we choose to be. Oh, and while your at it, lets choose to be savorers, eh?

I hope this made some sense because as I read it I am not so sure that it did.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Love, Laura

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Friday, May 26, 2006 4:22:00 PM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA – TO THE BLOG – PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE – for Laura only.

Hello All;

Just a quick note.

This was a second day at the clinic this week. A rough day. A realization that the work Judy and I have been undergoing over the last many months has done a major job with lots of cancer is dieing off, necrosis. Now the dead cancer is spewing all kinds of stuff into my blood system. This is a dicey time. There’s a lot of work to be done now. We have walked into the danger zone, and the only way through this amount of cancer in my body is to work it through the danger zone, even though I am depleted and worn out. I’m taking more shots to replete the white blood cells and hopefully some other shots to start some time soon for the anemia, and most importantly to find some ways to seriously reduce the amount of inflammation. Lots of cancers are a result of long term inflammations in the body.

So we find out again what we are made of. When the going gets tough, then we know the fight is only beginning.

Please send your white light and your healing energies.

Oh, and here’s a cheer you can send to strengthen the will of the fighter. It was pointed out to me today that the May 9th melt down showed me a crack through to the other side, and perhaps it has weakened my will. My will to fight? My will to live? My will to persist? Lets find out.

Maybe you’ll help me with this cheer. Cheers need to be short, with repeats, a powerful declaration and message. Here goes…


Fight - Fight,

Fight the Fight,

Fight the only Fight that’s right.

The Fight For Life,

The Fight For Life,

Fight - Fight - Fight!!

Love to you all, Laura
THIS LOCATION IS RESERVED FOR Notes from Laura on Her Journey PLEASE DO TALK WITH HER BY POSTING YOUR COMMENTS TO ‘PERSONAL NOTES TO LAURA.’

Wednesday, May 31, 2006 10:41:00 PM

 
Anonymous Martha Cuffy said...

Laura,

Thanks for your inspiring energy last night on TBG teleclass. You have more life in you than most of the people I see walking down the streets in London.

1. I don't know whether you have heard of an Oxford don, famous in the UK for having designed his own treatment for bone marrow cancer. He wrote a book 6 years after he had been given only months to live. He uses Gerson diet, qi gong amongst other things. "Living Proof: A Medical Mutiny" by
Michael Gearin-Tosh.

2. Another Brit, Bernadette Bohan,who has had cancer twice, wrote "The Choice". She combined conventional treatment with dietary changes. Her interview "Cancers just love sugar" can be found online - www.TheTelegraph.co.uk
Love Martha

Thursday, June 01, 2006 5:40:00 AM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA – TO THE BLOG – PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE – for Laura only.

Hello All;

Tired but doing what I need to do. It is strange and scary to see how my eyeballs have turned yellow. This is a symptom of too many toxins, but I am doing all that I can for that so I’ll just keep plugging away. And resting.

I have a bit of a story to tell. I was on a group tele-conference call on Wednesday that was scheduled over a week ago. The call was to support the Vancouver Coaches Association and to share the Bigger Game model. Doing that is something that is life affirming for me. (Thank you Barbara) Apparently I wrote the time down in my calendar half hour later than the call started. You can imagine my shock at showing up into the middle of a call with a bunch of people there ‘dancing’ because they thought I wasn’t coming? Well first there is chagrin. And regret. Some embarrassment. And laughter, at least I laughed at myself. And some new vigilance with my calendar. (Sorry Barbara.)

Then, knowing that I was late and there was a lot to cover I felt a sense of urgency. I had a lot to say (what else is new) and it didn’t feel like I could get it done in the time remaining, so I launched into it. With a fast pace. Barbara let me know that we could stay on the call a full hour if that worked for me, which relieved some of the pressure. Yet what I want to share with you today is the impact of urgency. Not the word urgency, rather the mind/body/soul sensation that goes with urgency. Yes, I moved into high gear. I paced. I was active and quick. I talked fast. Yet I talked with an aliveness that might not have been there if it wasn’t urgent. I felt alive, engaged, actually kind of exhilarated. Active and moving. Creating. Not knowing what was coming next. Thrilled. Risking. Happy. Not thinking. No attention on self. I’ll say it again. I felt alive.

And since then I have been wondering about urgency. It has occurred to me that many people do what they can to minimize the amount of urgency they experience in life. I know I have. Have you? I kept on wondering…What does urgency give us? What is present when we feel urgency? What accompanies urgency? What do we do to avoid it? What are the friends of urgency and what are the enemies? Where is our attention when we feel urgent. And a pivotal question: what causes urgency? Yup, many questions.

Well, for me, cancer creates a very definite sense of urgency. An urgency to express my self or to be enlivened. Knowing my life is really on the line, no, reallllllllly on the line, that calls for a kind of attention that is not blasé. It calls for creating, not knowing what comes next, risking, engagement and a fast pace. A hyper-sensitivity to aliveness and how that feels or doesn’t feel. This doesn’t include all the attributes of urgency -- yet many of them. Not necessarily happy, actually more like scared. No to being thrilled, more likely vigilant. Urgency helps to focus my attention, my thoughts about the present and the future, and it can definitely generate impatience. I am surprised to discover that I have been feeling urgency for the last many months , and now I see that life threatening conditions do cause URGENCY. At least for me. Maybe only for those who choose to fight the fight, and I know that not everyone does. So for me, I allow urgency to have its way.

I notice lately when fatigue gets in the way of my urgency and how tempting it is to give in to it during those moments. And I also notice that I often thrive in a state of urgency? Yet how does a state of prolonged urgency differ from Stress? Cause I am pretty sure that the stress I allowed in the last six years was instrumental in creating an immune system susceptible to cancer. I can look back from here and see periods, even weeks of stress filled, push-filled, effort filled activity. And thriving at that pace. Hhhmmmmmm, how is that different than urgent? Could it be that urgent is infrequent and stress became the norm? Urgent was often exciting, and stress was simply doing what had to be done even when I didn’t have the energy.

Well you can see that I can talk on and on, from the instance of one delayed phone call. Oh well. It is my desire to entice you to look at your own life and see where stress has become the norm. Where you too might be thriving in the midst of an approach to life that in the long run will cost you more than intended. What do ya think?

I am thrilled at the new voices that have come to the blog and thank you so much. I invite you to please keep on sharing. I don’t respond to individual postings because I can’t. It takes a long time to write these emails and I am happy to be communicating to you all, and I have to keep a limit on it, so please know that I read each and every posting… and yes, I savor each one multiple times. And for those of you who have been coming around for a long time, please keep up the nourishment, offer a voice, a thought, a touch. Now more than ever, please.

With love,

Laura


THIS LOCATION IS RESERVED FOR Notes from Laura on Her Journey PLEASE DO TALK WITH HER BY POSTING YOUR COMMENTS TO ‘PERSONAL NOTES TO LAURA.’

Saturday, June 03, 2006 6:19:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Laura,

Just checked in on your blog and I see you are still sharing your thoughts, inspirations, fears, all of it. Thank you for being you, no matter what.

Sounds like your journey continues to be full and to be difficult. I loved reading your "thank you's" to your A team.

Just a little sharing from me, I spent a good part of the last three months providing home hospice care to my grandmother, who passed away May 16, less than one month shy of her 93rd birthday. I will miss her. I was with her at the end and it was a life-changing experience.

I learned more than I ever wanted to know about end-stage, well, life. She had numerous problems, the hardest of which for us caregivers was dementia. The hospice organization, which finally showed up for the last 9 days, after we had been doing it "on our own" for 48 days, due to a mixup in communications between the city doctor and the country doctor (no resentment there, heh?), anyway, the hospice nurses spoke of multi-system failure. But one Dr, earlier, had phrased it as: "too many birthdays," which I thought was cute.

One of the things I learned is how hard it is for people to say to someone, "you're dying." Such a taboo. And I was grateful for all of the "be with it" training that taught me how to break that taboo, compassionately, of course, but still with a certain tenacity.

And with dementia working on her, she wouldn't remember from one day to the next what was actually happening to her. Which was tough on us all.

So, why am I telling you this... Well, I'm not leading up to saying "you're dying." I mean who knows? What I see is that you're fighting.

What I saw in my grandmother's fight is that the body has just enormous resources that we can't begin to account for. We (her caregivers) kept thinking, "well, if she stops taking her meds, it will be a matter of days." She stopped taking her meds (her choice, by the way), and she got a little bit better. And then we thought, "well, if she goes off her oxygen, she'll be a goner." But nope. She got a little better.

Her blood oxygen would drop below 55, and anyone else would have flat passed out. But no, she had enough strength to start accusing us of trying to kill her and used swear words we had NEVER heard her use before. Which was kind of entertaining, afterwards, once we all cooled down.

We asked the Dr what was going on. And he said, these patients who've dealt with chronic pain all their lives, they're tough. Their bodies know how to compensate, how to keep going, how to not give up. Plus, they have acquired a tremendous tolerance for pain and suffering. They're used to it, so it doesn't wear them out like it would anyone else.

Wow. Guess so.

And another thing we learned is that when you get that big of a drug cocktail going--she was on something like 17 medications--stopping them will in fact make the average advanced geriatric feel a lot better. My grandmother had been trying to tell us that for the past 13 months, but we, in our honest but somewhat misguided attempts to take care of her, thought it was just the dementia talking. I would act differently if I had it to do over.

You have always asked the hard questions, Laura, the deep questions. I have visceral memories, built over years of watching you work, and I know even the look get on your face when you ask one of your famous questions.

So I'm trusting here that it nourishes you in some way to hear soemone else's pondering on your questions, and that I am not just in my own private inquiry on your blog.

Like everyone says, being around someone who is dying puts you in touch with your own mortality. I am newly acquainted with my own mortality. And I don't like it. I find that it's actually kind of depressing to contemplate. But I think I have just a skosh more acceptance of its inevitably than I did before. And it does make me think about what is important. And I'm pretty sure I don't want to live the rest of my life just so I can be satisfied on my deathbed that I did "everything". Don't know if this makes any sense or not but I see the risk that pursuing "everything" might be just one more version of avoiding my own mortality. Like, it's the ego that wants the "everything," that wants to know it has been good, useful, left a legacy, and all that. The sense of accomplishment, for me, at least, could serve as a kind of barricade--a way to avoid being in touch with my own insignificance.

Maybe I did some good things in the world, maybe I helped some people have a deeper, more thorough experience of love, joy, excitement, connection, ambition, whatever. And I can readily go to a place where I can say "See? That means my life had meaning, purpose, value."

But who cares? I notice now these days my greater ambition is to find myself inside of Mary Oliver's "You do not have to be good."

Which gives me what, exactly? Well, I saw some antelope the other day, a rare sight. And a small flock of white pelicans, also threatened (not yet endangered). And every time I write about that I cry just from sheer gratitude that these creatures still get to roam the planet and hot damn if they don't routinely roam right where I get to roam. I feel deliciously small, even insignificant, under the huge sky in this beautiful valley, especially when I am at the edge of the lake.

I am grateful that my life so far has brought me here and that my heart is still open enough, in fact, probably open wider than it has ever been, to feel what is beautiful and real.

As you would be first to point out--I do go on! What is the point here? Well gosh, I think it's something about being fragile, mortal, endangered, but still here. Somthing about the power and nourishment and rise-above-it-all-ability that being in touch with what is really alive for me and precious to me gives me.

I see you doing that and I thank you for the example you set.

In closing, precious person, I also wish you wild things, rare and beautiful, roaming in your meadow, owls to call to you at midnight, meadowlarks to sing to you in the morning, coyotes, disheviled and dangerous, sneaking about, noisy crickets, and all manner of mayhem, reminding you of, as Mary Oliver puts it, "your place in the family of things."

your old friend and former colleague, but ever your student

-jen (Lindsay)

Wednesday, June 07, 2006 10:28:00 PM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA – TO THE BLOG – PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE – for Laura only.

Hello All;

The blood tests from Saturday came into the clinic on Monday. They were not good, and I needed to go into the clinic right away. The summary statement is that some tumors (especially in the liver) are continuing to break up and the work that NEEDS to happen now is to drain, protect and detox. Because remember, inside tumors are all kinds of bad guys - bacteria, fungus, parasites and blood clots. And when they break up all the bad guys are spewed into my body, via blood, lymph, digestion and well everywhere. And it is the rest of the body that needs to be drained and protected. All this makes significant demands on my immune system, and especially on an all ready over taxed liver and kidney.

In addition the blood tests showed that the inflammation was getting way out of hand. So we couldn’t avoid it any longer… back on antibiotics via IV, and, oh no, I’m back on steroids again. Because steroids are so helpful at reducing inflammation. I had learned what I didn’t like about steroids last December and going back on them was not something I really wanted to do. However, the immune system needed some allies so we had to call in for help from the outside. The tests also revealed that the white blood cells were way up there, and the red blood cells were fading away, so more allies were called in to help out the blood.

The test results from Tuesday didn’t show a lot of improvement, although there was a slight indication that we’re beginning to move in the right direction. My stomach has started to swell up and my liver is bleeding out in an unfavorable way. I don’t feel horrible, although I’m very tired, cranky and a feel a little yucky. If I wasn’t receiving such good support from the clinic and the nurses and the IVs I’d probably be in the hospital right now, feeling very lousy. One of my doctors keeps saying that my immune system is ‘on board’ and that my body is up to this fight. I guess I needed to hear that, because truth be told, I had gotten pretty scared with all these test results. And my mind needed some help in creating something empowering to hold onto. And I kept on thinking about the fight, fight the fight, fight the only fight that’s right.

It is interesting to know that right now is one of the toughest times of my fight, so far. One thing that makes it tough is that there isn’t a lot for me to DO. I can’t pull up my sleeves and get out the shovel to prop up the liver, or make appointments to talk to the inflammation., or sharpen an ax to eliminate the toxins or even sweep the floor and keep toxins moving out. All I can do is take my 100 supplements a day and hook up to my all day IVs, do my sauna’s and baths and colemas and eat the right foods and drink fresh juices – and oh, there are several different solutions I have to drink several times each day that are pretty horrible. I have to really steel myself to drink them down.

And of course there are numerous things that I have to avoid, things I don’t get to eat or drink or breath or even think about. Especially some things that I used to think were fun, like a martini on Friday night or a big juicy hamburger with French fries. Sigh. Oh and I get to pay for it all. And there are some things I do with prayer and/or visualizations, and there is plenty of thoughtful introspection underway. And there is attempting and mostly failing at supporting Judy who is doing so much of the work of this fight, preparing the IVs at home, making sure I get my juices and food and well all of the work of it, and mostly by herself. Without her the fight would be over. As you can see there IS a lot going on all the time. But is it the ‘fight?’

Well, let me tell the truth. All of the above is where the fight really resides. There are so many times when I don’t want to. I just can’t tolerate another horrible, stinky medicine. I don’t want to use the alcohol swab one more time on the IV hook up to keep it sterile, I just don’t want to consume one more “It’s so good for you” raw veggie juice and I don’t want to gag anymore on the 25 supplements before breakfast or the horrible tasting solutions. I don’t want to, I DON’T WANT TO. I’m tired of it, Judy is tired of it and we DON’T WANT TO. And that is where the fight comes in. In the face of boring repetition – to continue to do what feeds the body. In the midst of huge desire to break all the rules -- to persist and stay with the protocols. To complain and moan and groan -- and stay on top of it all anyway. To Not Want to – and do it anyway. That is the nature of this fight for now.

If this is the fight, then I need to let you know that it is not a fun fight. I don’t have control over most things as I am tethered to my IV pole. It doesn’t have any ‘doing’ to go with it. There is no physical action that I can take that will distract me from my plight. And I can’t touch the ‘fight’ of it. And I don’t like that. I’m hungry for action and activity (except when I’m tired and wore out.) So fighting this particular fight is one of persistence and intention and probably you could call it stubbornness too. Doing it over and over again, day after day. To continue, to endure, to tolerate, to persist, to never give up, and recover quickly when I do. And writing to the blog, even though it takes a long time, that is key for staying engaged with the fight. If I go away from here for longer than a week or so then I am either needing to recover, or things have gotten bad or just very busy.

On another note, I have enjoyed conversations lately with friends about the ‘fight.’ Some have found the exploration of actually fighting for your life to be confronting. Some people have wondered if they are up to the fight. Some people wonder if they deserve to fight. And some would say, “Of course, what else is there.” So there are many different views on the ‘fight’. I know that when I get tired or am in pain I am less inclined to fight. That’s when I really need to be able to access the ‘fight’ muscle.

I also know for me ‘fight’ is an attitude, an approach, a point of view. When I fight I am often doing some type of medical research or planning ahead that keeps calling me INTO life. When I’m tired I get to rest, but I need to come back to action at some point, even if I’m still tired, or I could fade away into resting as a way of life. So the fight has many components, different flavors and textures and viscosities. For me it has a feisty nature, sometimes a fierceness, but mostly an intention and a daring.

So what about you, would you fight for your life? What does the ‘fight’ mean to you?

I keep reading this posting over and over again. It doesn’t quite make sense to me, like I am forgetting something, or it is in the wrong order, so I apologize about that. I hope it was worth the read.

And finally, my sisters and I attend my brother’s memorial service this coming Saturday. I look forward to the opportunity for family grieving and final closure. And it is a time to take a deeper exploration into death, my brothers, my own, yours, humanity’s. Wow what a ride this has been and continues to be.

Thanks for coming and sharing the ride with me. Sorry these postings get so long, but there ya go..

With love,

Laura


THIS LOCATION IS RESERVED FOR Notes from Laura on Her Journey PLEASE DO TALK WITH HER BY POSTING YOUR COMMENTS TO ‘PERSONAL NOTES TO LAURA.’

Thursday, June 08, 2006 7:46:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Laura,
This is Anna from Singapore. I am thinking of you and praying for you everyday when I attend mass. I offer my prayers and petition to the Lord to heal you and let you LIVE WELL. You are a beautiful person, someone who has made a big difference to the world. The world is a better place because of you. Keep the faith and stay strong. Love, Anna Leong, Singapore

Sunday, June 11, 2006 7:03:00 AM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA – TO THE BLOG – PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE – for Laura only.

Hello to everyone;

Things have started to heat up gain. I am having big purple bruises show up all over my body. My Liver is bleeding in ways it shouldn’t. Now we have a new flavor of a fight because Joseph has asked me to return to the clinic in Mexico so that we can do concentrated medical treatments along with alternative Oncology. Trying to make this all happen on short notice is a definite challenge – it feels like a component of the fight. Fighting to get to the flight.

I’ll be in touch when I can. Keep that white light and prayers comin’.

Love, Laura




THIS LOCATION IS RESERVED FOR Notes from Laura on Her Journey PLEASE DO TALK WITH HER BY POSTING YOUR COMMENTS TO ‘PERSONAL NOTES TO LAURA.’

Monday, June 12, 2006 12:21:00 PM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA – TO THE BLOG – PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE –
for Laura only.

Hello All;

This is short and quick. I am back home. The trip to Mexico was restful, helpful and got a job done. I am less yellow, the liver is softer, no more purple bruising, and my energy and mood are better. Yes, more steroids, which have really helped with the inflammation, and I definitely see some challenges ahead with the coming off of steroids (nervous).

Frustratingly I was unable to open my emails while in Mexico., yet I was able to see that emails and blog postings had come in. I knew, I felt, I sensed, I received your prayers and caring and gentle wishes for healing and was nourished – even though I couldn’t read the emails. Thank you. Especially thank you for the simple touch. I so don’t need the long or inspiring or significant posting. I need your uncomplicated, easy and caring words, letting me know that you are there, rooting and cheering me on. That really works. Thank you!

My blood tests still show that the red blood cells needs more medical attention, but today, with the sun shine and the beauty and the adventure of the day I am alive and well.

Thank you for coming,

Love, Laura


THIS LOCATION IS RESERVED FOR Notes from Laura on Her Journey PLEASE DO TALK WITH HER BY POSTING YOUR COMMENTS TO ‘PERSONAL NOTES TO LAURA.’

Saturday, June 17, 2006 10:10:00 PM

 
Blogger Helen House said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Monday, June 19, 2006 6:11:00 AM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA – TO THE BLOG – PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE – for Laura only.

Hello All;

After several days I am still getting home from Tijuana, Mexico. I know it was a rather abrupt departure when I left, but at the time I felt some news was better than no news. My sister Leslie accompanied me this time. She must like the South of the Border adventures with me, although Tijuana is not the same quite the same as Brazil, where we visited John of God last September. In any case I am grateful for her participation in my journey.

It was a more pleasant experience this time in Tijuana as June is much nicer than December, the room was better, I knew what to expect, there was no daily dose of radiation and we were not days away from Xmas. Happily I learned that one of the treatments I needed to help my hardening liver was to take in some sun everyday, which has been hard to do in Sonoma county until recently. In any case I have had various treatments, including plasma and vaccines and cabbage wraps and IVS. My color is considerably better. Everyone was noting how yellow I was when I first arrived – the doctor called it jaundice. And now only my eyeballs appear yellow. So all your prayers and well wishes have had the desired effect. I thank you all for your healing energies.

The delightful piece for me is that I have been feeling so much better than I did 8 days ago. I am not quite sure why, although eight days ago I was bleeding under the skin and my red blood cells were in a pretty weak state - so was my liver and I was feeling pretty miserable. As a matter of fact, today I am feeling great. Really great! And I wonder about that. And that turns out to be unnerving. Let me explain.

First, I know that one key reason for feeling so good is the accumulated impact of being on steroids for the last couple of weeks. The steroids have successfully reduced the inflammation by 70% and even though we are dealing with other side effects the improvement in my inflammation test results makes the steroids a good thing. Also I know that I feel good in general when the weather is good, and, when I get to be in the weather that is good. So I have been ‘in’ good weather while in Mexico and here. Yay.

Why am I questioning the fact that I am feeling good? It’s going to be hard to tell you, but here are a couple of reasons. One thing is that I have a fear that as soon as we remove the artificial stimulation of the steroids I will return to feeling poorly again. More importantly I notice how I have identified myself as a patient, someone who has cancer, as someone who is often weak, tired, cranky, in pain or possibly, dare I say it, as someone who could be dying. Throughout the day I notice that I am looking for discomfort, seeking out the low back pain, groping for the little aches and pains that I associate with the ‘fight.’ Absurdly I sometimes think that if I feel good then maybe people will think I wasn’t really sick. Or if I feel good, and then I don’t, then maybe people won’t know what to believe. And I won’t know what to believe either. Maybe I will have to be more melodramatic - show how much effort is involved in dealing with cancer. These are not thoughts I am proud of, nor are they on the front burner. They are more in the background, yet they do explain my sense of confusion, evidence that I have lost my footing, my ground. Who am I now in relationship to my health? Who am I in my world?

The answers are not simple or immediate-- and it feels like these are useful questions to hang out in for awhile. So I will keep wondering, inquiring and exploring.

Still I revel in the time I was able to spend gardening today, feeling the sun on my body, touching life as we planted Petunias and Impatients in the dirt. Feeling the breeze on my skin, wondering if there could be a more beautiful day or a greater sense of aliveness in the midst of feeling ungrounded.

In the meantime I am going to enjoy the sun everyday this week and enjoy the fact that I am not tied down to an IV tube for 10 hours a day. I am on IVs for only 3 days this week. Whooppeeeeeee. Freedom feels wonderful. Self reliance and independence and personal power are made prominent and important when I am not able to exercise them while tied to an IV.

So allow me to put a spotlight on your freedom. On the fact that you have two arms and two feet and can use them as you want, when you want. That you can get up and move – without restriction – without pain -- that you can be at choice about when and how you move about. And if you want to deepen your relationship with physical freedom, then just practice going 3 hours without using your dominant hand or your right leg. Do what you normally would, but put your dominant hand in a pocket and keep it there. So you can appreciate it and what it gives your life. Sometimes I think we need to have a practice every single day that has us wake up to something we take for granted. Maybe you have a better way to do that. Then Rock on Babe.

And so, some confusion, some introspection, some delight in the physical… what a day.

Thanks for coming, I so appreciate your coming, I read your words over and over again and allow them to serve me.

Love,

Laura


THIS LOCATION IS RESERVED FOR Notes from Laura on Her Journey PLEASE DO TALK WITH HER BY POSTING YOUR COMMENTS TO ‘PERSONAL NOTES TO LAURA.’

Tuesday, June 20, 2006 11:03:00 PM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA – TO THE BLOG – PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE – for Laura only.

Hello All;

The latest news -- I continue to feel good. I went for a two, two and a half mile walk with Stacy on Friday, a wonderful and sunny Baby Shower on Saturday and a garden tour with friends on Sunday. You would think I was a socialite or something. And I have been working on my sun tan. Aaahhhh, let me tell you I know what it feels like to be present to delight and joy in the simple things. Life is simple after all. And I know that it doesn’t have to look a certain way.

It is amazing the difference it makes to be untethered from IVs, at least four days out of the week. Aaahhh Freedom. I experienced major satisfaction in being mobile enough to garden in the front yard, and to finally, finally reorganize my clothes closet. Silly as it may sound those two things were particularly frustrating while I was tied to the IV machine all spring long. It was like being able to finally scratch an itch that has been bothering for a long time.

I love feeling this good, and truth be told, I worry some. I know I shouldn’t yet I still find that I have some concern about the “other shoe” dropping. That there will be some evidence of new or growing cancer. The good news is that I can usually catch myself when I get caught worrying, waiting for the other shoe. This allows me to return to the present moment, and see what’s there. Goody, its almost always something simple and delightful. Yet I can really understand the pull to hypochondria, noticing an ache in my leg, or a light cough and thinking “Oh, it’s cancer.” And then it passes.

Another piece of good news for me is that I will be able to join Karen as a co-leader in the Co-Active Leadership program - it starts tomorrow, Tuesday through Sunday. I have really been monitoring my energy and I believe I can hang in there for this program. It is the work that I love. Working with people who want more out of life and who want to be a part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

And in doing this work this week I will be fully living life. Think about it. Why not have a life while I am busy having cancer. And you too will be fully living life. As you do the work that you do this week, you will be fully living life. It may help you to elevate your work if you remember that this – today, now - is your life. Live it. Choose it!

One of the quotes on my walls over the years reads:
DEATH PLUCKS MY EAR AND SAYS: “LIVE, FOR I AM COMING”
And now I know this quote on a more personal level.

Now comes some further reflection. Here’s a comment that came out of my mouth while talking to my partner Rick… I stated that I thought this experience with cancer would have had a more significant spiritual effect on me than it has. Yet if it has I don’t see it. I don’t know what I thought would be different, yet when I gain a bit of distance I notice that I still feel pretty much the same as before the diagnosis, at least in most domains of my life. I’ve never used a lot of language that you could call spiritual, nor practices that you might call spiritual. Still don’t.

I am quite clear that my personal philosophy and ground of being comes from a spiritual base, that I am ever engaged in the mystery of it, that I allow myself to be pushed and prodded by spirit ongoingly, trusting to in the greater ability of mankind to interweave with the laws of the universe. And a big part of my job in life has been to help mankind increase that ability. Yet I had some fantasy that because of cancer I would be, well, changed, more Buddha like, or more accepting, more patient, quieter or calmer. You know, more spiritual.

Spiritual yes, more spiritual?? I am not so sure. I am still inclined to fast action, I’m still impatient, and still decisive, straight forward and bossy. I seem to complain a lot. And I still want lots for people and of people. My voice still gets loud and I loudly express my assessments about how things should be, especially about people playing bigger and in the arena of medical treatment and cancer. And I can definitely find where I get attached. That doesn’t sound so spiritual to me. BEWARE: I have to put in a very large yellow alert here. We could get all tied up in our underwear trying to define spiritual and how it shows up in the world. You might agree or disagree with my self assessment about being spiritual, but lets not. If we could skip that step then I just want to gawk for a moment at the impact Cancer can have on our perceptions, our points of view. Or the impact that it doesn’t have. We just don’t know, do we? Gawk with me. We might think we know what will happen – yet all we can do is ride the wave.

And Jim, thank you for sharing the blog with your hospice friend. Please, tell her hello from me, and thank you for expanding a touch. The creator in me sees there are several things or products that I want to bring into existence in the world. More than just a book on cancer, more than a blog. And not right now. More to come on that front.

Here’s an example of one simple creation: Before I went to Mexico I was able to meet with my ‘A’ team and we worked up a list of procedures for people who wanted to come and visit. You see, when I am wiped out by my treatment and don’t have a lot of energy I still welcome visits from friends and colleagues. Yet many times they fear they will bother me, or they don’t know how to visit in the most useful way. So they don’t call and they don’t visit. My loss. So with help from the ‘A’ team we brainstormed some key Tips for people who want to come visit but have been shy - not knowing what to do, how to be, what to say, etc. We created this Tips list and will find a way to share it with others through these books or other means. And we’ll share with you if you want to come visit.

And finally, let me do a little advertisement for a Breville Juicer (on sale on Amazon for $100) because it is easy to clean and very fast to work with. Actually, what I want to advertise to you is how important it is to be juicing fresh, organic vegetables, especially Kale, Romaine, Spinach, Celery, Carrots, Apples, Burdock, Cabbage and oh so many other vegetables. This advertisement is brought to you from me - a person who firmly believes that juicing is one of the top seven reasons why I am alive today – no kidding.

Do you remember when you were a kid and your mom told you to eat your vegetables? Do you know why she said that? Besides that they are good for you? How are they good for you? What do they do? What happens when you don’t eat fruit and vegetables? And now there is a recommendation from the US Government to eat nine servings of fruits and vegetables per day, up from 5? Why? What is this all about? I can give you some answers, but I know that there are a lot of you out there who have tons of knowledge. Come-on, fess-up, let us hear from those who already have experience and info about why we should consume fruits and vegetables every day. Please. What’s the big deal?

I’ll be looking for those postings when I come home from the Leadership retreat every night – with great anticipation. And thank you for coming to this blog. Next time I’ll be here is after next Monday July 3rd and hopefully I will still be feeling well, energized and nourished by the work I love.

Love to you all,

Laura


THIS LOCATION IS RESERVED FOR Notes from Laura on Her Journey PLEASE DO TALK WITH HER BY POSTING YOUR COMMENTS TO ‘PERSONAL NOTES TO LAURA.’

Monday, June 26, 2006 9:54:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Honey--I read your posting of yesterday and am picturing your ferocious body shedding and shaking and pooping and sweating and peeing out all the baddies and fortifying all the goodies with those nourishing vitamins and minerals. And i am chanting Lisa's quite infectious rap song and cheering the cheer--don't know the rhythm or tune for either, but it hardly matters. Glad that you've found this new doc you trust who corroborates that you've been doing all the right stuff. Of course you have. Never has ANYONE fought a better, smarter fight than you, Laura, with a better ally than Ms. Judy. Not possible. Here's to your ferocious commitment--and your joyful ease. Much love to the both of you--Caroline

Monday, August 28, 2006 1:17:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Honey--I read your posting of yesterday and am picturing your ferocious body shedding and shaking and pooping and sweating and peeing out all the baddies and fortifying all the goodies with those nourishing vitamins and minerals. And i am chanting Lisa's quite infectious rap song and cheering the cheer--don't know the rhythm or tune for either, but it hardly matters. Glad that you've found this new doc you trust who corroborates that you've been doing all the right stuff. Of course you have. Never has ANYONE fought a better, smarter fight than you, Laura, with a better ally than Ms. Judy. Not possible. Here's to your ferocious commitment--and your joyful ease. Much love to the both of you--Caroline

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