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Thursday, July 06, 2006

Notes from Laura on Her Journey

Thoughts, expressions, and experiences from Laura as she lives well: July 2006 - September 2006

Visit this section to view thoughts, expressions, and experiences from Laura from July 2006 through September 2006.

25 Comments:

Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

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

Here I am, here I am;

I know it has been a while. I have been trying to get caught up since being at Leadership, caught up with some things around the house, caught up with the July 4th gathering, caught up with sleep and especially, caught up with rest. Yes, I came home really tired.

Leading the first retreat of the Leadership program is sometimes physical and the days are long. Fortunately Lisa, Karen and the assistants took extra special care of me and made it as workable as possible. I couldn’t have done it without them, especially the way Karen ‘held’ the work of the program and Lisa’held’ that I got the special food I needed. And David helped me hook up to the IVs and Bethany served as calm balance. Thank you.

And then the Otters. We name each Leadership group after a Native American Medicine card, thus the name. A group where the participants’ came from all over the world including the USA, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Venezuela, and even two from Israel. The Otters are a hungry bunch, willing to stretch and leap. Willing to support and love each other. Willing to give all of themselves yet willing to recover to themselves. I am grateful for their willingness to receive what I had to offer. Even as they included my IV pole as a part of the offerings.

Being a part of this program, leading the CTI Leadership program, this continues to be one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life. Especially because the 20-23 people who come to Leadership are hungry. They want more -- more self, more confidence, more ability to love, more freedom of choice, more confidence, more truth, more clarity, and more inclined to speak up, to lead. When someone is willing to feel that hunger for more and then do something about it, well, then you know you are in good company.

To me this program is a work of art, working with the medium called human nature, beckoning people toward their most authentic, unique and beautiful selves. It challenges the ego to ‘know’ and to be unattached. It begs a kind of not knowing, a curiosity that queries the underlying source, which leverages human nature rather than human ‘shoulds.’ This program asks that the normal, everyday attention we put on self be raised to a higher level, outside of self. And it demands a looking, a looking for the higher good that is wanted now, and now, and now. For me, to have a role in this work of art is truly a privilege and represents my most particular form of spiritual practice. Lighting a candle at the alter of human potential, human good and the great mystery.

While leading the CTI Coaching courses in a Federal Prison in 2001 I learned something important from the inmates. Those inmates wanted to do better while inside. And they wanted to do better when they got out-- but they were afraid they would fall back into old habits. Still, they were hungry to change. And so they learned. They learned about their values, they learned to be concerned for another person, they learned to ask questions and gave up needing to always have answers. They learned how to care. They learned how to be with one another. And they liked it. And what they taught me is that when they learn how to be better, they very often will do better. The mantra that I took away from that year stays with me today: THEY JUST DON’T KNOW HOW. WE CAN DO SOMETHING ABOUT THAT.

Most people I know want to improve their way of being in the world. In some area of their lives. Or many areas. Yet they often don’t know how, so they don’t.. The Leadership program is one ‘how.’ With respect and appreciation I watched these Otters begin the journey they have taken on. And in the process I experienced being alive, fully alive. And so did they.

I hope this story explains to you why I get so much out of my work. Why even cancer is not enough to stop me if I am physically able. Or maybe I should say, because of cancer I must continue to do that which gives me the greatest access to life.

Thanks for coming. I’ll be back soon.

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, July 07, 2006 12:43:00 PM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

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


Hello All;

Tomorrow morning I have an appointment with a hypno-therapist. I have been feeling pretty well lately, yet I find myself waiting … waiting for the other shoe to drop, waiting to find out what that pain is about, visualizing the worst, rather than visualizing the best. A dang silly thing to do when I am fighting the fight, yet there ya have it. I am intending that the hypno-therapist and I create an more useful, easier place for my mind to come to rest in the middle of the night after I have gotten up to pee for the third time.

In the middle of the night – that is the time when I especially notice the discomfort in my back, and around the liver area. The front of my body and the back. Sometimes I find myself kind of moaning in my sleep, from the deep ache of it. The latest blood tests indicate that the bile ducts are having a problem processing, so the discomfort involves both the liver and the bile ducts. Ya know, in the middle of the night, when I am feeling the discomfort, I can find all the possibilities that are negative. So enough of that, let me get some help in finding some positive views.

So Now.

Lets talk about food. About Vegetables and Protein. I’ll probably be repeating myself somewhat, so bear with me. First of all, if you can, read the book: The China Study, by Collins. It is an interesting, not laborious read and if you want to have a long and health life, well this book is important. Look at the extent of the study and the history of some of this research. It includes data on millions of people. This research has blown me away. One of the significant reports from this book is the negative impact on our health that comes from eating too much protein, which is just about always true for the affluent nations, us.

The studies clearly reveal that as protein consumption goes up in a country, so do the affluent diseases of Heart disease, Cancer and Diabetes. As a matter of fact, it has been revealed that in the Philippines a certain kind of cancer went up in children who ate more animal protein, children of the more affluent.

This cancer in the Philippines was directly tied to the carcinogen Afloxin, which comes from a fungus that attaches to peanuts during the storage process. We Americans were helping them to grow peanuts so they could have a protein crop, not realizing that eating those peanuts would escalate the rate of Liver Cancer in that country. So yes they had more peanuts, and peanut butter, and the wealthy also had more animal protein – that turned out to be a deadly combination.

In any case, please, read this book yourself. It is a fairly easy read and it will allow you to become more informed about the science of health. Oh, please note that this book does not ask you to give up protein, it simply asks for a reduction to a level that was designed by nature and that is easier on the body, to process and stay healthy and less likely to cause disease.

So, if you were to reduce the amount of protein in your diet one of the best things you can do is to increase the amount of vegetables you eat.

Now there are other reasons to eat vegetables…

#1. Vegetables are essential for treatment or prevention of cancer and heart
disease, in general. And specific vegetables in particular.
#2. Organic vegetables, when eaten regularly, will provide you with nutrients
that enhance your health, your brain, your hair, your digestive system, your heart and liver and your overall well being.
#3. Vegetables are essential for your body to avoid being too acidic, and to aid
the balance point between acid and alkalinity. Which is essential to keep
your minerals high enough, and your electrolytes too. Many web sites
indicate that cancer cannot grow in a highly alkaline environment.
#4. Vegetables are required to enhance your immune system and contribute
toward your longevity.
#5. Eating raw vegetables releases enzymes which are essential to opening
up doors and connections that are essential to the bodies operation.

How about the rest of you, do you have more to add about ‘why should I eat my vegetables?’

I’m tired now and I want to talk to you some more about Acid and Alkaline diets and what’s important about that. And about enzymes. And about organic. And about my gall bladder doing its job or not, and what tests I’ll need to take. And about what the hypno-therapist and I create. So I guess we can call this posting complete for now. To be continued next time.

Thanks for caring and 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.’

Thursday, July 13, 2006 10:26:00 PM

 
Blogger Melissa O'Mara said...

Hi Laura! Quick post from the road. Hope to hear good news from you soon from your tests, appointments, and whatever actions you decide to pursue in your very intentional fight.

Much love,

Melissa

Tuesday, July 18, 2006 7:34:00 AM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA – TO THE BLOG – July 20, 2006
PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE – for Laura only.

Hello All;

I have been challenged quite a bit lately with one of the things I find most difficult, waiting and not knowing. The Ultrasound that I took on Monday (for the liver, bile duct, gall bladder concerns) could have had results on Tuesday, yet here it is Thursday and the doctor hasn’t been available to give me the results. I had to wait to get the tests and now wait to get the results, and am still waiting. That’s the medical news on the western front. On the other front….

At the clinic Joseph finds this to be a most sensitive time. He feels we need to get even more aggressive with the tumors, that the cancer is starting to go around some of our treatments and is advancing. He determines this by certain things he sees in my physical presence, and, with my long term blood tests. (Especially a high CRP test result over time. It indicates inflammation, which I am beginning to see show up as a major factor around cancer and of course heart disease – heads up everyone.) We need to start some specific protocols that will require me to be on IVs for 25 straight days, eight hours at a time. I am willing to do this because it sounds like it is a ‘make it’ or break it kind of time. Which is what I have been intuiting for awhile.

To put it more boldly, even though I am feeling fairly well, we are entering a phase where I may or may not make it. My body may not be able to deal with all the toxicity, especially since I don’t have a lot of Iron available because it is tied up in the tumor. Tuesday when I was in to the clinic I experienced another shake and bake. A quick rising fever in response to toxins and cancer. ANDDDD, I am noticing the pain in my right leg starting to heat up, shooting from thigh to ankle. The MRI test today was intended to look at the thigh and see if that hot spot turned into a spreading tumor.

Am I scared? Judy asked. Well yes, there are indications that the test results are not going to be good, and there is a part of me readying to get scared, but later.

So, lots is going on. If you will, now is the time to send extra special healing energy and prayer and good intentions my way. If you have any to spare given what is going on in our world right now. It feels like now is a time for all that, healing energy, prayer and good intentions to be sent to people all over the planet. For someone fighting cancer it seems like our world is out of control, a world in need of help and love and holding. AND PEACE. Some say I should stop reading the newspaper, yet I feel compelled to keep a little attention on what goes on in the world. It keeps providing me with provocation and perspective that serve my introspection and my journey.

Some other bad news is that it looks like Judy and I won’t be able to take a camping trip we were hoping to take in a while. We think. The other bad news is that I have come to the end of some of my freedom. IVs every day. The good news is – well the sun is shining, it’s warm outside, got the 2005 taxes done, had a wonderful gathering with the A Team last night - celebrating life, and now I am looking forward to a special weekend, IVs and all, with some of my closest friends. What could be better? Well, you can fill in that blank.

Now back to Fruits and Vegetables:

I have more to say on this subject, although the China study says it best. Still, here’s one update: last week I said that the government recommended 5 servings of vegetables and fruits a day. I have now seen that the National Cancer Institute has recommended even more, that the healthy recommendation every day is to eat NINE servings of fruits and vegetables (with seven for women, booo). They recommend a majority be vegetables. This is news. It is something that indicates a major shift in our country’s approach to nutrition, and we should pay attention to it. In a future posting I’ll share with you some of the historical politics around food, and the cattle states, and the sugar states and the egg states, etc. This recommendation of nine vegetables and fruits is a big move. And you will start considering how to make that happen.

More to come. And thank you. For coming. And sharing. And sending any prayers and cheers and rap songs and good intentions my way.

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, July 20, 2006 9:28:00 PM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

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


Hello All;

A quick note about important things.

A Team member, Stacy and Kim had a baby boy last night. YAAAYYY. Isn't it wonderful how life just must happen.

Test results. Some good news, some not so good news. The bile ducts seem to be working fine, YAY. But the lesions in the liver are growing quite a bit and causing a lot of yellow eyeballs and skin. The liver is just working really hard.

And the tumor in the right leg has spread the cancer throughout the leg. There is a fear that the leg bone could break. I will be talking again with another radiologist next week to determine treatment, since they say bone does respond to radiation.

I am also going to go ahead and order a PET scan. It is time to know all there is to be known.

The protocol that Joseph wants me to start next week is all aligned with what is going on with the liver now, so, , , ,

The beat goes on,
The fight goes on.

And a weekend with friends - that goes on.

I find myself more peaceful now, having information and choices does that for me.

Sending you love and hugs,

Receiving prayers - from people who know me and people who don't. And touches. Keep sending me touches please. They just plane feel good.

Love to 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.’

Friday, July 21, 2006 5:13:00 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh dear Laura...a GIANT hug to you!

Warm thoughts...warm touches...warm prayers...all headed in your direction my friend.

Parool

Monday, July 24, 2006 9:14:00 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Monday, July 24, 2006 9:15:00 AM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA – TO THE BLOG – July 27, 2006

PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE – for Laura only.

Hello All;

Well I had a very nurturing time with my friends over the past weekend, all though it was hotter than hell. Which was fine when I wasn’t moving around. It was so hot that Judy and I slept outside on Saturday like kids on ancient summer nights, inhaling the smell of grass and vibrating with the sound of insects and critters, being awakened by the sun and the squirrels and birds. The earth is so strong. It can stand anything, and it holds me, and you. Us.

It was a weekend where I started to begin being careful of my right leg. It was a weekend where I got reminded how powerful my thoughts and intentions are and to begin creating my reality. You know that one, but I’ll bet you forget too sometimes. It was a weekend of introspection and sharing visions. It was a weekend to receive love and to be love and to love. It was good.

It was also a weekend to reflect on life. On what it is to live, to be alive. How life is life until it is death. And how very serious death is, except when it is casual, incidental, an event easily replaced by the next bump, or appetite or joy or irritation in life. A deep reflection. Life is everything. And nothing.

Here: One of my favorite quotes, again I think:

“Death plucks my ear and says LIVE, for I am coming.” Aaaaaahhhhh so true.

During the weekend one of my friends pointed out something that has stayed with me for a while now … how as a nation we have never had war on our soil. In my lifetime I have known my father to come home from war, of drafted friends who have left for war, and many friends who have protested war… but war does not come here. For many of us it is only a concept, and idea. As a nation we are blessed. What would be different if the town next over to you was being bombed right now?

Again, many of us do not know war – or the war that we know is brought to us by Hollywood, or Fox News or CBS or TV. Yet TV is also the place we go to for fun and recreation through make believe. We are entertained by crime and violence and murders and wars as depicted by CSI or ER or X-men or Blade or other action films (that I enjoy too). It seems that without conflict and violence over half of our entertainment would not exist. And our relationship with war – with life - with death.

Sorry about that tangent. It is in the air though – this violence in Lebanon and Africa and so many other places, and these typhoons in China killing people and the heat waves that are killing people and the Hurricanes circling. Amidst all of this I want to consider myself blessed. Blessed to feel the heat. To sleep on the grass. And to live.
On Monday we realized that I had a blood clot in my PIC line. (A line installed directly into a vein for Intravenous transfusions, positioned on the arm.) We tried to get the blood clot removed at the local hospital, but they were reluctant, and then my Oncologist’s office said they would remove it…. they tried to, well, suck it out, and that didn’t work. There is a liquid drug that usually dissolves clots but there was not enough room to put it in the PIC line.

We went to the clinic to see what else might be possible, but the answer was a no go. On Tuesday morning we tried another drug that dissolves clots – and after another failure we made the call and just pulled it. And in the meantime I had started running a low fever the night before, and then the ‘shake and bake’ kicked in on Tuesday morning. The fever never went past 102 but it took a lot out of me. I did some IV’s through a needle that day, to help the fever and then to help dose any infection. It hurt like heck and then it burned the vein some too. It is just all one big hassle! Icchh.

It is sort of a big deal to replace the PIC line. Which is what we did Wednesday. My sister Leslie was with me all day while this was going on, while Judy got some alone time. To replace the PIC we call in this company that just installs PIC lines and they come to the clinic. They have to locate the vein they want to use on an Ultra Sound machine, then they cut into the arm and put this tiny tube in – about 12 inches long. Then they wrap it up and I go get an x-ray of it to be sure it is in the right place. Then I come back and they bandage it for 24 hours and then it bleeds some over night and they replace the bandage and it begins the healing process. But I was able to do IV’s on the new PIC on Wednesday and Thursday. Yay. Much better than the needle in the vein routine. And worth the $700+.

I have an appointment tomorrow to meet with the radiologist. An extended visit to draft out a program for the leg. I keep remembering someone said that radiation does do some good on bone cancer, so I keep my fingers crossed. And I am relieved to be getting the PET scan and know that is the right thing for me now. And doing the extended IV treatment protocol.

It has been a whirlwind kind of week. Not home hardly at all. Tired, sleepy, other kinds of tired. Early to bed. Early to rise. And staying alive, staying alive.

Love Laura


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Thursday, July 27, 2006 9:00:00 PM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

Laura Whitworth said...
NOTES FROM LAURA – TO THE BLOG – July 27, 2006

PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE – for Laura only.

Hello Again;

I forgot to say something really important. When I came home from the weekend, and I was tired and concerned about my PIC line I came to the blog. To find so many touches.

I was moved, so moved by your posts and your love and I felt THE TOUCH in an even deeper and more moving way than ever before. Even now I feel goosebumps. And tears of gratitude. I go back over all the postings for the last week or two just to get moved again.

Thank you to all of you. Share it. You two go and read, after you see what is going on with me, see what others have to offer. Oh, and especially read the part about the vegetables if you havn't. It is too good.

I am home now. It has been a very long. I have been nauseous and vomiting a bit. It happens sometimes. My body, it is really working. So the fight and the work and the intention have begun.

I send my love to you all. Keep on touching, she said greedily.
(-:
Love Laura


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Thursday, July 27, 2006 9:17:00 PM

 
Anonymous Breeze Carlile said...

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Sunday, July 30, 2006 8:02:00 PM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

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

Hello All;

It has been a grouchy kinda time lately. Feeling aches and pains that are not familiar, located in new parts of the body, well that stimulates all kinds of little creative gremlin concerns. But then I received the best antidote ever, from my sweet friend and co-leader, Art Shirk. It’s a night light, you know the kind that comes on in the middle of night when you go to the bathroom. This one is a night light of non other than the original, the official, the one and only Wonder Woman. And every night I go visit her, at least twice. And I smile. And I am reminded. Every night now.

I realize that she is intended to inspire me, to be my role model. And she does, I am inspired to continue on, to fight the fight, to fight the gremlin, to go for the greater good and to let nothing get in the way. Thank you Art, so much. A gift that keeps on giving – every night. Thank you so much sweetie. It was just too good, I had to share it with everyone else.

I decided to share a recent posting with everyone else too: A while ago you might remember that I asked you to send in more info on Vegetables, in addition to what I had posted, and many of you did. Thanks a lot. It all adds up. And here, for those of you who haven’t read some of the recent posts is some valuable research from Helen House, chock full of important learning on WHY you should eat your vegetables, and why children should each their vegetables too.

FROM HELEN:

OH! And about those vegetables! I'm LOVING what you've got to say about all this! I've been eating mountains of veggies for the last 4 months (one of the ways I've lost 25 lbs. and gotten my FIRST "WOW, Great Liver and Gall Bladder" report from my naturopath in over 4 years!). Just read some great stuff about veggies in Yoga Journal (June 2006 issue) the other day. They were right on board with what you've been writing, and they also talked about antioxidants, their importance, how they work etc. You may have too, but somehow reading that article helped me get what they were and why they mattered in a way I hadn't gotten before

Antioxidants - what they do:
"They neutralize the free radicals our bodies produce, which can damage cell membranes, cause inflammation, and render us susceptible to accelerated aging and other problems."

Antioxidants - short lived:
"these antioxidants get into your blood stream within an hour or two of consumption and most of them are gone within 12 to 24 hours"

SO... "that's why you not only need to eat your seven to nine servings of fruit and vegetables every day, but it's a really good idea to eat them throughout the day."

Then there are the phytonutrients. Each type helps prevent disease in a different way. This is where you need to pay attention to COLOR. Eat EVERY color. David Heber, who wrote "What Color Is Your Diet?" "...divides phytonutrients into seven color categories: red, red-purple, orange, orange-yellow, yellow-green, green, and white-green. The darker the hue, the more antioxidants! Heber suggests we eat something from each category every day.... Nuts and herbs contain phytochemicals, too."

ORGANIC
"CHOOSE ORGANIC whenever possible..... On average, organic produce contains 30% MORE antioxidants than non-organic fruits and veggies."

That seems important!! Now... off to that music festival!!

Much love, music, and antioxidants to you on this Saturday,

Helen

Thank you Helen, from all of us. For long life….

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, July 31, 2006 9:23:00 PM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA – TO THE BLOG – August 6, 2006
PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE – for Laura only.

Hello all:

It has been a very tough week. Two days of low dose chemo therapy, causing fatigue and nausea. Then a long and nerve wracking PET scan on Wednesday. And a blood test that showed up on Thursday revealing that necrosis was en route throughout my body and we would pause in the low dose chemo and let my body deal with the toxins that have been released. And on Thursday the PET scan results – they confirm the extent of the cancer in the right thigh, and also showing more, and larger tumors in the liver. 4.4 cms wide, 2.2 cms wide, and so on. I am more yellow and more yellow, as the liver has so much work to do, clearing the chemo and other toxins and necrosis from my body.

The right thigh, chock full of cancer. I was thinking that I would have the full dose of radiation, 300 rads a day for ten days, which is supposed to be curative. That is twice as much radiation as I had earlier this spring. I thought I would do that. Have that much radiation. I understand that it is the Medical Standard of care. .

So now, now I have second thoughts about 3000 rads of radiation. Because of all the dead cells from radiation my Liver will have to deal with. Because the Liver is the place where all work is done on the blood. The blood cycles through our liver every 3 minutes. Cleaning and sorting and filtering and monitoring that there blood, every three minutes.

The middle of the bone, especially the thigh bone, is the location of the font of red blood cells – the bone marrow, where new blood is made. Reviewing my blood tests reveals that my red blood cells need all the help they can get. Soooo much radiation of one of the two largest bones in my body, my red blood cell factory. . . is that wise? What are the alternatives? Possibly another trip to Mexico because in Mexico they do Low Dose radiation in Mexico. Can I find a Radiologist here who will do a lower dose? I understand that is not within the Medical Standard of Care and they are required to abide by the Standards established by the Oncological Radiologists

Decisions – many decisions to be made, conversations to have.

And the leg, well it hurts, it aches.

And in the midst of all that I am taking lots of IV Vitamin C (go to www.brighspot.org if you want to know more about this protocol.) Friends visiting on Saturday and asking to pray with me. A very moving experience. We had a wonderful recipe dinner with friends tonight where we cooked the recipes and took them to the host’s house. And Lisa sang her rap song cheer to Laura. Which was fabulous -- she has agreed to post it here later this week, even though she says it is long it is really going to be worth it. Just wait. You’ll have to listen with your own beat in the background, and move your hips a little. (-:

So IVs, Decisions, Recipes, Tests, IVs, More Tests, Aches and Prayer, More IVs, Rap Songs and Fear and Friendship and Love.

And oh, yes, there is more to come about vegetables, especially about how they enhance the oxygen in our body. But Pat O sent my some info that I’ll share with you here. But first, think about vegetables. If you are eating more fruits and vegetables there must be things that you are eating less of. Things that hurt your immunity and your vitality. Let me post the short article here:


>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Refined Carbohydrates and Cancer Risk


A diet high in refined carbohydrates, such as white flour-based breads and commercial baked goods like cookies, cakes, pies, and sweet rolls and white rice may, apart from promoting other health problems, increase your risk of breast cancer, according to a recent study in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention.
It turned out that women who got more than 60% of their daily calories from sources like the foods listed above, as well as sugary drinks and sodas, were more than twice as likely to develop breast tumors as those who got less than half of their calories from such refined and processed carbs. It appears that the insulin surge these foods cause may boost cell division and estrogen production, both of which have been shown to promote cancer.
The study looked specifically at fiber consumption, finding that those who took in more than 22 grams of insoluble fiber per day slashed their breast cancer risk in half. Though all plant cells contain both soluble and insoluble fibers in varying amounts, some foods are more abundant in one type of fiber.
Some foods especially rich in the insoluble type of fiber are whole grains, bran, grapes, prunes, apples, pears, berries, celery, beets, carrots, Brussels sprouts, turnips, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, rhubarb, red chard, asparagus, corn, popcorn, kidney beans, and potato skins.
The good news is you truly can reduce your overall cancer risk by increasing your daily consumption of high-fiber grains, fruits and vegetables, and reap the many additional health benefits they offer. See "A Handful of Easy Ideas to Increase Fiber and Nutrients in your Diet and Boost Your Health."
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

I hope this was useful folks. And I thank you for coming, and if you have any input for the decision making process please come-on, cause I could use some help.

And finally… I just want to thank each and everyone of you for coming here, posting here, touching and sharing. It is so invigorating for me. I love you all very 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.’

Sunday, August 06, 2006 11:25:00 PM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA – TO THE BLOG –
PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE – for Laura only.
August 10 & 11, 2006

G’Day All;

Today is Thursday. I have been at the clinic twice this week and have been doing IVs at home the rest of the week. My latest (Wednesday) blood work came back and things are pointed again in the right direction. I am getting the reputation at the clinic as the ‘come back’ kid. The way I read it is that my body takes in some low dose chemo or some other healing medium and then it takes a nose dive while the chemo or radiation kills off cancer (and other) cells. Then, with rest and IV support it turns around again. And that is what we have been up to. Going after the cancer. And then recuperating.

After the last round of radiation ended at the end of April we took it easy for awhile, trying to stabilize the blood and my immune system. It has taken quite a while and we aren’t finished yet. And that is one of the reasons why I have chosen to leave for Mexico on Sunday for six days of low dose radiation on my thigh. To go after the cancer, but to avoid killing everything in the bone marrow that would happen if I did the Western medicine version of radiation. I want to avoid damaging even further my ability to create healthy red blood cells. So there you have it. . . the latest decision. It feels right.

In the meant time, it has been an interesting time for me, with all that has been going on.

There is more research – I found a new research MD. She has given me some other things to know and to do and to research. It’s fascinating to see how gaining information, and then new information, and then more information – well how it keeps changing the perspective. How it feels positive, then hopeless, then scary, then right. All over the mat. This is such a journey, it keeps on opening up new vistas and new territory and new me.

In the name of interesting times - I am in the midst of two major explorations.

#1. What it is to fight the fight. When is the fight over? What empowers the fighter? Who can stand with the fighter? What does it take? What dis-empowers the fighter? Who fights? Who doesn’t?

The other major exploration….

#2. In watching the doctor show ‘House’ the other night, two doctors brought out a distinction between being colleagues, and being friends. Having these terms be confused can create unnecessary friction or even dislocation. Since the TV show I have been deeply exploring these definitions -- what is it to be a friend? What is a friend? How do you know when it is not friend? And when you really enjoy someone, but your not really friends, then what are you? Who are you to each other? Especially if we take ‘friend’ off the high pedestal and realize the clean power of colleague or neighbor or associate or friendly acquaintance or co-worker or, well, you name it.

I find these exploration relevant and valuable. Too much to talk about here right now, as I pack for my trip. And maybe you see what I mean about these being interesting times for me.

I feel quite solid about going to do this treatment in Mexico. And I hope once again that the computers there are working. So send me news and love and healing. And if the computers don’t work, then send me love and healing and whatever the heck else you want – like maybe a vegetable story.(-; And here is a great big juicy hug to all of you who have been touching and writing to me during this time. I can tell you that for sure empowers this fighter.

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.’

Friday, August 11, 2006 8:51:00 PM

 
Anonymous Lisa Rost said...

Laura's Rap Cheer
Pom-poms ready?

Praise Be, Rah! Rah! Rah!
I've been eating Raw, Raw, Raw!

Detoxing & sleuthing & fighting & rooting!
I'm cleansing, & juicing & sweating, & pooping.
I've been zapped & dripped & nuked till I puked
Good Lord, you know I won't be rebuked!


Take it lying down and accept the prognosis?
Alternative treatments don't work & you know this?
You say go ahead & have a Big Mac,
You say have a side of fries & Supper-Size that?

You say it can't be done & criticize me? Shake your head & pityfy me?
You saying my body can't heal it's God given self?
You saying I, Laura Whitworth cannot restore my good health?


Well, to hell with that plan my medical man
Hands tied to the gears of the proven & seen
Taking as bride the medical industrial machine


With a hungry mind & machete in hand
I've done a little thrashing & bushwhacked the land
Gazing past the horizon toward the expanding edge of space
Discovering like Columbus but for my Inner Healing Grace


AND hidden like a diamond before the unfathomable ledge
I REALIZE; I THRIVE TO LIVE, TO CUT THIS NEW EDGE!


There is Another Way...
Hope, Faith, & Fight,
Raw! Raw! Raw!
Organic with Vision & Light, RaH!
Power & Love, Like The White Dove Above
Guiding me on, Urging me on….


Whooshing away the old sick cells,
Kicking their butts & wishing them well
Creating lots of ways & abundant routes
To give those cancer cells the old fashioned boot


Diet & health there's a proven correlation,
Environmental toxins another relation
Front-page news you'd expect? A call to clean up?
We're poisoning ourselves, were going belly up!
Well, I've done my homework & my life's on the line
Why not turn it around; you know I'm that kind!


Some people just have to walk trough the fire & get good & hot
Shaking it up to see what we're not.
Turning the cart over & calling bullshit
Lighting a torch & keeping it lit.

What IF, JUST WHAT IF IT IS TRUE, THAT THE POWER TO HEAL LIES WITHIN ME & YOU?
You know it's been said by the Prophets & Saints
Call on the Spirit, helpless you aint!


Ringing in a New Day, born of Hope, Faith & Courage
I am too great a visionary to be much discouraged
Transmutation, Alchemy, Miracles & Health,
I am a Sorceress! Good God, That IS my True Wealth!


I now meet this Cancer Dragon, & can say yes with some ease,
And you have joined me too, stand up won't you please?
Legions of the greatest of warriors too numerous to name,
Have answered my call, some of epoch great fame!


I thank You Great Good God, I thank you Good Food, I thank the Good Earth, the Air in My Lungs, Saint John, Meddie, Mexico, The Clinic, Visible & Invisible Life Forces, Enzymes, Wheat Grass, Sunflowers, Humming birds & Sunrises, Deer in the Meadow, Hawk in the Sky, Healers Through Out All Time, My Sauna, My Salt Baths, & Hydo Flushes, (You know what that means, I can still blushes). I Thank The Dark & The Light, My Birth & My Death; I Simply Decree:
“STRETCH THE TWO OUT, I AM NOT DONE YET!"


I thank my Beloved Judy & and all of my Friends,
with the wind at my back, I make my Amends.
One breath at time I'm lighting my load, Faith my new weapon, Health the promised road.


My destination is determined & it is clearly in sight,
Oh the mysteries I am learning on this interior flight!


I victor inside of this battle,
far dismissed from the said impossible
& The bona fide improbable,
In the Presence & The Power the of the Infinite Now,
from the very trenches of my fatigue & my fight
I have the Audacity To Believe And To Claim:

A MIRACULIOUS REMISSION AND A CANCER FREE LIFE!

COUNT DOWN WITH ME NOW & KEEP HOLD MY HAND & REALLY SEE ME,
SEE ME NOW VERY CLEARLY,
SEE ME NOW VIVIDLY,
SEE ME NOW VICTORIOUSLY,
SEE ME NOW BEAMING
SEE ME NOW BREATHING EASILY AS I
MOUNT THE PLATFORM RAISING BOTH HANDS!

Allies, Allies Everywhere, Offering Life, Healing & Wholeness For Deep Gratitude, Forgiveness, & Love is my True diagnosis!

AMEN & SO IT IS

Saturday, August 12, 2006 11:19:00 AM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

Sunday Night, August 20, 2006.

I'm back from the clinic in Mexico. I'm tired today, yet had some adventures, like today was a day off, a holiday, an exploration.

I keep finding new light and sound and hope and love and fear and pain and delight and .... well being in the present moment each day keeps revealing new vistas. Really Being in the present moment, in this day, in this now, in a whole new way.... this is the gift.

Thanks for caring and coming and being with me in this moment.

Love,
Laura

Sunday, August 20, 2006 10:07:00 PM

 
Anonymous Joanie Misrack said...

Dear Laura,

Once again, I am deeply moved, to tears, as I read your most recent postings. I'm sorry I've been so out of touch -- travelling around the countryside with my sweetie. Finally got quiet enough to stop and tune in to you... and am so very grateful for your openness and honesty... so powerful and meaningful and inspiring. What an amazing journey you and Jude have been on. I cannot imagine having the tremendous courage and commitment you have. I've downloaded some of your writings to share with a couple of my closest who are also fighting the big "C" - though with nowhere near the passion you evidence. I hope it will inspire them... help to awaken that will to live. I'm learning so much!

Thank you, thank you, for modeling that for us. It's hard to write through the tears, and it's good... I need to be moved in this way, touch in with my own heart. And today here in Park City seems to be one of these days. It's beautiful to imagine you and Jude sleeping on the grass... nourishes me deeply.

May Spirit be with you, bigtime... as you eat all them veggies and fruits and rebuild your weary body. I'm going to eat more of those organics myself! I needed that reminder.

Much much love and many hugs,

Joanie M.

Thursday, August 24, 2006 4:51:00 PM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

August 27, 2006

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

Hello All;

I have been thinking about posting here for – oh, a week now. At first there was too much ‘getting home’ from Mexico, then too much going on, then the fatigue of going to the clinic, You’d think that sitting in a comfy chair at the clinic taking in intravenous vitamins, minerals and amino acids and Chemo Therapy would be restful, but at the end of such a day I find I am wore out. My body has actually been working really hard processing and digesting things that are good for it, and things that are not. It just wipes me out.

So first of all, on the medical front the right thigh is still aching quite a bit. We won’t know for awhile if that was enough radiation, or how threatened I am to a possible fracture of the femur. Second of all I have located another doctor who is a research consultant who works with cancer patients (and others) by phone, examining their history and treatment choices. Her name is Dr. Gwen Stritter and Judy and I both like her a lot. She introduced us to a model that calculates the risk of fracture, and she has done a literature review of the kinds of chemo that would be useful. She has endorsed the LOW DOSE chemo protocol and the LOW DOSE radiation I just did in Mexico.

She is not shy about having opinions or recommendations yet is a wonderful blend of knowledgeable alternative medicine and traditional medicine. She listens to and she dances with the patient. Judy and Isha and I had to pull together test results and medical history write ups to send to her. Which she went through in a meticulous manner. She interviewed us and really explored all that we were up to. It felt good, like a spring cleaning. And we felt like we were taking the actions that made sense for now. We were surprised to feel so ‘approved of’ when she told us what a good job we have done over the months. She said we had intuitively taken the right actions for my condition and that we are far ahead of most people with this condition. It almost felt like grade school and a gold star. More importantly, it was a validation and endorsement of what has gone heretofore. And we have someone to go to with all the questions that start to accumulate. This is all good.

Third of all, we are still in active pursuit of the cancer. So I still take intravenous Vitamin C all night. And then when I am in to the clinic there is more Low Dose Chemo. Which is what we did on Tuesday, and which then led to a ‘shake and bake’ on Wednesday night. It woke me up at about 11PM and I had to wake up poor Judy. I was shaking so bad I couldn’t get out of bed, and then, eventually my fever started to climb along with some light vomiting. Fortunately we are becoming skillful with this, or actually, JUDY is. Running certain IVs, injecting Dex for strength and then a protein, and then a tepid bath. By the time it is over I am pretty wiped out, and so is Judy. Thank God, thank God, thank God she is there and knows what to do, because I am usually pretty out of it. BUT, here’s the big deal. This is what we want to happen. The body is bumping up to dead cancer cells, necrosis, and my immune system is kicking up a storm. Shaking and spiking, and getting rid of those bad guys. And then back to the Vitamin C via IV, which is helping with the further necrosis and nurturing the body. I had more Low Dose chemo on Thursday – of a different kind. No shake and bake. Yay. And, I’m still recovering from being wiped out by the whole thing.

One of my challenges continues to be retaining body weight. Right now I am still down over 25 pounds total. The truth is that I had that much to lose, but I have to keep my appetite up. And my weight up. That used to be a fantasy ya know, to HAVE to eat. But I can have bouts where I just don’t want to, I’m not interested, and you can’t make me. I have to want to eat it, it has to appeal to my appetite, it doesn’t have to be veggies or protein or even good for me, it just has to be something that I want. And when those bouts are on me I can’t seem to force myself to eat, no matter what the food. So now I am eating more when I can eat and I am continuing to explore the diet front - to see what is right for me to do.

That is the status on the medical front.

My heart, love and strength go out to Karen KH who sadly lost her father to Cancer this week. He and Karen were surrounded and supported by loving family, and the passing felt gentle and in the flow. I have been checking in with him quite often these last few days and have been thankful for his lessons about the flow, the cycle, the path of the river. Open to the flow, aglow with sadness; gather around, you too Karen, as we all have a gentle embrace. Hug to us all.

And finally.

There are mornings that I wake up and look around for what I have to do today. And there are STILL mornings where I roll over and almost like a flashing sign there is that thought . . . “I am dying? When? Don’t let the cancer beat me?”

And then I get really weirded out! How could I allow myself to have that thought. Am I creating that reality? I don’t mean to have that thought. I don’t want to have that thought, I don’t want to create that future. And then I let it go. Because I can’t help it, I can’t help having that and other fear thoughts. It just pops up from time to time. I freak out a little and then I wipe it clean, letting it goooooooo, so as to create a new visual, a conscious choice. Instead, I see a body that is releasing, cleansing and detoxifying cancer from my body, ALL of the cancer.

It may get hard, there may be plenty more shakes and fevers and nausea and all that…. That’s OK. Bring it on, if that’s the way it has to go. And I’m fine without the ‘hard’ too. Yes, I really am fine with it being easy. So please, send me your healing, your visions of releasing cancer and your blessings please.

Thank you for coming, Love, Laura

Sunday, August 27, 2006 10:01:00 PM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA – TO THE BLOG –
PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE – for Laura only. September 7, 2006

Hello All;

Just a quick note. I know I’m late. I had every plan of sending you some of the many thoughts I have about cancer. I was going to do that on Monday. And then BAM, I got kicked in the butt. A Shake and Bake at 10 AM on Monday morning, while Judy was out. Kinda scary but I knew she would be back in ten minutes. Judy knew what to do and got it under control. That took it out of me though, so we changed our ‘outing plan’ and Judy got to work in the garden that day while I slept on the sofa.

So far so good, but then another one at 11:30 that night!! Very hard shakes. Waking Judy up. Hard to breath, hyperventilating. Very had time. Thank God for Judy. And then it gets under control. Wiped out. And then into the Clinic on Tuesday morning and an hour later another shake and bake. Three in 26 hours. They took care of me at the clinic, maybe not quite as well as Judy, but I knew I was in good hands.

Well it turns out that I have a STAPH infection in my blood, including my PIC line. Joseph says that tumors are filled with staph and it tumbles into the blood when a tumor breaks open and that we may need to keep me on antibiotics for some time to come. Or, did the PIC line get infected when I was getting a blood draw at the hospital on Saturday? Or did I get it infected at home. Or ….. Well I can’t keep doing that.

Today I get a new PIC line installed. That is a Peripheral Intravenous Line that allows me to do IV infusions without a needle injection. And sometimes I can get blood pulled out of that line too, if it doesn’t clot. The problem is the last two years have pretty much depleted my available veins so getting a needle into a vein is a challenge for any reason, especially for getting a blood draw every week. People with cancer get very thick blood, cause there is either disease or toxins or chemicals that are needing to get flushed out of the body and the blood can’t keep up with it all.

So that’s my long ‘shake’ story. On Tuesday Judy was out on a 9 mile hike. Later in the day she came to the clinic to pick me up. I was in good hands at the clinic and thank goodness she could do something that she loves. Later, at home, I remember she touched my leg, and she said, thanks, thanks for living. And I still cry a little when I think about that. Those shakes put another definition to the term Fight. Fight to breath, fight not to breath so fast, fight to stay warm enough, fight to not shake so much, fight to not be too scared, fight to live. It puts another definition to fighting when the body is saying … well I’m not so sure.

Still, I don’t think you need to be in a shake to appreciate that phrase, so please, let me say it to you, those of you who come here to this blog. You who have touched me with your attention and your words, your very important words, let me to say to you, more than ‘thank you’ for coming. Let me say …

Thank you for living. Love, Laura

Fight - Fight,
Fight the Fight,
Fight the only Fight that’s right.

The Fight For Life,
The Fight For Life,
Fight - Fight - Fight!!

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, September 07, 2006 8:36:00 AM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

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


Hello all;

It has been an eventful week, and right now the bigger question is -- what is going oh with my stomach. Is it the result of all the antibiotics I have been taking, and now I have to get caught up on probiotics.

Or?????? What else could it be.

I just wanted to drop in for a moment to say high. I have a longer conversation to have with you all one of these days. About dying. About talking about dying. About how we don't do that much. And about how we do.

As you can guess that kind of conversation takes some time sorting through. I want to write it, and I need to be awake. It has been a sleepy week.

So just know that I am coming back in a while, so thanks for coming.

And for living(-:

Love, Laura

Wednesday, September 13, 2006 9:15:00 PM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

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

Hello All;

I have been experiencing some increasing pain and discomfort in my abdomen. It has been stressful and has kept me away from the computer. Oh, the computer. I wiped out my own laptop late last week. Got water on it, which means it has died. DANG. So with all of that I am feeling pretty grouchy, and not so friendly.

Yet still I have been thinking about dying. I had written a whole two pages of notes on this topic last week, and then I realized that wasn't what I really wanted to say. I still don't know what I want to say so I am giving myself permission to spread it out, say a bit here and there. Not have to have it all together, with a logical concusion.

So let's get started let's desensitize the concept or the words around death ......

Death
Dead
Dying.

That’s the conversation. Just the topic evokes FEAR or denial or deflection in many of us. So let’s get used to the concept.

Dead

Death

Corpse

He’s Dead

She’s Dead.

Am I Dead?

Dead Body

Dying

We are dying

Mortuary

You are dying

I am dead

I AM DYING.

There will be a time when I will DIE.

I am not going to live forever.

I WILL BE DEAD.

Saying these words is freeing somehow, although I still don't know what I think it means to be dead. Not yet.

Once, I think it was in 1987, I did a ropes course event -- a zip line about a quarter mile long. I jumped into a canyon, on a line. It scared the hell out of me. I did it again a few months later. Less scary, still scary. Experience had an impact on it though.

I watch people who attend a ropes course these days, they have to jump off a platform and reach for a trapeze. Way off the ground. I watch their legs shake and their fear grow. We tell them that they are safer going for the trapeze then going on the freeway. They know that logically, still the legs shake, the fear expands. It is like an instinct. Yet what is the fear? What is the instinct?

What do I fear in the middle of the night? What about this new condition? What I fear is more cancer -- translate that into - dying.

So up comes the fear, which surprises me. Because in a way I am rather peaceful about dying. And I am not there. I am not dying. I am fighting the fight. And sometimes I think about dying.

For me it is very real. It could be immenent - death.

Is it for you? Or is it 'someday' for you?

Wondering,

and hoping you wonder to.

Thanks for coming.

What do you think?

G'night gang,

Laura

Monday, September 18, 2006 9:12:00 PM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA – TO THE BLOG – PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE –
for Laura only. Sept 19th.

Well, there is more coming on death and dying .....

Today however let's just have a quick visit to the sunshine. Like an altar to worship at. Yesterday was one of those most beautiful summer days in Sebastopol.

And SUNDAY. Well Sunday.... My friend Breeze invites us to this most fabulous, private and family like jazz festival and pot luck each year, where the musicians (some quite famous - all very talented) get together and jam.

They make wonderful music, and for the 4th year in a row I found myself sitting in the sun being seranaded by people who love their craft.

And I loved it! I knew my job. To be an attentive and appreciative audience member. Listening and savoring and applauding and letting the musicians know their impact.

And I basked in the sun, using the umbrella to prevent sun burn, urging on Lisa to do more dancing -- cause this was not my year for dancing. Yet some of the music just demanded body movement, you know, like "Kansas City"

The part that seems so memorable is to hear the music, the sound of children playing in the back, and feel the sun on my body as it cast a golden glow on the wondrous redwood trees. I knew how alive I was. I knew what it was to feel that connection with everyone, with nature, with god and sun and sweath an music.

It just doesn't get much better and was worth reporting here. Hopefully reminding you to keep on noticing those special moments of being full of life. Feeling fully engaged and open, feeling the flow and vibrancy of magnificent aliveness. And indulging in an act of savoring - life!

What have you savored today?

Thanks for coming today.

Savor on,

Love, Laura

Tuesday, September 19, 2006 9:45:00 AM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

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

September 22, 2006

Hello All;

Death. That last post was kinda grim eh?

Let’s talk about death some more and if you are not up to grim I understand. You might want to skip this one too. Although I think it is a topic worthy for all.

First of all, let me tell you that how I feel about dying differs from day to day and week to week. Sometimes the idea of it seems like the end of a book. The end… a good one, but now it’s over. Close the book. You know, that feeling late at night when you have stayed up late to get to the end, and it was so good. And there is regret that it is over. A bit of lip smacking. Some savoring over the good book that was just read. And now, let me turn off my light. Go to sleep. Good Night Life. Thanks for the good read.

Sometimes death is such an unknown that it is too scary to think about. This is usually the one that shows up when my body has pain, or some new symptom shows up and death seems more real. That instinctual fear of the zip line, or falling out of a tree or off a cliff. Scared. Afraid. A body fear! Or simply fear of the unknown. Or missing out on something. Wanting what I want (to live longer) and being completely helpless about not having it. Helplessness. Powerlessness. A shaking and quivering kind of fear – that is what death can bring on.

Death - Sometimes it feels like a normal and welcome part of the cycle, the flow, synchronous with the path of living and dying. A slow paddle in a slow river. In this place there is no fear, only a peaceful watching as it approaches.

Dying - I have wondered how I might change things if I could – would I prefer it quick, like a car accident, or would I prefer a long slide down to death. Or do I prefer the fight? That is certainly a way to avoid leaning into dying. By saying NO to death, and yes to fighting the fight.

So far, what appears to be the most undesirable or scary thing about this subject of death, is talking about it with others. Especially for those people whose life is going full out – where it is not necessary to face death head on right now. How do you talk to someone who might die? When it is foreseeable or imminent? You know, soon? What I have seen is that many people don’t even show up to talk? They disappear from that person’s life. I have heard from other cancer patients how surprised about those people who disappear. A friend, Diane Derby, who had lung cancer too and passed last year, she said “You’ll be surprised at who disappears, or who doesn’t contact you, or who just fades away. And you’ll be surprised at who does show up.” She was right.

Another query: How do you talk to people when there has been a death in the family, or there is a life threatening illness in their family?

I met with a friend this week – she experienced a tragic death in her immediate family a few months ago, and we were able to talk about it. We talked about death from our personal points of view. We talked about my thoughts and we talked about hers. And we talked about her. About the pain of it, the devastation of it. About why it happened. Why her? About the frustration. Questioning the meaning of life. Where is the meaning? What’s the use, where’s the purpose? There was pain. There were tears. And we talked about grieving. I found that we had quite a lot to say.

First, we explored this question “WHY? Why did this happen? To me? Why did this happen? What did god want?” In my opinion this is a very dangerous place. There is no one answer, no right answer, and I rather doubt that there is a healthy answer. Pursuing this question causes much more pain than any answer can offer, yet it seems we humans can’t help asking the question. This is where my friend kept getting caught. I asked her to give up asking that question for six months. That when she caught herself going to this place of ‘why’ that she would allow it to slip past her, and that she would simply lean into the moment, or allow the love of the other to touch her shoulders.

Another noticing was that people around her wanted her to be a certain way, that she should continue to be the strong and inspiring person they had always knows. Oh yes, she could grieve for a while, but then she and everyone felt there was a time limit. Grieving should be complete by now.

Not so. I shared with her my introduction to the concept of having a special ritual, a special permission for grieving - for a week, a month and a year. Yes, a special permission granted to continue the grieving for at least a year. There must not be a rush to have it be over. Instead create a process to go into it more deeply, lean into it, cherish the loved one, savor that relationship, be sad, and be happy. Touch the grief gently, and get back to work. Feel the pain and lean into it. Notice the empty space and touch it, and then continue, or …... Still, giving oneself permission to grieve for a year.

People who have death in their sphere benefit when someone looks them in the eye, who sees them right where they are. No pretending. And connects. Maybe touches a hand or an arm, but keeps that eye contact. And says something from that present moment, being over there with the other, rather than over here with self and how can we have this go as smoothly as possible. It is not a smooth event. It is an ouch. Maybe awkward. And very intimate. And real. And tender. And tearful. And worthwhile.

What I have experienced is that it can be tempting, when one is dealing with a life threatening condition, to be shy in talking about it, or apologetic, or superficial. Or on the subject of death… cautious and tentative, not knowing how the subject will land. Or, sometimes that can be all there is to talk about, the condition, the illness, the symptoms. A little help in changing the subject to something else can be useful, and sometimes, talking about the disease is really supportive.

We just found out that our neighbor’s mother, another neighbor of ours, had just passed away. I was fortunate that we had an easy reason to go see them right away. It felt so right to speak straight about her passing. It was a gentle and warm connection. Our relationship was deepened by the exchange and at the same time it was a little bit healing for them as well.

If you know someone who is ill, who has cancer or ALS or some other life threatening disease, please find a way to connect with them. Go toward them. Touch them. It will be valuable for both of you.

Does anyone have something to share on this subject? What are the words you need to practice around death? What are the words that you would want to hear if it was you? Or, what are the words around death or cancer that come naturally to you, words that you could share with those of us who don’t easily find the words? And how do you feel about all this?

And as I end this blog posting, I watch the end of a TV show, Gray’s Anatomy, which tonight explored death and dying from several sides. And some parting words from the show: “All we want is more time.”

Thanks for coming. I hope to hear from you’all.

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, September 22, 2006 9:26:00 PM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

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

Hello All;

Yesterday, 9/26/06 I was at the clinic all day. It was a long day of IV treatment, finishing up the day with a long and low dose of Chemo Therapy. I continue to have discomfort in my abdomen and we are not sure what that is about. Suspense and waiting

Last night was an exciting surprise birthday party for Judy, with lots of wonderful friends and jokes and dancing and food and laughter. Thank you Isha and Lisa and Didi for making this wonderful event happen. I hope I didn’t dim the party toooooo much, as I was really wiped out by the chemo. But it seemed like everyone was celebrating, even after I took myself off to bed. Yay and happy birthday to Judy.

Back to the clinic tomorrow. More chemo therapy. This is what it means to have to have the pedal to the metal now. Pushing the chemo to kill off the cancer that we can. I note that the topic of death and dying hasn’t come up for me in the last five days.

Attention for now keeps going to the fight.

Have a curious and intentional week. And send me your healing energy please.

Love,

Laura

Wednesday, September 27, 2006 8:54:00 PM

 
Blogger Susan V. said...

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006 10:28:00 PM

 
Blogger Laura Whitworth said...

NOTES FROM LAURA – TO THE BLOG –
PLEASE DO NOT POST HERE – for Laura only. October 2, 2006

Hello All;

I’m back from a romantic birthday road trip with Judy. It was good for us. We left on Friday – although there was a challenging delay in getting out of town. I was trying to get a blood test drawn but the blood would clot in the tube – I have very thick and slow blood right now. It is always upsetting for me when we can’t find a vein that will give enough blood, yet it is always chance that we find a vein at all. But finally we got enough blood that Judy and I could leave town. Late.

We were in search of natural beauty and fall colors and felt sure we would find some up in Trinity County around Lake Shasta. It was a long drive and it turned out the vistas were smoked over by the forest fires, and fall colors, well they were not in abundance. Nevertheless we found a beautiful B&B to stay at on Friday night, in the trees. There was plenty of room for my IV poles and a big Jacuzzi tub and little kitchen. It was very luxurious and helped us feel like we were ‘getting away’ from it all, even if we did drag the IV pole with us.

Next day we drove on over a windy mountain route through the sweetest valley. It was called Scotts valley and everything was so spiffed up, no junk lying around, the harvest was in process, the houses and barns were all painted. It was neat, tidy and really pretty, with meadows and vistas that compelled the eye and soothed the soul. We both really liked this part of the drive, singing along to the music. Then the rest of the day was going up and over the mountain on roads that twisted and turned through all the trees, and kept at a slow pace of 30 - 45 MPH. But we did get better and better at pointing to fall colors when we saw them. We learned our lesson. Don’t expect to find lots of fall colors in a forest of pine and then redwood trees. We were unable to find another place on that long Saturday drive and we had to wait until we got to Fortuna.

We were dragging out butts into Fortuna, in time to find one of the last few rooms left in town. The rest of the hotels were filled up with fire fighting units being flown in that night. So we were just happy to find a place at all. And it turned out that the bed was just fine. The next day we ate breakfast in a 100 year old restaurant in Ferndale and again we felt a thrill at being in a different place, a different time.

And then we took this new route from Ferndale to highway 101, and this route we fell in love with. More winding roads, yes, but more beauty, fall colors and finally . . . the giant redwoods. We drove down the Avenue of the Giants on a beautiful fall day, driving through the rays of sunshine touching the bottom of the forest floor. A forest of such straight and tall and majestic redwood trees. These Giants themselves are so inspiring. They live such a long time and they grow so straight. And they don’t really care if we are having a bad day or a war, they just continue what they continue to do. They grow. Redwoods don’t have deep roots, so one of the things they do to stay upright is to make sure they host a balanced array of limbs around the trunk of the tree. If they get unusually crowded one way then they may grow a big ole limb off to the other side to help maintain the balance.

Trees have often been a major source of learning for me. They pay attention to their surroundings. They grow toward the sun…. they don’t sit there complaining because the sun doesn’t come to them. Some trees get disease and some trees find purchase on the skimpiest of soils. Redwood trees are especially informative since they grow in community and require either a circle of friends or a fire in order to procreate. When we pass downed trees that are 20 fee in diameter I begin to realize my place in the world. Just one tree species among many, just one mountain among many mountains, just one tree among many trees. Just one condition among many. And in seeing the trees that get diseased, well, it came to me that it is not personal. Yes, it has happened to me, but cancer would have happened to the 1,000 other ladies who have my same body type, chemistry, genetics, exercise and food habits, geography, environment and stress levels. It’s not personal.

Death still. As we drove through the mountains I was seeing a lot of dead trees. Many that were still standing, but dead from disease or fire or something. Dead. Many that had lost their roots or died of old age. Death. Many tossed on the ground by some nasty storm. And there, among all the dead trees were the live trees, the old live trees, the baby live trees, life and death hand in hand, the one laying the foundation for new growth. And I know that has been what the last two decades of my life has been about…. Laying the foundation for new growth.

And that is what I am up to tomorrow, going off to retreat #2 of the Leadership group called the Otters. Laying the foundation for new growth.

My only hope is that my liver will stand me well during this coming week. I did chemo therapy last week and it pretty much knocked me on my butt over the weekend. I can feel the pain in my liver and my last blood tests show a greatly reduced iron count – which means necrosis and fatigue. My body is really fighting the fight right now. Well yay, and still, I never realized that I would be able to find the outlines of my liver with my hands, or be so aware of where my small intestines are. So I have a new relationship beginning with the central part of my body, and with pain. Life for this tree continues.

And on October 14th my wonderful A Team is throwing me a birthday party a day early. A celebration of birth. Of life. A busy time coming up.

You won’t hear from me til next week probably, but it is important for you to know how so important it is to me for you to be here. For us to come together, as a circle of friends. To foster my life. And you do that with your presence, with your touch. And with my deep gratitude.

Love, Laura

Monday, October 02, 2006 7:24:00 PM

 

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