Barbara’s Ovarian Cancer Story Part II

Ovarian Most cancers: Course of and Survival

Submit Surgical procedure

Learn Half I for info concerning prognosis and surgical procedure…

The subsequent few weeks after my discharge from the hospital, had been very busy. My sister, Nance, and my mother adorned the home and Christmas tree. My sister Lauren visited from Washington and cleaned, cooked and lent invaluable help to all of us. There have been visits to the surgeon for follow-up and the oncologist for the preliminary go to. John and my sisters accompanied me. It was so very useful to have another person ask questions and write down info. It may be an awesome expertise, particularly if you’re slightly “spaced out” on vicodin for ache administration, as I used to be. I signed on to be a part of a scientific examine utilizing totally different mixtures of medicines for eight as an alternative of the traditional six cycles. Laurie had introduced a e-book along with her that provided quite a lot of info on the right way to cope with an ovarian most cancers prognosis and subsequent therapies. One suggestion was to analysis scientific research. There’s quite a lot of “leading edge” analysis on the market however you will have to hunt for it, do your homework, and produce the data to your physician. My oncologist’s workplace was conducting a trial, I used to be accepted, and I used to be scheduled to start therapy on December 21.

Though I used to be dreading the entire course of, I knew I needed to strategy it in a lot the identical manner I did the surgical procedure, nearly like an athletic occasion or a race. I needed to go in as sturdy and as ready as attainable and with a greater “angle.”

Perspective is outlined as a way of appearing, feeling or pondering that exhibits one’s disposition, opinion and psychological set. We could not be capable of management a scenario, however we are able to select our angle about that situation- sufferer or fighter; passive or aggressive; depressed or striving towards pleasure and happiness; caught within the “why me’s” or trying to find the “what can I be taught from this.” With the assistance of many individuals and thru a lot studying and analysis, my “attitude-adjustment” course of unfolded.

A booklet entitled “Making ready for Chemo” suggests a number of issues that I instantly put into motion.

1) Get your hair lower quick in order that when your hair begins falling out, it is much less traumatic and will not clog the bathe’s drain. (This labored for the drains however I used to be nonetheless traumatized.)

2) In the event you plan to put on a wig, store for it earlier than beginning chemo. My sisters and my pricey pal and hairdresser Patty, helped with each of those steps. Watching my lengthy hair fall to the ground was very exhausting and but made me really feel the tiniest bit extra answerable for what was taking place to me. To my shock, everybody liked my new hairdo. The compliments boosted my ego after I actually wanted it. Nance and Laurie accompanied me to the wig store. Laughter is superb medicine-and we laughed loads as all of us performed with the wigs earlier than deciding on two very good ones. 4 hundred {dollars} later I used to be armed with my hair prosthetics and a sore stomach from laughing. At this writing, I’m sporting my very own very quick hair after 9 months of wigs and hats.

3) The booklet suggests having a dental verify up and cleansing earlier than beginning chemo. Additionally essential is giving your property an intensive cleansing and maybe scheduling somebody to come back in as soon as per week thereafter- a clear home can decrease publicity to infectious brokers.

4) Build up power via train and an excellent eating regimen might help decrease a number of the unwanted effects of chemo. This booklet and different useful literature, is accessible via oncology places of work and presents good sensible info. I additionally discovered the library and the web to be good sources.

Shortly after my homecoming, from the hospital, I obtained a phone name from Lindy, a volunteer with the Most cancers Society (arrange by my husband and the most cancers help workers on the hospital.) She had been identified and handled for Stage IIIc ovarian most cancers seven years in the past. Listening to from her gave me an actual enhance and a few good ideas for coping with the upcoming chemo. She shared her experiences with surgical procedure, hair loss and full restoration! She continues to be most cancers free! Along with recommendation on make-up to camouflage the truth that one has no eyebrows or eyelashes, she advised me how useful acupuncture was for her. She felt that it actually minimized a number of the chemo side-effects and “rebalanced” her physique’s vitality. I had had a couple of periods of acupuncture a few years in the past, and I instantly knew that this could be proper for me. I consider in its efficacy and positively really feel the periods have been very useful.

My first acupuncture session was 4 days after the primary chemo therapy. The meds they gave me to stop nausea labored very effectively. I did not have a lot of an urge for food and felt slightly achy and drained however the one actual facet impact I skilled was a horrible, hand-wringing itching and tingling in my arms and toes. Amy, my acupuncturist, has labored with a number of folks present process chemo, may be very educated, and had an excellent therapy plan in place for me. I scheduled to see her 2 days earlier than and Four days after each chemo session. After my first go to along with her, I did really feel higher, extra energized and the itching had positively dissipated an excellent deal. She gave me some solutions on dietary supplements and a few Chinese language herbs to make use of.

The facet impact of itching, burning and tingling is known as neuropathy and is pretty frequent with the varieties of chemo protocol I used to be on. After my second and third periods, the signs worsened! I turned to the web to be taught extra about neuropathy and what, if something, I may do about it. I discovered an article by Cindy H. Makencon, web site:, entitled “coping-Suggestions for coping with neuropathy.” She provided quite a lot of useful info together with reviews of research on the advantages of taking pretty giant doses of L-Glutamine Sulfate and Chondroitin. I forwarded this info onto Carolyn, the analysis nurse in control of my scientific examine, and he or she shared the data with the oncologist. I had already began taking L-Glutamine after I met with him. He had additional researched and developed a brand new therapy plan for me which included giant doses of L-Glutamine, a change in one of many chemo meds, and the addition of a medicine known as neurontin. The mixture of all this stuff labored! The neuropathy regularly subsided and I’ve had no additional issues.

I consider a couple of different components contributed to my having the ability to deal with the chemo fairly effectively. I continued to extend my train routine, progressing to strolling on a regular basis after which again to the health club for step-classes, albeit modified, and lifting mild weights. Train builds muscle power, will increase oxygen and blood circulation and for me, was and is an actual bodily and psychological vitality enhance.

I got here throughout a e-book entitled: “Natural Remedy & Dietary supplements- a Scientific and Conventional Method” written by Merrily A. Kuhn, RN, Ph.D. and David Winston, a herbalist and ethnobiologist. The e-book was a part of an at-home examine course that I wanted to finish for my RN Persevering with Training Credit. The e-book presents a complete information to many frequent and a few much less frequent herbs and dietary supplements, their makes use of, opposed results, contraindications, and drug-herb interactions. After cautious analysis, I began utilizing a number of herbs and dietary supplements designed to reduce chemo unwanted effects and enhance my immune system. I used to be cautious to make use of issues that don’t stimulate estrogen within the physique as my most cancers was estrogen-receptor optimistic. I began taking these dietary supplements one or two issues at a time in smaller doses so as to monitor any unfavorable reactions, earlier than including extra. Most significantly, I notified my physician that I used to be taking dietary supplements and having acupuncture.

On the finish of this text, I’ll supply a whole checklist of the dietary supplements and herbs that I’ve been utilizing and a few info concerning the rationale for every of those additions.

For a number of months, our kitchen counter resembled a drug and complement retailer. I needed to write up a every day schedule of what to take when. It was price it! As soon as the neuropathy was underneath management, I tolerated the rest of the chemo therapies fairly effectively. I used to be in a position to work full time and train, and my urge for food and vitality ranges had been good. Bodily, acupuncture, train, eating regimen, and dietary supplements had been, and nonetheless are, beneficial instruments which helped me cope with the chemo and get better from its severe results.

On one other stage, the emotional and religious aids had been an much more highly effective a part of the therapeutic course of. Beforehand, I discussed my visualizations concerning pre and put up operative therapeutic and seeing myself wholesome and most cancers free. Now, it was time to take it a step additional and embody it as a strong adjunct to the chemo medicines. Fairly than seeing the meds as a poison, I began to visualise it as “nectar from the gods,” washing via me and being taken up by my immune cells as a potion to destroy most cancers cells. A couple of weeks earlier than my first therapy, I learn an article a couple of younger native woman who had battled most cancers at age 16. She wrote a e-book about her expertise and included her ideas on seeing her chemo as “nectar from the gods.” I admired her outlook and included it into my work. My husband, John, created a particular tape for me to hearken to whereas receiving the infusion of chemo. This guided train included leisure, therapeutic messages, and solutions for picturing my immune cells caring for issues and utilizing the chemo successfully. Earlier than every chemo session, even earlier than they began the IV, he would do a leisure train with me. This ritual grew to become a vital a part of the method. By engaged on my “angle” in the direction of the chemo and by connecting with these elements of myself that may be highly effective self-healers, I felt I used to be taking again management of what was taking place. Feeling that you’re a part of the therapeutic course of as an alternative of a passive receiver of medicines and many others., may be very empowering.

Rituals and routines are very comforting, particularly if you’re experiencing disturbing occasions. My “chemo ritual” advanced from the very first session. The evening earlier than, I meditated and did my therapeutic visualizations at bedtime. John drove me to the oncology middle. I chosen my chair and we settled in along with his leisure train. My sister, Nance, arrived bearing muffins and foolish magazines. After visiting and chatting, John left for work and Nance and I munched muffins and laughed on the Nationwide Enquirer tales. About an hour earlier than the infusion was accomplished, my brother, Tom, would arrive for a go to and to take me dwelling. Someplace within the session, my sister, Laurie, would name from Washington to verify in and sometimes John would “pop in” in his travels. I all the time had firm and felt lovingly supported. Sabrina included me in her meditation each morning and my mother would cease by the day after the session for tea and a chat. Each three weeks from December 21 via Might 27, we adopted this routine. The nurses and my household received to know each other and we grew to become an actual staff!

Returning to work seven weeks after surgical procedure was one other normalizing routine that made me really feel like I used to be taking again my life. Apart from the day of chemo and the next day, I’ve labored full time, feeling productive, wholesome and regular. My co-workers have been very supportive and caring. They even threw me a commencement social gathering to rejoice the completion of chemo.

Even earlier than my final chemo, I used to be researching what to do to stop a recurrence of the illness. I discovered info on a scientific examine for Ovarex, a vaccine designed to stop a recurrence of ovarian most cancers. After many telephone calls, letters and haggling with my insurance coverage firm, I used to be accepted right into a examine being carried out at Stanford’s Most cancers Middle in Palo Alto. It concerned month-to-month infusions for the primary three months after which each twelve weeks for the remainder of the yr, with routine labs and CT scans. I’ve skilled solely gentle unwanted effects and really feel lucky to have entry to 1 extra instrument.

This previous yr has been one in every of classes for me. I might have most popular the “universe” had given me a delicate faucet on the shoulder as an alternative of this Large Thump on the pinnacle to let me know I had issues to find out about myself and the way “I’m” on the earth. Listed below are a number of the issues I’ve discovered from this expertise:

1. Listen – maybe if I had agitated extra forcefully with my physician that one thing was NOT proper, she would have responded with extra consideration. LISTEN to your physique and belief your instinct.

2. Do not take something with no consideration – folks, job, well being, hair. If you face the lack of this stuff, you understand how particular individuals are, how the day-to-day routine of a job is a present, how treasured good well being is and even how a lot better a “dangerous hair” day is than NO HAIR!

3. There are an ideal many sources of invaluable info on the market via folks, libraries and the web. Benefiting from these sources allowed me to create a complete plan to revive my well being and battle the illness utilizing a mixture of Western and different therapies.

4. We do have selections in how we cope with a disaster – most likely your best option for me was to achieve out and ask for assist. The extra folks I advised about my well being points, the extra optimistic vitality got here my manner. I felt empowered moderately than susceptible and armed with my helmet (a wig, which, by the way in which, I received enhances on) and my armor (acupuncture, dietary supplements, chemo, prayers and visualization) I used to be able to do battle. I used to be “Warrior Princess” as an alternative of most cancers affected person.

5. Laughter is GOOD MEDICINE!

At this writing, my labs and CT scans are fully regular. I’m again to my regular routines of labor and train. I’m sporting a “Jamie Lee Curtis” hairdo. I’m enthusiastic about adorning and searching for Thanksgiving and after we all come collectively, we’ll have loads to be glad about! Earlier than we dig into our feast, I shall be asking every particular person to jot down on a bit of paper, one factor that they’re grateful for. Every of us will then withdraw one in every of these papers from the basket and attempt to guess who wrote the message. It will likely be simple to guess mine. I’m grateful for all of the love and help from my household and mates (with a particular due to my son, Matt, and my husband for shaving their heads to help me and to my son, Mike, and his band for dedicating songs to me at live shows and their fund elevating for the Most cancers Society.) I’m grateful for the prayers and greatest needs that got here my manner from folks I don’t even know. I thanks!!! Effectively, after all, that is a couple of factor on my piece of paper however so what! It is time to rejoice!

Pleased Thanksgiving 2004 and rejoice daily of your life.

Barbara’s Full Ovarian Most cancers Preventing Complement Checklist:

Three Imperial Mushroom Capsules – out there via acupuncture workplace

A) Reishi- Immuno stimulant: enhances immune system; use is sanctioned by the Japanese Well being Ministry as an adjunct therapy for most cancers; Will increase exercise of chemotheraputic brokers and reduces opposed results equivalent to nausea, decreased white blood cell counts; helps shield the liver towards injury attributable to viral, drug and environmental toxins.

B) Shitaki- strengthens immune system response; improves survival occasions of most cancers sufferers when used concurrently with chemo.

C) Maitake- greatest identified for most cancers combating properties; many docs in Japan use it to decrease blood strain and blood lipids; efficient as an anti-tumor agent and immune system modulator.

Echinacia- utilized in Germany together with chemo within the therapy of most cancers. Might improve white blood cell counts in individuals present process chemo.

Cat’s Claw- reduces unwanted effects of chemo; utilized in scientific observe in Europe for most cancers & HIV; has essential immune enhancing properties; helps improve the variety of T-cells, the true troopers of the immune system. In Austria, it’s used along with standard therapy (chemo, radiation &/or surgical procedure) to deal with tons of of most cancers sufferers per yr.

Graviola- scientists have been learning this herb for the reason that 1940’s – 4 research had been printed in 1998 re: vital anti-tumor properties and selective toxicity towards varied varieties of most cancers cells (with out harming wholesome cells; Purdue College has carried out quite a lot of analysis on the Annonaceous acetogenins household to which graviola belongs) a lot of which has been funded by the Nationwide Most cancers Institute or the Nationwide Institute of Well being.

Acidophyllis- rebalances intestinal flora (particularly essential if you’re taking quite a lot of medicines.)

Multivitamins with Vitamin E

Calcium Complement

IP-6 with Insositol- has been studied extensively for over 20 years; has highly effective results on the immune system.

Wheat Grass Juice- will increase hemoglobin; rebuilds the blood; improves physique’s potential to heal wounds; washes drug deposits from the physique; neutralizes toxins and carcinogens within the physique.

Inexperienced and White Tea- Chinese language consider inexperienced tea is a treatment for most cancers and a long life tonic; boosts immune system perform; analysis being carried out all around the world and within the US by the Nationwide Most cancers Institute re: anti-tumor exercise. Each inexperienced and white tea are wonderful antioxidants.

Web site for researching herbs- Plant Database Raintree Diet

I used the guided relaxations/visualizations CD’s from the Stress Training

1. #209 Stress Administration for Pre and Submit-op Survival

2. #208 Stress Administration for Therapeutic


Well being Replace from SELF Journal by Jennifer Nelson November, 2004

Ovarian most cancers: a not-so-silent killer

“Early prognosis is essential. When illness is caught earlier than it spreads, 80 % of ladies will survive.”

by Barbara Ehlers-Mason, RN and L. John Mason, Ph.D.

Written in November, 2004, one yr after the Surgical procedure for Ovarian Most cancers, in November, 2003

Stress Training Middle (707) 795-2228 web site:

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