A few nights ago, we stayed with our college friend, Grace Han McMahon, and her wonderful husband, Ted, in their home just outside of San Francisco. We reconnected with Grace a couple years ago in an incredibly small-world moment: Marshall ran into Grace when they both were walking down the hallway of Marshall’s mother’s retirement community in Newport News, Virginia. Turns out Grace’s parents live in the same community! Fast forward, Grace very graciously invited us to stay with her family during our trip. With very little lead time (because our schedule has been so last minute) Grace somehow put […]
The doctor told us that my tumor has not grown!!!!!! It has taken a couple of days for the news to really sink in, especially after those few weeks of having “episodes.” It is truly a miracle, in my eyes. This means that I do NOT need to have surgery right now! And I do not have to have another MRI until October. Woot! And wow. It was a stressful wait for the news. So much thanks to give, so much gratitude inside me. Thank you so much for being with me as I ride each one of these tidal waves. […]
Back end (heh heh) of a car in C-ville last week. Had to share the picture! Marshall and I met with my oncologist last week and the meeting actually went extremely well. I’ve made some decisions: I will have my surgery at UVA with the surgeon who did it before. I will wait until next year to have my surgery (which means we’ll be able to go on the trips we’ve already planned!) I will plan to have only chemo after my surgery. I will not have radiation. First, I need to share with you the unbelievable and unexpected ease […]
Tomorrow, I meet with my oncologist. Sadly, he was called away last week when his father died. Please keep him and his family in your prayers. Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers, too. There are so many decisions we are going to have to make soon. The first decision we’ve pretty much made: I will very likely be having surgery. We just need to decide which surgeon will do it, where I will have it, and when it will happen. I really like the surgeon at UVA who did my surgeon last time. When I met with him […]
I’ve been thinking for a long time about the language, labels, and metaphors that surround having brain – or any other kind of – cancer. In particular, I’ve been thinking about how I have consistently been told that I am fighting or battling cancer and that I am now a cancer survivor. Fighting. Battling. Surviving. Personally, I don’t identify with any of these words. Why? All of them are inherently violent, reminiscent of the war against cancer that I am supposed to be involved in. The problem with this is that I don’t want to live my remaining days engaged […]
It was a nightmare.
I just wanted to eat some grass-fed, organic cheese. But we didn’t have any of the kind I can eat in the house: grass fed, organic, gluten-free.
I am not supposed to eat many animal based products – actually, it is debatable whether I am supposed to be eating any animal-based products at all, but this is a bridge I haven’t crossed yet during my recuperation from surgery. The other night I just wanted some of that yummy cheese. And we didn’t have it.
Oh, we had other cheeses – the kinds that I can’t have but anyone else in my family can decide to eat whenever they want to. But that didn’t help me. Marshall and Hannah started chowing down their crappy old cheese. But there was none for me – the person who wanted it more than anything else – and it really rankled my tail feathers.
The evening devolved from dinner into a spinning pire of curses and rants – mine.
It was pretty pathetic. No one seemed to understand what I was trying to say. I can’t drive. It’s not like I can just go out and grab “my cheese” whenever I want to so I can eat it whenever I want to. I can’t even get out of this stupid house without pre-planning the whole thing with someone else. I have very little autonomy at all, as a matter of fact. It’s a real pain in the ass.
Okay, maybe not most days, but the other night it was a real pain in the ass. I was so pissed. And no matter how I tried to say it (and I used some real flamers, I’m sorry to say), no one in my family seemed to be able to understand that this had nothing to do with them or their needs or wants or abilities to eat whatever they chose – or chose not – to eat.
That night, it had everything to do with ME – what I should or should not be eating in order to create an anti-cancer environment in my body so that I can live a longer, healthier life; whether animal products are going to be okay for me or not; just how critical is going gluten-free going to be for me and my immune system functioning?
I’m sorry, but I have no clue what the answers to these questions are. Neither do my doctors, frankly – their first opinion was to just “eat whatever you want to eat” – don’t do anything any differently. I’ve learned very quickly that this is utter hogwash. What I eat matters very much in terms of how healthy – or unhealthy – the rest of my days will be. There are many scientific, food-based studies that bear this out – jillions of them. Do I have time to read and process them all? No.
So what am I going to do?
Two days before my surgery (which was two weeks ago today, by the way), I met with a nutritional counselor at Nutritional Solutions, a cancer consulting, nutrition-based company in Utah. I need to tell you how highly unusual it is for someone like me to have the opportunity to have a meeting like this prior to having surgery to remove my brain tumor. Most people get started with nutrition as it relates to cancer much later in the diagnostic process, so I count myself very lucky.
As a result of my counseling session, I was able to get nutritional supplements ordered so I could begin them as soon as I arrived back home from my surgery. I want to be clear that these are NOT “alternative” treatments for cancer, but are very scientifically-based, well-researched aides for creating an anti-inflammatory mileau inside of my body to prevent my cancer from coming back.
I’ve been on these supplements – and I’ve changed my diet drastically – thanks to you wonderful friends who have been plying me and and my family with all of the healthy foods I’ve learned about so far. Honestly, I do not know what our family would do right now without all of your support and care, so that we can continue to figure out what is going to work for us as we move forward. I am truly eating us out of house and home right now – but this is exactly what I need to be doing in order to figure out what is going to work for my body’s particular needs.
The next step is for me to have another meeting with my nutritional counselor, probably early next week, in order to “fine tune” my nutritional needs, figure out exactly why “gluten-free” is going to be so important for me, iron out my supplements now that we know I am not going to be having chemotherapy or radiation, and try to figure out whether going totally animal-free in terms of protein will be important – or not.
It’s a lot to deal with, no doubt.
Now that everyone knows my “prognosis” it feels very much like everyone thinks “well, that’s the end of that.” How untrue, from my perspective. It is only just beginning now that my surgery is over.
Surgery Day, Feb. 11, 2016 Twitter tag: #brainsurgerylive #brainsurgerylive Redefining courage. Awake and sharing during brain surgery. https://t.co/m2sY9fpWEA — Nick Stone (@NickStoneSEO) February 11, 2016 5:44 AM [pullquote align=”full” cite=”Fran Cannon Slayton, morning of surgery” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]I woke up with the song “She blinded me with science” by Thomas Dolby on my mind. [/pullquote] I woke up with the song “She blinded me with science” by Thomas Dolby on my mind. I thought I might start shouting “science!” during my surgery, thinking it was funny. Those of you who went to high school and college with me […]