Tuesday, April 29, 2008

general update

I had my monthly check-up on Monday last week.

My lymph node is still swollen. It has gotten marginally smaller, maybe. Definitely hasn’t gotten bigger. Definitely hasn’t gone away.

“You know, I can’t guarantee that that’s not cancer.”

I know. I’m willing to do whatever needs to be done, but I don’t want to do anything extra. If he says, “You know, that needs to come out so we can biopsy it,” well, let’s get it out! But he maintains that it’s OK to be watching it for now, so we’re watching. I’m not feeling really stressed about it, though I suspect that some “background tension” will be noticeably absent when this little thing isn’t puffy any more.

Skin is still sensitive. I’ve been in sunscreen and/or long sleeves all the time. I’ve been using Neutrogena Ultra-Dry Sheer Touch SPF 45. Last time I went to the store, there was only SPF 55, so I got that. No big deal, right? Well, while I was in NJ, putting on sunscreen started to burn my face. (Not a sensation I’d recommend.) Then just plain moisturizer burned. Then soap and water. Then I had a rash. So I stopped using the sunscreen and was careful to stay out of the sun as much as possible.

I checked the two bottles of sunscreen when I got home. As it turns out, SPF 45 and 55 have very different ingredients. I am hoping that the problem was just something in the 55 that’s not in the 45. I haven’t had sunscreen on since Saturday, but my face accepts moisturizer now. I am going to try sunscreen this afternoon before my commute home. If it’s not the sunscreen and it’s my face, I’m not sure what I’m going to do…

The doc didn’t have much else to say, except that it’s time for another PET scan. I have it scheduled for Friday, but I won’t get results from it until my next appointment, which is on the 19th. I assume that if there’s a problem, they’ll call me, and that as long as I just keep my next appointment, all news should be good news.

I got copies of my most recent blood work, and for the first time in almost a year, all levels of everything are normal!! My immune system is finally back up and running in the realm of “normal,” though I’m not sure where is typical for me specifically. No matter. It’s good to be able to take myself off of the “immuno-compromised” list.

My hair is driving me batty. I’m not sure that this hair project is going to last a whole year. I’ll post pics later this week, but I think it’s going to need to be cleaned up. It’s coarser than it was before (though not terribly so), which might be why it’s resisting being parted. It’ll probably just need to be longer. But I need to clean it up. I’m kind of missing the days of #2 all the way around.

In general health … TJ and I have been vegetarian at home now for two or three months. It’s been going well and has been much easier to do than we had anticipated. We have had lots of very tasty food that just doesn’t happen to have meat in it. I’ve also finally gotten my sugar cravings back under control (which is to say, close to non-existent).

In cancer-preventing health:

I have replaced the plastics that I was using for lunches and other food storage with glass. I’ll use plastic to hold dry goods in, but that’s all at this point. This includes not drinking bottled water. (At this point, if I drink bottled water, I can taste the plastic.) The only thing I can’t find is an ice cube tray that isn’t plastic…

I had been avoiding grilled meats, but going veggie made that a lot easier.

I’m overly careful with the sun (“Melanoma is a common secondary cancer” – no thanks! once was enough!) and am looking forward to the sun not being an adversary any more. I’m adapting to constant sunscreen and can probably do that indefinitely without too much bitching, but the long sleeves and staying out of the sun with sunscreen on is not making me happy.

Unless I know that I’ll be on for about two minutes or less, I don’t use my cell phone without the earpiece. I read some studies they’re doing have shown that cell phone use causes cells to do funky things that they don’t normally do. No specific cancer link (yet?), but I don’t need to wait for more info, really.

I have cut out artificial sweeteners whenever possible (I don’t always know, and I don’t always remember). I know those links are not strong, but that there’s a link at all makes it worth it. I figure, stuff that is that processed isn’t good for your body anyway, regardless of its potential as a carcinogen.

I think that’s all, but it’s been plenty. Aside from the sun thing, I feel comfortable in these changes. And really, I think they’re all healthy, even if they have no bearing one way or the other on cancer.

I’m starting to work on my book in slightly more tangible ways than just thinking. It’s kind of fun :) I hope it turns out well.

*whew* I think that’s the complete update for the moment. Pictures in a couple of days, then updates on the latest PET scan, once I have news.


Becca "Gatermom" said...

Heather, I am so glad to hear of all of your "successes" and changes. We too are making changes in an attempt to cure our son's autism. I also grew up vegetarian and so I thought that I would pass along my limited knowledge and you can do with it what you want. : )

Some good vegetarian cookbooks/ online cookbooks: www.christinacooks.com (she cured her cancer through diet change- her story is on her website and worth the read); www.delicioustv.com; The Moosewood Cookbooks by Mollie Katzen (or just about anything she wrote); The Vegetarian Epicure; Laurel's Kitchen

As for plastics we threw out everything adn replaced them with Rubbermaid EasyFind Lids. They are BPA Free! I know that Pyrex also makes a bunch of containers that are glass with plastic lids. Our understanding is that if the plastic doesn't touch the food then there is no harm. Watch out for the styrofoam trays they use in the supermarket for meats and sometimes fruits and veggies! If I see an ice cube tray alternative I will let you know!!!

Great news about the book! I am a bit jealous. Someday I will write one but right now there isn't time to breath much less stop to write a book (which is why I blog when I can). Let me know if I can be of any help with anything. I am a great proof reader! : )

Heat said...

Thanks for all the info! I have a couple of the Moosewood cookbooks. I like what I've made, but they tend to have odd ingredients (from what I remember) or be labor-intensive.

Does Rubbermaid make containers that aren't plastic? I'm not just getting rid of PBAs, I'm getting rid of plastic. In any case, the Pyrex has been working well.

I'll let you know about proofreading - thanks for the offer!