Something good about why this blog should be read for complementary cancer care

Monday, July 13, 2009

I have a secret

I have a secret. I hardly think this secret will be kept hush-hush. I hardly think that the world wide web is the best place to keep a secret.     . A secret should really be kept in a jewelry box, safe, or under a gaurded pillow.  . In general, a public forum is not where people keep their secrets, but I am going to.          . Here it is: my neck hurts.       . This was hardly the atomic bomb statement you all were predicting. There are probably some of you out there who are breathing a big sigh of relief thinking , "what's all this drama about a strained muscle?". . Well, that is exactly the point. . When I say my neck hurts, people assume its the minor sympathy seeking complaints of any average joe making any boring conversation.     . It's not.    . It is a statement similar to, "my palms really itch" or "my chest has been feeling really heavy." . These are all such seemingly benign statements that are so easily overlooked as just everyday meaningless chatter.  . I wonder how many times a day someone tries to say something important to me, to confess something, to seek advice, in the form of nonchalant benign sentences and I don't understand the message.        . The message is all in the context. With most other people itching palms, neck aching, chest fullness, acid reflux, lower back pain and cramping would just be everyday complaints.   . Co-workers would roll their eyes or mutter some sort possible cure, maybe hand over the motrin.           . With me when I say these sentences, they're often loaded, signifying clear symptoms of a disease I pray I no longer have, but can not deny what my body feels.     So I say these complaints in passing, hoping someone will catch on and comfort me in the way I need, even though I don't even know what that comforting is. I am sad but accepting. I would cry but I can't find the tears. I keep my eyes focused on short term attainable goals and daily enjoyments. I never look too far in the future. I have done this too many times only to feel a deep empty aching hurt in the pit of my stomach and the wandering thought that hasn't left me since my diagnosis, "will I even be alive for that?". . If I just mention my vague complaints, the hallmark of the insidiousness of cancer, to my loved ones, friends, and family I am giving them the option of ignoring the underlying implications, and have them enjoy their own denial, that I am healthy, I am functioning, and that I will go on living indefinately with the same risk of car crash or crazy adventurer accident as any other twenty-six year old.  . Most people take this option. Very few want to delve into a pessimistic reality of a subject that is infrequently discussed. There is a level of discomfort with discussing cancer, especially advanced cancers, among all ages, all races, and all socio-economic groups.    It's just a subject that is not normally brouched, even among loved ones and family, even if the pessimistic reality is me trying to be realistic. Just as with all possible forth coming traumatic situations, I want to mentally prepare myself. I want to run through the scenarios. I don't care how pessimistic people may call me. I don't care how many people say I have to have hope and that fighting cancer is mind over matter. Those people haven't had cancer. They haven't fought my battle, and they certainly don't realize what a patronizing cop out this is to an important conversation.       . Not many loved ones and caregivers have the strength to carry on these conversations, even if the patient needs it.   .   This lends to the emotional isolation of the sick, not solely a difficulty understanding, but a protective mechanism of human nature not to want to know how people feel as they know they are failing, what their thoughts are and how they cope.  .   Many would be surprised, however, that the emotional isolation, sadness, depression, anger and even acceptance eventually fades and gives way to a place of peaceful transcendence that guides you with faith through your life that everything will be okay, no matter what the outcome. If only people could get past this barrier of fear, the fear would dissipate and we'd realize it's all okay.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Complementary Headache Care

Mucosal dryness is a common complaint among menopausal women and those who have been involved in a stem cell transplant procedure.
Symptomatic treatments are recommended for eye and vaginal dryness, but I have never encountered a suggestion regarding possible dryness in my nasal mucosa.
A change in the characteristics of my nasal passages may possibly be contributing to headaches in myself, which due to other factors, such as neurological isolation and a sensitivity to stimulus, may, in theory, be causing severe migraines.
In attempt to rememdy these symptoms in myself, I am using several “alternative” therapies.
These “alternatives” are only described as such because they are not commonly used in current headache regimens prescribed by the medical community.
However, all are readily available.
To ease the change of my nasal mucosa and remedy the dryness, I will be using a saline nasal spray, 1 spray, in each nostril, Twice daily.
I have also been taking the supplement feverfew 380 mg twice daily, which has caused a significant reduction in the severity of my headaches. My headaches still do at times present, but are not accompanied by auras and excruciating pain. This has made the headaches manageable.
I have also replaced my Ambien 5-10 mg nightly with Benadryl 25 mg nightly.
Benadryl has shown the effect of preventing migraines in some, but is not traditionally recommended since the advent of triptans.
Benadryl, in my situation, with the plethora of co-existing problems which make treatment of my ailments difficult, can also serve another purpose. That purpose may be preventing me again future allergic reactions. My body has already been shown to by hyper-sensitive neurological as evidenced by severe distonic reactions in the form of ataxia by phenothiazines. I have made the decision to avoid all medications that may cause this reaction.
The Benadryl may offer some protection from further side effects of medications that show as allergies.
“Migraine Blocker,” which is an herbal alternative that is taken much like tryptans, such as imitrex or relpax, was effective in easing the pain and quality of my migraines.
By quality, I mean it subdued the “auras,” inability to think, and the feeling that I was being overwhelmed with sensory information which culminated in an inability to withstand light, sound, or anything that would come into contact with my body (even clothing).
Unfortunately, this particular remedy contained the ingredient “blood root,” a Native American remedy which may cause the proliferation of cells (Weil, Spontaneous Healing).
Upon discussion with my Transplant specialist, Dr. Alyea, at Dana Farber Cancer Institute, he admittedly demanded I not take this medication.
He responded to my telling him that this medication may cause the proliferation of cells in much the same manner that someone may frantically tell someone not to jump off a bridge. Shock and horror spread across this face before a he said, “No, absolutely not. Stop it now!”
Migraine blocker, and another other remedy including blood root, is now officially off my life of medications to try.
As for traditional scientific studies, my MRI/MRA was “normal.”
However, I’m curious about the implications of the anatomy and sizes of specific areas of my brain and how they relate to each other.
Recently neuroscientists discovered that the amygdales of serial killers, or people diagnosed as “psychopaths” have amygdales up to 17% smaller than those of us who are capable of showing empathy towards others. There is a failure between the amygdala and the frontal lobes in communicating electronically.
However, interestingly, white collar criminals who fall into the category of psychopaths as well have shrunken Amygdalas that communicate with their frontal lobes!
This is an amazing discovery in understanding the neurological circuitry involved in crimes, and I think at some point in time, Kindergarteners will have to undergo MRIs/MRAs/EEGs along with their battery of performance testing and vaccinations so schools can prepare teachings based on brain chemistry to, ultimately, realize the potential of each individual mind, and intervene on behalf of those that may have future problems.
To be honest, the primary reason I am against the death penalty is I think the judicial system is killing a great source of knowledge in the neurological and psychologic realms.
A civilization is only as good as its worst member, and it can be easily argued that the worst members of our American civilization have been killed by the judicial system.
I say keep them alive and study them. Use them for what they worth, and from this knowledge, gain what we may in regards to preventing people behaving like them in the future.
The field of forensic psychology has made great strides since its advent. However, past profiles of killers very rarely make it into main stream detective work to prevent, or find, current day killers who are behaving in a similar manner, as a product of similar experiences through their lifetime (please see my profile of the CT River Valley Killer).
I believe killers are made. I am not saying they are a product of our society. I’m saying they are missing something within themselves that tells them to stop at any point, and finding why this does not exist in them may be the key to unlocking their motivations.
I believe it is a combination of psychology and neurology that may discover the answer to the ultimate question of how people become how they are.
These reviewed areas are all in direct contact with one another and work as an entity for total body homeostasis. If there is a complaint in one they others may be “referred” to.
After several weeks of taking the described regimen (feverfew380 with Benadryl 25 mg nightly, and Mag 400mg 3 x daily, and nasal saline spray) I was completely migraineless.
At this point, I decided to pull back on the medications to see which ones were truly necessary in the healing of my migraines. I removed the nasal spray first, refused to use it for a week, and my migraines/headaches did not reoccur.
The following week, I removed the Benadryl from the headache regimen and a slow, pulsing ache began to come on.
It continued to get worse as the days went on until, on day 7, the migraine was unmanageable and I tok the Benadryl again.
I think it is clear to say, that in my instance, a combination of the Benadryl, the feverfew, and the magnesium cured me headaches.