This week, I'm writing while I am getting chemo. I always feel a little drugged, due more to the anti-nausea meds. I guess that is not surprising, but this message may not sound completely like me.
Thank you for reading the piece on the CommonHealth blog. Your on-blog comments were really helpful for Rachel and Annie, and all your notes (both on and off the blog) were so wonderful and uplifting to me, which was such a nice bonus. Even if you didn’t comment, thank you for getting the good energy out there!
Even bigger (to me), I want and need to thank you for your prayers for a good chemo week. I must be starting to sound like a holy roller (no offense to any holy rollers) but honestly, I cannot believe the difference your prayers make in my little life. If it is possible to have a good chemo week, I had one last time around. I felt fine during chemo, and still felt okay leaving the infusion room, I had minimal nausea all week, and was even able to fly to Florida on Saturday. So if you think of it, say a little prayer right now for this to be a good chemo week, too! Aidan is in a play this week, and I would really love to go and see it and feel good enough to focus on him.
I was lucky enough to spend last week at the Hippocrates Health Institute in West Palm Beach. Tiron and the boys flew down with me, and had their own beach vacation while I was there.
Hippocrates focuses on providing information and services so that you can heal yourself. My personal focus was on learning more about the raw food diet, juicing, and food combining. I learned that this place is like a mecca for people from all over the world who want to heal. It felt almost biblical, with people from all walks of life arriving with all sorts of health challenges. A few were there to simply detox or to kick-start a healthier lifestyle. But so many were there to learn what they needed to heal themselves.
In some cases, there was an obvious sign: someone in a wheelchair or using a walker, or blind, or bald in that way that only chemo can do. But most folks were indistinguishable from the general population. It made me wonder, again, how many people I impatiently run into who look "normal" but are dealing with pain or disease, and who are doing the best they can.
The grounds are about 35 acres of greenery, with benches and hammocks, statues, etc. placed here and there, lots of waterfalls, really beautiful and relaxing. No traffic noise at all. Everyone, from the directors to the housekeepers, has such a positive attitude without feeling like cheerleaders. They all speak in terms of “health challenges” rather than your diagnosis or prognosis, and everyone, without exception, operates from the assumption that you can and will heal. That kind of energy is uplifting to your soul.
I'll admit that the menu was a bit challenging. The focus is 100% raw foods. Not only does that mean “salad bar” for lunch and dinner, it is THE SAME salad bar: leafy greens, more sprouts than I’ve even seen in my life, cucumbers, onions, sun-dried olives, crispy dulse (sea vegetable). There were one or two new side dishes (again, raw) at each meal. AND, breakfast is cucumber juice. I don’t each much but I initially assumed I would starve. And, indeed, for the first few days, I carried a bag of nuts and crackers with me, and munched on those between meals.
After about three days, I started to feel incredible. I had lots of energy, and even stopped snacking between meals. The side dishes were becoming more and more interesting (raw pasta made from zucchini, marinated mushrooms) or maybe I was just so deprived that they looked good! In any case, the diet became fun, and the chef did a cooking course, too, If you can call it cooking?
There were lectures on topics like growing your own sprouts or how to handle questions at Thanksgiving when everyone else is eating turkey.
Though the workout room held equipment for all abilities, open 24 hours every day, and I had lots of free time, I STILL couldn't find the time to work out. Hmmm. Maybe it isn't my schedule. Maybe it is just me.
They also had four small swimming pools: a regular pool (no chlorine), a warm salt-water pool, a Jacuzzi (or maybe it was a hot tub) and a really cold pool. Oh, and an infrared sauna. Plus the usual spa treatments and a few “unique” spa treatments.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that, at Hippocrates, they focus both on what goes into your body and what goes OUT of your body. The all-inclusive package includes a colonic, where they clean your colon. And they recommend that you do enemas to stay clean. Followed by a wheatgrass implant. (Sorry if I spoiled your taste for wheatgrass.)
I traded my “included colonic” for an extra massage in a yurt, which was amazing.
All this said, who knows what works. But, happy news -- when I got the results of my blood tests, my white count is higher than it's ever been, and spectacular by any measure! My other bloods are also great (well, liver function isn't perfect, but it is within the "expected" range). They told me to keep doing whatever I am doing. Yay!
After all I learned last week, I continue to feel like any cure for me will come from something higher than myself, and I feel like, as a group, we can tap into that power and move that energy in a positive way. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for all you are doing to channel that energy into my healing and my quality of life.
Much love and light to you in your life today!