I couldn’t breathe.
It happened faster than I could really comprehend. A few seconds after I couldn’t breathe, my low back started spasming violently. The first thing I thought to do was stand up. I was on my knees on the floor seconds later. The second thing I thought to do was pull my IV out of my arm. However, I instead took the easier approach and pinched the tube. The pump started beeping and I looked for the nurse call button. I couldn’t reach it from the floor, but luckily another patient’s nurse walked by. She called for help and four nurses were there in an instant. God bless nurses. They came in with the blood pressure machines and syringes and started to do what they do best in these high pressure moments.
They checked my blood pressure and heart rate. Both were perfect. It wasn’t a heart attack. The problem I was having is I still couldn’t take enough breath to talk and even though they had helped me back into my chair, I couldn’t sit. I was hunched forward with massive chest and back pain. They stopped the Erbitux and gave me a lot of steroids and Benadryl and it took about 5 minutes before I felt like I wasn’t dying.
I knew inside my head once I saw the blood pressure readings that I wasn’t having a heart attack, but feeling like you can’t breathe isn’t something I’d like to go through ever again. Once I could talk again, they asked me is my back pain was a 10 and I blurted out, “I’ve had a perforated colon, nothing is a 10.” Tough guy. I laughed and so did they. Phew, I wasn’t dying.
The shakes started soon after. I get the shakes every now and then. They first started during bad Crohn’s flare ups, and then they come and go when I get worried and anxious. The nurses said the high dose of steroids and benadryl are probably causing some of it, so they offered to give me some meds to calm me down. I declined and told them I had some cannabis oil pills in my bag. They told me to take them so I could relax a bit.
I called Heather and explained to her what just happened. I was more upset than emotional, but I hated that she wasn’t there with me. I didn’t have much time to think about her and the kids, but I do remember falling to the ground and seeing them in my head just before the nurses rescued me. After I hung up the phone I started crying.
I can’t truly explain how frustrating treatment is as a cancer patient. I don’t think you really ever feel like you’re in control. You kind of just go with the flow and do whatever it is you have to do to live another day. The drug I was getting through the IV was called Erbitux. It is a protein inhibitor and it’s job is to weaken the tumors so that other meds or your immune system can fight them more effectively. It is classified as chemotherapy, but it is non-toxic and not true chemo. This drug is the reason I can go to CTCA and get their integrative treatment, which includes the Vitamin C IVs and all the mind-body medicine they offer. The frustration knowing that my body was rejecting this drug and that I could be back at square one again was just too much to handle by myself. I just cried.
My nurse came back from her dinner to talk with me. “I leave and look what happens!” We laughed. I told her it was all her fault and to never leave again. She wanted a recap of how exactly I was feeling moments before all the drama ensued. I told her the story and she explained that my body was indeed rejecting the medicine and that the doctor said I had to discontinue it immediately. I told her why I was so emotional and she brought up the other EGFR drug that I can take it Erbitux fails. Instantly I said “No way. Absolutely not!”. I then gave her a recap on my life of failing on biologic medicine. I told her how a Remicade reaction made my legs to numb for a few weeks., how Humira put me in the hospital with a UTI, kidney infection and blood infection, and how chemo made me feel like I was going to die in my bed. Now Erbitux. She told me to think about it and I told her I would.
The jury is still out on whether I am going to do the drug or not. I probably will. I am scheduled to go back to Chicago in 2 weeks. Over the next few days before I finalize my flight, I will be researching the other EGFR drug. All the nurses in the infusion center told me they’ve seen an Erbitux reaction like the one I had, but none of them have seen a reaction to the other drug. Does that mean it’s less effective? Maybe. I don’t know yet why doctors put you on Erbitux first, but I assume it’s because it has a better track record against cancer.
My infusion started around 3pm that day. It was supposed to only be a 2-hour infusion, but I didn’t end up leaving the infusion center until 8:30. Once I felt well enough to leave I made it back to my hotel room.
I couldn’t sleep. I even took more CBD oil and still sleep wouldn’t come. I couldn’t relax. I was just pacing the small room trying to figure out what I should do next. I kept thinking I should read my book, but I decided against it.
I finally fell asleep and got a good 3 or 4 hours before I had to be back at the hospital for acupuncture and then my limo ride back to the airport. My back was still spasming so I asked for a wheelchair at the airport so I didn’t have to wait through TSA security. Luckily when I got there, there was not a soul in line. I cannot explain to you the joy of seeing no TSA line. “Always Fly Delta” the security agent said.
I was not 2 hours early for my flight. I sat down and again I thought “you should read your book.” Instead I chose to mindlessly browse Facebook, liking and sharing things. I didn’t feel like thinking about cancer and treatments and what I should do next. The last thing I wanted to do was read a book about it.
I boarded my flight and we were one person heavy on the flight. Two people had validated tickets for the same seat. Crazy. I sat there thinking how late I was going to be and I thought again, “you should read your book.” So this time I gave in and pulled it out of my bag. I wished I had listen to my intuition earlier.
Here’s a brief recap on the book. A cancer researcher working at a cancer center at a hospital started to become intrigued by Radical Remission cases. She started to ask the oncologists she worked with about specific Radical Remission cases and why they weren’t studied more. The oncologists basically blew her off and said there’s nothing to research because those are all anomalies. She decided to dive into the research and it became her thesis. My Naturopath Oncologist is the one who recommended it and said “I will never write a book because she’s already wrote the perfect book and has done it better than I ever could.”
I was on page 53 of the book (it’s an emotional read for me for some reason). The chapter was called “Taking Control of Your Health”. It started to talk about most people who get cancer are type-C personalities. Type C personalities are overly passive, don’t stand up for themselves and try to please everyone. I am hugely type-C. These characteristics weaken your immune system, which lead to disease and eventually cancer. It then went on to tell a story of a Japanese Radical Remission Cancer Survivor named Shin Terayama. He’s a REAL person who was given no hope by doctors and reversed his cancer using alternative methods. And this was YEARS ago!
He was sent home to die and realized the gravity of his illness and situation and just started healing from within himself. It is an incredible story and here are a few excerpts from his interview.
When I woke up in the morning and saw it getting light outside, I said “I’m still alive! Today is a new day!” I was living in a second floor apartment and I wanted to see the sunrise. I went to the rooftop and when I saw the sunrise, it was so wonderful! I tried to see it the next day and the next day and the next day. Every day I said to the sun, “I’m still alive!” When I saw the sun, I realized that the only energy we receive from the universe is the sun. It was the first time I had noticed this kind of thing!
An accomplished cello player in his youth, he started to play it again. He had stopped playing it as he got older and started a career. He also started going to the rooftop to sing with the birds and then he made another stunning discovery.
I wondered, why are the birds singing? When do birds begin to sing? So I got up earlier and earlier each day until I couldn’t hear any birds singing. I tried to see when they started singing and it was always exactly 42 minutes before the sunrise, every day! I started to sing and exhale with the birds as soon as they started singing.
He then started to do some experiments on his own pet birds. He covered them with their cloth and waited until they went to sleep. He then started pouring oxygen into their cage from his tank and instantly they woke up and started singing. When he shut the oxygen off, they went back to sleep. This is all because trees start waking up or “photosynthesizing” 42 minutes before the sunrise and start releasing oxygen. Oxygen on our planet is strongest at sunrise. He did this every day with the birds and started to heal just by doing this simple thing.
He then started getting deep into Yoga and spiritual healing. He started learning about the seven chakras and had a “kundalini awakening”, which is described as seeing the auras around people. He started to detox his body in natural springs and many other natural therapies. Today he is still cancer free after being told by doctors he would die in 1983! One final thing he said that struck me so strongly was this…
Conventional medicine comes from hunting tribes. In the history of medicine, doctors found out about bacteria and viruses and they tried to kill them.They tried to find some medicine to kill them. Western doctors try to kill cancer. I once met the man who discovered the natural killer cell, so I said to him “you say natural killing cell, but I think natural healing cell”. Conventional medicine tries to kill kill kill, always kill. I didn’t kill my cancer, I loved it. That’s the most important thing I learned is that cancer is my body. It’s not an enemy; it’s still my body.”
Chills, right? I had them all down my spine on that flight.
This book is a fascinating read. The very next chapter is about listening to your intuition. I destroyed that chapter as well on the plane. I then put it away and have taken another break from it. It is honestly too much for me to handle at a given time. I recommend this book to anyone, not just cancer fighters. The book is full of people who did chemo too. It’s a book for anyone and everyone fighting cancer in their own way.
A year ago I would have put this book down so fast and even if I had read any of it I would have disregarded it entirely. Today, I see things a lot differently. Just because you don’t understand things about other cultures and other religions or other “spiritual” healing methods, doesn’t make them any less real or effective. It is important to sometimes take a step back from the things we believe to be the only way and open yourself up to try to understand the power in ourselves and our surroundings. Even if you believe in God, like I do, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t power in our world that we barely understand. I intend to understand more of these things as I continue on my cancer healing journey.
I am greater than cancer.