There’s nothing like a cancer journey to show you that life’s twists and turns are sharp curves along steep drop-offs. Take my friend Beth Caldwell whom I last wrote about.
She announced that her cancer had spread to a place where it couldn’t be treated. Doctors gave her four months to live.
She’d accepted her fate, decided to forgo further treatment, spend her remaining time with family and friends.
And then there was a follow-up test to confirm the diagnosis. Except this test didn’t confirm it. Not a single cancer cell was found. Just like that, life was ripped out from under her, then handed back.
Which again begs the question, what do you do when you get that kind of news? My friend, I can only imagine, feels like a spinning top anxious for a place to land. After coming to grips with no further treatment, doctors now have for her a new battle plan, new procedures, new drugs and new side effects.
Overwhelming? I don’t think that word does it justice.
While her situation is extreme, it characterizes the challenge I’ve been writing about this past week or so – living with a disease that can derail us at any moment while we try to get on with our lives, reach our goals and overcome the normal procrastination and everyday obstacles that fall in our path.
Knowing this, I am trying to construct new habits that will steel me against the ups and downs of the disease. My goal for the month was to try some lifestyle changes to see if they have any impact on my disease – things like intermittent fasting, interval training and meditation. There’s research to show these habits lead to positive genetic changes that fortify healthy cells and/or starve cancer cells.
I failed on the first day into my planned changes. Normally I would beat myself up over such a gaff. But instead, I’m looking for ways to regroup. Spending time examining my failure and finding ways to do it differently next time.
For one, I came across this story by Jeff Haden of Inc. magazine in my Twitter feed about an easier way to incorporate intermittent fasting into my life. That led to a video with more details by Dr. Eric Berg giving some great tips on getting started. He made a subscriber out of me.
I also came across a clinical trial that doesn’t require tumor testing or tumor tracking to become a part of it. Instead, it combines Metformin, a diabetes drug, and grape seed extract and tracks changes in the bloodstream as a way to counteract cancer cells. I intend to ask my doctor about it next week when I see her.
I don’t expect any of these changes will cure me. My hope is that they’ll enhance the effectiveness of my treatment, keeping the disease in check for a longer period of time until a cure can be found.
I may be living with an unpredictable disease that doesn’t have any answers, but I can still tack and jibe when the wind shifts. I intend that my sails will always be full.