Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Shinrin-yoku 森林浴


A bit of a change from my usual posts here.
But I really liked this concept and it is about staying healthy and ways to reclaim good health, so I think, in the end it is appropriate here.

The above calligraphy is Japanese for Forest Bath. At least I hope it is... I found it using websites that hopefully translates English into calligraphy correctly. :) If someone out there can read Japanese and know it's wrong please contact me, hopefully with the right characters and I'll change it.

Forest Bath is the translation of Shinrin-yoku into English.

What is a Forest Bath? It's simply walking in Nature. I ran across the concept surfing the web one night and I just loved the name and concept.

Back in the 1980s there was a study in Japan on a group of Woman who walked in the woods 2 – 4 hours a day for two consecutive days. They were tested before and after these walks. It was found that there were some amazing changes in their physiology including a 50% increase in cancer fighting White Blood Cells.

Shinrin-yoku has since become a national pastime and people are encouraged to walk in Nature as often as they can as part of their lifestyle.

Something we should encourage those of us living elsewhere in the World.

 I confess though I live in the mountains and literally in a forest I don't go out there as much as I should. My excuse now is the Winter but in warm weather I have no excuse. Well.. maybe the Tick epidemic but that's preventable and one can't allow one's self to become a martyr to it. And, of course, there is the whole LMS with surgeries and treatments but still there are times when I could go for even a little walk. 

Bloodroot covered rock in the forest behind me.
It's so easy to get tied up in one's inside life or even have going outside be just to do yard work. Or sit around relaxing.

As enjoyable as the latter is, it isn't the same as just walking in the woods and simply enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of Nature as you stroll along.

I'm going to promise myself I'll walk out my door and just keep going as often as possible on at least, a weekly basis.

If you're not as lucky and live in the woods or country setting: find a park or Arboretum and stroll around.

The point isn't to Hike, Jog or Power Walk. It's to walk and relax and enjoy your surroundings and the Nature that is around you. (I was raised in a large city so yes: I know there is a lot of Nature in the City. Stroll out your door and start looking :) )

Here are some links about Shinrin-yoku, including some of the results of studies:

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Chemo adventure ends.... and new adventures start.

It's been over a month since my last chemo treatment.

I have to say it's one of the harder things I've ever done. And if you look at my time line on the left; that's saying a lot.

It was hard mostly due to my hemoglobin and platelet counts crashing, which required transfusions several times.

But by the end of about three weeks after the last one; I was feeling almost pretty good. :)

The next phase is with Votrient. Once I was mostly recovered from the Doxorubicin I started on one a day and every week I add another. This Saturday I start the 4th and final pill and continue on that for an unspecified amount of time that depends on the results. So far it's going pretty well.

The results after the Doxorubicin were pretty much what they were over the course of the treatment: a few tumors had some small growth; many showed no change. So while not perfect results they aren't bad.

I'm also taking Metformin. Yes.... that's traditionally a diabetic drug and, no, I'm not a diabetic. Not only does it suppress the glucose production in the liver (less glucose in the blood means less to feed the cancer cells) but it does things like targeting mitochondrial metabolism in cancer cell and kills mesenchymal stem cells in cancer cells. No.... I don't totally understand that either. (I can forward a post I was sent with some references if you're interested; just post a comment*)

Dr. Deng (One of the Integrative Medicine doctors at Sloan-Kettering Memorial) put me on it. As well as some extra nutritional supplements added to what I was already doing.

One thing I learned going to him is make sure you double check and compare effects for everything else your taking; herbs and supplements with your medical team to make sure nothing interferes with each other. For example; high doses of anti-oxidant vitamins can counter act many chemo drugs. Some herbs, like Turmeric (Curcuma longa) does the same. As well as I can't eat grapefruit with the Metformin.  

The other thing I'm doing is I'm on a very low carbohydrate diet. Not with the concept of loosing weight but, again, to keep glucose production as low as possible (again with the idea of "starving" the cancer cells). So I've incorporated that into my diets/lifestyle that I reported on in an earlier post.

One misconception about my diet that's come to my attention is that I'm a vegetarian. While I don't eat a lot of meat/poultry or fish I do eat some. Organic and raised as close to home as possible.
I've never done well on a strict vegetarian diet and, yes, I've done that in the past for years at a time.

That's not to say that you shouldn't be or try vegetarianism or veganism. If you feel that's your path and the best diet for you; go for it. Just research the best way to get all your nutrients.

I think the confusion is I recommend reading Kriss Car's books. I believe in her totally but everyone is an individual. Some people thrive on one diet/lifestyle; other's on another.

Make your own choices on what feels right and helps you Thrive.

So that's the recent update. I have a scan in about 5 weeks or so. In the meantime; Spring is right around the corner! Maybe I'll get to work on my studio/garden blog. :) (my new studio is almost done!)

* This blog had been targeted by Spammers recently and so I've had to put the verification window into the comments. I hate those things but it's the only way to totally stop them. Otherwise, I was getting easily a dozen emails a day alerting me they were trying to post. Why this blog and not the other I don't know. So I apologize for the inconvenience: please comment despite it, if you please. Thanks :) .

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Scan Results

Some good news:

When I first started the treatment at SMK I was given a Cat Scan for a base line.
Then after about two months I was given another which showed a 10% growth of the tumors. Slightly depressing to say the least.

Last week I had another scan and it's showing very little growth, no growth and some shrinkage of tumors. While not a big shift; it's one in the right direction and is encouraging.

As I write this I have one more treatment left in a little less the three weeks and then we'll decide what the next step is.

I also met with the Integrative Medicine doctor: Dr. Deng. I liked him a lot. He liked all the things I was doing and had some good insights into not only dealing with side effects from the treatment but my lifestyle and health regime.

I think the most profound thing was finding out that the medicinal mushrooms I was taking weren't made from the growing mushroom nor were they extracted by water; both aspects are part of the traditional methods of using them. File it under read the fine print. The ones I've been taking were made from mycelium and grown in laboratory conditions rather then the whole mushroom and grown on wood. So I'm switching brands.

So... that's the update on this new chapter in my journey so far.
I'll report back when I decide on the next phase.