Tuesday, April 4, 2017
Back From Cancer Center of America
Were you looking for me? I did not mean to be silent for a week but our trip lasted far longer than we planned. Things were not going well for our daughter who has two cases of breast cancer. Doctors locally had no clear course of action and the information train was pretty silent so off we went to The Cancer Center of America in Tulsa, Oklahoma. There they specialize in breast cancer though they treat many other kinds also. We figured if anyone knew what to do, they would. We left Saturday morning to catch a flight. The one that ended with the airplane in pieces on the runway. No it did not crash but the mechanic soon had it disassembled. That was after he took forty minutes getting to the airport to go to work since it is Saturday and this is podunkville. (We are the least populated state in the union). Over an hour later, it was clear the fix was not going to be fast and we waited for another plane. That meant our flight connection in Denver was missed. Which meant we spent the night in Denver, courtesy of United since all flights to Tulsa were booked.
We arrived at the center just after lunch, having missed all our morning appointments that started at 8 am. It became a week of reschedule, reschedule since there were those test that left questions in the doctor's minds and led to other tests. Our mornings began with the first appointment at 8 am lasting a half an hour or an hour at most and another right after that one until it was 4 pm. We had a half an hour for lunch. Norm for the center but stress filled for us but the information level was WOW!! What we thought was going to be a few days stretched into six with our daughter's case being one placed before a team of doctors who meet on Wednesday and Thursday at noon. She has a type of cancer which is suppose to hit someone in their 70's or 80's and maybe 60's but not mid thirties.
What we learned from the Geneticist was that our daughter's cancer was not in the BRCA 1 type but another gene all together so a different genetic testing needed done. We could not tie the specific cancer to our family though one great and one grandmother on the other side had breast cancer. What kind we have to find out. Whether the cancers were related at all is a question since the grandmothers were older and your immune system breaks down when you get older. That is why our daughter felt out of place at the center where she was surrounded by the aged.
Did one side or the other carry the gene is the question. The test was run. We learned with this cancer it involves only one gene so it is not a combination of Kirk and I. That much we know. We also learned that prostate cancer is linked to breast cancer. My father had that but was it related since he was aged at the time?
The Geneticist said cancer linked genes are showing up at younger and younger ages. The great grandmother who had this type of cancer at 80 has a daughter who had it at 60, who had a daughter who had it at 40, who had a daughter who had it in her 20's. Why? The cause, they are guessing is diet and the environment triggering it at a younger age. Our world is full of pollutants. Our lives are filled with stress that attacks our immune system. Diet and stress are the two things our daughter's doctor said he is sure caused hers. She likes convenience foods.
The scary truth is that we all have cancer cells in us. Our bodies when functioning well kick them out. One of the reasons for drinking lots of good clean water. Keep the flushing system going and send those babies down the drain. If your immune system goes down due to declining health and stress, they populate and cluster, you are then diagnosed with cancer. Hard to imagine but a 9 year old in Utah was just recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Wonder if it was in the family? What must her diet and her mother's who gave birth to her must of been like? If baby's placentas are now being found to have high levels of BPA, then it is no wonder babies are born with cancer or develop it as children. If 1 in 3 women will get cancer and 1 in 2 men, what does that say about our diets? Since formaldehyde is in perfume and perfume is in everything then how can we not get cancer is my question.
The hopeful part is that even if you have a cancer gene, it will not activate unless your immune system is compromised. That is where you have the control. You can invite cancer or not. After seeing the pain and suffering around us during our visit, I am more motivated than ever to not invite it, that is after I recover from the trip. Wow, it took its toll on me but on with the story.
Having just completed her first round of chemo on Friday, we rushed to the airport with only minutes to spare. The stress continued as once again I set off the alarm on the scanner just like I did in Denver on the trip to Tulsa and had to be frisked. Nope, not the metal plate in my back but a mysterious object yet to be identified. Our daughter had a special device on her return trip that delivers a drug to boost her white blood cell levels after chemo and she had to be frisked also. Delay, delay, and with stress mounting, we made a run for the plane.
Stress and chemo, not good and our daughter began to feel pretty rough. In Denver we asked to be seated first though our tickets said we were in the third boarding group. Not hard to accomplish when our daughter looked white as a ghost, had a barf bag held to her face, and clutched a bag that clearly read Cancer Center. The sight drew lots of sympathetic glances our way. The plane was late. Then after boarding, it was delayed due to a malfunction of the navigation system. Not exactly a comforting thought. Well over an hour later, they said they got it fixed but my brain couldn't help but think, "Wonder if it is truly fixed or will it go out again during flight?" I did some quick calculating. If it is now seven, when we were suppose to be landing, then we are going to get land in the dark.The navigation system had better work.
Soon my iron clad stomach was sympathizing with my daughter's. It had just started to relax when we came closer to the airport and the plane began heaving up and down, up and down, then sideways repeatedly with white things hurdling outside our window. Not just a snowstorm but a blizzard that caused the pilot to overshoot the runway and send us zooming upward at a steep ascend. He couldn't see. He circled and checked out another runway facing another direction. I swear he went part way down and then up again, then circled before he descended once more, and we finally felt the wheels touch down.
Whew, relief or was it? Now we only had a two hour drive in the dark, in a blizzard, to get home. Oh joy! Not!! It looked really bad when we discovered four inches on top the vehicle with more coming down fast. We checked out the weather report via our other daughter who was watching the kids and livestock. We just needed to drive far enough and we would be out of it. But where would that be? Luckily there was a convoy of cars headed our way. A group of school kids had been on a trip to Costa Rica and were headed home to just twenty miles from ours. We followed tail lights.
Despite how difficult the trip was, the cool thing is our daughter has lots and lots of people watching over her. More specialists that I could even imagine could be involved in such a journey. While we soaked in the tons of information, I made a few vows on our trip. They all have to do with trying to avoid cancer while increasing our health. The health that took a real hammering while we were gone. Not so good food, tons of stress, and lack of sleep has my adrenals keeping me up at night. I keep waking up with way too low body temps. My system is exhausted. When I recover a little, my vows will begin.
P.S. I admit I showed the scheduler a picture of the view out our living room window on Thursday. I said could you PLEASE hurry and get us home. I need my peaceful view. She heartily agreed.