I read a few of my original entries, back in October 2007. It felt like I was reading about someone else. It’s amazing how you forget things.

First, I was still taking walks for exercise and I was playing with my horse, Stoney. I was complaining about having trouble walking. I complained of pain in every joint. When I read some of those symptoms, I can’t even remember how I was feeling. Much of it doesn’t even sound familiar? That seems strange.

I was on treatment of Revlimid and Dexamethasone from August 2006 through November 2007. I suspect the pain in my joints might have been from either the Revlimid or the Dex, or possibly both? I thought the problem with my legs was from the Dex (steroid) but now I know it was my spinal cord atrophying.

It was a bit haunting to read those entries. I’m not sure why. But it was back when I still had my horses and my pets and I was living in my home on “the farm.” It was 17 acres, but I called it “the farm.” Well, actually it was two pieces of land that were attached. My house was on 12.5 acres and then I had a separate 5 acres. My sister has since purchased the 5 acres, as she lives on another 5 acres attached to it. A family rents my home now until they can buy it.

I talked of juicing. It seemed I was a little more into trying to eat and exercise back then. Things have certainly changed. I miss the animals. I miss the walking, yet I recall I was getting dismayed at the trouble I was having walking. It was very unnerving at first. I mean, when you used to walk around without a second thought, then suddenly you’re having strange sensations and limps; it’s been quite a journey.

I mentioned a friend, Joanne. I met her at a Christian book store. I overheard her talking to an employee of the bookstore about her cancer. My cancer was new enough to me that I walked up to her, feeling like we were in a club, and introduced myself to her, telling her that I had cancer, too! She didn’t take offense or think I was strange at all, but looking back, how silly of me. I realize now that while others thought I was taking “having the cancer” so well, I was probably still fighting the fear and looking for some comfort-level yet. Where else but with others who share the same battle? Anyway, we became friends of a sort and exchanged numbers and emails. Joanne had breast cancer and also had tremendous faith in God. She was very much into holistic treatment. She sent emails to family and friends updating on her own journey. She spoke of not only health but spiritual things. Her writings and faith were so amazing! She had a meeting at her house to share her experiences and knowledge of health issues. She showed us how she grew her own wheat grass. She juiced it and we all had a sip. I loved it. I thought it tasted delicioius. She gave us all literature and information on books and organizations on various health and/or cancer topics.

I don’t recall exactly Joanne’s experience, only that she tried to go as natural as she could. I believe she did have a tumor surgically removed but instead of doing chemo right after, she tried to do things “naturally.” It got worse and she then went one of those “Cancer Centers of America” places. I think that’s the name and I think she went to the one in Arkansas or Oklahoma. I forget which state it’s in..but these are the places advertised where they say they never give up hope on patients plus they treat everything. For example, if you are a Christian, they will include prayer as well as traditional treatment. She was very impressed with them. In summary, Joanne combined traditional with lots of alternative. I think she errored in one way and her husband sort of hinted at it later. She was doing some Chinese herbs and something happened…she ended up dying. Something that the herbs did that her liver ws trying to detox…I don’t recall…but she might have been going to pass anyway and this herb-thing just made it a little more complicated. I don’t really know. Joanne did write a really neat email to the email chain that she hoped she had not led any of us astray. Joanne said that one thing she did learn is that sometimes, no matter what you do, you may not be able to change your outcome. She said it much more eloquently. But she said some people can do all the natural things and still die and someone can handle their cancer with all the traditional treatments and be healed.

There’s no clear answer to what treatment course we should take. I guess we just make the best choice we can with what information we have and with what route we think we can handle. That’s the best any of us can do. The important thing, I think, is to just do your best and don’t second guess. Always look forward because looking back is surely a waste of time. Believe me, because I find myself looking back too much. I’m getting better at NOT doing it.

Actually, now that I’ve read a few entries, I’m realizing that I really have been through a variety of “hells” since then! Wow. I’m not trying to toot any horns here, but I am a little more proud of myself. I have been really feeling like a big old baby and complainer. Now I can cut myself a little more slack. I remember where I’ve come from. Maybe I was trudging forward so hard back then that I didn’t get to appreciate the uphill battle I’ve had. There’s the cancer, there’s getting to and from the appointments alone, there’s financial and insurance stuff, there’s personal issues and fallout with family at times, there’s losses and giving up things that meant much to me, there’s just been a bunch of stuff. I’m at a better place in many ways now than I was back then. Of course, the “unknown” is always the hardest and many things were not known back then. Heck, that’s when I had the Hitler-like female doctor! Ha! Oh my, those were the ‘bad ole days.’