Wednesday, March 19, 2014

'Twas the night before Gerson, and all through the house....


It's the night before my big trip and there's still packing to do, phone calls to return, updates to many things, so little time as usual! Tonight was so worth all the loss of sleep I'll encounter once I get to bed. I was surrounded by a house full of love from many of my girlfriends, new and old. The only missing VIP was my sister LeAnn, who is down in Fresno preparing for the trips she'll make to visit once I'm back home from the clinic.  We missed you sis!

The menu was perfectly themed Mexican vegan, and you girls did a great job pulling it all together. I know vegan anything can sometimes be a challenge so, kudos!
The night was exactly what I needed, to be sent off with laughter, healthy food, and lots of love and support!

It's pretty much a torture tradition that I have for myself that every time I pack to leave town, I like to wait till the very last minute so that the process can be as stressful as it can be~ it's FUN! ;) ok well it's never the pre meditated plan but it always happens somehow.

In bed.

Back up.

Out the door headed to SFO, mental checklist double checked...and away we go!

Arrived at SFO...checked in, boarded plane.

Take off to San Diego.

I miss Rick already.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

"You can't live a positive life, with a negative mind" -Unknown

My friend Allison asked me the other night if I had a mantra or an affirmation that I use for myself on a regular basis. I thought about it and I realized that I don't. Should I? And if so, why don't I? When she gave me an example of what she meant, I then remembered that I kinda once in a very particular sort of way. There were these times in the past, whenever I would feel so inclined, I would have an internal conversation with my brave little fighting liver. I would tell it to be strong and that it was going to get better. I would imagine myself gently massaging it back to health. Like that of a mother and child. That was my way of connecting with my situation and setting the intention that me and my brave little fighting liver were in this together.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

"At times I'm grateful that thoughts don't appear in bubbles over our heads." - Unknown

My sister LeAnn has been my biggest supporter when it comes to writing. She has encouraged me for years to journal and express myself through writing and I think of her every time I begin to write. I hear her voice reminding me to "just write". I have a hard time "just writing" though. There is always a method to it's madness for me. Those key moments when my head wants to explode from all the mind running going on, tend to inspire me to start my version of story telling. I want the words to unfold the story that is my life as it's happening or coming back to me through memory. Still, at times I hesitate to write down all of what comes to mind out of the anxiety of what that might actually reveal. It becomes a very personal experience for me that I have to be ready for. Essentially once I write, I'm no longer keeping it to myself. When I write I write to the reader directly, whoever that may be in that particular context. Whether it's to my future self through a private journal, or here on an online blog where I'm choosing to share it with anyone who wants to listen. Once the thoughts are out of the cage in my head, I am open and exposed. I am vulnerable.

Since all of this cancer stuff started again, there has yet to be a dull moment. Some sort of low and some sort of high, sometimes completely separate from each other and sometimes completely intertwined. A roller-coaster of a ride that I keep finding myself back on. I'm relieved however to have these selected moments of quiet where I can once again sit and be alone with my varied thoughts and stare into an open notebook. Many many times I restart my love affair with writing with all good intentions~ to share a personal experience. I start with an idea in mind, a particular way I want to approach each entry. I set up the scene and start skipping down the path...

"Your journey has molded you for your greater good, and it was exactly what it needed to be. Don't think that you've lost time. It took each and every situation you have encountered to bring you to the now. And now is right on time." -Asha Tyson

The last few weeks have been that up and down roller-coaster as I've mentioned. I was waiting all week to hear back from Gerson to know if I was accepted, and I woke up to their call. "Denied". What? Why? That damn tumor in the bile duct won't leave me alone. There is in fact a partial obstruction in the duct from that tumor, so they don't think it will do well with the coffee enemas.
*The coffee enema's job is to detoxify the liver. To do that the caffeine dilates the bile ducts to allow for opening/expansion so the bile flows more rapidly*.
If my bile duct is partially obstructed, they caution that the bile duct won't be able to open enough and the process can potentially harm the situation. Hence, denied.

Fuuuck! I wasn't prepared for Plan B yet. All my eggs..I mean veggies, were in that basket! Well, now what are the options? I remembered the information my new long distant friends and advisers Jamie out in Utah, and George out in Florida told me about their treatments. They were also doing Gerson but incorporating additional protocols offered to them along with The Gerson Treatment, both still down in Mexico. Through them, I connected with Dr. Patrick Vickers' clinic, 'Northern Baja Gerson Treatment Center' in Rosarito, Mexico and learned more about what they offer there. In addition to the full Gerson Treatment, I would receive a variety of complementary added protocols (that I'll go into more in details in a proceeding post(s)).

The additional protocol I was advised to jump on was Pnc27. I've linked a couple sites to it below, but from what I've gathered from both previously mentioned friends is that this is can essentially be a game changer for me. For anyone trying to kill cancer. These friends have been on it now for about six months and have been having wonderful results so far! It's yet another one of these non funded protocols that is not able to get recognition (yet) for its success apparently. From what I've been learning, it has one job and one job only, and that is to eradicate cancer cells directly without touching/harming anything else. It's a non-toxic natural protein peptide that kills cancer cells on contact. And once cancer cells are being attacked in the body, they need a way to get out of your system fast, as they of course are toxic. That's where the Gerson treatment works really well in conjunction, to eliminate the toxins and strengthen the immune system.

Of course there are concerns still with my bile duct issues, even with the work of the Pnc27, but the doctors at this particular clinic are willing to work slowly if need be to adjust to how my body may react to the treatments. In the end it's all theoretical and we would just have to see how it goes. There's hospitals near the clinic there in Mexico if intervention was needed. So there I was again struggling over what to do. How does one girl come to make so many hard decisions? I could be damned if I do, I could be damned if I don't. So what I needed to finally digest is that bottom line is that this is all theory. There's no guarantee with any treatment and how my body will react in the next few weeks no matter what treatment I'm on. However, the idea is to try something alternative right? Chemotherapy is not an option I'm willing to choose at this point, so what other choice do I have? The best choice is the choice that has made itself available to me, right now. I can only do what I can do, right now.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

“When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.” - Audre Lorde

These series of questions get asked of me all the time, "How did it happen...when did it start? How did you know you had it?" Followed by, "But you're so young. You don't even look sick…"

Total valid and legitimate questions and statements right? Well when you have had cancer, you learn to tell your story like as if it's a series of questions that you answer in sequence over and over again. I answered these questions so many times that it would just roll off my tongue like I was talking about the weather. Finely polished second nature. Not much thought to it, just so matter of factly like it was an extension of my name. Not until this last occurrence that I reflected on how I was telling that story, and how I wanted to tell that story from now on. I realize now how far I've come from where that naive girl first was, laying in the hospital coming out of anesthesia when she was told she had cancer for the first time. What I've learned so far is priceless, but it's still a major work in progress. A lot can happen in six little years. A lot more will continue to happen in these years to come. I won't claim to know all the answers, but I do hope that through acknowledgment first, and action second, I can learn to change what I can control, and only what I can control. Releasing control can be a whole chapter of it's own so we'll hold off on all that for now, first I want to open up my whole story in detail, dissect it a little further so maybe I'll be able to continue to discover what's really happening here.   

Bare with me as I tell my story for yet another time, but in a slightly different way as a more detailed introduction to how it all began and where I am today as I continue up this road

So it started in early 2008 soon before I turned 28, I was at a job I hated, transitioning a lot with school and career paths, family ties were a little rocky at that time, but other than that I couldn't complain (too much). I was in a good relationship and was hoping to make plans for a bright future. I had great friends, and I was going along as I knew it as normal. What normal was supposed to be for me exactly, I didn't know for sure and I struggled here and there with it as many do, but that's a whole other story that I won't bore you with here. I knew nothing about cancer other than it was something that seemed to affect other people, luckily not me.

I experienced the first (of many to come) intense attacks of abdominal pains that came on suddenly one night while enjoying a "night in" with my girlfriends. It was so intense it had me doubled over in cramping pain and making me sick to my stomach. It came and went throughout that night, and over the next couple months started a short cycle of a few months being in and out of the doctors office, over-looked and misdiagnosed. The pains would come and go as milder versions and were hard to pinpoint any culprit. Sometimes the pains would be so minute that I barely noticed, and sometimes they'd stay away for months on end.

I continued on with my life as the pains seemed to be essentially going away and I decided I was going to get healthier(at least to my perception at that point), lose excess weight, exercise regularly, and learn more about health in general. Nutrition was a work in progress however. I was learning to count calories, not nutritional content. Man, I ate a lot of processed foods in the name of "low-calorie, low fat, high fiber"! Anyways, I was happy and living life trying to accomplish those life goals of mine, and the pains weren't showing themselves anymore. Shortly after though, the pains were back, at random times, and they seemed to be getting worse. I wasn't functioning as well daily anymore. On a night that they pains were bearable enough my boyfriend at the time and I decided to bare the ultimate excruciating pain of going into the ER at Valley Med in hopes to just get some meds to feel better. Honestly I don’t know what’s worse, the pain I was in or the agony of having to sit in ER at Valley Med. What I hoped would be an in-and-out thing (essentially), ended up becoming a 14 day stay at the not-so happiest place on earth. After they realized that running some actual tests were in order, the doctors discovered that there was something really wrong. It was ordered that I have a colonoscopy right away, which ended up revealing that I had a tumor in my large intestine/colon. As I was waking up from the anesthesia, I laid there on the gurney just barely awake enough for the nurse/assistant/whoever she was, to seize the "perfect" opportunity to relay the bad news that I had cancer. In hindsight, quite brilliant actually, break the news whilst patient is still a little drugged up! However, news like that still made me upset of course, only it was more like coming down emotionally off of a bad trip. I eventually talked with a doctor and I was officially diagnosed with stage II colon cancer.

I immediately underwent the surgery, a right hemicolectomy, to have the tumor removed. They removed a 4 cm malignant mass in my ascending colon and 33 lymph nodes that proved to be negative. Up till that point, I had never been in the hospital for anything, never broken any bones, never had to be rushed to the emergency for anything. So if you can imagine, this was a little traumatic for me, but I recovered from the surgery with minor setbacks and finally returned home. At my first post-op appointment/scan one month later, they found a very small spot on my liver. It was recommended that I do chemotherapy right away and follow with surgery to remove it. Wait a minute, I just had a major surgery, and I couldn't imagine undergoing another one immediately. They wanted to treat this as if it was in fact a cancer metastasis/spreading even though there wasn't a chance for a biopsy yet because the spot was very small. I decided I wanted a second opinion so I was directed to UCSF by a friend of a mutual friend who had heard about my situation and wanted to help. She was an oncology nurse at UCSF for the best colon cancer oncologist in the country apparently. So just like that, I became a patient of the best colon cancer oncologist in the country, apparently. Through him, I was advised to not undergo chemotherapy right away, not to undergo surgery right away but instead wait and monitor this suspicious spot and first see if it was in fact cancerous. So that we did, for 2 1/2 years I scanned every two months, then every four months, then by September of 2010 we pushed out the scans to every six months because everything appeared to be clean. In the meantime however, I was still experiencing the abdominal pains now and again that I had experienced back when this first started and it raised a big concern to me. Although according to my doctors now at UCSF,  it didn't seem to be a big concern to them. They couldn't make a correlation between why I was having these pains and why they would come and go when my scans were showing no signs of infection or issues. So they simply ignored this issue. I tried to deal with it on my own again and do what I could to alleviate the episodes of pain that would come in these random waves. In between episodes, life carried on. I can't forget to mention that during all this, I was getting loving support from my family and network of friends at that time. I was given the opportunity to join in on a benefit party to raise money for medical costs, and I met my very first cancer angel, warrior sister, Sarah Pugh. She gave me more in such a short time than I could ever have thought to have gained from a person I didn't get the time to know well. You'll always to be in my heart Sarah <3.

Now there I was at the beginning of October of 2010, building on my life, starting a career in the fitness industry which had become a passion of mine, I just turned thirty, was starting a new relationship and was having a lot of fun in the process. Then it hit me again, out of the blue. I had another extreme pain-filled attack that sent me straight to the ER to really investigate this time. Someone there finally had the brilliant idea of giving me an ultrasound (DUH!). With that they finally found the culprit of all these painful attacks. They found a mess in my main bile duct. It was clogged and "slugged up" and stones were developing from the backup of bile, causing an obstruction, not allowing the bile to flow freely, and making me sick and in a lot of pain. They decided it was best to just remove my gallbladder, clean out my bile duct, and that would solve the problem. I was told, like many others, that removing your gallbladder is such a common procedure, that essentially you don't even really need your gallbladder, that you're fine without it. I clearly remember this being the first time I questioned the doctors recommendations. I had a really hard time buying that we were born with a specific organ in our bodies that we didn't "technically" need. So the only option here would be that we just get rid of it and I'd function normally? Really? Despite my intuition, I said goodbye to my little gallbladder hoping that I would be proven wrong. Well, time would tell that it wouldn't solve the problem but in its defense, it did help to stop the immediate pain, so I was relieved. I recovered from that and went on my way. Coincidentally, I had just taken my sixth month scan for the potential tumor we had been monitoring at the same time. This time the results came back different. This time it was back as an aggressive cancer that had spread to my liver with three tumors total on the left lobe. I was then re-diagnosed with "stage IV colon cancer with a metastasis to the liver". Brutal! Shit was about to get more real than it had been before. I was informed the only treatment plan was aggressive chemotherapy in hopes to shrink the tumors and proceed with surgery to remove them, and follow up with more chemo to do any cleanup work. So that's what I did. I did it all. Whatever they told me to do. I didn't know any other way, and it seemed like everything that I googled would say the same thing. There is a standard protocol when you have late stage colon cancer and this was it. At that time I didn't have the mental energy to really look any further for one either. Needless to say I went through with the standard treatment plan and essentially survived it. I became a candidate for a liver resection, so I did it and after a few setbacks I fully recovered from that too. At that point I could only bare four more rounds of chemo though so I threw in the towel and decided I was done! Eventually my proceeding scans showed "no evidence of disease" and so at that point I was required to just keep up with my regular scans, which appeared clean for another two years.

It wasn't until my recovery from all the chemo, surgery, post-surgery issues, and more chemo; that I really started learning some important stuff about nutrition and the human body. I started to learn about how amazing the human body actually is. It's a true machine with an enormous network of systems whose only job is to keep you alive. I began to self teach on how I could provide my body with a healthy internal terrain, one that wouldn't allow for disease to survive. I actually read those words in a book I was reading one day when I stopped and thought, wait a if I provided my body with what it needs to be a healthfully rich environment, then disease won't be able to live in me? The journey shall continue

So here I was, two years out of any medical issues, diving deeper into this anomaly we call nutrition, going along my way as usual. Rick and my relationship's as strong as ever, we recently moved in together into a home we absolutely love, I started working on my degree, we were making near future plans to start a family, when it reared it's ugly head yet again. In December of 2013, after once again hitting my sixth month routine of scans, the results came back with concerns of another recurrence on the liver. I did every test possible to rule out all other concerns; CT, PET, MRI, ultrasound, and biopsy to determine that the recurrence is now 3-4 tumors on my liver again and this time 1 in my main bile duct.

Shit. Shit, shit, shit. Ok don't panic Giselle, you've been through this already twice before, you're better prepared this time. The numbness shielded me like armor for the next few weeks. After consulting with both of my conventional medical teams, they informed me that the reality of this is that my life is going to be cut short no matter what. That this is something that I will unfortunately have to deal with for the rest of my life. That the only option is chemotherapy which at this point is really only to try and keep the tumor (in the bile duct mainly) from growing and creating more problems. That most likely, I will have to be on chemo for the rest of my life and that it's a non-surgical situation and of course non-curable.

I'm thinking and feeling a million things at this point. "What the fuck!" is definitely one of them. I'm thinking that this can't be happening. That I have plans for a long life that isn't supposed to be surrounded by this anymore. I may have even started to imagine that I wouldn't have to worry about this anymore. Although, yea right when you've had cancer before it's always something you worry about. All I know is that I can't become a slave to pharmaceuticals in hopes that it keeps me alive a little longer. I have to question what kind of life will that really be? Honestly, that sounds like death to me.There has to be a better way. Something has to give here. Something has to change here. I'm so tired of this. I have to figure this out once and for all.

So now everything else in my daily life essentially stops again and this project becomes my reality, again. 'Project Save My Ass, the sequel' is back up and running.These last couple of months I have been hitting both the live and virtual pavements, while at the same time hitting some walls along the way too, trying to dig through and research alternative treatment options. To say there's so much out there is a huge understatement and despite the many success stories that ones have had with going an alternative treatment route, it remains somewhat of a mystery. Mainly because it's not mainstream or as widely accepted or perceived as normal like conventional medicine always has been. For most of us conventional medicine is all we know to be right. It’s all we're told from our doctors. But in actuality it's all a mystery until something works. At this point what I'm realizing is that if you want to survive any of this, you have to look a little deeper inside yourself and believe in what you are about to do. My beliefs keep bringing me back to wanting to respect my body's ability to be it's own healing tool by giving it the things it needs to thrive as it's meant to do. It just makes sense to me. So this is where I sit with all of this. And the next few steps will be based on faith.

The Gerson Therapy is something that I have been studying throughout this process and it seems to have great validity in it's results and a way of looking at the body as a whole in order to treat disease through nutritional therapies. With the help of my amazing network of family and friends, that hope of being able to raise enough money to actually pursue this is coming to fruition. I plan to go down to the Gerson Clinic in Mexico and take full advantage of their help IF I'm approved by their doctors. While I'm there I will be monitored by medical doctors trained in the Gerson Therapy and given their full nutritional therapies and learn how to continue treatment here at home once I'm back. I think one of the biggest challenges will show itself once I'm home doing this myself. I get overwhelmed by what I already do for my diet on a day to day basis now,but this treatment will require a huge production with strict guidelines to follow that will require outside help. This is going to be a big responsibility and a whole lot of work to continue and maintain in life as part of a new normal, but Rick and I are up for the challenge. We want a healthy happy forever life together. One that allows us to have the beautiful life we envision that also consists of a family of our own. At the end of the day, this alone makes the challenge worth it! At least that's what I keep trying to remind myself.

Now, if you've just read through this entire post, your a saint! Thanks for staying with me, I know that was the looong version of my story, but these days I'm finding it necessary to relive the details surrounding all these occurrences. The notion of mind/body connection to our internal and external worlds may play larger roles in our lives then most of us can really fathom. It's an interesting concept and maybe through some shedding of light on all aspects of what's happening in our day to day lives one day we'll find clarity to all of this. Let's hope.

Healing the Gerson Way: Healing Cancer and Other Chronic Diseases, Charlotte Gerson

Saturday, March 1, 2014


To my fellow ass-kickers, this is for you.

I've decided to approach this chapter in my life with the intention to first and foremost bring more awareness to a reality that many of us fear, yet have to face everyday. My intention here is to tap into all the possible benefits that health; through nutrition, movement of body, connection of soul, and many others we'll discover, can provide us with vitality within our lives. This is not a new concept by any means but I think it's only when you step back from the norm, and open your eyes, mind, and spirit, it's possible to discover some important information and lessons that may have been in front of you the whole time. That's what I'm hoping to learn through my constant battle with cancer. Loosing a fight to cancer isn't my destiny, so I want to dig deeper to discover what is. And why it is. There are many facets to this exploration and I hope to learn some pretty awesome stuff from those that have come before me. In return I hope that my experience can give you something that may serve you in your life. I've always known there to be healing in sharing, so if your reading this I thank you for helping me through that process.

Immense gratitude~
Me :)