Cancer Free, Baby!
(Sharee’s blog posts from February 20, 2004 to April 16, 2004)
February 20, 2004
I went to a new Endocrinologist on Friday (2/20/04) and met with a new Oncologist at the U.C. Davis Medical Center. They were both great and extremely positive. I am having another ultrasound performed on Monday since it has been 10 weeks since my last ultrasound. Based on my first ultrasound they believe we caught this at an extremely early stage.
I am extremely hopeful and actually excited to be around such brilliant people learning how to treat me. Once we get the results of the ultrasound we will determine a path of therapy.
There are several options besides operating, which all of my doctors are willing to try first. Dr. said that she will consider operating as an option later, but for now we are going to try other possibilities. One of which is Poly-MVA, which you can read all about here on the website.
February 22, 2004
Zubair found a new doctor (off of the American Thyroid Association website) at the University of Stanford Medical Center. As many of you might know I had my open heart surgery at this University and may be able to meet with Dr. Ross McDougall if I can find the right strings to pull. I will be following up with this new lead this week.
February 25, 2004
No new news yet. Horrible storm in Sacramento prevented one of the doctors from getting to town. Hopefully will meet with them tomorrow (Thursday). I will keep you all posted and thanks for visiting.
February 26, 2004
I had an ultrasound on Monday. Today I visited my doctors and they discussed the ultrasound results with me. I will be updating you in more detail tomorrow but just wanted to let you know that the results are very encouraging. Keep those prayers coming. Thanks.
February 27, 2004
Evidently the doctors have not had a diagnosis of ATC at any stage below stage IV (there are a total of five stages of cancer). Dr. said that usually patients aren’t diagnosed until symptoms occur (i.e. lump in neck or throat or difficulty breathing). In my case she said I am at a stage II – which is awesome and gives us a little more time.
In addition the ultrasound showed no growth in the cancer cells since December! This is also extremely unusual as this is a VERY fast growing cancer. We believe it is because I have such a great support system of family and friends and they have been keeping me laughing hysterically for the past two months. (You know who you are, so thank you and keep up the good work).
Dr. also recommended emailing jokes of any and all kinds (of course, only the funny ones). So please, if a good joke comes your way – forward to me. Humor is an amazing healing mechanism.
Current Diagnosis: Stage II
- Start on Poly-MVA therapy ASAP
- Determine whether to do Radiation Therapy
- Meet with Nutritionist weekly (start vegetarian diet for at least 6 weeks)
- Get Massage (as you probably guessed, I’m really fighting this one J)
- Get Acupuncture
- Do Yoga
- Work out with a personal trainer
I will have a regimented schedule with a variety of professionals. The Cancer Center at UC Davis is very well equipped and the people have been nothing but kind and warm. I have already met with my Nutritionist and am excited about learning how to cook vegetarian meals. I never knew tofu could taste like chicken. J
Thanks to everyone for the support and please keep the prayers coming. We’re not out of the woods yet, but I believe we are well on our way.
March 1, 2004
Met with Dr. regarding treatment options. We agreed on a combination of therapies including radiation therapy and Poly-MVA. I will be starting on radiation this Thursday and going 3 times per week for a total of six weeks. We will be doing blood tests every week to make sure all my levels are stable. At the end of the six week period we will perform another ultrasound and see where we are.
In addition, I will be getting massages (bummer J) as well as acupuncture. I am working out every day and will be doing Yoga a few times a week. By the time I kick this I will be in the best shape of my life! Can’t wait!
Got a few email jokes today, thanks. I am very much enjoying being in touch with all of you and having you help me through my recovery. You are an amazing support system and I am very grateful to have you all in my life. Keep praying.
March 4, 2004
Today was my first appointment for radiation therapy. I think I was more nervous than anything, but the actual procedure was very fast and completely painless. Much to my surprise I think the next six weeks will zip right by and we will have great news in the end. I felt a little sick afterwards, but I still think it was just nerves. My treatments are currently scheduled for Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
I think one of the harder parts of this whole thing is going to the Cancer Center and being around all the patients with cancer who may not be cured. It is very difficult to see so many sick people and feel so helpless. The people who work at the Cancer Center are amazing, upbeat and very encouraging. I am grateful for their positive energy and believe they play a big part in helping people through this very difficult time.
I have received many emails, cards and even gifts and I want to say thank you to everyone who is reminding me what to fight for. You are all so special to me and I appreciate you being here for me.
March 5, 2004
Okay, so radiation therapy isn’t as much fun as it seemed on day 1. Day 2, ugh! The effects of the radiation are making me sick at my stomach. Luckily it only last for about three excruciating hours. You know that feeling when your throat gets tight, and you feel like you’re going to be sick – but you never really get sick. You just lay there and wish you would get sick so you could get it over with – but to no avail. So, now I have to approach this thing with a whole new attitude, although I haven’t figured out what that is going to be yet. Two sessions down and sixteen to go. Woohoo!
March 7, 2004
Not a major news day today, just kickin’ it at home and enjoying the beginning of my vacation. I spent the last few days thinking about the radiation therapy and trying to talk myself out of continuing, but I came up with a new plan (thanks to some friends). I am going to continue radiation and look for some homeopathic remedies to help me feel better during the next few weeks. Received my Poly-MVA and will be starting on that this week. It is also supposed to help me feel better. I read the brochure and it really looks amazing. I am very hopeful it will take away my nausea. My next session is tomorrow so wish me luck. J
March 8, 2004
Okay guys, this is awful! This whole radiation thing just stinks! Now that that’s off my chest did I mention how horrible the Poly-MVA tastes! It tastes like mud, only it’s not thick (thank goodness). I hear it is amazing and I am hoping for amazing, but does it really have to taste so bad? Can you tell I had a rough day? Rough I tell you. So rough. J Three sessions down, fifteen to go.
Enough whining. It actually feels like spring outside and I have to say I am enjoying the 70+ degree weather. What a perfect time to be hanging out and relaxing. Thanks for the jokes everyone, I have been in hysterics for days (and believe me, with every treatment these jokes need to get better). I look forward to checking my email every day so please …. EMAIL ME.
March 10, 2004
Yeah another radiation session down. Four down and fourteen to go. I have to say that it was the best session so far. I had periods of nausea all evening, however, I also had periods where I felt totally fine. I played games with my friends and had great conversation and would have to stop and take slow long breaths, but it wasn’t so bad. I’m hoping it’s because I’m taking the Poly-MVA now and it is mellowing out the negative effects. Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers. You guys are awesome!
March 12, 2004
Session five seemed easier. It seems as though I am getting car sick driving home from treatments. So, on Friday I stopped at a restaurant and had a cup of tea. After about an hour I got in the car and although I had waves of nausea it was so much better than earlier in the week. I’ve also been on my Poly-MVA for 5 days so maybe that’s helping as well. Only thirteen sessions to go. J
March 15, 2004
One third of my sessions are behind me. Today wasn’t too bad. I think now I know what to expect afterwards so I am more prepared. It is easier knowing that I am going to feel sick for a few hours but then it will go away and I feel totally normal. I haven’t had much of an appetite after treatments. I think the Poly-MVA is giving me more of an appetite which is good because I’ve already lost about 35 lbs. I am meeting with my Nutritionist this week to go over my eating plan and discuss possibly putting meat back into my diet (although I had a great Canadian Bacon and Pineapple pizza last week – sshhhhh). I will let you know what we decide. Woohoo! Only 12 sessions left.
March 17, 2004
Over 1/3 of the way done. Another session, pretty much the same. It’s funny being off of work I seem to have no free time. Met with my nutritionist who STRONGLY suggested I continue my eating plan we originally set out. She reminded me that it’s really only for a few weeks that I need to be strict about it, but that it will make it easier for my body if I eat only fruits and veggies. I must admit I have been enjoying trying out new recipes. My next radiation session is not scheduled until Saturday because I will be out of town for a few days for a little R&R. I will not be answering email until Saturday as well. Thanks and have a great weekend.
My project for this week: Organize my kitchen (wasn’t pre-planned, but was definitely accomplished)
March 22, 2004
Hey everyone, well my mini vacation was awesome. It was exactly what I needed which was a few days with no TV, no distractions, no hustle and bustle, just relaxation. I started reading a book that has already had a huge impact on my life. It is called “The Journey” by Brandon Bays. She is a cancer survivor who healed herself with homeopathic alternatives. The first part of the book just describes the precursor to finding the cancer and the few weeks subsequent. The way she describes her experience I swear it could be me. It is amazing!
I have my treatment today at 4:30 and then I will be HALF WAY DONE! Can you believe it? So for those of you who are jealous of all this time off I have, I thought I would give you a little glimpse of my schedule for a typical week.
|8-8:30 Gym workout
10-10:30 Dr. visit
3-4 Phys. Therapy
|10-10:30 Dr. visit
|8-8:30 Gym workout
3-4 Phys. Therapy
|9-10 Personal Trainer
|8-8:30 Gym workout
10-10:30 Blood Work
3-4 Phys. Therapy
I am feeling a little less tired these days. I think the Poly-MVA is finally starting to work. Maybe within the next week or so I will actually feel energetic (what can I say, I’m an optimist).
My project for this week: Organize my recipe collection.
March 23, 2004
Awesome day! I had a visit with my doctor and it was awesome! She said that ALL my levels are right on the mark and that even my thyroid hormone is in the normal range (and I’ve been off the thyroid hormone since I started radiation). My blood pressure and cholesterol all look great! She said I was in perfect health (well, aside from having ATC). And my pH level is ranging between 7.1 and 7.2 all week (which is also awesome). This was such a great day!
March 26, 2004
Sorry for the delay in updating the site. Bad couple of days. Stayed in bed all day today. Just got back from radiation – but so far no nausea. I will update in more detail when I feel better. Thanks everyone for your thoughts.
March 27, 2004
Well, I’ve decided to take the weekend off. Since I’m not working you’re probably thinking off of what? Well, just off. No phone calls, no gym, no radiation, no swimming, no blood work, no Dr. visits, no emails, no visitors. You get the idea. I am truly exhausted and after sleeping for 14 hours Friday night I am finally starting to feel somewhat normal. I think that being off for a few days is exactly what I need.
I didn’t even get to start working on my recipe collection, but I suppose that is what I will be doing during the weekend. If you have any recipes you think I MUST have PLEASE DO SEND THEM. I would love to try out new things, just no Lamb or Pork (not on the eating plan ya know).
One thing I do want to mention is that I have been taking my new anti-nausea medication for three days now and I haven’t had any nausea after treatments. That in itself is awesome, because the nausea was wearing me out. Thanks for finding that for me Zubair. It seems to be working and I am very grateful for that. Talk to you all soon.
March 30, 2004
Well, the weekend proved to be a much needed resting period. I spent almost all of it sleeping or watching movies. It was exactly what I needed. I am still tired, but radiation went fine. No nausea or anything. I think the fatigue is just normal after weeks of treatment, but I think the Poly-MVA is keeping me going better than most. Great news, my pH level has been increasing, originally starting around 6.8 now reaching 7.7. Getting the pH above 8.5 basically gives those cancer cells no chance for survival. If you haven’t read the article on Cancer and pH, I highly recommend it! I did complete my recipe book this weekend as well. It was an all day project (off and on) and I am very pleased with my new cookbook.
Project for this week: Catch up on office filing (don’t you just hate that). 🙂 I figure once I tackle that I can do things I really enjoy – like scrapbooking.
April 1, 2004
Treatment went well yesterday. Now that I am not having nausea it just seems like no big deal. The fatigue isn’t overwhelming, I just have to really listen to my body – and OBEY. That’s the hard part. You know when your mind has a million things it wants you to be doing and your body is like “I don’t think so”. It is very different to just sit back and relax and sleep and NOT work. Maybe there is a greater lesson in this whole thing (ya think?).
It doesn’t look like I will be finishing my project for this week, considering it’s Thursday and I haven’t even started. I will be going out of town on Saturday until Wednesday and I will not be updating the site while I am gone. Just know I will be relaxing and hanging out with people I love and who support me completely. I am very much looking forward to a little getaway.
So, April 1. I can’t think of any good April fools jokes at the moment, but don’t you worry ….. I have a whole day still. J
April 7, 2004
Back from my trip, a bit tired from all the travel. I have my last three treatments this week (Thursday, Friday and Saturday). I had a great time in Mexico. The resort was amazing and the people were truly so nice. It was a terrific little getaway. If only getting there and getting home could have been as trouble free. I have to admit the travel portion of my trip was not as easy as I had hoped, but I’m home now and I will be spending the next few days just resting. I’ve lost another 5 pounds and my pH has gone down a few points. I don’t think Mexico is a good place to have cancer. There just isn’t as many options for food.
I have decided to ditch my project from last week (for now anyway) and just start scrapbooking. I need a little R&R and what better way then to remember all the great places you’ve been and the people you’ve been with. I am looking forward to treatments being over and getting the test results back. I have to admit, I am ready to get this over with. Then again, who wouldn’t be? I hope you are all doing well. Thank you for all your cards, letters and emails. You have no idea how much it means to me and how sometimes it’s just the thing I need to keep going and stay positive. You are all so great.
April 8, 2004
Only TWO MORE SESSIONS TO GO!!!! Well, treatment was uneventful today. I almost feel like you guys are getting ripped off because there’s not much to tell about this silly little cancer anymore. I almost feel like I am just keeping a journal (for 100 people to read). I do indeed value all of your support and constant thoughts and prayers.
My vacation was so incredible I just spent the whole day (recuperating) and thinking about the last 6 days. The weather was perfect, the atmosphere was tranquil, our resort was truly extraordinary (although the food needs a little improvement). It was exactly what the doctor ordered. Now that I’m back she’s ordered bed rest. Far be it from me to disobey the doctors orders.
I feel like I have a million things to do and not enough time or energy to get them all done. That’s really the most stress going on in my life at the moment. So if any of you have some free time and can contribute by running errands (groceries, bank, etc) I will not turn you down. As much as I am fiercely independent at times, I am learning a lesson in this whole thing. Okay, maybe several lessons. But one big lesson is that people are there for me when I need them …. all I have to do is ask.
Thank you all so much.
April 12, 2004
Can you say “All done baby”? Well, I sure can. Whew! I can’t tell you how awesome it feels to have gone through these past few months and to know it is all behind me now. It is truly awesome!
That being said, the last few days were a bit rough. I was totally exhausted in addition to sick most of the weekend. But today is a new day and I am feeling much better. I have my ultrasound appointment on Thursday and then I will get my test results back next week. I’m not sure what my schedule is for this week yet as I have not talked to my Dr. since I returned from Mexico. I will be talking with her today and figure out what I’m supposed to be doing.
You may be happy to know that I ditched my filing project from last week and just started scrap booking. Between my sessions and being sick all I’ve been doing is scrap booking. It seems to be taking my mind off of things. I have scrapped New Years, my ski trip to Tahoe, my trip to Mendocino, buying my new bike and my week of organization craziness. Not bad for a few days. What I have discovered though is that I don’t have nearly enough supplies. It is a total bummer when you are right in the middle of creative genius (okay I’m stretching a bit here) and you realize you are missing the perfect embellishment. And on Easter Sunday. Ugh! There should be a scrapbook store that is open 24-7. Hmmm, maybe a business idea?
As you can see I have scrap booking on the brain at the moment. So, I think the thing to do is maybe go to the gym or meet some friends for lunch. I have been cooped up in the house for about five days and I’m going a little crazy.
Thanks for all your cards and phone calls. I have to say I have the most amazing support system ever. They say that your mind has amazing control over your body (which I totally believe), but I don’t think my mind could have stayed so strong without the support of my friends and family. Thank you all so much. And PLEASE sign up for the race. I have put a team together so if you want to join my team I will give you all the info. Otherwise just get online and sign up.
April 15, 2004
Testing day. I have my appointment today at 10:00. I have been very anxious all week, even though I probably won’t have any information for days. This is a big day anyway and I am looking forward to getting there and getting the tests over with. I have been resting all week, and trying like a mad woman to get my pH above 8.6. You’ll be happy to know as of this morning that my pH is at a steady 8.7. Sorry little cancer cells, party’s over.
I will let you know how the tests go. They are completely painless (well as long as the nurse with the needle isn’t right out of medical school). The blood work results I may get back as early as tomorrow. The ultrasound results I probably won’t get back until next week. I have an appointment with my doctor next Thursday as well.
So until then, be sure to fill out your race forms. Our team name is “The Sharbairs and friends.” If you are unable to come to the race and you would like to give a donation to our team you can do that right on the website as well. Thanks for all the support and I will be sure to update the site as soon as I have new information. So stay tuned.
April 16, 2004
WooHoo!!! What a great experience to be lying on a table with an ultrasound wand moving gooey gel all over my neck and having the doctor say “I can’t find any cancer.” In case you haven’t guessed, my appointment yesterday turned out to be the best news of my life. I know for many of you, you have been in this battle with me for the past few months. But there are a few who have been in this battle with me for the past few years and I can’t tell you how important it has been to have the support of all of you.
I AM CANCER FREE. Okay, well technically speaking I think you have to be free of cancer for something like 5 years until it is official – but who cares about technicalities. All my doctors have been amazed during this whole process. I don’t believe many people understand that you have tremendous power over your body. Your mind is the most powerful muscle you possess – and yet we fill it with self doubt and negativity. As a NOW cancer survivor please take it from me – ANYTHING you put your mind to you can accomplish. I don’t mean you can accomplish alone and there is a big difference. Now for all the thanks.
My first thanks is to EVERYONE for being strong for me during this process. I truly mean it. I know there are some of you who had to put your own fears and worries aside so that I would only see your strength. The strength I had through this process came from each and every one of you. I know it must not have been easy at times, but the end result was worth every agony we experienced.
Thanks to Zubair for his tremendous and persistent research. Without his help I believe this process would have taken years and would have been much more difficult to live with on a daily basis. The pH information and the Poly-MVA are two things that helped save my life. You’re awesome! Thanks to all my friends in Seattle for the constant calls, emails, and jokes (Lori) and for reminding me how great life really is. Thanks to my Mom and Dad for doing exactly what I needed them to do, being there for me even when I was a total pain and for showing me what parenting is all about. Thanks to my new friends in Sacramento, who on a daily basis helped me exercise, eat right and laugh my butt off (Dan, Lisa and Ken). Thanks to my lifelong friends who have rekindled friendships that I have dearly missed. Thanks to Madelene for being my surrogate mom in Sacramento and for all the cards and phone calls. Thanks to the Sullivans for the ability to call at a moment’s notice and always get assistance when I needed it.
Thanks to Todd for the unconditional support even during the times of unbelievable frustration. Thanks to all of Todd’s friends who really rallied around me during this time of need. They say you can tell a lot about a person by the friends he keeps. I would say – definite quality here. Thanks to Anne for giving me a stiff kick in the butt and making me go to radiation. Most people don’t know that I was adamant about not going to radiation – even though every person in my life said it’s what I should do (I’m a very stubborn woman) – but Anne was the one person who said it wasn’t a choice AT ALL. It’s great having a big sis. Thanks to Anne, John, Stella, Cindy, Marie, Chelsea, Megan, and Rochelle for sharing an awesome vacation with me in Cabo at a time when I really needed to connect with my family. Thanks to everyone who sent me jokes on a regular basis and kept me laughing in hysterics for the past few months (it doesn’t have to stop now though).
For those of you I haven’t mentioned, I love you all so much and I appreciate every email, phone call, PRAYER and positive thought you sent my way. Without you all I could NEVER have done this.
I know we are all amazed, and I am still having a surreal experience. But in the next few days it will sink in and we will realize that the battle is really over. I am so excited about the race on May 8 and I now get to run as a “Cancer Survivor.” WooHoo!
So, what have I learned in this whole thing? Way too much to put on a single Web page. I have learned who my true friends are and that living a life of honesty and respect provides a tremendous amount of freedom (not to mention it keeps you much healthier). I have to say I have never been happier! Thank you all so much!
Today is the best day of my life!