I have lost track of what round of chemo this is!

And not because of chemo-brain…just because there have been so many of them.

Which is a good thing–the chemo (2 weeks on, 1 week off, since January) has been keeping the cancer from growing.  I get scanned on the 19th to find out (on the 21st) if it continues to work.  A good result on scans (body CT and brain MRI) = 3 more months of the very doable status quo.

Meanwhile I’m continuing to try to adjust my internal “terrain” to be less cancer-friendly.  This means all that daily exercise, veggies & “turbo greens” powder in hold-the-nose-and-drink form, various supplements to hold neuropathy in check, minimizing dairy and meat, plus taking zinc, B vitamins, vitamin D, fish oil, calcium, mushroom extract, green tea extract, etc. every time I turn around.  I even gave in and got one of those PILL ORGANIZERS!  I’m still trying to walk the line between what the Block Center recommends (major antioxidants) and what my oncologist will have a complete fit about (major antioxidants).

There is no evidence that antioxidants like the ones I want to take are harmful while taking chemo (radiation is different though).  There is a bunch of aggregated evidence that some antioxidants can be used with some chemo regimens, and either don’t interfere or actually potentiate the chemo.  There is also some decent evidence that those antioxidants help with side effects of chemo. However, there is no solid evidence that the exact antioxidants I want to take are helpful while taking my exact chemo drug.  So it’s all a bit of a crapshoot.  I understand why mainstream oncologists don’t feel they can recommend things to patients without gold-standard, applicable evidence, but what I’ve come to see is that doesn’t mean I can’t choose to try things in my own body after becoming reasonably informed.  Especially if experts DO recommend them and have good reasoning behind the recommendations–just not all experts.  I have a team of somewhat competing experts.

Since my last update I attended the Midwives Alliance of North America’s annual conference and had a really good time.  It was in St. Louis and our hotel was right by the Arch–I could see a lot of it from my room.  I gave my 90-minute presentation on length-of-pregnancy research and methods of setting due dates, which was a total blast.  About 40 people attended and were interested for the entire 90 minutes.  I also helped do the annual update on the MANA Division of Research, and I got an award from MANA for my various contributions (to the MANA Stats project) over the last 11 years.  Oh, and MANA’s new poster-presentation prize is apparently named after me, but the conference really doesn’t get enough poster submissions yet.  So if anyone has ideas for how to get more poster presentations at a conference, let me know!  ‘Cause now I feel a bit responsible. 🙂

Fall is coming to a close here in Columbia County and we’re moving into sometimes-dreary early winter.  I enjoyed the long leaf season, though.  Will is enjoying Buxton School (his Williamstown, MA progressive, small boarding high school) and Jesse is struggling somewhat with homeschooling.  We’re looking forward to Thanksgiving in (warm? sunny?) Houston with my mom’s side of the family plus fun friends.  But before that, one more week of chemo/IV vitamin C, and then those scans.

2 thoughts on “I have lost track of what round of chemo this is!

  1. Gina Qualliotine

    That’s lovely that you were recognized at the MANA conference. It was so great to have been able to hear the talk in the comfort of the farmhouse : ) Shivani and I are both ceaselessly impressed with you we have conferred and concur : )

    You are so careful and intelligent in assessing possible treatments, I say, go with your gut and your considerable smarts in guiding you forward with the antioxidant idea. I guess these are big doses?

    I’m so glad you are taking such good care of yourself. It’s great to know you are in such good hands, your own! with help of course.

  2. bob elmendorf

    i can go with your entire antioxidant regimen with the exclusion of the mushroom extract. I never liked them extracted or not.

    i always enjoy reading your blog for its combination of unstated pluck, intelligent well written prose, careful analysis of competing arguments, and your wry, ironic, totally unique take on things.

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