Leukemia, Crohn's and Alternatives. The journey started at age two with Ulcerative Colitis and since, many major surgeries and the removal of my colon, spleen and gall bladder. I've had a J-pouch and now a permanent ileostomy, a Crohn's diagnosis followed by Acute Myeloid Leukemia. I've seen and experienced the traditional, the holistic and the far out. I am using this blog as a forum to inform, educate, entertain and as a personal healing tool. I hope my journey offers you something worthwhile.
The support and fundraising that has happened on my behalf has touched my heart and has made alternative cancer treatment a possibility for me. Donations continue to be my primary funding for healthy food, supplements, living expenses and medical bills. If you feel moved to give to my Health and Wellness Fund, please follow the Paypal "Donate" button below. To avoid Paypal's 3% fee, checks or cash can be sent to Zachariah Walker, 1003 Chipeta Ave, Grand Junction, CO 81501. Blessings!
*CRITICAL ANGELES HOSPITAL VISIT: CURRENT ESTIMATED COST = $25,000. AHHH! PLUS UNEXPECTED CRISIS CONTROL AND 4 DAYS IN ICU*
For weeks now I have been intending to write a blog entry,
but I guess I’ve just been too busy living life. Feeling good has prompted me to catch up with need to-dos
and venture off on some want to-dos.
I left Mexico almost six weeks ago, I keep track by the number of CBCs
I’ve had since. These blood draws
break down what’s happening in my blood, white cells, red cells, platelets,
H&H, and so forth. At center
stage is my overall white blood cell count. I wait in anticipation for the weekly results as it is the
biggest immune system indicator.
Upon leaving Tijuana after the Bio-immune cell therapy it was at a 2.8,
the highest it’s been since this whole ordeal started. A week later it had dropped to 2.4 then
2.1. I waited out my concern to
see the next few weeks level things out, another 2.1 then a 2.2. Meanwhile, all of my other numbers
remained steady, near or within “normal” parameters. Last Friday’s WBC had climbed to 2.4. Optimism! My day of celebration will be when my WBC hits 4.0. Neutropenic no more!
Raw Veggie Juice!
My at home treatment following the trip to Angeles Hospital
has become somewhat of a normal day-to-day activity. Getting on board with the supplement regime took hours of
online shopping and upon arrival, hours of organizing, almost to the extent of
an Excel spreadsheet. As with most
things though, I’m going off my rough draft and memory. Once, twice, or three times a day? With food? On an empty stomach?
Alpha-Lipoic, Nutri-A, D3 drops, Mega GLA, Resvertrol, Shark oil,
Complete B, DHEA, Ginseng, VSL-3, high-dose Melatonin… It’s a full time job. Adjusting the diet was another
challenge. I’ve spent a lifetime
improving my diet and making modifications. What at one time seemed impossible happens naturally when
you know it’s time. In this case
the shift was with dairy and sugar.
The two weeks at Angeles broke my cravings. After meals I’d pace to the tune of my sweet tooth, arghhhh,
a piece of ginger had to suffice.
Now, at home, the freezer is sans ice cream and label reading at the
grocery has gone to a ridiculous new level. There is sugar in everything! The rice milk I made a healthy switch to years ago has now
been dropped because of its sugar content. I’ve found that a blend of unsweetened almond and coconut
milk are way better anyway. The
veggie consumption has increased so much I’ve already broke one juicer. Luckily, Craigslist procured a second
for a low low price. My last batch
of carrot, celery, ginger, lime and apple I have to say was quite
delightful. I’ve also given up on
red meat and pork, sigh, that means bacon, or as we fondly refer to it,
Manfruit. That means more fish! The kind that’s not farm-raised with
color added to make it look real.
And, as I found out, you even have to be careful with wild caught. That, like so many other things, comes
Thanks for the visit!
In the midst of all dietary planning and implementation I’ve
been psyched to take advantage of improved energy. Larkin and I joined our local tribe to celebrate the
solstice at iLumifest. I even
taught a yoga workshop! I was
thrilled with a visit from my Missoula boyz that same weekend. John, Shawn and Kris ventured down for
a whirlwind visit that included grilling, a festival appearance, and following
tradition, a game of Texas Hold ‘em.
The mounting tasks of bills, paperwork and organizing held my attention
for the entirety of the next week.
Nearly 100 envelopes requesting my funds were sorted and mostly
recycled. I also managed to fill
out an application for CICP and a follow up with Social Security. I was officially accepted by the state
as an indigent and am awaiting the word on supplemental security income. Since I am learning to deal with
putting my pride aside, I’ll apply for food stamps next. I have for years been plotting an early
retirement, I guess you never know how things will manifest. That aside, the past weeks have also
been filled with a mildly complex vehicle rearrangement. Larkin had been shopping for a 4Runner
after deciding to part with her maintenance-ridden Audi. I opted in by contributing the sale of
my Ford Ranger, which never really fit me anyway. After a month of shopping and a trip to Salt Lake City,
Larkin now owns a beautiful black 2000 4Runner that she lets me drive when I’m
extra nice. We christened it with
a voyage over the Rockies. A stop
in Vail to visit Beth (post hip surgery) and her folks, a reunion with my Youth
Rally family in Boulder, and a visit with family from my mom’s side in
Longmont. It was a great trip that
felt very reuniting for me in many ways.
It also provided Larkin a big glimpse into my world that I believe
brought us closer. She’s hooked on
camp anyway. Perhaps we’ll tag
team Youth Rally 2013 in Seattle!
Crazy Camp Counselors!
I have been psyched to have the energy and enthusiasm to be
as active as I have. There is
certainly an elevated level of planning and patience to merge the dietary needs
with getting out. I’ve also been
working through troubling joint and tendon pain. The overall consensus from docs and Queen Google are that it
is a chemo side effect. I’ve also
wondered if it’s related to one of the pharmaceuticals I’m taking due to my
neutropenia. The page long
dictation of potential side effects includes tendon pain and possibility of
rupture, no bueno! There is also
concern of arthritis, which can be associated with auto-immune diseases such as
Chron’s and Colitis. I continue to
assume that it is not cancer related as it feels different than bone pain and
I’m not experiencing fatigue or dizziness. All of this said, I am truly feeling optimistic about my
last treatment and am fully on board with what I have been asked to do
dietarily. I am also doing my best
to access deeper aspects of healing.
The biggest part of that, I believe, is simply being present and
positive. But just “being” is such
a challenge. That’s why gurus and
sages for centuries have had no shortage of work. For me, it’s living life with a heightened awareness of the
precarious balance required to be healthy. It’s being engaged and actively participating with “reality”
while making the time to truly practice self-care. It is a practice of falling off and getting back on. What lies ahead will be determined as
it unfolds. I have put off a bone
marrow biopsy until Larkin and I return from a trip to Montana. For now, it is vacation time! And, taking a break from it all, I’ve
decided, is the best medicine.