Devon’s Feather

March 31, 2012 by Jen

Little Devon was a brilliant, beautiful & brave little angel on earth whose memory sparks glory inside all of our hearts who knew her.  Her mom Angela and I were both pregnant together & have been friends for twenty years.  Life was sheer perfection when the babies came.  Lexi, my daughter arrived in Late November, while Devon made her debut in late January.  I was diagnosed with cancer when my Lexi was 2 weeks old.  Baby Devon, diagnosed at age 2.   Never in our wildest imaginations did Angela & I ever conceive that we would walk a horrific path of cancer together.  Devon & I shared a very similar type of brain cancer.  We also shared the same integrative doctor & nutritionist.  Throughout the years our lives were closely intertwined as we become sick together, endured our treatments together simultaneously and conquered various hurdles.  Our families became each others support system & our bond was very strong. When our eyes met, we shared silent experiences & an unspoken understanding that we really truly understood.  She was mature and ahead of her years.  Often times her soft eyes told a story without her mouth ever uttering a word.  Her unspoken silence was magnetic and to this day I felt I was very connected to her.  We walked the path of survivorship together.  Unfortunately, our paths diverted & she left all us all much too soon.  When a child leaves this world, we cannot possibly make sense or find meaning as to why the tragedy occurred.  I can say through personal observations & experiences with Devon that she persevered bravely through all of her treatments & rarely complained.  Throughout all of her surgeries, relapses and treatments, Devon always managed to light up a room with her mild mannered temperament & her grace that melted any heart she came in contact with.  No matter what, Devon always managed to bring joy to everybody around her.  Devon was my little partner, my friend, my personal hero and walked here on earth until the tender age of 5.  She touched the lives of all that met her and even inspired those that heard of her struggle.  She taught all of us so much & her sweet memories fill our hearts with love & bittersweet emotions. Today, people are still touched by little miss Devon Lam.   I certainly am reminded of her bravery & courage everyday when I continue my fight to stay well.

Psalm 91 was one of Devon’s favorite reads.  Many who love Devon receive the gift of a feather.  We understand there is something so much greater & powerful than life here on earth.  My children and I have received her amazing gift of feathers periodically since her passing & we know she lives forever.  Seeing is truly believing and remarkably inspirational.  My friends have been so inspired by Devon that they created a bracelet in her honor.  The bracelet benefits children who are bullied & need of protection.  To purchase a Devon bracelet, go to:

:http://www.onemeaningcouture.com/feathers.html  Have a little Devon Feather of your own!  Until the next time, sending lhasalove from my heart to yours… Jen

 

Psalm 91

Psalm 91 Feathers and Wings

He shall cover thee

with his feathers,

and under his wings shalt thou trust…

 

                                                                                                                                                                      


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Self-preservation

March 21, 2012 by Jen

Hi everybody! I just posted several news articles which relate to radiation exposure and possible cancer risks.  Since I travel quite often to Duke for my clinic appointments, I am careful to avoid the body scanners at the airport.  During my last trip however, I almost walked through the body scanner.  Thankfully my husband warned me before I was radiated.  I don’t trust anything that unnecessarily radiates my body.  Unfortunately, there was a trade off.  I accept a post 911 world in which we must compromise our own personal freedoms for the rights and protection of the whole but sometimes I just wish human safety on all levels would be prioritized.  Several weeks ago at Kennedy Airport, I opted for a pat down by a TSA officer in lieu of being radiated in the body scanner.  Unfortunately, I was sexually harassed by a fellow passenger who made inappropriate & lewd comments regarding my breasts.  Sadly, taking the safer route doesn’t always mean the easy way out and going along with the program although it can be so much easier, can be harmful in the end.  The silly old man who later appeared on my flight to North Carolina dissected my body from head to toe with his eyes while the TSA agent swiftly navigated her hands up and down my body and meandered through various crevices.  The silly old man was quite amused by the TSA’s actions and felt compelled to share his crude thoughts with a small group of us.  When his comments made me blush, he continued to discuss my apparel and stated how he could get away with it because he was: “older”.  Clearly I made his day as he smiled and looked quite excited & pleased.  As I look back at the overall experience, I recognize how humiliating the moment was.  Honestly, it was quite a tradeoff for simply opting to protect my body from harmful radiation.  Individuals should not be placed in compromising positions such as these in which he or she must sacrifice self respect in order to preserve health & wellness.  As a 4 time brain cancer survivor, there is no safe amount of radiation that seems acceptable to me.  That evening as I hugged my daughters, I slept a little better as I felt a little safer knowing that I had made the right decisions earlier in the day.  The silly man was far away from me and I avoided the scanner with the help of my hubby! Life is not perfect but it certainly is good…

Decisions, Decisions…

March 18, 2012 by Jen

To Believe or Not To Believe… That Is The Question?

Whether you are a cancer patient or not, we have all been sick or been the caregiver of someone who has been sick; ultimately, the expertise and guidance of a doctor has been needed. We have all been in the situation in which we have been diagnosed and a protocol was outlined for the patient by an expert. Most times for simple things like a cold or Strep Throat, the fix is straight forward and rather painless. For more serious illnesses like cancer, diabetes and AIDS, it gets much more complicated. When I was diagnosed 9 years ago with terminal brain cancer, 3 different oncologists from top medical institutions in both NY & Boston suggested I receive radiation and chemotherapy for my then low grade glioma. I decided not to radiate my brain or ingest poison pills and try other more innovative therapies. When the cancer returned again, I was disappointed that the treatments in Germany only kept the cancer away for 3 years but I never regretted my decision not to do chemotherapy or radiation. These two therapies were always suggested. In the United States, immunotherapy is not an option for low grade gliomas- not even for  more aggressive Grade 3 tumors. In the United States, one must have a very aggressive Grade IV to qualify for any kind of immune boosting treatments which are almost always administered along with the more toxic chemotherapy and radiation. Essentially, one therapy is building up the immune system & fortifying one’s immune system to destroy any cancer cells while the other destroys everything…. Throughout the past nine years, I have had 4 recurrences and 3 brain surgeries. Dana Farber, Memorial Sloan Kettering, Weill Cornell, Mt. Sinai, St. Vincent’s and North Shore-Long Island Jewish have all recommended radiating my brain along with chemotherapy. Eventually, 2 years ago, I submitted & took chemo, the drug of choice being Temodar. I ingested Temodar pills each night for 11 months and a PET scan determined all the cancer was: “sleeping”. 18 months later, Foci appeared which meant new disease. Did I do all of this treatment for nothing, I thought? Well, not really. It was a wonderful life lesson for me that reinforced what I already knew. My husband and I had done beautifully charting the course of my wellness within the parameters of a terminal disease over the past 9 years. Chemo had not been a mistake because its’ absolute failure now gives me the authority to share my experiences with others. I never look back at my life with regret and I am so thankful that my decision to take chemotherapy did not weaken my immune system so much that it cost me my life. I feel tremendously blessed. Today, fast forward, 9 years later, Duke Medical is very pleased that I did not radiate my brain. My doctor also admits that she does not like administering chemotherapy because in 30 years of using it on brain cancer patients she has: “not seen the results that she would like to”. I do not criticize her for her candidness; in fact I find it refreshing as I feel it makes her human and very empathetic. Thank you God I say as well as “Thank you” to my husband Dave for his continuous love & support. Recently, I had a discussion with a very close friend of mine regarding the doctor patient relationship. We talked about trust and decision making especially when it comes to treatments and the use of prescription drugs. I explained how the decision to radiate my brain was probably the best decision according to all my doctors  many years ago. I was forced to go against all my mainstream doctors because their protocol went against my better judgment. Would my destiny be different along with my current state of health had I just listened to my doctors & followed the medical crowd? There was a study conducted in Europe showing that life expectancy for low grade astrocytomas is exactly the same whether radiation is administered or not. The American Brain tumor Association discusses this study which can be found on the link below.
http://www.abta.org/index.cfm?contentid=80&itemtype=2

 

Check out the actual study:http://www.jumpdavidjump.typepad.com/files/lancet-wait-vs.-early-radiation-1.pdf

 

Bottom line, in medicine, the pendulum is constantly shifting. Sometimes the flavor of the month includes radical treatments. Is it okay to say no? When is it appropriate to look outside the box of normalcy and say “no to a particular treatment”? How will you face criticism from friends, family & doctors for being a renegade if you say “no”? Please share your thoughts.

Until the next time, sending lhasa love from my heart to yours…Jen

Survivors Survive” by Ryan Hamner: what a beautiful song!

March 10, 2012 by Jen

Sweet Misery: A poisoned World is a terrific documentary on Aspartame Check it out!

March 10, 2012 by Jen

Duped at Duke: A must watch for any cancer patient at any institution!

March 10, 2012 by Jen

Hi Everybody!

As many of you may already know, I am a patient at Duke Medical. It was there at Duke where I received my third brain surgery and also where I was placed on a chemotherapy protocol lasting for 1 year. This investigative report featured on 60 minutes just came to my attention. Knowledge is power!!Sending Lhasa love from my heart to yours…Jen

Watch the Duped at Duke video.

Watch the video at:

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7398476n&tag=api

 

Trip to Duke

March 9, 2012 by Jen

Hi everybody! Hope all is well with you and everybody is feeling great… My trip to Duke went really smoothly.  My husband and I flew out very early in the morning and arrived at clinic at around 12:30.  Duke has expanded and there is an entire new wing devoted to cancer patients.  I must say, it is rather lovely and must have cost millions of dollars.  I am sure that the beauty of the facility helps many who enter the doors weekly for chemotherapy and radiation.  The facility is bright, airy and upon entering one cannot help but notice the gorgeous gas fueled stone fireplace with stone engraved names surrounding the eternal flame.  Cozy couches make for a country club atmosphere and the overall experience was somewhat favorable for us.  Then again, I am not on the receiving end of chemotherapy infusion or radiation therapy.  For my husband and me we are briefly passing through and head upstairs to Neuro Oncology.

 

After completing the usual tests, the physician’s assistant joined us.  I answered several math problems, recalled several words that were given to me when I first arrived and I received an excellent overall neurological evaluation.  Minutes later, my doctor and nurse entered.  There were five of us together and the mood was very light and positive.  The doctor explained how she was very pleased with my scans and they are stable.  She notes that there is slight edema, which could mean there is microscopic cancer cells present in my brain.  She is pleased that there has been NO growth in 6 month for this Anaplastic Astrocytoma and is certain there is no brain tumor present.  All of us examine my MRI scans.  Over the past 9 years, it has been difficult for me to look at my own pictures.  They always frightened and disturbed me beyond words.  For some reason, this time, I was different.  This time I felt free and I have broken my invisible shackles.   I am not afraid and easily looked at my brain, free from any stress.  In addition, I asked important questions.  I asked: “Are you sure the slight edema is caused by microscopic cancer cells?” she replied: “We think so.”  I countered: “can’t you just suck them out”?  She explained that there is no tumor.  I already knew this but it’s nice to hear the words spoken by your doctor.    My husband asked if a PET Scan could measure the activity present?  She explained that there is no activity.  Right about by this time, I was really feeling super positive about taking Cellect especially since, I was told that edema can be a side effect of Cellect as tumor cells slough off and get reabsorbed into surrounding tissue.  It can also be from healing from damage caused by 3 aggressive surgeries.  I was feeling especially good because I just read Psalm 23 which totally empowered me.  As usual, my doctor, whom I love, suggested I try a pharmaceutical drug.   She said: “Not chemo because I don’t like using chemo anymore”.  “Hmm I thought silently; but you prescribed it to me 2 years ago, why the sudden change, I thought?  “I am suggesting Gleevac”.  Although I wasn’t angry, it suddenly hit me like a brick.  Any slight change on my MRI was assumed to be cancer; natural treatments were not universally accepted in the “real world” as medicine and to some degree when I was given Temodar (chemotherapy), I was  a guinea pig.  She explained: “in the 30 years of using chemotherapy, we are not any further along for brain cancer.”  I was so glad for her honesty.  I asked her if time was on my side and she smiled and said “yes”. She commented about my hair and all agreed that I looked healthy.  I took the literature on Gleevac but in my heart I knew I would not be using it.   I politely explained that the Cellect seemed to suit me really well.  We hugged and departed.  We will not return until July.    I no longer get upset or try to change people when they don’t agree with me.  I accept people for who they are and understand that we are all limited in some way or another.  It is never my job to change anybody only to change myself and grow as a person.   I maintain a positive attitude.  I feel blessed to be alive and to have a stable scan.  I will not submit to claims of cancer and will continue to fight to no end. God Bless all of you!  Until next time we meet, sending lhasa love from my heart to yours…Jen

Pet Therapy: How Animals And Humans Heal Each Other

March 8, 2012 by Jen

Pet Therapy: How Animals And Humans Heal Each Other.

Join me for the NJ Spartan Race To Raise Money For The National Cancer Research Foundation

March 6, 2012 by Jen

 

2012 Events

9/8,9 Tri-State NJ GET INFO

Let’s build our team together in order to raise money for NCRF.  NCRF enables more people the financial flexibility to purchase Cellect.  Cellect offers another option in our fight against cancer.  Cellect is also proving to be invaluable in helping people deal with various ailments & non malignant disease.  Thank you Fred & Lora for this Amazing product.  Thank you James for organizing the Spartan Race in September.

If you are interested in joining me and the Cellect Family, please let me know.  You can also donate to our cause! God Bless! From my heart to yours, Lhasa love, Jen

 

 

 

9/8

  • “So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then, when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.” 11 minutes ago

 

The dish on Delish Dressings

March 6, 2012 by Jen

Dressings are a great way to make my foods taste great and mask some of the more potent ingredients that I use.  Since our discussion is on alkalinity versus acidity, let’s talk salad dressings.  Most of the time all the bottled stuff is not that great.  We can do better for ourselves and our family.  Here’s an easy one to try.  I hardly ever measure but I will estimate.

Lemon Garlic Dressing:

1-2 Cloves fresh peeled Garlic

The juice of 1 Fresh Lemon

1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive oil

4 TB White Vinegar

2 Teaspoons Dark Agave Nectar

 

Whisk Briskly. Add finely chopped garlic, Whisk some more. Delish, perfectly alkaline, NO chemicals!! Easy!