Friday, June 14, 2013

Feeling Better, Moving On

We're out of Berlin. It was a bit of a mad dash at the end, cleaning our apartment until it sparkled. Joshua cleaned the walls in the kitchen as well as every surface, counter, shelf, piece of silverware, silverware drawer, plus he needed to mop one more time before we left so there were no footprints. I did some cleaning, including wiping down the bookshelf I used as well as cleaning the surfaces in the bathroom. I am a lucky girl.

During the two days before we left, I had three doctors' appointments: gynecologist, surgeon, and radiologist. A final check-up before the next check-up. I've been having terrible stomach pain, sometimes after I eat, sometimes after I drink too much water or a glass of juice, it just depends and the causes seem to change. For example, sometimes coconut water is great and doesn't cause pain, but other times it will cause pain - perhaps after I eat something that it doesn't work well with, I guess. Mysterious stuff.

All three doctors got the full story with all my symptoms, etc, and all three said I probably have gastritis. That means inflammation of the stomach lining. They all believe I should be taking a proton pump inhibitor (PPI) which stops the body from releasing certain acids to the stomach. These are acids that break down proteins. I am still having pain and managing it by stopping eating or drinking when I have a bit of pain. That seems to work, most of the time. But I do need to eat. I'm also drinking water with 'Heilerde' or health earth. It's a kind of clay-like earth that parrots eat so they can eat poisonous fruits without dying. It soaks up the acids and poisons in the body. It's delicious. I've also been taking a stomach cramp herbal medicine which really does the trick. Going to have to stock up.

We're back in Saxony, where we house sat last summer. It's glorious. There are fewer goats, but now there's also a dog.

Willow snack. They stripped the bark, too.
The farthest one is actually a dog, trying to figure out what the goats are enjoying so much.

I drank some fresh goat's milk. That's right, fresh from the goat and still warm. Just what my body needs after the nuking it's had. I grew up drinking fresh goat's milk and it's probably a key food for my microbiome. Been reading about the microbiome and I think mine is struggling. So I'm very, very hesitant about taking antibiotics - which is what the radiologist said I might need if the gastritis symptoms don't clear up in three weeks or so. Of course, I'll take them if it's a risk to forego them... but man, my body could use a break. I don't even think the PPI is working and I would prefer to be able to digest proteins, but I'm giving it a chance. My surgeon doesn't think antibiotics will be necessary. I said, 'but if there's a bad bacteria...?' and he said, 'Yeah, which one? You'll kill them all.' Exactly. What I need is balance. Not more nuking.

At this point, I'm feeling pretty good. It's been over a month since the last radiation and I can't even remember exactly how long ago the last chemo was. Probably six weeks or so. We've been on a few long walks and I'm reeeeally hoping I can start running with Joshua again. He's been running almost every day and he's up to being able to run 5k straight again. I'm jealous. Here on the farm I've been helping out a little in the garden, weeding and collecting herbs for Kräuter Butter. It's exciting to be able to walk around and visit the animals. Playing with the kids (human) is also pretty fun. That's where I'm at. 

Dr. Halwani (surgeon) said that I should get some lymph drainage physical therapy in order to avoid pain and complications when I start being physically active again. So I have a prescription, just need to find a physical therapist. We'll be in Zurich, house sitting, for the next two months. I think I'll find someone just across the border and take the train into Germany once a week, or whatever. It'll be cheaper to take the train and get PT covered by my insurance than to pay for PT in Switzerland. Don't have to look it up to be pretty sure about that. And in the meantime I'll keep walking.

I'll have to go back to Berlin for an MRI or CT scan, so they can review what the radiation did. Radiation still 'works' for 6-8 weeks after the last treatment, so they want to wait until then to see how things look. Then I'll go back every 3 months for biopsies and testing. Let's all keep our fingers crossed that they never find anything to be concerned about ever again. In the meantime, I'll probably do more blogging over at Where is Your Bicycle. Because the story of where ours are right now is classic.

I'm feeling a bit like the first four leaf clover I found today. 

A little bit thrashed, but lucky nonetheless.

1 comment:

  1. Ramona -
    I just read this post from The Thirsty Mind, the same place where I met you again over a year ago, my first time seeing you in ~15 years (or 10 or 20; I have no idea).
    It made me weep so much.
    Every time I think of that time, I am so glad that we had that time together, but also so frustrated that I continue to live my life as if I have forever, and that therefore it's okay to waste it with jobs that stress me out and no sleep and migraines. Your horrible experience - which no one should have, your amazing resilience, and your incredible ability to write about all of it are inspiring me in so many ways.
    And also making me wish you were here again, and we could go tromping around Mt. Holyoke and talk about the meaning of life, and goats, and writing, and books, and whatever else. Maybe chocolate. (Or - um - yummy drinks made of dirt. YEAH.)
    You are awesome. I wish you ALLLLLLL THE HEALTH. And recovery. And goats and dog lovin'. Many hugs to you.