Dear friends, we need some good news so here we have it… madam liver has checked out as cancer-free. For now. I know, I know, just stay with the positive. But I can’t help but be cautious in receiving good news. (Buzz kill? Too soon? Too soon?)
Yesterday was ultrasound day, with bro Erik and sis-in-law Lisa, the Doctors (multiple this time, they must be realizing not to F around with this, knowing my “reaction” and “interest”) looked over the images and determined that my lumpy liver is not cancerous. And we’ll be checking back in 3 months. Just to, you know, check, make sure it stays non-cancerous.
I think maybe my freak out helped. Here’s my sound and logical reasoning. Cancer is like the scene from one of the Jackass movies in which the giant floury hand slaps unknowing victims in the face as they walk through a door. Every time I think things look good, I walk through the door and cancer slaps me in the face with a dose of bad news (also called “shit” or in the analogy, flour). This time, I ran around and used the other doorway and screamed in cancers ear or I just told everyone else about cancer’s trickery: and it didn’t have a chance to face-slap me. We beat it to the punch, so deflated sad little cancer moped off with its tail between its legs.
Until 3 months from now and they tell me cancer found an “in” to the liver party.
You can never be too sure with this stuff, but I will enjoy our victory cancer slap for now.
Now, I know you’ve all been wondering, “Gosh, how did Serena catch cancer anyway?”
And I know it’s not dengue fever or the plague or what’s that one from rats? Anyway, we know it’s not defined as “catch-able” or as those pesky smart people call it “transmittable.”
Cancer has become the disease of our generation; more people are studying cancer in its various forms than ever before (see how I made that sound like a fact? But if you really think about it, I didn’t commit a time to “ever” and of course more people are probably studying it because there simply are more people on the planet. Genius, I know, the things I sneak in here). Regardless, it’s probably true. Everyone either has it, has had it, knows a close relative who has/had it, or at least knows a friend of a friend who has/had it. Because of that, more Doctors are motivated to study it, learn about it, and try to get rid of it.
But how do you get rid of something if you cannot trace its origins? We can treat the symptoms and we can try to kill the cells that have become cancer but how do we prevent cancer from forming? Finding out that last part is likely impossible.
Let’s go through my day and/or life and see where I may have “picked up” my DNA-disrupters:
~I wake up: I am sleeping in flame resistant chemically-covered materials, anything from my mattress to my mattress pad to pillows to bedding is smothered in this stuff. (GO WATCH Call of the Killer Whale, it is shocking how many chemicals we pick up daily that end up stored in our body fat over our lifetimes). We seem to find a link between chemicals and cancer; but regardless, it just doesn’t feel normal.
~I pet my dog: He wears Frontline to protect him (and his human counterparts) from flea and tick infestation and disease. More chemicals.
~I put my feet down on carpet: FLAME-RETARDANT! Think of your kids crawling around on that. Now go invest in wood flooring.
~I’m in the bathroom: most of my lovely well-marketed HABA (HeAlth and BeAuty for anyone who didn’t get to work in a big convenience store growing up) products are likely to contain parabens… linked to cancer! Go read your products, folks. Not only are all of those ingredients hard to read, they are likely made in a factory. Look for anything that specifically says “[unknown word] parabens.” Some places where we (yes, it became a family event after mom read an article, and Sean, mom and I were reading til we were disgusted) found parabens: sunscreen (I use that every day in Maui!), my Ponds face cream (used intermittently), hand lotion (work in ocean = use copiously). I stopped reading labels; ignorance is bliss (for seven to ten minutes). We are slowly swapping out products in an attempt to adjust and embrace a non-cancer-causing life. In this day and age, it’s not easy. (Sunscreen for babies tends to be paraben-free… I use Ocean Potion, and I’m happy to say that I’ve used it for a while not knowing it was paraben-free. Phew, we can’t blame my cancer on recent suncreen usage! But then the question of skin cancer comes up when finding a sunscreen. Lesser of two evils? Jury’s out).
~Breakfast time: Shall I have some fertilizer and pesticides with my fruits and highly-processed breads, cereals, and other toaster strudel-y goodies? How about a delicious bowl of cancer? Now, I’m furthering myself from processed foods as much as possible (I’ve never even eaten a Toaster Strudel or is it Toaster’s Strudel?). But it is HARD. Monsanto owns everything. No, really, they do (go get that Facebook list or Google it). Everything we eat—or the TV tells us to eat—is processed, canned, boxed, frozen, genetically modified. Have you seen an ad recently for apples? No, me neither (maybe because I don’t have cable but I would guess there are none and I would want it to be an organic apple anyway). Somehow is it cheaper to create all the chemicals as food additives than to literally just eat an apple pesticide-free. To me, this is counter-intuitive even though I can come up with some of the places it gets pricey to “go organic” (like if the genetically-modified lab-created Giant Apple Wasp kills off your harvest; and, no, that’s not a real creature, I made that up for the show, I mean, blog). Let’s go back to the “old ways;” I’d like some pre-industrial revolution foods at cost-effective prices. Why is that so difficult?! But how would Monsanto feed the masses?! PRAY TELL! [insert dramatic music]
~And what’s in my water…? That’s a whole other bog, chapter, book, made-for-TV movie.
~Clean the counter: what chemicals are lurking under my sink? Time to convert to vinegar-water for cleaning everything. And that ant spray and ant chalk and ant cups we have! I swear, the island of Maui is one giant ant hill in which the ants are sent on patrol to every home to scavenge for crumbs to bring back town to their thriving metropolis below my home that is part of an entire ant planet down there! There are so many ants and I would like them dead (yes, environmentalists, ants in my kitchen have crossed the line; they shall suffer death). Is ant killer carcinogenic? Why not?!
~Walk outside: the gardeners spray pesticides.
~Walk the dog: That car driving by could have asbestos brakes (I have asbestos brakes) that flake off with every tap to the brakes. The exhaust fumes from that beat up ol’ piece of shitnanigans we’re breathing in. Cancer-causing? Wouldn’t be hard to believe.
~Get in the car: Love that new car smell? Breathe it deeply every time? Why, that’s the smell of TOXINS! Glues melting, leathers leaching. Windows down, air out the car. Every time. Even in winter in Massachusetts. I suppose it’s a blessing in disguise I could never buy a truly new car. There is an article in the Raw Foods Bible about this phenomenon. Should we leave the fact that they make a car air freshener that is called “new car smell” to another time? Yes, yes.
~Get out of the car and cry: here is the cliff notes on the rest of those questionable materials… paving tar, chemtrails (Wikipedia it since it’s still considered a “conspiracy theory” brought to us generously from our government–and probably Monsanto… don’t shut me down, Big Brother, I never committed to it’s existence here… nor do I doubt its possibility. Ok, ignore the hole I’ve dug and leave my blog alone. Love you, thanks!), pesticides for highway weeds (drove by that yesterday), lighter fluid, second-hand cigarette smoke, cell phones (we’re all screwed, I give up).
If you look hard enough, you can find cancer everywhere. It can become a psychosis.
So I thought about what caused my cancer for a few days and then I accepted the realization that I will probably never know. And I can’t go through life wondering at every little product. Plus, I already caught cancer!
It may even be genetic. I go to Oahu tomorrow to begin testing to find out if I have BRCA1 and/or BRCA2, the genes linked to breast cancer (only found to be linked to about 10% of breast cancers… about 80% are UNKNOWN, or see above list for potential causes).
By the way, BRCA does not actually stand for “BReast CAncer,” as it would make too much sense and most science prefers to be above the average human brain. It actually stands for where the gene was discovered: BeRkeley, CaliforniA (Ok, maybe they did mean the CA beginning of “California” but I want to overemphasize the ridiculousness of this naming). That’s kind of dumb. Can’t we just be laymen about this and say it’s named for the obvious? Or you should have named the gene(s) more cleverly; you are scientists after all. Ah, I see, there may have been creativity lacking in that lab. (Sorry to tease you, and thank you for your hard work).
At the end of the day, cancer is a mutation in the DNA, namely in my DNA. And we have no freaking idea how that happens.
The worst part is that we can fix some of the decisions the industrial-revolution and that thing called “progress” has led us to, where we made chemicals that have turned out to be bad news, but it takes time, it’s costly and that word called “change” and that other phrase called “stop eating processed foods” scare people.
I’m going to leak a little story. TMZ-style, folks. And sorry if it’s not ready for public knowledge but I believe in it. And it needs some more press, since not enough kids these days know about PBS. It’s about a little story Mr. Jean-Michel Cousteau (son of Jacques, don’t tell me you had to Google that name) is filming in Oakland, CA about how all these useless fish bones from a processing plant don’t have to be thrown away in the trash anymore. They can actually mix them in with the dirt in Oakland. Why does this Oakland community even need fish bones, you ask? Oh, because they have terrible problem with LEAD contamination. It’s in everything and it’s making them sick. They used to have a harbor that was filled in to become a community and all the lead from boats was in the ground; mixing fish bones in neutralizes it. Ah, one man’s trash can be another man’s LIFE-SAVING IDEA!
That’s all the details I have for now, just enough to peak your interest. I imagine it will be playing on PBS, but feel free to check out the Ocean Futures Society web site (www.oceanfutures.org).
This is just one example of how we can right our wrongs and get away from some anti-environment and anti-human health decisions we as a society have made over the years. It’s just hard when the collective whole cannot embrace it because all the money-holders will not embrace it and make it affordable and main-stream. But I have run out of steam for that can of worms.
Has anyone recently read the ingredients and been surprised when you actually know what all of the ingredients are?!
I have. That’s sad. We are too comfortable picking up an item and not knowing what we’re about to consume or slather on.
And some say we’re lucky to even have the FDA requiring the listing of ingredients! IF WE ATE NATURAL FOODS, WE WOULDN’T NEED THE LIST! Can a salted potato chip please just be A SALTED POTATO CHIP?! Ingredients: potato, oil, salt. Enough said!
I am going to end with the last bit that could be considered associated with everything above, and that is close to my heart: babies, babies, babies!
A lot of these cancerous connections also factor into reproductive challenges. Whether it’s chemicals causing cancer that cause reproductive issues or chemicals directly causing reproductive issues. Brain pain? Sorry. Read slowly.
I worked in California and assisted with a study on Horny Head Turbot fish. See, they lived near the waste-water treatment outfall pipe in SoCal (yeah, I used that term, deal with it!) and scientists were finding that all of the hormones we ladies pee out from our birth control pills were changing the manly boy fish into LADY FISH. Now, some fish can handle sex changes—it’s actually more common than you’d think—but this was unnatural change for this species. The number of ladies would outweigh the number of dudes; more eggs, less sperm, no future turbot fish!
What have we done to our world?!
This forced sex change—and even sterility as a result—has been found with many frog species too (another pat on the PBS specials’ back! Nerd it up, my friends, nerd it up. Knowledge is power).
As for me, I cried at the Gyno’s office until she finally listened to what I was saying (part of it at least) and am going through hormone testing (too much information? Wait til I tell you about my exam! Just kidding).
She also started the appointment off with, “you cannot have babies for seven years.” Oh, we’ll see, Doc. Maybe I wont do everything that is suggested. (**Seven years comes from 1 year chemo, 5 years hormone therapy, 2 years waiting… no science behind the 2 years reasoning, could do 0 years hormone treatment or 2 years hormones would also help a bit; could say F it all; could lose my mind).
Man, I’m tired.
Now, you have a lot to think about, huh? Do not fear your kitchen and bathroom. Grab that product by the plastic (*another issue for later) and read its ingredients! And then go get the Burt’s Bees that matches (face wash for face wash, shampoo for shampoo) and feel the weight of chemical dependence lift off of you.