Art Restoration and Conservation Project

Now that 2010 is behind me and a new year full of hope, dreams and possibilities ahead of me, I am diving into the biggest “Art Restoration and Conservation Project” of my life – Me.  Restoration is a process that attempts to return the work of art, in this case, me, to my previous natural healthy state.  Art conservation is concerned with preserving the work of art for the future and I intend to have a glorious future.  Macrobiotics is the tool for both.

I heard my macrobiotic counselor, David Briscoe, use this term at the retreat I attended a few weeks ago in Northern California.  He stated:

“Each one of us was born into this world a miraculous, magnificent work of art.  We were born with everything we need:  lungs, kidneys, skin, immune system, digestive system, eyes, brain, etc.  Macrobiotics is an “Art Restoration Project” providing tools through which we restore the natural beauty and the natural healthy function of what we already have.  When given the opportunity, the human body is naturally able to restore itself and to eliminate what doesn’t belong to it.

I am a month into my life-changing project, 32 days of brown rice, leafy green vegetables, uzuki beans, remedy drinks, and diakon baths (see ridiculous picture).  I spend hours cooking (not allowed to use a microwave), researching, doing dishes and chewing.  Yes, chewing.  You are supposed to chew each bite 50 to 100 times.  Chewing releases natural enzymes that help digest the food more easily.  Energy used to digest can now be used to heal instead.  It takes me over an hour to eat my rice porridge in the morning.  Ghandi used to say, “Chew your drink, and drink your food”.  Pretty disgusting I have to admit and it takes loads of patience.  I am still working on this one. 

Anyway, one of the goals of macrobiotics is to change the ph balance of my blood from acidic to alkaline, detox and flush the accumulation of excess (cancer) from my body, in other words, basically telling the cancer to get the hell out of Dodge.  It takes 120 days to completely restore the blood.  Once the blood is healthy it then trickles down into our tissue and organs. We have the power to completely rebuild ourselves, absolutely remarkable to realize that the power of healing rests in our own hands.  It is also scary as hell.  Sort of how I felt when I first decided to take my kids out of school to homeschool.  Their education was in my hands.  Now my life is in my hands.  But just like homeschooling there is an incredible network of knowledgeable people to help. 

For any disease to manifest itself, your immune system has to be on the “kaputs.”   Toxins, our American diet, stress, emotional issues all play a role in this.  For our body to heal itself, it is imperative to increase our immune system.  Macrobiotics is an incredible tool for this.  It is more than just a diet, it is a lifestyle and the testimonials of people that have chosen to take this route are absolutely amazing including my dear friend, Carole Lemp.  She has kept her breast cancer at bay for 10 years without traditional western medicines and treatment.  Both her mother and sister died from breast cancer.  They only chose the Western way.

However, like our fingerprints, no two cancers are alike and there is no “one size fits all” treatment.  I plan to integrate Eastern and Western philosophies.  The best way I know to fight like a girl. 

After a few more doctor appointments these past weeks, I finally have some new information that has helped me to make some decisions about my plan of action.  Apparently, I have two different cancers working away in two different areas of my breast, both being fueled by different elements.  One is estrogen dominant and the other is her-2/neu positive.  Her-2/neu, “Human Epidermal growth factor Receptor 2″ is a protein due to a gene mutation that is highly aggressive and is responsible for spreading the cancer to other parts of the body.  Unfortunately, it does not respond well to radiation or chemotherapy. 

I met with the radiation oncologist last week and he said due to my age, not too old but too young believe it or not, and the highly aggressive nature of my cancer, I am not a candidate for simple radiation treatment.  I would need seven weeks, five days a week treatments along with a lumpectomy followed by chemo.  He said I may lose about a third of my breast and the radiation will burn my skin like a really bad sun burn.  I followed up with some research and read that blistering and oozing will occur, followed by a thickening of the skin and darkening of pigmentation and that many times the 7 weeks turns into 9 weeks or more.  As I heard these words and processed this information, all I could imagine was my right breast dangling there half dead.  And on top of it all, radiation causes fatigue and destroys your immune system.  It seems pretty ridiculous to destroy my immune system when I need it more now than ever to heal from some of the treatments I am about to endure.  My oncologist later shared with me, probably after seeing the horror stricken look on my face, that I could possibly avoid radiation all together if I have a mastectomy.  This was the best news and the worst news I ever heard. 

After careful deliberation and discussions with loved ones, I have decided that a mastectomy with reconstruction is the path for me. I never needed or wanted fake boobies, but maybe it’s not such a bad idea after all.  They were hanging a little low these days anyhow especially with so much weight loss.  Maybe then I can audition for Housewives of Orange County.  Oh, I need a mansion first and an attitude.  Never mind.  Dumb idea.

I am not home free yet.  Her-2/neu requires a long treatment similar to chemo using an intravenous drug called herceptin with some of the same side effects of chemo.  Also, I do not know if the cancer has spread.  They will be removing my sentinel nodes during the operation for a more precise biopsy.  Although I have more pieces of the puzzle, I am not done yet. 

I am truly grateful for 2011 in spite of my ordeal with breast cancer.  I actually see cancer as a gift.  It is a second chance of sorts to change some of my old ways that were not working for me and embrace a new healthier and more joyous way of life.  I think it is the first New Years Day in many years, for example, that I did not wake up with a hangover.  I feel fabulous!  We celebrated at a friend’s home last night, sharing delicious food including macrobiotic dishes, dancing, chatting and laughing hysterically as we watched my friend Debi steal Casey and Harrison’s clothes, as they went streaking through the neighborhood at the stroke of midnight in nothing but their skivvies.  It was truly a great way to not only start out a new year but to start my new life.

7 Responses to “Art Restoration and Conservation Project”

  1. Stacy Says:

    Happy New Year and New Life to you, my lovely! I love how you are opening your mind and gathering all the info you can and integrating it into probably the toughest decision(s) of your life! Bravo! Fightin like a girl is the BEST way to go! Keep us posted on all the details as we are all thinking about you all the time and when you undergo the surgery we will ALL be willing our most positive love and energies to you from all over! You go deconstruct, reconstruct, renovate, restore, repair, revamp, rejuvinate, revitalize, regenerate, rest and just plain heal!

  2. Colleen Says:

    Deanne, thank you again for sharing your ordeal with all of us! You are an amazing woman! Keep fightin’ like a girl! I will be praying for you and sending you lots of positive energy. You go, girl!!!

  3. Terry Says:

    I love reading your blog…it gives me strength to endure things that I have to go through//You as well as my other two friends who also have cancer have got to be the bravest and strongest women I know! Good for you with your great attitude….Good luck and keep us posted….God Bless you and keep rocking!! Our prayers are with you……Terry&Michael oxxoxo

  4. Heather Says:

    What a posting. Your perception of your breast cancer is exactly what you need at this moment. You are such a brave woman and have the ability to truly change your health. A friend of the family is now cancer free after radiation as well as changing the alkaline levels as you discuss with macrobiotics. I like the new boobs idea. Good route indeed. I will be thinking of you. I love your New Year’s night. Keep up the amazing attitude, and you may be the new wave of orange county housewives! You know the fightin like a girl routine really well, so this is your new platform. All the best in 2011.

  5. Juli Hardeman Says:

    Your writing is beautiful. Your in my thoughts & prayers daily.

  6. Sally Whitten Lara Says:

    You Go Girl!! I am so proud of you. Keep up the good attitude. My prayers are with you each day.

  7. Raundi Says:

    I don’t know how to thank you for writing these blogs Deanne. You inspire me.

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