Have you ever had that moment where you want to verbally acknowledge how well something is going, but you’re afraid that you’ll jinx it if you do? I am experiencing that moment right now. Yesterday was my 2nd of 6 chemo infusions, and this time i decided to fast before and during my session. After listening to one very long and boring podcast by two White guys who really enjoyed talking about themselves, reading through an online forum filled with a little too many Jesus references for my taste, and skimming through research done by a professor at USC, i decided to see if fasting would expedite my side effects. Here is what my fasting/modified fasting schedule looked like:
Wednesday (day before chemo): water, Pedialyte, and hippie tea all day
Thursday: I ditched the Pedialyte (after discovering there was sucralose in it) and replaced that with Smart Water, which would give me the electrolytes without the artificial sweetener. I drank only water until around 5:00pm, when i modified the fast to get a few calories in my system by sipping mushroom broth (10 calories) and two types of vegetable broth (30-40 calories). One of the broths had cabbage and spinach in it, and i ate one piece of each. At 11:30pm, right before bed, i ate two Saltines. This might seem weird, but i was actually trying to trick my brain. See – the Friday after the first chemo session, i woke up feeling like i had a hangover. Obviously, i didn’t go home from chemo and drink alcohol, but that’s what it *felt* like. Soooo… since i usually end a night of drinking with water and Saltines in my body before i go to bed (it prevents hangovers for me), i decided to try that trick and see how i felt the next morning.
Friday (today): Drank Smart Water only until 4:00pm. At 4:00, i ended the 64-hour fast by eating 27 blueberries and a piece of toast with vegan butter and coconut sugar spread on top. After waiting two hours and feeling no adverse reactions to the food, i ate a regular dinner.
RESULTS: I think the Saltines trick worked! Okay, most of the credit probably should go to the overall fasting, but the point is i did not feel like i had a hangover today. I woke just before 4am (insomnia), with less than five hours of sleep in my system. At 6:15, i was headed to the gym with my roommate – the GYM! You know what i was doing at 6:15 on the Friday morning of my last session? hugging the toilet bowl. This time, however, i did 33 minutes of cardio (1/3 of my pre-cancer routine, but it’s a start), picked up my dry cleaning from two months ago, and drove myself to three separate appointments:
(1) chemo shot to boost my white blood cell count,
(2) 2nd energy healing session with Annette, and
(3) wellness check with my PCP.
In between two of those appointments, i also went to Loose Leaf to buy essential oils and more hippie tea, as well as Whole Foods to buy pH strips that can tell me how acidic my body is each day (cancer thrives in acidic bodies, FYI). I came home, cleaned up around the house a little bit, ate dinner with my roommate while we laughed over Modern Family, and now i sit here – at 8:23pm – feeling just fine.
I’m not kidding myself. I remember that the REAL symptoms started surfacing the Saturday after my infusion. However, there is a world of difference between “the day after” this time around, compared to before. Thus, in this moment, i feel truly grateful: grateful to Melinda, for suggesting that i listen to a very boring but educational podcast; grateful to Maya, for finding more research on the topic for me and also for fasting with me on Thursday (the hardest day); grateful to Annette, for helping me heal the energy within me; grateful to Jenna, for laughing with me this evening about funny TV shows, cute pets, and mischievous behaviors; and grateful to myself, for having enough hope and dedication to push through it all.
P.S. Today was the first day i went out in public with my shaved head and no hat covering it up.