Friday, July 30, 2010

Situation Report: July 30th, 2010

This post is to spare you from trying to catch up by reading through the morass of previous posts.

Today is July 30, 2010 - a little over six months since Lin checked into the Baptist Hospital in Hong Kong to have his operation for colon cancer.

It's five months since we returned to Singapore to start his adjuvant chemotherapy; and a month and a half since his first chemotherapy session. He's only had TWO (out of twelve) so far!

The trouble is that his White Blood Cells are not fully cooperating and so his ANC (Absolute Neutrophil Count - some 'joker' calls it the African National Congress) is below the level necessary for chemo. What this means is that the 'fighter' white blood cells are in short supply and so are working harder to stave off any infection. So he is in a weakened state as far as immunity to infection is concerned - although he feels fine.

We had a month's break between his first and second chemo sessions. And now, even on a reduced dosage, he is having an added week of enforced rest. We are trying again this coming Monday but it all depends on what his blood has to say about it.

Prof Wong (no relation to me) is going to reduce his dosage again, to see if that will help recovery from the chemo.

So far Lin has been fortunate with side effects; they are not as bad as we expected nor as bad as others have had it. His main grouse is that he has to carry a brick of an infusion gadget for 2 days and nights as one of the drugs is infused over 46 hours - he says it is heavy and clumsy and he does not sleep well because he is so conscious of it!

Those of you who have been following my ruminations on this blog will know that I have had plenty of time to chew the cud; unwittingly you have shared my thoughts and opinions on a range of topics that either tickle my fancy or stick in my craw!

Be forewarned that my range extends beyond what has appeared here thus far.

We have also had lots of time to think about food and drink. I don't know what you are doing about your diet and such, but we are trying to eat in a more healthy way. We have NOT become vegans, that would be impossible!

After reading article on the web and in books, we have acquired a Nikken Aquapour and a Nikken PiMag water optimizer and use that water for drinking. The premise is that cancer thrives in acidic conditions and sometimes we are (too much) in an acidic state.

(Read 'The Enyzyme Factor' by Hiromi Shinya from Amazon - it is very easy to read)

I also bought a Hurom Slow Juicer (after examining a friend's purchase) which I started to use this morning; it combines the best of both worlds, juice extracting and squeezing. 

If you use a blender like the Blendtec or Vitamix (which are claimed to be able to crush  cellphones!) you get a lot of pulp in the juice. So the end result is more of a sludgy 'smoothie' as the real health fanatics believe in putting their fruit and veggies in whole (skin, seed, everything).

We have a Blendtec in PVB and a Vitamix in Singapore and they are very similar except that the Blendtec has an electronic style pushbutton pad and the vitamix has conventional switches and a 'pusher' to push the fruit and veg down the feeder tube. At the speeds at which that operate you can make soups or ice cream without your cook top or your freezer/fridge!

My personal preference: I will use the blenders for food; I bought them to make soups and to blend his favourite foods (after cooking) so that he can drink them instead of having to chew if and when his mouth becomes too sore or he has mucositis.

The next thing I got was a juicer. I felt that was good, BUT the drawback is that so much of the fruit and veg is expelled as pulp (and wasted) unless one salvages some and stirs it into the juice. 

Or one can use the pulp for cooking as some people do. The disadvantage here is that I'd have to plan what to juice rather than do what I do now: pull stuff out of the fridge or fruit basket and juice a random selection.

So when I heard about the slow juicer and put it together for my pal, I decided to bite the bullet and buy one. It arrived yesterday.

The Hurom Slow Juicer works like an electric meat mincer; it has a big, fat 'screw' which squeezes the juice out of the fruit and vegetables you feed it. So it means that if you want wheatgrass juice you can squeeze it out as you should. Yet it also works on carrots, beetroots and other produce for which you would usually employ a juice extractor (juicer). Caveat: don't make it try to crack nuts or hard seeds otherwise you might do it a serious injury!

My concoction this morning (it depends on what I have at hand): watercress, chinese parsley, ginger root, turmeric root, carrots, celery, beetroot. The ginger and turmeric made it a little 'hot' as in spicy and the watercress gave it a slight bitter aftertaste. You can use less watercress, ginger and turmeric than I did; or add more carrots and some apple and it'll be sweet.

Remember these juices must be drunk within 20 minutes or the goodness disappears.

I've used bitter gourd (an Asian veg popular with Indians and Chinese), broccoli (one way around Lin who does not like it!), papaya, mango, fresh water chestnut and other produce that I cannot remember right now. I think you can juice just about any fruit or vegetable!

Here's the info on Hurom in Singapore:

We are also great believers in Vitamin D3 which only recently has been endorsed by mainstream medicine. Take at least 2000 iU a day, with calcium and magnesium citrate (both complement Vit D3 and help absorption of the D3). D3 strengthens the immune system.

We have cut down somewhat on diary products (the poor cows and goats are shot full of antibiotics and hormones - and this is in the milk they produce, not to mention the meat). Chicken and turkey may be white meat, but supermarket chicken and turkey are chock full of hormones and antibiotics. My aversion to them is because they remind me of white cardboard!

I have not been put off by the videos of the way livestock - and fish - is bred, the conditions in which they are raised, the way they are treated and killed (the animal groups are into shock and awe videos); my concern is what is in their meat and what they produce (milk, eggs).

If Prof Wong had his way, Lin would be wrapped up in cotton wool! 

At out last consultation Lin was very enthusiastic and proud that he'd hit about 50 golf balls off the range and reported it to Prof. who put a dampener on things when he counselled Lin to take walks rather than risk hurting himself by pulling a muscle or falling.

We have also had long "to and fros" about sleeping aids. I can see where the Prof is coming from (he's had patients trip over, bitten by dogs and all manner of accidents) and we appreciate that anything can happen at any time no matter how much care we take.

Sleeping aids can slow down reaction time and maybe add to confusion especially when waking up to make a 'pit stop'; on the other hand, there are as many proponents of having a good night's rest.

Anyway, to paraphrase Minister Mentor Lee who said that he does not intend to stop working because he does not want to vegetate, we feel that Lin should maintain an interest in life and try to live as normal an existence as possible.

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