Susan Neder

Archive for December, 2010|Monthly archive page

Integrative Treatment – you are doing WHAT with greek yogurt?

In Cancer of the "Netherlands" on December 30, 2010 at 6:57 pm

I have discovered that there is a difference between “alternative” treatments for cancer and “integrative” treatments for cancer. “Alternative” treatments often refer to treatments that are a substitute for traditional chemo and radiation, while “integrative” treatments refer to treatments that are in addition to chemo and radiation, many of which reduce side effects.

This cancer center is a big believer in integrative treatments and recommends certain ones, such as meditation, massage, reflexology, reiiki, and acupuncture. My daughters both know massage, reflexology and reiiki, and the reiiki is especially helpful for sleeping. The funniest integrative treatment recommendation came from my radiation oncologist, who told me to get greek yogurt (plain – no sugar or fruit) and slather it on the “nether regions” to help with pain! After we all stopped laughing she told me it really works. My lead oncologist, who is a guy, loved that so much and laughed so hard that he had to lean against the wall until he stopped laughing so he could see the next patient with some amount of dignity.

He told me later that this information made his day – he said he laughed all afternoon, especially when he thought about us marching into Whole Foods and asking for “topical yogurt” and trying to explain what we were going to do with it! Another integrative treatment that I have always had good results from is Dr. Walt Moore’s Quantum. I can’t explain how it works, except that it reads your energy and adjusts it on many complicated levels. I know many of us don’t believe in stuff we can’t see or understand, but all I can tell you is my personal experience with this. Several years ago I had a very large, very serious ulcer. The doctors said it had to be operated on because it was such a bad one. Walt directed his Quantum on it and when I went back to the doctors to schedule surgery, the ulcer had disappeared. The doctors said that was impossible and reran all the tests but finally said it was some kind of miracle because there was no way it would have disappeared like that. Now, the only treatment I was getting was the Quantum so you tell me; I don’t understand it, but I do think the Quantum was responsible.

Since then, I always want Walt and his Quantum on my healing team! The fact that he is such a kind, sweet man is just a wonderful extra.



P.S. Yesterday in the hospital they gave me a blood transfusion to raise my red blood cells and a shot to raise my white blood cells. The shot usually takes 2 to 3 days to work when the white blood cells are a low as mine were. This morning I felt much better and my white blood cell count was high enough that they let me be discharged, though they had said I would be in the hospital another 2 to 3 days at best. They were very surprised that my white blood cells went up so fast, but I knew that Walt put his Quantum on my white blood cells all last night. Did the Quantum help? You can decide what you think, but me, I am glad Walt and the Quantum is helping me!


Smiles and Frowns

In Cancer of the "Netherlands", Power of Love on December 27, 2010 at 7:16 pm

A few of you have asked me if I am always “up” –  is everything always funny?  Do I ever get down?  The answer is yes, I do get down.  It is seeing the humor that pulls me out of that thought, and sometimes it takes me a day or two to get my sense of humor & balance back.  So for those of you that may also be going through some of this yourself, please know that I do know and acknowledge the awfulness of this process, but I think this could swallow  person up if they let it get the best of them, so I am making a conscious choice to not let that happen, but every day is a different fight.

The other day was a case in point for me:  in addition to the other side effects I am dealing with, yesterday I learned that the skin in the “Netherlands” is literally melting off now because of radiation.  The doctors told me not to let plastic too near the “Nether regions” because I am putting out so much heat that the plastic would melt and stick to what skin I have left and pull it off.  This really shook me up and nothing was funny yesterday.  To have said I was cross would have been an understatement.  I was angry and scared… I think that it is important to acknowledge those feelings and not stuff them, but let them pass over me so I don’t get stuck in them.

What pulled me out of that ( I had to kick myself in the butt, which isn’t as easy as it sounds!) was going into the treatment center and seeing so many people much sicker than me that are probably suffering worse than me and some of those people were all alone.  When I thought about all of the family and friends that are with me providing love and support, I felt so lucky and so blessed that I couldn’t stay down.  I wish I could have gone up to some of those people and give them a hug and a warm cookie or something, but that would have probably gotten me arrested, so I decided to settle for smiling at everyone– did you know it is almost impossible to feel bad when you smile?



A Trip To the ER…

In Cancer of the "Netherlands", Chemo/Radiation on December 27, 2010 at 7:13 pm

Tis the day after Christmas and unfortunately, I had to go to the ER in the middle of the night (I had fever and fever is an emergency with chemo).  My white blood cells and platelets are way down again- lower than last time, so they are looking for infection and I am almost in isolation –  people can come in if they have no symptoms of anything but they have to wear gowns & gloves & masks, so it looks like a bad episode of Grey’s Anatomy in here. One thing about all this is that every day is a completely new day- just when you get used to things being a certain way, they change!

The two biggest downsides to this latest development are that radiation is delayed again until those blood cells come back up and I absolutely can’t be around children, so thank goodness I had so much fun with Reid & Henry Linck, because I won’ t be able to see them before they go back to Arizona on the 28th.  Oh well, that is what Skype is for!

Christmas Day

In Power of Love on December 27, 2010 at 7:13 pm

It is Christmas Day!  I don’t feel very well, but that is okay because this has been a really great Christmas, thanks to Mike & the kids.  This year it wasn’t about the “stuff”;  it was about being all together & having fun.  All the kids and adorable grand kids are here and the girls put together great meals and lots of fun and atmosphere.  Many of the gifts were funny and it was delightful to be able to sit back and watch Christmas movies and see the little kids be so excited and so funny about the “magic of Santa”.  I have learned this year that the holidays aren’t about “Cecil B. Demille” productions- they are about love and caring.  I really feel like the luckiest person in the world.




In In the "Clink" on December 26, 2010 at 6:22 pm

Sorry for the silence, folks.    The Holiday went pretty well and my mother was in good spirits.  Unfortunately, this morning, she woke up with a high fever and had to go to the hospital where she’ll likely be for a day or two.  They’re checking her counts and everything, but it seems like they’re a bit down.  She’ll post an update as she’s able, or we’ll keep you updated here.


Her white blood cell count was very, very low.  They think there’s an infection at play here but it takes a day or more to get all those tests in.  She’s a bit down about it but is quite strong about it all.  Says she’ll update personally soon. Thanks for all the email, calls, and support.

The Karma Hotline

In Karma / Oprah / & 4-H Animals on December 21, 2010 at 6:04 am

I have been giving some more thought to this idea of “instant karma”. and I decided that perhaps I needed more specific information on exactly how this might work. I began my research by seeing if Barnes and Nobles had a book entitled “Karma for Dummies”. They did not, but they did have “Buddhism for Dummies” and it has a chapter on getting your karmic act together. I clicked on it but it would not let me read it online, so I guess I will limp daintily over to the bookstore later today and read that chapter standing up.

I was thinking that for someone like me, who is already “waist deep in alligators”, (an old southern saying) there should be a Karma Hotline you could call. It could be set up electronically so that your call could be routed to someone depending on how big a Karmic boo-boo you’d committed, sort of like, “Press 1 if you only thought about doing something mean to someone, Press 2 if you have acted on your thought only once, Press 3 if you do mean things a lot, Press 4 if you have done some really serious mean things, like cheating on a spouse or stealing,  Press 5 repeatedly if you know you are in deep karmic doo-doo” – you get the idea. Then you could be connected to Depak Chopra, or Louise Hay, or the Dalai Llama, or maybe Oprah. I’d love to talk to Oprah about this! I don’t know if she knows a lot about karma, but I know she’d be sympathetic and would probably have some good ideas……….do I sound desperate? I think I am desperate – I keep seeing all those little 4-H projects lined up, looking at me with those soulful eyes…….

Update From the Trenches:

In Cancer of the "Netherlands", Lucretia Borgia on December 18, 2010 at 11:59 pm

Update from the trenches in the battle of the Netherlands: Lucrezia is gone, hopefully forever!

Unfortunately, Lucrezia is “the gift that keeps on giving”, so even though she is no longer plugged into me (does that make me “Susan, Unplugged”?) she is still doing her thing with the side effects. It is very hard to talk or swallow (two things I love to do!), and, thanks to the raging forest fire in the nether regions, it is also hard to sit down. The doctors have also told me to keep my legs and feet elevated  – come on guys, how do you do that when you can’t sit down? I am trying very hard not to be cranky, being that it is Christmas week and all, but it is probably good that I can’t get my hands around the doctors’ necks right now.

I better go meditate on gratitude now, but this little duck that accompanies this post kind of sums up my mood today!



Lucrezia is back!

In Chemo/Radiation, Lucretia Borgia, Power of Love on December 16, 2010 at 6:00 pm

I apparently had such a good week last week and my blood counts stayed high, so today the doctors decided “enough of that” and hooked me up to my chemo friend, Lucrezia, once again. She will be with me all week, 24 hours a day, until late Friday afternoon. However, after that, I hope to be done with her forever! The doctors lightened the dose a little because she “kicked my butt so hard last time” (their words, not mine – a netherlands cancer pun, I suppose).

Anyway, Lucrezia is more scary to me than radiation, I think because the side effects are so unpredictable and unpleasant. They just pop up out of nowhere. but I will get through this week, no matter what surprises I get, by using the grace of gratitude and the grace of fortitude, and clutching my prayer quilt like Linus clutching his blanket, because I know it is helping.



Barnyard Karma

In In the Still of the Night, Karma / Oprah / & 4-H Animals on December 14, 2010 at 7:33 pm

I have now had 12 days of radiation so I am a little over 1/3 done! Yea!

White counts and platelets have stayed up;  thanks to all of you who are sending them – it is working! The “netherlands” are once again ablaze and complaining loudly. Hopefully we are incinerating what needs incinerating and nothing else.

As I sit here thinking about this in the middle of the night (yes, the sleeplessness is back), I find myself contemplating the concept of Karma. I have long thought that there is something to the idea of Karma. We joke about it sometimes, but I have thought it made cosmic sense all along. However, I also remember that someone told me that right now, we are in a time of “instant Karma” , meaning that instead of you “reaping what you sow” in another life, you may get it back in your face right away. An alarming thought, especially for someone in my situation who is experiencing something unpleasant at the moment. I can’t help thinking about whether this could be the result of something karmic. When I put that thought with my condition, I have to wonder if perhaps I have been a “flaming a–hole” somewhere along the way. I can think of a couple of events where I might have earned that designation, maybe……perhaps…..and then, suddenly, I am struck dumb with the realization that there is another event that fits this scenario perfectly, but it would involve “barnyard karma”. Is there such a thing? What a truly terrifying thought!

I will spare you the details, but when we moved here 20 years ago we were “city slickers”and I wanted us to experience animals and farm life. Makes some of you cringe to hear me say that, right? Well it does me also, now, but then I was an animal neophyte except for dogs and guinea pigs so we got chickens and ducks and turkeys and sheep and pigs and horses. I wanted a cow, but Mike put his foot down about the cow, (lucky for the cow), but we had everything else I could find and drag home. Anyway, one of the turkeys bunked in with the chickens for some reason (chickens are mean little buggers, by the way) and the chickens picked on him, literally, slowly, pecking his rear end to the point where it looked seriously messy and painful and I worried that it was infected. (Why the turkey let this happen we will never know, but rumor has it that turkeys are not terribly bright…..). Now I was a mother, and we all know mothers can touch all sorts of disgusting substances, but I was not the turkey’s mother, so I couldn’t see me touching the turkey’s “nether regions”( or him letting me, for that matter), so what to do?  I had a brilliant idea! You know that stuff you spray on sore throats to deaden them, Chloraseptic spray? I thought I could spray it on the turkey’s distressed area and it would deaden it and disinfect it at the same time, right? The part I forgot was that it takes about 30 seconds after the spray goes on that it deadens the area, and before that it burns raw areas like fire. I did not remember that until I sprayed the turkey, at which time he screeched an earsplitting screech and launched himself into the air like a rocket! He eventually did return to earth, but he was even more odd than he was before and ran from me whenever he saw me.(Turkeys obviously have some memory.)

So you can see how this event could fit my situation like a glove, but if there is such a thing as “barnyard karma” I could be in serious trouble here. Am I going to get some sort of karmic payback for all those cute little 4-H projects that went you-know-where? GOOD GRIEF………..I’d better make a pot of coffee – I may be up for a few more hours doing a list of “barnyard karma” possibIlities I need to clear WITHOUT DELAY, but how do I do that? I guess I’ll have to “wing it” (sorry, but I couldn’t resist a little “barnyard karma humor”!)


In Chemo/Radiation on December 13, 2010 at 7:00 pm

Some of you have asked me why I agreed to chemo and radiation instead of some type of alternative treatment, so I will share my thoughts on that.

Before cancer “BC” I was one of those people who, in the comfort of their home, in front of a blazing fire, with a really good glass of wine, would engage in a thoughtful discussion with friends about the horrors of chemo and radiation to treat cancer, and what I would and would not do if I were ever faced with cancer (which, of course, I never would be). It is amazing how quickly that goes out the window when you receive a stage 3 or 4 diagnosis! I don’t think anyone really knows what they will decide when they are really faced with such a decision. In my particular case, the cure rate with chemo and radiations is high, but without them it is not, and requires surgery that seriously affects quality of life. So the decision about treatment was very clear if I wanted to live, which I do, but that does not mean the decision was not tough.

I have a whole shelf of books on alternative treatments and I have so much information that either I have found or others have sent me on natural products that treat cancer or lessen side effects that I now have a looseleaf notebook with dividers (sorry, but I used to teach school). I believe many of these things will help me heal, but right now I can’t do anything that either lessens the effectiveness of the primary treatment, or causes the side effects to be worse, which many of these products do. This is frustrating to me, but I am determined to make these weeks of treatment count; I will have a lifetime to incorporate these other things into my daily practices, once the immediate crisis is behind me. I know I am not the only person who has faced this conundrum, so I welcome the thoughts that any of you who have been faced with this want to share.

Love and gratitude,