Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Friends, Appointments and Food

The Iva Jones' Chinese kick-out-the-virus herb seems to be working. I have less congestion, haven't had a fever since a few days before I started it, and my upper chest is not so tight. On the other hand, I've developed a rough cough that brings up phlegm from somewhere down in the chest and a nasty allergy headache above my left eye. The headache is probably my usual seasonal allergy.

Yesterday, I spent off and on the phone:
1. trying to get a referral to Berkeley Pulmonalogy at Alta Bates hospital in time to secure the appointment they were holding for me.
2. trying to push the river of the UCSF Pulmonalogy system.

I was unsuccessful at both but, today, several things happened because of all that.

My very-long-time friend, Shanti Soule, came in the morning and we went to Oliver's, a great local grocery, for supplies. Then, she cooked up a storm of delicious healthy food. She's a nutritionist and professional who cooked for many years at a cancer retreat center-- in short an expert. As she chopped, stirred and roasted, she coached me on the phone calls and listened to my tale of woe.

By the end of the day, I had two flat cake pans of chicken enchiladas (no cheese) with homemade salsa and two loaves of nutty grain burger. It's all tasty and freezable. I also learned how to use cashew butter in a sauce and that anise and lavender are easy herbs for lung health.

This morning I got my two appointments with the two pulmonalogists, both on Sept 8, and finally, finally, finally was able to talk to a nurse, Linda, at the UCSF Chest and Allergy Clinic who gave me tips to make best use of that appointment. The films from the X-Ray and CT Scan should be in Di-Com compatible format, for instance. Who would know?

I also talked to Meri Hayos who runs a Complementary and Alternative Cancer Support Group at the Women's Cancer Resource Center. She's been on vacation but it was worth waiting for the conversation. She gave me the names of two Chinese medicine cancer specialists. One of them has had success with dogs smelling for lung cancer and works in Marin County. She introduced the idea of doing consultations with some of these alternative experts, rather than signing up for a string of expensive appointments and trying to pick the absolutely perfect alternative health practitioner. She listened and, although she didn't have concrete answers to my big questions, it was a warm and fuzzy comfort.

I can hear my friend Grain, "But, what were your big questions?"
Thank you, Grain, for asking the best questions and putting your wisdom into my thoughts.

The Big Questions: How much time, money and energy should I expend on this on a day-to-day basis? When should I stop doing everything else in my life and concentrate on finding answers and healing? And, what's the balance between the western medicine and other approaches?

Grain's husband, Michael Cohen, did some research for me in the past week and got recommendations from his friend at the Harvard Medical Center too.

There's much more going on than I can talk about on the blog. And, sometimes I feel a bit exposed when I realize everything I write here can be read by anyone who wants. My energy level is staying strong. I hope the same for you.

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