Monday, February 18, 2013

After church Sunday.
“I didn’t get to the cookies today,” Eli says to me each school evening. “I only got to half of my sandwich at lunch. Would you put them back in my lunchbox and maybe I will eat faster tomorrow.” So, every school night, I put those cookies back in his lunchbox. Eli started back to school at the beginning of this semester. Two of my biggest worries were/are that he will catch a horrible virus, and the other is about what and how much he eats. We limit his intake of sugar, preservatives, chemicals, and artificial anything - in general anything that we know is just not good for anybody. We added raw juice and natural supplements to his diet as well. But, since he has lost so much weight, he also needs calories, and eating the healthy stuff just won’t cut the mustard for gaining weight. So, I worried about him going to school, eating too slowly to eat all of his healthy meal. He really needed the nutrition and the calories. So, when he started back in January, I pack him a lunch – a Boar’s Head turkey sandwich on Nature’s Own sugar-free whole wheat with the edges cut-off and organic ketchup; organic cheese nips; chocolate organic cookies; and a raw juice blend drink. I told him to eat the sandwich first, as much of it as he can. Then, each day, as he begins to be able to eat more of it, he will eventually get it all down. Then he can move on to eat the crackers, and then eat the cookies last. I told him not to eat the cookies until he was able to eat the other things first. So, I send an 8-year-old boy away from my watchful eye for the day, responsible for himself with cookies in his lunchbox. Every school day for weeks now the cookies come home. After about two or three days I put in fresh ones and throw the crumbly, beat-up ones away. He does what is asked of him. I wrote a post a good while back about how I was so upset early in Eli’s diagnosis because I felt like Satan had done what Satan does and that is pick on the easy, weakest target. After seeing Eli stand toe to toe with evil for months, I felt so ashamed and I am continually amazed at how an 8-year-old boy can be such a steadfast soldier. And, I don’t want to give the impression that we are running some kind of nutritional boot camp or anything, or that Eli always does what is asked. On Saturday, he ate fried chicken fingers and French fries, and he had ice cream at his Valentine’s Party at school Thursday. We account for outings and special occasions, and he is learning how to plan for that. So, those of you that have seen us at Pizza Inn, yes, we limit, we don’t deny. But, my main point is that he does what he is told, understanding that what he is told is in his best interest to win this battle. God knew before he offered Job up as his fighter what Job was capable of.
We try to get pumped up to pray!
Eli appears to be doing well. We are 25 days away from his next scan and I keep thinking that he looks pale. He has a bit of a juicy cough, and I will be terrified if he gets pneumonia. Abbey continues to fight her bronchitis and has a fresh ear infection to go with it. Please, remember Jack in prayers. The last I read is that he is on life support and they are starting a new chemo routine immediately in hopes to slow down the tumor growth. Please, remember Aaron as his symptoms have worsened. He has an incredible family and community around him. Brittany lost her painful fight early yesterday, please remember her family. I am still collecting for a memorial donation to the University of Alabama libraries in Ryan’s name from Friends of Eli if you would like to contribute.
So, in light of the cookie commentary above, I wanted to share Eli’s goals for this homeopathic regimen. Understand that we are not pursuing this in hopes of a cure, and even the world “preventative” is too strong. We want to give Eli’s body the tools it needs to build a healthy biological environment that is unwelcoming to disease. We were beyond blessed to be sent to St. Jude for Eli’s treatment. As two examples above in Ryan and Jack, this cancer is an aggressive monster and the treatment had to be equally if not more monstrous in order to fight it. We owe Eli’s life to the researchers and practitioners there, but St. Jude offers no support as to maintenance beyond “give him anything he wants” to eat. Now, my question is, is the “anything he wants” based on scientific research and study that tells them that it doesn’t make a difference. I can’t really seem to get an answer or find an answer to that. So, that leaves it to us. It is our responsibility to do what we think is best based on our own knowledge (which we learn something new every day, it seems). When I get to the end of the day, I want to say that I did everything I could that day. So, we reasoned that it just didn’t make sense to ask his body to heal and not give it what it needs to heal.  So, I began to read about the naturalistic/homeopathic approach to health. I am still lost and overwhelmed by it, and I won’t pretend to be an expert because anything I write will quickly give me away. It is confusing, controversial and unregulated. One can easily be tricked by misinformation and the honest information gets all mixed in. It’s a tough read.

I'm just adding my littliest man for fun.
There is a reason I didn’t go to medical school 20+ years ago, and it hasn’t changed. But, I sifted and gathered best I could, so we reasoned that if a formula of natural health is followed, it can’t hurt him and is good for anybody. But, still herbs and natural foods can conflict and are potent if not handled and dosed correctly.  So, we did not want to just go to an herbal store and grab vitamins off the shelf for him. Plus we were going to continue to do what St. Jude wanted us to do (Eli was on several meds when he came home, including TPN, a feeding tube in which he was given meds and nutrition). So, I happened to be reading some posts about another child and someone posted about a doctor in a nearby town that was a “western” trained pharmacist who helped guide people along the natural path to healing. Upon further investigation, I found two people that I know personally that he has helped heal themselves through a homeopathic regimen. I was cautious, but I liked knowing that he was a pharmacist (with a current license) and would be familiar with the medicine that Eli was taking and with the chemo drugs he had during treatment, so anything he suggested would not conflict with what we were doing with St. Jude. So, I felt comforted by his connection to the “west.” (I will add here that it is disappointing to see the chasm that runs between the traditional medical industry and the homeopathic industry. I am a kind of Pollyanna, so I don’t see why they can’t get along because the goals are the same …. Anyway, I guess that’s the innocence of a newbie). We had our initial appointment just a couple of weeks after Eli and I came home from St. Jude. He explained the PH level of the body, and how cancer feeds on an acidic environment. He talked about “life’s energy” in our food and how it works with our body. And, we do believe that God gives us everything we need, so it kind of all started to make sense. In the beginning, Eli was not eating anything really, and would be satisfied to eat nothing. He fought nausea and was taken off the TPN and pushed out of the nest. We were skeptical that he would drink the raw juice, so we started slow with pasteurized organic carrot and apple juice pressed. But, the pasteurization “kills” the “life energy” which is the healing properties of the juice. So, after he seemed to accept that juice, we moved on to juicing our own apple and carrot juice. He drank it. Drank it like a champ. Then I added romaine lettuce, still he drank it. All the while we were easing into the juicing, he was weaning off the nausea meds, eating a little more on his own and I began to add in the supplements as his belly would allow. We also changed him over to organic foods as we could find them, and began to really crack down on the sugar. At our last check-up with this doctor, his PH level has improved from an acidic 5.4 (at his very first visit) to an alkalized 7.5, and his pulse rate has dropped from 90 bpm to 72 bpm. We are all very pleased, but know that we are really just barely meeting the minimum of what we need to do. Below, I am going to list the goals for Eli, and in parentheses I will share what we actually do.
  1. Rebound Exercises 10 minutes daily. (none. This is to alleviate lymphatic congestion. We should do this easily, but we forget and he was showing lymphatic congestion at the last visit. Shame on us.)
  2. Eat raw fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds and grains. 90% of diet is raw. (none. Eli will not eat any kind of “life” thing, but he will drink any of it.)
  3. Drink 8 oz of carrot juice and 8 oz of apple twice daily. (These two are always the base for Eli’s juice. But since it is all mixed in with the other juices, I can only really say that on a good day he gets about 20-28 ounces of raw juice.)
  4. Drink 8 oz each of celery, beet, romaine, tomato daily. (We have added romaine, because of how much protein it has. Still of all the juices together he gets about the 20-28 ounces. We have used celery, cabbage, strawberries, raspberries and tomato in his juice and he didn’t seem to mind. But, to keep my grocery list simple and the juicing simple, we currently use blueberries, broccoli with the carrot, apple, and romaine. And per our last check-up we have added cabbage because of some kind of vitamin deficiency he found.)
  5. Drink 8 oz of Reboot blend – a recipe from the doc. (we have never done it and I do not know what it is. He gave us a ton of papers at our first visit and I think it is in that, but we were overwhelmed and I was just glad to get the carrot and apple going).
  6. High protein smoothie with store brand of Vegetable protein powder. (We do not do this, but I do have a powder that is organic raw veggies. I add it to the pasteurized juice when I have not had time to make any raw, fresh juice. I have plans to go get that this week and hope to figure out a way to use it.)
  7. Drink Kangen Water 8.5 or purified/distilled water. (He drinks purified water. To have true PH water, we would have to do it ourselves and since his PH is balancing with the juicing, I would rather not by another appliance and just buy the purified water. The PH water that you see on the grocery shelves is a marketing trick. Research it.)
  8. Have good thoughts: Massage Coconut Oil into skin daily. (We work on the good thoughts, and have not used any coconut oil. Only because we just forget.)
  9. One TBS of flax seed oil 2 times daily. (He gets it once a day about 4 times a week. We forget.)
  10. One TBS of coconut oil 2 times daily. (I have tried, but it is gross and he just won’t take it. I rarely cook, so there is not really anyway to work it in. I just try to push him to take it straight., but so far we have only gotten it down twice ever.)
  11. Do Not Eat: BHT, MSG, Aspartame, soy, peanut. (We avoid all of that but peanut, however, he doesn’t like peanutbutter any more anyway. We don’t actively look to avoid soy.)
  12. Do Not Eat: White flour products. (eat whole grains flour instead, which we try to do. We do eat a lot of pasta that is the whole wheat pasta.)
  13. Do Not Eat: White sugar products. (substitute honey or Stevia. I have never tried the Stevia, but he won’t eat honey.)
  14. Do Not Eat: Milk products. (Substitute rice or almond or coconut milk. I tried all of these and he does not like any of it. I plan to try almond ice cream in a smoothie, but have not yet. The only milk product he gets is organic yogurt, and the cheese on his noodles and when he eats pizza.)
  15. Do Not Eat: Meat products. (use veggiemeats, bison, venison, or fish. I have started using ground buffalo to make hamburgers, and we plan to pursue venison. He will not eat fish. So, he does eat grilled chicken from Chick-fil-a or Subway. When I buy chicken I buy the cage-free, no antibiotic chicken, however, it is not perfect. His favorite thing is pizza, which violates so many of these rules. I’ve tried making it, I’ve tried frozen gluten free organic, but neither is as good as Papa John’s to him.)
  16. Some foods listed for him to eat are raw walnuts, pecan, and almonds. Also listed is avocado.
  17. There is a veggie powder also on the list. (I use a veggie powder in his juice that is pasteurized, but that is the only time).
  18. Deep breathing exercise, lymph massage, sunshine daily.
His supplement schedule is as follows: Multi-vitamin, 1 daily (Yes, we get that); Lact-enz, 2 at meal times and before bed (he might get one); Cod liver oil, 1ml three times daily (Yes, we get that); Immune Support, 1 dropperful 3 times daily (he gets two); Zeolite, 10 drops under his tongue 3 times a day (he gets one set of the 10 about every other day; Vitamin D3, 1 dropperful daily (Yes, we do that); Pitutrophin PMG, 1 daily (Yes, we do that).
I know all of that seems confusing, and when I started writing it out I didn’t realize how much of it we are actually not doing. But, we do the best we can, and some days are just better than others. I want to stress that we have no medical proof that any of this helps anything; St. Jude just kind of ignores what we say about it. We are pursuing it completely on our own, and it is one of those things that we will never know if it is helping or not, but it can’t hurt for his body to be healthy.

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