This is my own story of life with advanced ovarian cancer. I do not offer medical advice, and my treatment decisions are my own. Please talk to your physician or healer and gain as much information as you can about this dreadful disease called cancer. Remember, knowledge is Power!

Monday, October 25

It's Been A Weepy Week

I've spent a lot of time at TWC lately. Last Monday I went to the Mind/Body thing, where we learned more about positive thinking, self-hypnosis, meditation, things like that. It was very informative. 

Tuesday, my son and I went to the Kid2Kid/Family2Family thing that we'd been to a couple weeks earlier. We shared a nice dinner with another family, then split into our separate groups. The kids got to do sand trays, which is a very therapeutic, interesting and effective way for them to express themselves. 

On Wednesday, I went to the Relaxation/Visualization class, which was incredible! Low lights, soft chiming music, the voice of the therapist softly leading us to happier places- wow. I'm definitely doing that again! Then straight from there to my weekly support group in the other building. 

Thursday, I went to the Cooking For Life class. The main theme was eggplant. Now, I'm not a big eggplant fan- I've had it a few times and just wasn't impressed. But the dude that ran the class showed us 3 different ways to use an eggplant. He is really big on Moroccan cooking, so he made a tagine, some baba ganoush, and some eggplant "burgers". I must say- I left that class stuffed to the gills! Then it was off to the other building for the Five Wishes class that explained Living Wills and advanced directives. I can't even tell you how weepy I got that night reading through that. And for a few days afterward, too. (they did warn us that it might bring out some "strong emotions". They weren't kidding.) 

You know, I really thought I had it all together, but apparently I don't. My game-face fell off, and my Laugh-In-The-Face-Of-Death attitude took a hike. It wasn't even about the preparing-to-die thing, really (which I'm not). What got me, was what I thought people would/should do naturally for someone in their final days- it never occurred to me that some people would actually need it spelled out for them- things like playing music, or holding your hand, or praying, or BASIC COMFORT care, like a cool cloth on your head, or keeping you clean. I don't even know the kind of people that wouldn't do that for someone, and it broke my heart to think that others don't get that kind of  loving treatment.

Anyway- I was making notes in the margins on my Five Wishes list, and wrote down the names of a few people that I would like praying with me. I have a couple friends outside of the church that I really connect with on that level. I went out on Friday night to see my friend's band play at this biker bar and lo and behold, there was one of the guys on my list! I hadn't seen him in awhile, and he was there sitting in with the band. We were talking outside during the break and he said "you got time for a quickie before I go back in and play"? (He meant a PRAYER, you pervs- you know who you are!) So there we were, standing out in the parking lot of the biker bar praying quietly while the thunder of motorcycles filled our ears. It was a beautiful thing. Thank you, Kenny Goodman! (his bio says "God and Guitar") Yes, indeed. I cried all the way home.

Yesterday I took a ride out to Surprise to see a pastor friend of mine at his church. It's pretty far away so I hadn't seen him since he baptized me last year. He is one of the other names on my list of people I want praying with me/for me. Don't get me wrong, I welcome prayers from EVERYONE, but these guys are special. We caught up a little before the service, and when he heard my news he immediately rounded up the elders from the church. They surrounded me in a protective cocoon and sent up some heavy duty prayers, for me, and gave me their blessings. He also talked about me during the service, so I had a whole lotta people coming up to me afterward sharing love and support. It was incredible! After church I met up with one of my very best friends from waayyy back that I haven't seen in a long time. We had a wonderful time together- it was like we'd not spent the last 5 years apart. And I cried all the way home. 

It's been a weepy few days for me. I think I've cried more this past week than the whole 18 months since I was diagnosed. I don't think I was crying for myself; I think it was more because people believe in me and show me so much love- it overwhelms me at times. I pray that you all have friends  and family like mine. I love you all.

Tuesday, October 19


In the 18 months since I was diagnosed and had to deal with this hideous thing called cancer, I have not had one moment's peace- until now.  Always worrying about tumor growth, agonizing over treatments, dealing with horrible side effects, trying to take care of everyone else in their denial and worry, trying to jump off the Cancer Train only to be thrown back on again and again- it was too much. It knocked me right on my ass, and it was difficult to pull myself back up. I could feel myself slipping away.

Since I made the decision last week to discontinue any more chemo treatments and turn to alternative, naturopathic and holistic healing approaches, I feel Zen-like. Calm. Comforted. Blessed. Peaceful. It's an amazing transformation. I've had a lot of these transformations lately; from engaged to single, from independent to living with my mom again, from chemo girl to granola girl, etc. It's all been amazing! 

I am learning so much about myself; socially, physically, biologically, psychologically, and spiritually. I had to learn to let go, to surrender, to forgive, and to change to be able to heal. I'm on my way, and I can feel it. No matter what happens now, I'm ready for it. I finally get it. 


Monday, October 18

One Week Down

10/10/10 (nice day to start a new life, huh?)

Step One:  STOP POISONING MYSELF!! Eliminate all alcohol, sugar, processed foods, meat and dairy products from diet. Bye-bye, Babyface. I'll miss you.

Consume as much fruits, veggies, leafy greens as possible. Good thing I love that stuff- No problem there! As my friend Shannon Rose says: Eat the rainbow!
Went to my local Sprouts and bought all kinds of leafy greens, brightly colored peppers, organic stuff. 'Scuse me, RAW organic stuff! I bought this vinegar- Holy cow, it's so good!

And this: tastes like ass  Organic Flax Oil- YUM! Put it in smoothies, or with that tasty vinegar on salad or veggies. But don't take it straight. I'm just sayin'. . .

Stuff I tried:              
Not bad in a smoothie, okay in coffee, definitely an acquired taste
Living Harvest Tempt Hemp Milk, Unsweetened Original, 32-Ounce Containers (Pack of 12) Soymilk, Unsweetened, Aseptic, Organic, 32 oz.

Garden of Eatin' Tortilla Chips, Red Hot Blues, 9-Ounce Bags (Pack of 12) Muir Glen Organic Salsa, Black Bean & Corn, Medium, 16 oz 
Dude. WOW.  Pretty soon I'll learn how to make this stuff. WOW.

Other things I ate: 
vegetarian chili with whole wheat pasta (AWESOME)
roasted veggies (peppers, zukes, squash, garlic, yams, onions) with safflower oil and spices (AWESOME)
organic whole grain bread (GOOD) with organic RAW honey (BETTER)
lots of salads with interesting veggies (REALLY GOOD) and that BADASS VINEGAR (WAY BETTER!)
smoothies with banana (always), green stuff, juices. (REALLY GOOD til you add flax oil)

Other things I did towards my New Life of Healthy Living:
Went to my support group at TWC.
Read, researched, walked, laughed, hung out with my girls all week, went to Flagstaff, loved.

Today I'm going to The Mind Body Connection program at TWC.
Thursday, also at TWC, is a class called Five Wishes. It shows you how to create a Living Will and deal with those issues.

You know, I really can't say enough good things about The Wellness Community. Almost every day there is something interesting, informative, fun, therapeutic, and educational- from networking groups specific to your cancer, to general support groups, kid stuff, exercise, yoga, meditation, art, book club, and Cooking For Life, as well as speakers on genetic counseling, new technology, information on clinical trials, chemo brain, dealing with side effects, and living your life during and after cancer. I have learned so much there! And I've made some wonderful new friends. I EVEN GOT MY KID TO GO, and if you know us, you know how hard that was to pull off. (he's 14 and has a hard time dealing with it- so he doesn't). If you have TWC in your area, I encourage you to GO. Best of all, it's totally free.

Oh yeah- last week I had my cardiology and pulmonology follow ups. Here's what they had to say:

Cardiologist: (when asked if HE would do chemo, not only once or twice, but a third time) "Well, Patty- as a medical doctor, I would encourage you to talk to your oncologist about your plan. He's a smart guy (I know). Personally, I would try chemo again. Then again, I wouldn't do the whole lifestyle change, either- if it came down to the matter of what I eat and how long I'm gonna live, I'll take the steak every time. ALSO, I do recommend getting the MUGA (heart scan) done whether you decide to do chemo or not".

Honesty is his policy, I guess. I like it. He ALSO (ding ding ding!) said I could go off the BP meds I've been on since I had the heart attack last year. He told me to stay on the Coumadin (blood thinner) for awhile and he will monitor that weekly for me.

Pulmonologist: Well, Patty- it looks like your lungs are clear, and that the Valley Fever seems to have resolved. You can quit taking the Diflucan (anti-fungal) now. I'll be interested to see how your choices turn out! I would advise you to thoroughly research naturopathic doctors and nutritionists, because "anyone" can claim to be a nutritionist or a naturopath. Make sure they are N.M.D., and a Registered Dietician before embarking on your new journey towards better living. Call me when you need me!" I really love that guy.

Tomorrow (tomorrow, there's always tomorrow) I get to lay all this on my oncologist- my decision to not do any more chemotherapy, my desire to detox and purify my body, and my commitment to healthy living and well being. Hopefully, he will give me full support. After all, I do still have cancer, and he is my oncologist. It's not like he's going to drop me as a patient or anything just because I don't want any more chemo. I still need to have labwork done and a scan now and then to see how things look. I will ask him why a biopsy was not offered. Hmm.

So that was my week. How was yours? Love you all!

Thursday, October 14

The Power Of Three

*Three is a mystical number that shows up repeatedly in mythology: three fates, three muses, three graces. Three is a prime component of fairy tales: three wishes, three little pigs, three bears.

Three creates a series, a pattern of cause and effect.

There are three stages of truth: first a concept is rejected, second it is violently opposed, third it is accepted as self-evident.

Three is a basic structure of life: carbohydrates, protein, fat; electron, proton, neutron; past, present, future.

Three is a basic structure of stories: beginning, middle, end.  *from squidoo

Three is the number of times I've had to face cancer and make life-altering decisions about treatment. Apparently, there are only three treatment options available in conventional Western medicine: surgery, chemo, radiation. I've now been offered these choices for a third time. 

Let's review:
I got cancer
I had surgery
I had chemo
I had heart attack
I had more chemo
I had a recurrence
I had more chemo
I had a pulmonary embolism
I had more chemo
I have a new recurrence-
Third time the charm?
Or three strikes and I'm out?

I have three words for you: NO MORE CHEMO. 
Here's three more: NO FUCKING WAY.
And three more: I AM DONE.

Chemotherapy has almost killed me twice. It has caused me more health problems and long term side effects than the cancer itself. My cancer is persistent and progressive. Chemo may damp it down a bit, but it will not cure me. It will only cause more damage- OF THIS I AM SURE. I still have a kid at home, and I need to be fully HERE for him while I'm still here.

So, what now? you ask. 

After much research, soul searching, and a kick in the pants by some of the best alternative, naturopathic, holistic friends and healers alive I've decided to surrender to Mother Nature and God and go the natural route to detox, cleansing, and immune boosting, as well as fully embracing the mind/body connection towards healing. After explaining it to my family, I'm getting full support from them but so far, I've heard: "You're crazy!", and "What the fuck?", and "You're giving up???" But more and more, I'm getting: "It's about time!", and "I'm in!", and "I can hook you up with so and so . . . ".  

This will be a big transformation for me, and there is a lot involved. I've been a meat-and-potatoes girl all my life; raised on cows milk, processed foods,  and preservatives. I've pumped more chemicals and pollutants into my body than should be allowed. I lived in highly industrialized places. I smoked. I drank. I love fat and gravy. And sugar. And those are all just PHYSICAL THINGS that do so much to fuck up our immune systems so badly to invite horrible diseases like diabetes, heart problems and cancer. I haven't even begun to crack the emotional aspects or the spiritual deficits in my life.

I think I shocked my support group at The Wellness Community with that one last night, but they rallied around like they always do, no matter what.The people in my group are in all stages of the cancer journey; some newly diagnosed, some currently in treatment, and some in remission. They seem to be of the same mind that there has GOT to be other ways to treat cancer besides surgery, chemo and radiation, and are interested in helping me find it.

I'm going to be a busy girl. I have a lot to learn, and I WELCOME your thoughts, ideas, connections and experiences in alternative, natural and holistic healing because for me, THIS way is now the ONLY way.

Remember: It's not nice to fool Mother Nature.

Wednesday, October 13


I've had one. It all makes sense now, and I know what I'm supposed to do. I just wish I'd thought of it sooner.

To be continued. . . . .

Saturday, October 9

What's that game called?

You know- the one where you tell one person something, then they tell another person, who tells another, who tells another, and so on...

My brother called me today and said "I heard it through the grapevine, and now I just want to hear it from you. Do you have a banana in your colon?" Of course I screeched for my mom (because she tends to mix things up a little sometimes, and my new tumor IS kinda banana-shaped) and asked her "DID YOU TELL FRANK I HAD A BANANA IN MY COLON???"

With a totally straight face she said "Is that like a tater in your tailpipe?" God, I love my family.

Thursday, October 7

I Didn't Sign Up For This

I don't even know what to say. I mean, I have A LOT of things to say, but am not ready to voice them yet. Here's the skinny on the PET scan results:

1. New prominent soft tissue density along the left pelvic sidewall just deep to the junction of the distal descending colon and sigmoid as detailed. Findings are consistent with metabolically active malignancy.

2. Left internal mammary node is enlarged measuring approximately 1 cm and shows elevated glucose uptake. Findings are consistent with intra-thoracic metastasis.

The black areas are brain, kidneys, bladder- all normal appearing. The internal mammary node isn't visible on this slice of the scan. The thing in the circled area is the new soft tissue density and is quite large.

I learned some new words:  MUGA scan. Doxil. I even made up a few new ones that make the 'F' word sound tame.

Tuesday, October 5

A Call To My Peeps:

I need a boost, my friends. My oncology appointment is tomorrow to discuss PET scan results. I haven't slept in 3 days. My sister is back in the hospital undergoing tests for bowel issues- she had a colon resection 6 months ago. Now I have some weird bowel issues going on. Sympathetic symptoms, maybe? A bug? Bad oysters after my PET scan on Friday? I know, what was I thinking? (actually, I was thinking I should load up on all that raw-fishy-sushi stuff now in case I had to start chemo again and wasn't allowed to have it. My mind works in strange ways). I am STRESSED OUT. In pain. Scared. AGAIN! How many times do I have to go through this? 

So- if it wouldn't be too much, would y'all mind sending good thoughts my way? Send it in whatever way blows your skirt up- pray, rattle 'dem bones, knock on wood, rub your lucky rock, telepathy- I ain't picky. I'll take them all. Some for my sister wouldn't be bad, either. Thank you.

Lord, give me strength. Amen.


Saturday, October 2

A Letter From Lance

Dear Patty,
Thirteen years ago today, I was diagnosed with cancer. Every year
since then, October 2 has served as a reminder to me that even though
cancer left my body, it will always be a part of my life.

And thanks to the commitment of LIVESTRONG supporters like you,
what was a personal anniversary is now a day that the entire community
can rally around. It’s a day when we come together and wear yellow,
attend events and renew our commitment to fight cancer for as long
as it takes—and to do our part to raise awareness of the 28 million
people fighting cancer worldwide.

LIVESTRONG Day is a declaration that we won’t quit and 
we won’t retreat. That’s why events today will have a real impact
by making our voice even louder: 
With each passing year, it becomes clearer that one day we’ll
reach our goal of a world without cancer.

So many survivors are standing tall right now. So many friends,
family members, and supporters are providing the strength and courage
it takes to fight this disease.

The world needs to hear that defeating cancer is our highest priority. I
appreciate all that you’re doing today to make that global statement loud
and clear.

Lance Armstrong

P.S. Watch this powerful video LIVESTRONG put together showing
what this day means—and carry this message with you today:

Thank you, Lance. You are such an inspiration to many! Now I'm off to my
support group at The Wellness Community. Have a great day, everyone!

Friday, October 1

Still waiting

We FINALLY got authorization to my PET scan. Good thing, cuz I'm about ready to hit the ER for some pain control. I've been on vicodin for the past few days, and I HATE that. It doesn't help much, it just makes me care less about the pain. We're still moving stuff around, unpacking, etc. so I'm exhausted and feel like I've been hit by a bus. I wish!
My PET scan scheduled for  today at 1pm. I'm up stuffing my face at the moment since I can't eat or drink later. Stay tuned for Tales From The PET Store. In theaters next week.