Two days ago I returned home from a lovely week in Breckenridge with my parents. We marveled at the icy art of the International Snow Sculpture Championships, took magical snow hikes, watched moose eat willows in the front yard, and played with Bernerdoodle puppy Izzy. Thanks, Mom and Jim, for a nice visit.
Bruce and I have been home 5 weeks from our wonderful trip to the Galapagos: we visited 16 islands, islets, rocks, and reefs. We had 2 hikes and 2 snorkels on most days; the Coral crew took great care of us and the naturalists were full of enthusiasm for this special archipelago. We saw all the iconic species, took 4,500 pictures, visited Darwin Research Station, listened to Origin of Species on my iPhone, and read Beak of the Finch. If you want to armchair travel ... photo album. And while there are intriguing travel tales to tell, I have breaking news about Porlock that demands ink.
Unless Wednesday’s blood work brings unexpected results, I plan a dramatic addition to my cancer offensive. As many of you know, about a year ago I began using marijuana to help with “disease anxiety” and sleep. Some weeks I took it regularly and some weeks, when we were overseas, none. A pattern slowly emerged: weeks of marijuana use seemed to correlate with slower tumor growth. My cancer marker has been creeping up 1 or 2 points every 3 weeks. The dramatic exception? My marker shot up 9 points during our Galapagos trip, when I was off THC. This left me just shy of the reoccurrence threshold. I was devastated. I started back on nightly THC. Three weeks later we were shocked to learn my marker fell 8 points.
My oncologist was stunned. My marker has only ever fallen during chemo. With no medical explanation, and my hunch the pot is helping, she has given her blessing -- I am starting a high dose THC regimen on Feb 9th. Of course, I will continue my Avastin infusion treatments every 21 days. I am not abandoning traditional medicine.
The protocol is called RSO, which is simply a schedule for taking a very concentrated thick bitter oil distilled from whole marijuana plants. There is anecdotal evidence it can shrink tumors. There isn’t much science about RSO proving that it works, or doesn’t, because of the federal classification of THC as a Schedule I drug, which basically has banned all research for decades. More on that later!
I would be lying if I didn’t admit I’m anxious. I have read a few accounts- it can be intense. I feel like a Guinea Pig saddled up to ride a Wild West trail bordering crackpot crystal healing and Nobel worthy discoveries. But given the incurable nature of my predicament, I have little to lose. I don’t hold unrealistic hopes that this will cure me, but if it increases remission time and slows disease progression it will be a success. Managing this disease is a balancing act of toxicity and quality of life and this seems to meet both goals. Apparently, the body can habituate to high THC use, so after a few weeks of increasing doses I should adapt and can stay on high doses without feeling high. I hope to return to my usual clever, focused, and ambitious self! My tentative plan is to try RSO for 3 or 4 months and see what happens. I will continue having my CA125 tested every three weeks, so we will have data to know if it's helping. I'm not sure if I feel desperate, hopeful or crazy, but I am compelled to try.
A rambling explanation for getting to my request. As I ramp up my dosage I am concerned about being alone all day. I need daytime play dates. I will likely be loopy, goofy, wacky, buzzed, sleepy, dopey, ditzy (a new version of the 7 dwarfs), unable to drive, housebound? Or maybe I’ll be just fine! Dr. S keeps telling me how great I’m doing -- my body can take a lot. But it seems wise to have a safety net in place.
I would be grateful for the company, especially to keep me from eating the entire pantry if I get the munchies! If you have any free weekdays from Feb 7-18, bring your laptop and work, enjoy our lovely yard, binge on Netflix or Amazon shows, read, paint, play with Cooper, cook, do your taxes? If I’m together enough we can walk to yoga at C squared. Shoot me an email with times you could visit and I’ll put together a schedule. I am so grateful for my village.