Wisdom of MY Words

Random Musings & Book Reviews

Archive for the 'Cancer' Category

09 September

Rachael Sarto


I am 52. I am dying. Of metastasized breast cancer. Located in my brain. While I don’t have an oncologist, because I tried with Dr. David Potter. He lied at the start of his phone call to me. I realize that most people don’t listen and therefore he feels like he can say whatever he wants. The problem is, I listen. Then again, that’s why doctor’s are said to have a G-d complex: because they don’t listen.

Sarto’s Linked In profile states, under job title of Clinical Social Worker/Therapist, Kind and direct clinical social worker and therapist with experience supporting people in the midst of loss, grief, change, physical illness, and mental illness,. I enjoy working with individuals, families, groups.

Uh. What just happened?

This is the introduction post to <B>every single solitary MSW in existence. Over all time.</B>

What’s she telling me about herself?

What makes her unique?

Nothing apparently. I should see her because she says she listens?

Her references on LinkedIn are a circle jerk from her coworkers. She has no information that tells me anything about her. In order for me to confide in someone, especially after 38 years of therapy, my grandmother treating me like a Catholic Church priest abuse victim, forcing me into therapy at 16, I’m not able to confide in someone who so clearly has zero personality.

Then her photos. A big part of my problem is that since I am beautiful, thin, and smart; I need a therapist that can understand unwanted attention from both sexes. My entire life, starting when I was 11–going to Dave Ziemer’s father’s dental office and getting cat called by construction. workers, I thought that was normal.

Juan Carlo didn’t say anything when I showed him her photo. He was pensive and then he replied, Yeah, there’s no way I can sit in session and look at her face.

Then an old home GF from Milwaukee came over and spent the day talking, making me feel less crazy because her manner of speaking is the way I speak. She is home. Like Sara Oxton is home because she has similar background to my sweet bearded Scandoboy. Highland Park has always reminded me of the North Shore. It’s a first tier suburb that still thinks it’s in the city. St. Paul is old and was built by Catholics. Jews too.


06 August

Brown & Greene Floral

I have brain mets from breast cancer and yesterday my husband and I were walking around the Sidewalk Sale in Linden Hills. I’ve had an infection on the back of my head for months, and I’m blind in one eye since neurosurgery. When they operate on your brain you have to recover and you do not come out the same. I picked up some stuff, bowls and a measured ceramic pitcher, and then went inside.
There were glass domes over the candles. Diptyque, in Paris, does the same thing. So does the mall tea store. I am 52, and I have money for nice things. I’m terminally ill, I only want to shop at pleasant nice stores that do not cause me grief. That is NOT Brown & Green Floral.
Because of neurosurgery and the changes to my brain if I smell using the dome I will ONLY smell the first candle, I will sneeze, and I won’t be able to get the smell out of my nose for hours.
To avoid that problem I smelled the candles. Lisa decided to come over and criticize the way I was doing things. She decided to tell me her tip. You could feel the air get sucked into her wide body, crackling with energy. Lisa’s unattended anger shoved out into the air and I was frightened. The air was so oogey my husband of 23 years shifted and started to come over. He felt the energy and was concerned for me. He said later that he thought I was holding my own, so he did not interject.
Lisa stood with her arms across her prodigious girth and said, Oh, tell me how your sense of smell changed? I tensed up, and she became more aggressive, clearly thinking I’m a liar. She was behaving like she wanted to fight me because her way was the right way and there was no way brain surgery, if I had even really HAD brain surgery, changed the way I smell.
I was clearly trying to be difficult Lisa’s puffy Iowa farm girl face said.
Because she stood staring at me, gawp-eyed, I started to babble a bit, saying that neurosurgery changes everything, hot flashes, bowel movements.
Oh does int, she said, leaning in and sneering. Tell me more, she said and stared and stared and stared me down. I was uncomfortable and embarrassed and the last thing I wanted to do was talk about my terminal cancer with an angry stranger. Or my Bfs. Or my menopause. (SMH)
But I hesitated being a Mean Girl because I am thin and pretty and Lisa is not. So I chose to take the high road, leaving the store while my husband checked out because I was shaking and close to tears. We purchased an over priced $40 candle because I was tense and stressed by Lisa’s aggressive attitude. I felt ASHAMED that I am sick. I don’t need shame. I’m busy dealing with sorrow.
We will not be back.
I will be writing up an even bigger and longer blog post about it because I am sick of being treated like garbage. By a sales clerk! Oy! Insecure much? My husband told me that she was rude to me because I am beautiful. Oh whatever, she was aggressive, shaming, and nasty because she has a whole lot of seething anger underneath her skin. The shop down the way from Brown & Greene was super friendly, handing out over sweet Prosecco and totally chill. Quite unlike the experience I just had.
I dislike that I have to air my personal business to give this retail experience a thorough and fair review. It’s wrong.
As an author and small business owner I love small businesses and I have never shopped at Wal-Mart and very rarely at Target, not since my 30s. I practice what I preach. I do not go back to restaurants or stores that treat me badly. Life is, honestly, too short to be treated poorly when you are spending money. My husband said to me in the car, if I hadn’t been there I wouldn’t have believed you. The way Lisa treated you was absolutely awful.
Brown & Greene?
Why you gotta make life so hard?
–Michele Davis, PhD

01 August

Forces of Habit by David T. Cartwright

In 1936 New York City police destroyed 40,000 pounds of cannabis they found growing in the city.

Pg 44

But cannabis in America was not just a syncopated version of the ganja complex. It was more narrowly geared toward pleasure. Eric Hoffer once observed inspiring leaders cannot create mass movements unless conditions are historically ripe. Mass media played a role in delivering the fake news about drugs, specifically cannabis. No fewer than 72 films released in the US and Europe from 1955 to 1972 contained drug-related episodes and themes.

18 July


Antimony trisulfide, aromatic USP 14, arsenic sulfide, berberis root, bloodroot, buckthorn bark, burdock, cascara, licorice, pokeroot, prickly ash bark, red clover, stillingia root, sulfur, talc, trichloroacetic acid, zinc chloride.

Background”Hoxsey formula” is a misleading name because it is not a single formula, but rather is a therapeutic regimen consisting of an oral tonic, topical (on the skin) preparations, and supportive therapy. The tonic is individualized for cancer patients based on their general condition, the location of their cancer, and their previous history of treatment. An ingredient that usually remains constant for every patient is potassium iodide. Other ingredients are then added and may include licorice, red clover, burdock, stillingia root, berberis root, pokeroot, cascara, Aromatic USP 14, prickly ash bark, and buckthorn bark. A red paste may be used, which tends to be caustic (irritating), and contains antimony trisulfide, zinc chloride, and bloodroot. A topical yellow powder may be used and contains arsenic sulfide, talc, sulfur, and a “yellow precipitate.” A clear solution may also be administered and contains trichloroacetic acid.

17 July

17 July 2017 – Cannabis Oil Journey

I’ve hit the seventh (7) week of my Cannabis Oil ingestion. The Colorado Cannabis Company round child proof vials broke and Juan Carlo had to heat them up and get the oil out of them and put it into a syringe so I could take it. I only took about 1/10th of a gram for four (4) days. I experienced some anxiety starting on Day 2 that increased every day until I restarted my daily .35 gram. Now I have moved up to half a gram or 50 mg of CO. I am taking my CBD Oil every day but I don’t could how many drops. I just make sure I am taking five (5) drops or more at a time, every morning, and the Endoca is like 3500g CBD in the entire container. The new stuff I purchased from Jon Marsh is less expensive and a larger container, but less per drop.

There are a lot of things to do and nothing seems to be moving as fast as I would like. Juan Carlo is overwhelmed  and yesterday I basically had to sit down with Mini Me and explain that if he wanted me alive he needed to start behaving as fig he was an adult living with other adults as opposed to a depressed angry non communicative teen. He understood and seems to be trying so I have no comment, but Pea is a real problem. Mini Me told us she’s been doing blow when we’ve been in Denver and that when he’s expressed real genuine fear by this new habit she replied that she really needed it. I can see how she thinks she needs it, but the product now, compared to the 80s is mostly Borax and other cheaper drugs used at cut. Coke is only about 50% pure on the streets of the 612.

Last week she said she wanted a Fitbit to monitor her sleeping and see her steps and whatever and I asked her to wait. On Saturday she was here dropping off clothes because I’ve listed a whole bunch of her and my clothes on eBay and Poshmark and they are selling. She’s here and yapping about paying $168 + tax for a Fitbit. I’d asked her to wait because I knew we could find it cheaper and I wanted to talk to her about our experiences with Jawbone, Fitbit, the Leaf tracker, and Garmin. But she can’t fucking listen. Then her debt load. I paid off most of her debt and then she went into receivership with one credit card bill of like $800 and the other credit card bill is like $2500 over her credit limit because some politician got rid of the credit card laws in America that state that a bank can’t allow you to go over your credit limit. So instead of her being able to control her spending she is paying something like 48% interest on the amount that is over and above her credit limit with like 28% APR on the initial amount. For example, $2500 has a 28% APR. That interest is something like $30/month but add the whopping 48% on another $2500 and you’re suddenly at some crazy fee, most likely $110/month in interest.

She earns about 50 grand a year and she is in massive debt and I no longer know how to get through to her.

16 July

16 July 2017 – Cannabis Oil Journey

We are on the second to the last episode of the Sister Catherine Cesnik murder story and the Fr Joe Maskell sexual assaults and raps in the Netflix show The Keepers. It’s very hard to watch as these high school girls have been brutalized by these two priests, a gynecologist, and a therapist maybe a psychologist. People in the DAs office, the police department, and within the high school itself colluded with the archdiocese and other priests to subvert justice for the teenagers from a Baltimore high school, and a nun who they murdered. Baltimore reminds me of the Southside of Milwaukee or the Southside of Chicago. Very Catholic, priests can do no wrong, the girls are dumb about sex and their own body parts, m let alone what is being done to them.

We’ve been watching an episode a day. Today we drove out to Golden Valley and picked up Mini Me’s phone  as he took a Xanax bar and was all messed up, left his phone and keys in a kids car who then got a DWI. The other kid was selling something like 80 Xanax, but didn’t get popped by the cops for more than like 9 pills. The parents told us they police missed numerous pills. And her car was completely pulled apart. It’s unreal to me the shite the police do to personal property but still miss pills.

I’m reading about Amelia Powers.

Next Sunday, ~25 September 2013, it will be 18 months to the day that Amelia Powers underwent “debulking surgery” for the aggressive brain tumour that had manifested, seemingly overnight, on March 28 2012. She had gone to bed alone that night, sobbing, “that deep, quiet crying that you don’t do very often,” upset after an argument with her then boyfriend. Waking in the middle of the night with what felt like a migraine coming on, she discovered, to her distress, that she had vomited in her sleep.

The sickness persisted, along with the headache, both of which she attributed to the “migraine.” It wasn’t until she woke up in an emergency room in Bologna, where she had travelled on business for her luxury, bespoke handbag line (despite having difficulty reading the departures board at the airport) a few days later, that the full force of what might be happening to her hit. Confused and alone, she travelled home to face the worst possible prognosis – this was a grade three anaplastic astrocytoma, the most dangerous form of brain cancer, from which the median survival time – with treatment – is 18 months.

And yet, here we are on Skype, where we have been meeting regularly across time zones since March this year, for me to document her story, and; “there’s nothing wrong with me!” she cries. “I do the Royal Ballet workout every day, I eat no meat, sugar, wheat or dairy. No alcohol. My body isrocking. I was told 100 percent I would die from this, but I feel in perfect health, perfect alignment. I feel…” she drags a hand through her shiny black hair, cropped short after her first round of chemo “…beautiful. According to them, I should be at death’s door.

It struck me there that her stress, emotional turmoil, perhaps fear of abandonment, all were emotional things that manifested into a very real disease. Trauma in utero and trauma in early childhood all cause disease, but systemically people who were more seriously abused, the abuse leeched into their bodies and set up shop. Years later this cellular destruction caused cancer. Take Emmy’s experience with the terror attacks on the train like a decade ago. Emmy got cancer several years after the terror attack. I believe the trauma of the terror attack settled into her body and helped pave the way for the cancer cells to grow. I would bet that if I interviewed women who have advanced cancers we would find persistent trauma. Take Vicki. She had bullshit going on with her husband, they split, she was diagnosed with cancer cancer and now they’re divorced, and she’s going to lose her ovaries. She has two little ones, with  her first son, Thierry, as old as Pea, or close to it.

She drinks alcohol, eats meat, drinks aspartame, and doesn’t believe  her nutrition plays a role in cancer. She’d hardly believe that stress causes the problems it does. Some people don’t want to believe that stress and emotions actually play a large role in illness. People like their alcohol though. I can’t have more than one drink, two only if the drink was small (4 oz or less) or it was a super diluted champagne drink. Saturday I had a Champagne and Grapefruit cocktail at Saint Genevieve and it was pretty strong so I had a tiny shiney buzz where everything sparkled for about an hour. I was in a fugue state. It was actually very pleasant. Like a short nap. Or a shopping spree. Here’s more of the article:

“I just want them to be a platform so I can talk about this,” she turns her head to show me the bald patch she refuses to cover up. “I want to be able to talk about how we really heal.”

Because, having repeatedly refused further chemotherapy and radiation to treat her illness, Powers is the latest figurehead in a groundswell movement towards alternative therapies for cancer. In the States, “cancer thriver” Kris Carr has built a mini empire on her story (she is winning her fight against a rare strain of liver and lung cancer through diet alone), while here in the UK Lord Saatchi presented the House of Lords with his Medical Innovation Bill in December last year. Following the sudden death of his wife Josephine Hart from ovarian cancer, he described chemotherapy as “medieval, degrading and ineffective”, and wants doctors to have the choice to offer alternatives.

At present (speaking about his wife); “what you have is a situation where a woman is first tortured and then dies. Why? Because that is what’s required by law.” Not that it’s the doctors’ fault. “Everybody’s doing their level best. But they are inhibited by the prospect of a trial if something goes wrong.” This despite the fact that one doctor admitted to him that an estimated one in 10 people are killed by their cancer treatment.

Powers says she knew “their way” would kill her after one round of chemo. “My skin crawled like it was alive. I lost my hair, had two epileptic reactions. They also put me on steroids because my brain was swelling through my skull.” Met with only more of the same from her doctors, she decided to seek her own alternative. “I found a video on the Huffington Post of a man whose eight-month-old had the same tumour as me. He had treated it with Cannabis oil, and the tumour shrank in four months. Side effects? All it did was make her sleepy.”

More internet research led her to a man she calls the “Wizard of Woodacre,” a 70-year-old healer based in California manufacturing the cannabinoid tincture CBD (the psychoactive constituent THC has been removed) which she’s been taking daily since. Over email, her “Wizard” explains the legality of what they are doing; “In the State of California it’s legal. However, it to the Feds it remains a schedule 1 drug, in the same category as heroin – and supposedly with no medicinal value. Hopefully I’m a small enough operation that I’m under their radar.”

With over 500 clients, including one 37-year-old oncologist, the Wizard says inquiries rocketed after Sanjay Gupta’s CNN documentary on medicinal marijuana aired last month. He has faith that his treatment – which is harvested and blessed in the light of the full moon – “we work on an energetic and spiritual level in addition, and give thanks to the spirit of the plants in the Native American tradition” – will be made legal in his lifetime.

On a very practical level, nutrition is coming to be seen as key in cancer treatment – and prevention. On the Wizard’s recommendation, Powers has switched to a completely alkaline diet, while Laura Bond, who’s blog, Mum’s Not Having Chemo, is being made into a book that’s out in November, says that all her research has shown quitting dairy to be “the final piece in the healing puzzle” for many people. Having interviewed over 60 experts around the world for the book; “sugar and dairy are known as the ‘cancer accelerators.’ Your doctor won’t necessarily tell you that, which really shocked me, but it’s just not in their remit.”

“It can be difficult, because most physicians do not have specialist knowledge of alternative medicines and so may not feel able to supervise,” says Professor Susan Short, one of the few oncologists who would talk to me for this piece (Powers’ own doctors declined to comment). Again, this leads to “fear of litigation,” says Bond – meaning it’s safer to stick to the company line, despite the fact; “the standard treatments we offer are not as effective as we’d like,” admits Short.

She thinks only around five percent of patients refuse chemotherapy, and that while “alternatives provide hope for a better outcome, few have proven benefit. But this approach can make patients feel more in control.” And yet, as ever, she wants me to know that “the agents we use offer the best known approaches to treatment.” People like Powers and her Wizard would disagree. “About 25 percent of my clients have complete healing, 40 percent a moderate healing. These are approximate numbers, but I think they are better than the numbers for most chemo treatments.”

Of course, very limited clinical trials into medicinal marijuana have been done. Conversely, according to Cancer Research in the UK, any type of chemotherapy is tested for ten years minimum before it’s used on patients, while they also point out that the reason clinical trials of medicinal marijuana are limited is because its effectiveness can’t be proven.

But after an MRI back in April appeared to show that her tumour had been stabilized (i.e. there had been no further growth) Amelia was positively floored by her doctor’s reaction; “her answer was, ‘if you’re not going to take our treatment, then please carry on with what you’re doing. I’m really sorry that I can’t give this to you’.” In her eyes, this represented a major victory.

But when a further scan, in July this year, suggested that perhaps there might have been some growth, the prognosis left her reeling. “My doctor said; ‘in our opinion the chemo and radiotherapy didn’t work. But we think you should have a proper go with it.’ Here I am, with my hair gone, my teeth in a mess, periods which are just coming back. They all agree with me – the chemo is palliative. He even admitted; ‘Most patients chose it because they panic’.” Rather than upset, she seemed angry. “In hospital all I hear is negatives; ‘this isn’t working, it’s growing, you are not going to live from this, nobody does, we can’t do anything for you, we don’t know what to do…What the hospitals offer isn’t healing – it’s fear.”

And that is exactly what I’ve been talking about. Doctors,. hospitals, oncologists, nurse care coordinators, they all practice the art of fear. It doesn’t matter whether you have the stress of the American health care system or an NHS-type of governing body, the outcome is the same, doctors don’t discuss nutrition and they peddle fear.

15 July

15 July 2017 – Cannabis Oil Journey

Not yet in week 8 of the CO, but mere days away. I’ve spent some time reading the CSS board and the Breast Cancer CO board. And then the moderator’s mom died. She was a bit older than I, but not by much. There are others who have died and reported it on the CSS board and I’m a bit freaked out so I increased my dosage of the CO. I am consuming Tumeric, CO, CBD Oil. Juan Carlo has put together the Bowflex, so I am going to write starting Monday and hit the Bowflex and make sure I use the rebounder for at least 5b minutes. My chest has started to hurt. I’m going to work on consistent schedule every day where I am working. If I run out of things to write about I will switch to a different topic. I’m also going to go back to cooking. Mini Me said he’d happily drive me around and dip off muffins.

I really want to get back to making the muffins. I told Juan about the piece on society I am writing. How corporations like Apple, Amazon, and Microsoft have larger responsibilities to society than they think they do. If they don’t pay their taxes, how are they not creating a larger problem of entitlements coming from other people and small businesses instead of large companies like Microsoft or Apple.

11 July

09 July 2017 – Cannabis Oil Journey

Juan Carlo’s hairy, soft, naked legs were entwined with mine this morning and I was warm and cozy, laughing. I was reading aloud an article in The Guardian and Zack barged into the room at 07:40 hours. His energy was jittery, and it felt like he’d been up all night. Like he’d been up all night working himself up. I knew the look in his eyes just as I’d seen it in my own way back in the day, and as I saw the tired eyes of the men I loved: Scott, Jon, Geoff, but not David. There was always something reliable about David. That’s what I liked about him. He never felt like Jon or Geoff, ever so reliable men completely infatuated with me, my brightness.

He barges in, just as I was thinking about Seth. The name itself, and it’s meanings and where it originated. Seth, in case you don’t know, is the third son of Adam. It’s seriously flabbergasting how people can believe anything from the Bible in a literal manner. I looked up Seth because I wasn’t sure where it was mentioned, if it was Genesis or later, as it’s been awhile since I took a look through the good book. This author seems to believe that Adam and his relatives lived for 900 years. If the earth is only 5000 years old to these people, or is it only 2500 years to the religious believers? Anyway, if these people lived almost 1000 years, Adam by golly would’ve been alive and could have written a book! Or two! He lived almost 1000 years? He watched the worlds change many times, and yet this author believes that has to be accurate.

Everyone tells you that the Bible is parables, and I tell these people that the average religious joe thinks the parables are real! The early chapters of Genesis are concerned with the origin of the Earth and all life, including man. The Author’s intention is seemingly to present the grand picture first and then add certain details throughout the rest of Scripture; this is called Progressive Revelation. All we are told about Adam’s offspring is that the first son was named Cain, the second son named Abel [Genesis 4:1-2 ], then after Abel’s murder, another son named Seth was “begotten when Adam was 130 years old.” After that, Adam “begot sons and daughters” [Genesis 5:3-4]. This same passage also tells us that Adam lived for 930 years [Genesis 5:5]. Therefore, according to Scripture, Adam and Eve’s family consisted of sons Cain, Abel and Seth, plus a minimum of two other sons and two daughters, giving a total of seven children. However, accepting that Adam, and likely Eve, lived for 930 years, seven children would be the minimum number, but does this seem reasonable?

Genesis chapter five presents the genealogies of the descendants of Adam where we are simply given the father’s name, his age when he “begot” the first son and the total number of years he lived. With the exception of Enoch, all of these pre-flood descendants of Adam lived a minimum of 777 years, while most were over 900 years. In each instance, the record simply gives the name of the first son, then adds “and begot sons and daughters.” With these words, the minimum number of children per family then becomes five. But is this really a credible number?

Living over 900 years means living ten times longer than we do today. Proportionately, the female period of fecundity – today 30 to 35 years – would then be about 350 years. At a rate of only one child every seven years, this would result in 50 children for Adam’s immediate family. Interestingly, two ancient books written about the time of Christ but not having the authority of inspired Scripture confirm these figures. The Book of Jubilees, whose author is unknown, was written in the second century B.C. and states that Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Paradise seven years [p.49]. Then Eve gave birth to her first child, Cain, between the ages of 64-70, or the same numbers as the age of the Earth, anno mundi. Eve’s second child, Abel, was born seven years later – between the years 71-77 anno mundi [p.51]. The total number of Adam’s children is not given in this work; however, it is found as a footnote in The Works of Josephus where it states: “The number of Adam’s children, as says the old tradition, was 33 sons and 23 daughters.” In view of their longevity, these appear to be reasonable figures while it would have to be said that, sinners though they were, Adam and Eve had faithfully obeyed God’s first commission to: “be fruitful and multiply …” [Genesis 1:28].

“References: Charles, Robert Henry [translator]. 2005. The Book of Jubilees or the Little Genesis. Original publishers: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, UK. Published 2005 by: Ibis Press, Berwick, Maine. Whiston, William [translator]. The Works of Josephus. Hendrickson Publishers [First AD 93, this ed.1804] Book 1, Chapter 2, verse 3 footnote.”

I wonder sometimes I feel as if I got this horrible cancer because I am so bright. It seems to me at this stage of the game that bright things end up tarnished by life. My polish has certainly been worn away. I feel like I’m describing The Velveteen Rabbit, and that’s not what I’m going for. I’m tired, I guess is what I’m saying. I now understand my grandparents better than I have before. America is a country that is flying by the seat of its pants. If you think I’m implying head up the arse, I am. In America, facts are optional, and if you didn’t earn it legally, by your own means, you are looked at askance. What is wrong with you, exactly, the looks seem to say. It’s shaming, questioning, and condemning all at once. I’m blind in one eye, I can’t drive, let alone work and I don’t know what I would do if I hadn’t saved so much. But when you are being charged $25,000/year for health care, well your life is going to change pretty drastically if you 1) get sick or 2) lose your resources. As a white collar worker who needs her eyesight to function in order to work, I have no idea what my place in the world is anymore.

Wacky Mini Me admits he’s been up all night. He’s crying and sad and pouty. He reeks of body odour and smoke and I feel incredibly sad as I hold his thin, crying frame. He’s kept himself up all night listening to his brother’s Sound Cloud. If you’ve been reading my Facebook, you know he’s incarcerated. He’s crying and all upset and demands that I bring his brother home after he gets out in September or October. Mini Me is forgetting that I am slated to die. I also just don’t have the bandwidth for the oldest or even the youngest. Like I’ve said before, I am just tired. I want to get out all the fascinating things I’ve read and examined and I want to write and sell, get back on top of it. I know I should join a writer’s group too. I was reading interviews in The Guardian with actors and writers and other British artists and they talked about a turning point where they knew they were mortal and that kept them hustling and being artistic. For me the opposite is true. I miss my craft but I felt invincible. I also felt like I deserved some fun. Swinging dicks, whatever, but after my mother beat me and gave me horrid insecurities, I felt like I’d better party hard. And I did. I enjoyed my career. I enjoyed drinking. I enjoyed the kids. I enjoyed Juan. Now I am feeling my mortality and know that I have to be writing every day even if it’s my rambling thoughts all over town.

The medical safety net in America is called Medicaid since I am under 65. I have called Minnesota Care, which is the Affordable Care Act’s Minnesota arm, twice. The first time they told me they were unable to adjust my medical data based on illness, it had to be on income, and they could not put zero for my income this year. Then there is a Breast Cancer Legal resource Juan found on the Internet and I’ve called them twice and they’ve not called back. It’s been a week since the first call. There are literally no resources that I have been able to successfully acquire. I spent $3000 on CO2 extract oil, another $400 so far on CBD oil (shocked to find out that’s just trim—and then I think why don’t we juice the trim? Why don’t dispensaries sell trim?) Another $2500 for the Colorado trip in general. All that money and I have to somehow pay back my retirement for the money I’ve spent on insurance, and the above.

What floors me is that this is creating a real hardship and I have no idea what we are supposed to do. Only something like .3% of the population spends more than 10% of their income on medical expenses, so I don’t know how other people afford this, but this is why I’m scared. I have a limited number of resources. Juan doesn’t have life insurance. If something happens to my husband, and I still am blind in one eye, I’m going to be forced to go into sex work because, really, what the hell else am I going rot do? In order to afford this insurance I have to earn $8500/month because I have to clear $5000 after taxes! Medical costs are literally $2000-3000/month if you pay your premiums and then what you can of the deductible every month. That’s more than my mortgage! Last year our joint premium for Juan and I, no kids, was $1300/month! Our mortgage is less by $300! I want to know how these destitute people do it.

That’s enough rant about that for now, I’ll move onto blindness and feeling isolated mixed with a little fear. I know you understand fear, what with the London terror attacks and all, but this is the fear of something so unknown. I remember feeling a real fear when my mother deliberately called the cops on me and created fake charges to have me locked up, so I could, as she said, “Learn how the other half lives.” I’m sure that’s the reason I say I don’t think I’d survive, or my default job if I can’t do intellectual work is sex work. It’s a default because I befriended the women I was a stripper with and their lives were much harder than my own. I’ve always inherently known how lucky I was, with my grandparents, with Nana Davis, with a fancy pants expensive private school and no debt post college. Fully able to pay for my own post-bac work like my MFA, even if I’d decided a PhD was the thing, I could’ve done that, but realize on this end of things, again, that I am always and eternally grateful that I am creative, resourceful, meh, even bright, and I need to live every day like it’ll be my writing last.

I read things like this, and get scared: I’m dying and only have a few weeks to live says a woman on 16 February 2016. Kathy has pelvic, small bowel, and rectum cancer as well as pancreas and liver. Her doctors decided to feed her through a PIC line but after vomiting her food for a week the hospital has decided to cut off the PIC line feeling. I’m totally heartbroken, this 46 year old woman says. I always believed I would be healed. I’ve juiced, attended a herbalist, reiki, visualisation, meditation, positive thinking, the list goes on. But I’ve been told there’s nothing that can be done. I had always suffered from anxiety and problems from childhood and went to counseling when I had cancer 5 years ago. I truly feel my life is only just beginning and now I’m dying.

How can I make peace with dying? I was online shopping last week buying loads of clothes for the year ahead I was so sure I would be healed. I’ve just read Anita Moorjani’s book Dying to be Me who had an amazing Near Death Experience and from what she says there is nothing to fear from death and I do believe that. I just feel heartbroken because I don’t feel my time on earth is finished. I have so many hopes plans & dreams.

I want to make a difference in the world. I know it’s obnoxious and super vain of me, but I like to think that I’ll be remembered as a Howard Zinn. How arrogant of me, but I could have seen Christopher Hitchens and I as friends. Talk about bright! Prince, George Michael, and Michael Jackson, all died and they were around my age. Sure, perhaps a bit older, but not by much. Just because I believed I’d live into my 90s because all my grandparents paved the quinquagenarian path ahead of me. I married someone younger because I sincerely thought I’d be alive much, much longer. His grandma lived a long time, and his dad lived into his 80s, so I always figured when he died I’d be close enough to 90 to call it a day and die. And then bad food choices, environmental contaminants, stress, booze, stress and booze, work and booze, work and booze and stress and fighting with Juan all added up to a blasted tumor! Just for real! I was so sick on the Letrozole. So sick. I was angry too. And in pain. Awful grinding bone pain. My hair was straw like too, just like yours. Gut health! I’m floored that when I mentioned gut health and losing weight to the oncologist I loved, Dr. Stuart Bloom, he told me that there was no need. He didn’t think it’d help. He wanted me to hunker down, take my chemo like a compliant child listening to G-d. Take his pills, eat when I could, and it’d all work itself out. His literal words were: “It’s not necessary.” Then it turned into a looks thing, and he said, “You look fine the way you are, you don’t need to lose weight.”

I was fat. I was fat because I made myself fat. I just wanted some damn peace. Prior to getting fat I was hit on by all and sundry. Men and women, all dogs. The DH could be in the room and some guy would be trying to flirt with me hoping for some happy McEnding. Right after I lost the weight and the extensions were in men were back to hitting on me. I like the way I look and find it incredibly disturbing that men think I’ve dolled up for them. Exhausting. So arrogant.

I’ve basically spent the past 7 months reading and listening to videos and films about nutrition and diet. I’ve given up meat, I know I need to give up alcohol but I’m struggling there, no white flour, no extra sugar, and I take my probiotic yoghurt that’s called Coconut Cult. It bothers me that I don’t believe oncologists know a damn thing about how chemo works, radiation, let alone cannabis oil! Gah!

So, I was going to tell you the story of what I did after Denver. I’d taken your email after sending it, and took sections and posted them on my blog and then flushed them out with more content. Your letter was a really good start for my journey. I wrote you about the journey and starting the CO2 oil. Because I did that, I actually no longer have your email. I was going to try and pull together the relevant posts and put them in an email, but it’d be loads easier for you to head on over to missyphillips.com and start reading. xxoo

10 July

10 July 2017 – Cannabis Oil Journey

Hello hello, as if anyone is actually reading. Sigh. I’m reading Christopher Hitchens. He’s the WASPy CofE Brit that grew up in America. Then his mum came out as Jewish on her death bed, and Hitchens life changed. Not that he already hadn’t spent years researching religion. The cruelty of the Nazi’s came closer to home after his mother’s confession. Over the week-end I read Simon Baron-Cohen’s book about evil. He talks about autism, and I feel even more strongly that my thesis is accurate and it’s something I want to study. I believe that autism is part of an evolutionary process. Overwhelmingly men and boys are affected by this neurological difference. Men and boys are dramatically affected by war. In order for our species to continue men need to unsee what they’ve seen or done.


04 July

Minnesota Oncology

They talk about how strange people look at you when you want to know the cost of tests and procedures, in this film called PlantPure Nation. I am there with the guy! People do respond in very negative ways when I ask for the cost from the business office.
A good example would be the completely ineffective oncologist that came into my room and visited me in hospital twice. Jon Phillips​ asked the guy to leave two seconds into the second visit because he was offering nothing and I didn’t plan on seeing ANY oncologist. I was charged for both of his annoying visits to the tune of $2000 billed to my insurance. That bill is separate from my $83,890 hospital bill. I owe $4400 of the hospital bill, and $900 to the oncologists, who won’t get paid.
They won’t get paid because it’s wrong to bill someone that doesn’t even want you in their room. These organizations think that the old paradigm still works. Oh hell no. We asked you to leave, you aren’t a lawyer, there is no tacit agreement,ent that says “Come in my room and bill me an exorbitant amount of money for nothing.”
It’s unfathomable to me that I was captive! In my room! I didn’t ask for this doctor to come into my room. We asked him to leave. We got billed for the privilege. Unreal.
Now that I think about it, it doesn’t make any sense since they weren’t even the oncologist of record. These doctors are worse than ambulance chasers!