Smorgasbord Health 2017 – Latest research -Vitamin C and Cancer


For anyone who is or may be touched by cancer in the future, please read Sally’s important post about the latest research on Vitamin C therapy.

In 2010 my mother, a COPD patient who was diagnosed with lung cancer decided against the rigorous treatments of chemotherapy and radiation. Instead, she added large doses of Vitamin C to her diet. Mother lived the best life possible for her remaining six months. She traveled a bit, enjoyed friends & family, saw the latest movies, read books and felt the sunshine of the outdoors. Prior to her death of COPD, the doctors noted that the tumor in her lung had not grown even a centimeter!

Smorgasbord - Variety is the spice of life

Smorgasbord Health 2017

I spend quite a bit of my time reading research articles on the nutrients that we need and this article caught my eye about Vitamin C.

Vitamin C breakthrough discovery: Low-cost nutrient halts growth of cancer stem cells… 1000% more effective than cancer drug… peer-reviewed science confirms powerful effects

(Natural News) An exciting medical breakthrough published in the science journal Oncotarget has discovered the astonishing ability of concentrated vitamin C to halt the growth of cancer tumor stem cells.

The study, conducted at the University of Salford in Manchester — (see full text of the study at this link) — tested the impact on cancer stem cell metabolism for seven substances:

Three natural substances, including vitamin C
Three experimental pharmaceuticals
One clinical drug currently in widespread use

The study’s astonishing results reveal “the first evidence that Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) can be used to target and kill cancer stem cells…

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What Could Be Pretty About Cancer?


I’d like to write about something inspirational, to focus on nature, something pretty in life or something hopeful. Instead, my mind is filled with sadness, anxiety, and despair. I suppose the same three words could easily be summed up into one: cancer.  What could be pretty about cancer?

Soon after my father married at the end of this past March his bride was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Together, they’ve been fighting the disease ever since with every ounce of strength imaginable.

I feel so very helpless because I am here in St. Louis while my father and his wife are living in Arizona. I can’t be there to hold his hand, run an errand, cook a meal or simply sit with him at the hospital. When he calls, his voice invariably cracks during his last few words. He struggles not to show his emotion, yet it is there, just beneath the surface. In my mind, there are tears in his eyes and I hear a choking sound in the back of his throat. My heart aches for my father.

Although not my decision, perhaps my father’s wife should have been in hospice for the last several weeks? There, she might have been more comfortable, able to hear her favorite music while visiting with her daughter and grandchildren? Yet, doctors and oncologists are willing to provide every treatment possible to prolong the inevitable end of life, especially when the patient has been sold on the slightest chance of more time.

More time for WHAT? More time for hair to fall out from chemotherapy treatments. More time to buy a wig. More time for a person’s skin to redden and dry from the effects of radiation. More time to lose the senses of taste and hearing. More time to wither away to skin and bones. More time to vomit and writhe in pain. More time to slowly die…..

If my father’s wife was a loved one to any of member of the team of doctors treating her, a wife, sister or mother, would the protocol of treatment have been the same?

Cancer…the only thing pretty about it is the love that has brought my father and his wife closer. For that I am thankful.

 

elderly-couple-holds-hands-London-384684

We Are Family


Feeling a bit like I’ve been shot through a wind tunnel or perhaps lived through an episode of the old Twilight Zone series, I am here in my office today. Hoping to catch up, but knowing better. My mind is spent. The last few days have been a rollercoaster ride.

Last Friday, I flew from my St. Louis home to attend my father’s wedding celebration in Phoenix. He was married on March 11, discovering 16 days later in a sterile Emergency Room that his bride’s body was riddled with cancer. Only a few hours earlier that day, I had called them both to wish them, “Happy Easter.”

My father and his wife, Eileen planned a wedding celebration before her diagnosis of cancer. Close family and friends had been invited. The room was reserved. Their favorite one-man-band was all set to play and sing, and the food was carefully chosen and ordered. Together, they decided the party was going to take place, regardless. It gave them hope, something to look forward to.  A goal in the future. Eileen had started treatment and was feeling pretty good. Things seemed optimistic going into the weekend of the party.

My father’s only living sibling flew in from Michigan to surprise him. My husband and I picked her up from the airport and arranged for her to stay with us at the same hotel. Upon landing in Phoenix there was a voicemail telling me that my father was on his way to ER with Eileen. And so, the rollercoaster ride began. Emotions ran high for everyone.

The next day, we were able to see my father and Eileen’s new little house for the very first time. She was resting in a chair near the patio. A card table and two chairs were placed near the open screen door. Sun was shining, cactuses were blooming and grasses were green in between desert coral sands. Their dog, a miniature collie never left Eileen side.

In the end, Eileen was too weak to attend her much-anticipated wedding celebration. My father came for a few minutes, just long enough to make a brief speech, thanking everyone for coming. He spoke for a minute or two before breaking down. This father of mine, the strongest man I’ve ever known.

And, so under the twinkling stars of an Arizona desert sky, a one-man-band played like an orchestra last Saturday night. Chicken and vegetables were served with pink, prime rib of beef. A beautiful rolling dessert cart passed, overflowing with white wedding cake, Bride and Groom decorated cake pops, together with pastel powdered sugar cookies placed in fluted paper tin cups.

For several hours, drinks colored of the desert filled fancy glasses and flowed freely while people danced under a golden moon before the last song of the evening was sung. Suddenly, every paver cemented on the patio dance floor was filled. People put their hands together high in the dark blue sky, clapping them in unison to, “We Are Family.”

*The next day, Eileen did feel rested enough to join everyone for a BBQ hosted by her daughter. Truly, a nice family gathering.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here and Now


Today is a new day with a fresh beginning to life. Yesterday, after feeling so blue, I grabbed ‘Doodle’ dog to walk him in a nearby park. Even he had sensed my depression, not leaving my side. Once there, a new appreciation for the here and now shook me from the inside to the out.

There was a slight chill in the air as if to rid my unsettled emotions, tossing them away with the wind. As I looked high up into the measureless magic of the sky, mirrored colors of spring surrounded me. A duck waddled near a pond, trees were in full bloom, daffodils sprouted canary yellow, and God’s beauty was endless.

No, I can’t control or change my father’s circumstances. I cannot heal his bride of cancer or wave a wand to grant wishes of miracles. And, yes, there will be tears and sadness, normal emotions under such unexpected human tragedy. Still, I must hold on to my faith in God together with the power of strength. My father needs my support now nearly as much or more so than ever before. I’m praying he and his wife have a bit of precious time together, free of emotional and physical pain. The simple pleasure of a walk in a park while gazing at a sky of blue.

Seconds to sink their feet in God’s pond of here and now…..

 

The Reminder


trees purple

Early this morning, with hooded lids open in the dark before dawn, I lay in my bed to sounds of a bird chirping outside my window blinds. Lyrics of nature welcomed me to a brand new day.

Dropping paperwork to the top of my desk, I strolled outside with a cup of coffee. Sun splashed to warm my face as I sunk deep, deeper still into the middle of an old foam patio chair. Soon, I felt as though I’d be swallowed up, but I did not care. This was the first of the season. Cushions cuddled me like a babe in the womb, making me feel safe and secure all around.

New neighbors seen moving into bird houses a few weeks earlier flit and flew back and forth between feeders, gathering seed. The sky was painted in royal blue with not a cloud floating by. Twinkling chimes hung from trees ready to bloom near others that were already full and flowered in lavender or cream. I closed my eyes to imagine the tranquility within. It had been a rough go of it since Easter.

My dear father who I have so often written about had found new love again after losing my mother to a long battle with cancer five years ago. As with any blending of families, even adults far apart, there were a few minor adjustments it seemed. Yet, my siblings and I were so very happy for our father. To think he had a second chance in life! There was a smile on his face again, a new step in his stride, and although he was hesitant to begin anew, he finally found the courage by eloping on March 11th. A ‘wedding party’ is scheduled in Arizona on April 23rd.

Sixteen days ago, on March 27, Easter Sunday, my dad’s new bride, Eileen was admitted to ER where she was diagnosed with cancer. My father, of course, is in a state of shock. When all test results came back last Friday, the unbelievable. His wife of three weeks has a very aggressive form of cancer that has spread throughout her body. Last night, it was nearly touch and go.

It’s difficult to concentrate on work these days. My heart aches for Eileen’s physical pain together with the emotional pain of my father. How can life be so unfair? The house they had planned to move into sits empty and waiting…for what?  I feel helpless, but each and every day I send my father messages of support together with pictures of inspiration and encouragement.  He knows that I will be in Arizona together with all of my siblings on April 23rd.

I’m thanking God for nature together with the sweet sounds of the birds today. I’ve been slapped in the face with mortality together with the gift of life. Definitely, not the first time. Perhaps it’s another reminder?

Maybe I’ll sit slumped in this patio chair for the rest of the week…

Blessings to All.

 

Impressions


Sometimes you can tell a lot about a person simply by listening to their voice.  Just as eyes are “windows to the soul,” voices can be impressions of the heart.

Visiting a friend in the hospital not long ago, I needed to go to the tenth floor.  Pushing a square glowing button of golden orange with an arrow pointing “UP,” I waited for the elevator.  Shiny doors of silver opened, disappearing into wall spaces on either side allowing me to step in.  Two men huddled near a panel of buttons to the left, chatting like old friends.

Trying to appear occupied, I looked down at a dotted steel floor where I noticed scuff marks of white on navy blue boots.   In my hands, I held a small potted plant.  Waxy green leaves rolled unconsciously between my thumb and forefinger.

The two men seemed to have reconnected after a chance encounter elsewhere in the hospital.  A family lounge?  The cafeteria?  “I still can’t believe it’s you,” one of them said!  “Yeah, it’s been a long time.  Man, its great running into each other,” responded the other, with a pat on the back!

As the elevator lifted up, pitches and tones of the men’s voices took twists and turns within our 5X7 generic space.  Pauses, sigh, sadness and laughter suggested important changes had taken place for each of them.

One of the men had a lilting sound to his voice.  Notes of anticipation that rose higher with each passing floor.  The other sounded resigned yet hopeful.  His voice disguised suffering, I guessed.

Not much time left.  The elevator wall panel told me so.  Glowing buttons highlighted floor numbers soon-to-be.  They hinted farewells were about to take place.

Nervous laughter trickled among the small of our spot.  An air of tension suddenly weighed heavily as we neared the first floor to open.  When doors slid wide a large sign on the back wall read, “Maternity.”  The first man out brushed back his hair nervously to say, “You take care of yourself.”   “Sure will!  Tell your wife, congratulations,” the other man called out.

It was only then that I truly looked at the other man who stood in the corner.  He pushed a lit button with one hand while gripping an IV pole with the other.  Dressed in an oversized hospital gown with very loose jeans, he glanced at me with a slight smile.  Shiny doors closed, silently.  Seconds later, when they opened, I read a different sign.   “Oncology.”

After the man stepped out he turned, whispering familiar words to me.  “Take care of yourself.”  His voice gave me the impression of kindness, sincerity and gentleness.  In time and space of small, my heart had grown large.  He left me feeling like I had known him for most of my years.

 

Remembering……


Driving home the other evening, I was struck by peaceful lights of beauty appearing in a sky of dusk.  Nearing darkness, shades of pink and coral contrasted against the horizon of dusty blue.  Before I rounded the bend, I pulled off the winding road in order to capture such sights from the camera on my phone.

Ironic, how God works.  Just before the unexpected sight of “Heaven,” I was reminiscing about a family friend who had passed away ten years ago during holiday time.  I remember the late stages of his illness as being such a dichotomy.  Christmas trees at hospitals.  Smiles for the sake of children.  Death approaching while filling carts with Santa’s toys.

Has ten years passed me by?  It hardly seems possible…and yet, lifetimes have come and gone….  If I unearthed a time capsule from all those years ago, what would I find?  Deep down inside there would be snapshots of a jolly great man, tall and big with white, blonde hair together with a cheery grin.  This family friend of mine had a huge personality that was full and giving.  When I think of him now together with this time of year, I am reminded a bit of Santa Clause……

My friend had a terrific sense of humor, loved family more than anything and worked hard to support them as a manager for a car dealership.  Just before his cancer diagnosis he was about to be promoted.  Soon he would be the manager of a brand new dealership.  One that would be his very own!  He was fabulous with people and could talk to anyone on the street or in a jeep.  And, oh, how he loved life.  I never saw him waste a day.  Not a simple second nor a magic minute.

Today, my friend’s eldest son is a married father with two young children of his very own, a little girl and a baby boy.  Like my husband, my friend would now be a “Grandpa!” Together with my husband, he would be so very proud.  The two would forever be carting babies around on tops of shoulders to root for their favorite teams, shouting for the runner on third base to run into HOME.  For years, they coached baseball as a twosome, instilling life lessons into little boys while grooming them for high school teams.

A couple of months before this terrific man’s passing, my husband met me at the hospital for a visit one afternoon.  Sensing a mood of defeat, I remember taking his hand in mine. His grip was still strong and felt warm to the touch.  Moving in closer, I was sure to look directly into the dampness of his eyes.  “I’m a better person for knowing you,” I remember whispering to him.   At first his brows furrowed, not quite sure if I was telling him the truth or not.  Within seconds, however, the crystal blue of his eyes shined through with thankful acknowledgement.

This special gift of a friend passed away shortly after the 2004 holidays when he was 44 years old.  He left behind a loving wife together with five dear children.  Barely a day goes by that my husband and I don’t remember thoughts of him.

Especially during Christmastime.  When Santa Clause comes….

photo (26)

Stairway to Heaven


*Edited From Original Post Dated 11/20/2013

It was a beautiful day.  The sun was bright in the sky of blue and breezes whispered softly through the covered patio.  Whenever I passed the screen door, wind-chimes that dangled from the outside roof twinkled with melodies so dear.  Family gathered by my mother’s side.  Not many.  My father together with my sisters and brothers.  Mother sat upright in her favorite rocking chair, determined not to die in the same bed she had spooned my father in for over 56 years.  It was her last unspoken gift to him.  To this day, I’m not sure he ever got the connection, that final bit of will in her…but, I knew.

Mother’s chair of soft burgundy velvet, a gift from my sister years before was small and shaped to fit her itty-bitty body perfectly.  For as long as I remember, it sat under a rose-colored lamp.  The same one that shined above her petite head of wavy, graying hair where she knitted ruffled christening gowns for grandchildren, read her Bible daily, and hand-stitched needlepoint quilts for all five of her children grown.

The day was long as my mother struggled between this world and the next.  Her breathing became more labored while rays of sun stung the milk-blue of her eyes.  I remember finding dark glasses to fit her tiny face.  Finally, her body seemed to rest in preparation for her journey to Heaven.  Between comforting her and dispensing medication, my sister and I wandered out to the back of the yard where we prayed for God to take her while tears fell to the bare of our toes.

That evening, our family sat around the family dining table of walnut colored wood.  My father’s seat was the ladder-back chair directly in front of my mother’s resting spot.  So close, he could feel the warmth of her body while smelling the scent of her breath.  Softly we spoke, reminiscing about the years gone by.  We laughed about little things while listening to Mother’s favorite music from dark speakers connected to an older CD player in the foyer, nearby.

It seemed to be the first time in a week that we had time to sit down together.  Minutes to share love and respite from the emotional toil of a soon-to-be, finality.  Fluted paper plates in a Thanksgiving theme held our dinner of take-out tacos made of  golden corn. Shredded green lettuce, yellow cheddar cheese and red salsa on the side.  Between bites, my father’s hand reached behind his chair to gently touch the nape of my mother’s neck.  A silent gift of love and loyalty from him to her. What message was in that simple touch? Their many years together would be ending soon.  How my heart ached for this humble father of mine who wanted nothing more than to love my mother forever and always!

Joining hands in prayer, we asked God to ease my mother’s suffering.  Peaceful lyrics continued to give us a sense of strength in the background while wind-chimes of brass and glass danced to music a few feet away.  So close were the sounds of our voices together with the melodies, that I wondered if my mother could hear all that was comforting and familiar to her?   If so, perhaps it would help her transition into God’s afterlife?

A few minutes later the phone rang.  Wiping his hands free of taco crumbs, my father answered it.  On the other end was my youngest brother, who lived about an hour away. He was of course, calling to check on Mom.  In that very second we learned that she was gone.  “Oh, my God,” my father said, in anguish.  Through tears, my ‘baby’ brother responded, then. “Dad, I had a feeling.  I just knew…..My other brother, who was with us let out a the most terrible wail.  Deep and guttural like the cry of an animal.  I shall never forget it.  His heart shattered into a million pieces, scattering them to the wooden floor below.

By then, my mother’s soul was surely being carried by Angels to the Stairway of Heaven.  Instinctively and without thinking, I removed the clear, stiff oxygen tube from her soft, delicate nose.  It was no longer needed and she hated it so.   At last, my mother could breathe freely on her own.

She Breathes Freely with God in Heaven Above.  I love you, Mom.

Led-Zeppelin-Stairway-To-Heaven

Stairway to Heaven


It was a beautiful day.  The sun was bright in the sky of blue and breezes blew softly by the patio.  Whenever I passed the screen door, wind-chimes that dangled from the outside roof twinkled with melodies so dear.  Family gathered by my mother’s side.  Not many.  My father together with my sisters and brothers.  Mother sat upright in her favorite rocking chair, determined not to die in the same bed she had spooned my father in for over 56 years.  It was her last unspoken gift to him.  To this day, I’m not sure he ever got the connection, that final bit of will in her…but, I knew.

Mother’s chair of soft burgundy velvet, a gift from my sister years before was small and shaped to fit her itty-bitty body perfectly.  For as long a I remember, it sat under a rose-colored lamp.  The same one that shined above her petite head of wavy, graying hair where she knitted ruffled christening gowns for grandchildren, read her Bible daily, and hand-stitched needlepoint quilts for all five of her children grown.

The day was long as my mother struggled between this world and the next.  Her breathing became more labored while rays of sun stung the milk-blue of her eyes.  I remember finding dark glasses to fit her tiny face.  Finally, her body seemed to rest in preparation for her journey to Heaven.  Between comforting her and dispensing medication, my sister and I wandered out to the back of the yard where we prayed for God to take her while tears fell to our toes.

That evening, our family sat around the family dining table of walnut colored wood.  My father’s seat was the ladder-back chair directly in front of my mother’s resting spot.  So close, he could feel the warmth of her body while smelling the scent of her breath.  Softly we spoke, reminiscing about the years gone by.  We laughed about little things while listening to Mother’s favorite music from dark speakers connected to an older CD player in the foyer, nearby.

It seemed to be the first time in a week that we had time to sit down together.  Minutes to share love and respite from the emotional toil of a soon-to-be, finality.  Fluted paper plates in a Thanksgiving theme held our dinner of take-out tacos made of  golden corn. Shredded green lettuce, yellow cheddar cheese and red salsa on the side.  Between bites, my father’s hand reached behind his chair to gently touch the nape of my mother’s neck.  A silent gift of love and loyalty from him to her. What message was in that simple touch? Their many years together would be ending soon.  How my heart ached for this humble father of mine who wanted nothing more than to love my mother forever and always!

Joining hands in prayer, we asked God to ease my mother’s suffering.  Peaceful lyrics continued to give us a sense of strength in the background while wind-chimes of brass and glass danced to music a few feet away.  So close were the sounds of our voices together with the melodies, that I wondered if my mother could hear all that was comforting and familiar to her?   If so, perhaps it would help her transition into God’s afterlife?

A few minutes later the phone rang.  Wiping his hands free of taco crumbs, my father answered it.  On the other end was my youngest brother, who lived about an hour away. He was of course, calling to check on Mom.  In that very second we learned that she was gone.  “Oh, my God,” my father said, in anguish.  Through tears, my ‘baby’ brother responded, then. “Dad, I had a feeling.  I just knew…..My other brother, who was with us let out a the most terrible wail.  Deep and guttural like the cry of an animal.  I shall never forget it.  His heart shattered into a million pieces, scattering them to the wooden floor below.

By then, my mother’s soul was surely being carried by Angels to the Stairway of Heaven.  Instinctively and without thinking, I removed the clear, stiff oxygen tube from her soft, delicate nose.  It was no longer needed and she hated it so.   At last, my mother could breathe freely on her own.

She Breathes Freely with God in Heaven Above.  I love you, Mom.

Led-Zeppelin-Stairway-To-Heaven

 

The Day Before Her Last


*Originally Posted on 11/19/2013

My mother’s yellow roses are wilted now.  Edges of curled brown buds barely cling to their coffee-colored vines.  They bend ever so slightly to the left or to the right from evening temperatures turning oh-so-cold.  Within a day or two, they’ll have to be cut down in final preparation for next spring.  Yes, gentle spring when life begins anew.

Early this morning, I opened my patio door to breathe in a gust of fresh fall air.  It slammed me hard and quick.  High in the sky was a still bright moon, spectacular in sight. Then, clouds moved in to shadow it with a thin veil of grey, giving it an almost ghostly appearance.

Three years ago today was the day before my mother’s last.  It was the most painful one for her living on this earth.  The worst for her loved ones to bear.  The hospice nurse told me to gather my siblings and so I had.  After they arrived, I anticipated scenes from a movie, I guess.  The ones where sisters and brothers take turns having private time with their dying mother.  It was not to be.  In the same manner that a new parent recognizes the cry of their newborn, caretakers know the difference in their patient’s signals and signs.

It was too difficult for my mother to speak near the end, and so she did not try.  We had our own way of communicating without saying a word.  She lay on her side, trying to lessen the pain, I suspect.  There, her slender hands were open to me.  A slight inward movement meant, “Come closer, I need something.”  Perhaps it was an extra bed sheet or slight sip of water?  An outward turn meant, “No more, I’ve had enough.”  Occasionally, she moved her hands back and forth.  “Please don’t touch me,” they silently said.  “My body hurts me so.”  A hand rising abruptly meant, “NO!  Do not let anyone come near me.”

My mother’s cooling touch guided me towards granting her last wishes.  As arduous as it was for loved ones to understand, she couldn’t bear to be seen in such a deplorable condition.  She wanted peace, to be left alone.  Without time for explanation, I became the designated gate-keeper, of sorts.  It was a role I did not choose.  Rather, it was chosen for me.

I don’t remember how I became my mother’s caretaker.  My father was of course her, “Number One,” leaving my middle sister with other roles to play.  I was simply there to keep charts, dispense medicine and give the proper answers to intuitive questions.  I had done it for many years while raising chronically ill children.  I was good in a crisis and could pocket away emotions if only for a minute…..much like a doctor or a nurse must do.

The time spent with my mother as a caretaker was a privilege I will forever cherish.  Through wordless gestures a lifetime was discovered that I’d never known before.  It was the very last thing I was able to do for her.

The very last thing……

Clouds Across the Moon