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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Oh, What a Wonderful World


Earlier, I began to write on a topic totally different from what you are reading. As I was polishing my words, editing and spell checking, a random melody of What a Wonderful World, quietly began to play from an app recently pressed on my iPhone. A small speaker of silver encased in turquoise blue sat atop the crowded corner of my half-moon desk. Suddenly, my body halted in a burgundy swivel chair. Fingers of ten lifted up, freezing in position. I was utterly still while listening to lyrics strumming from a soothing Hawaiian ukulele. I hadn’t heard this song since last month when I chose it for Eileen’s, memorial service.  Eileen, my father’s wife of 142 days who passed away from cancer.

Things happen in life that we don’t often understand at the time. Later, something may trigger us to look back with fresh eyes, opening a window to a new meaning or purpose of such. This moment of clarity happened seconds ago which I will share with you now.

Last month while flying to Phoenix for Eileen’s service, a beautiful young woman with several long, dark braids and wearing a patterned paisley scarf tied around her head sat in the window seat next to me. During the three and a half hour-long flight, I closed my droopy eyes to catch a nap. Suddenly, something cold landed on my sleeveless arm. My eyes popped open. Near my wrist, a small plastic pellet, cold as ice rested comfortably. Taken aback, I flicked it off my arm with my index finger. The girl/woman had fallen asleep, her partially covered head rested against the airplane window with braids tossed this way and that. Her scarf was twisted, revealing a cap of white underneath.

Directly in the row ahead of us, a mother was busy juggling twins, a girl and a boy who jumped up and down when a smiling flight attendant appeared carrying a tray of sweets. One at a time, she served them soft, chocolate chip cookies. The commotion woke the young woman next to me who began to talk playfully with the children ahead of us.

“Mmmm, I bet those are really good cookies,” she exclaimed! “I have twins, too,” she added, smiling at the children’s mother. “Two little girls, six years old.” “How great! My kids just turned four,” the other mom, replied.

Naturally, I couldn’t help myself. “I have twin grand-babies” I added, leaning in to my seat-mate. “Two girls, like you. They’re just over a year old.” From that moment on we bonded, sharing family photographs while getting to know one another. Shortly before landing, she explained that her family lived in China, where her husband worked for a major New York investment firm. She added that she felt extremely guilty for leaving him there while she came to America (Phoenix) for cancer treatment. My heart stopped.

“No, this can’t be, I thought to myself. “She’s too young. I can’t bear to hear this. Not on this trip. Not now.”

“What do you think,” she asked. “Is there any better place for treatment?”

Gathering my composure, I took her hand and smiled with self-determination. “I think Phoenix has some of the best treatment options available,” I answered. “As good or better than anywhere in the world,” I added with enthusiasm.

“Do you really believe that?”

“Yes,” I answered, honestly, which I did. Looking directly into her eyes, I told her not to feel guilty, that she should concentrate on getting well. For the next few minutes, I gave her a pep talk of sorts, insisting that she put herself first and foremost. I asked her to concentrate on getting well for herself, as well as her family; to never stop thinking of those precious little girls who so needed their mama.

Just before landing, she asked, “What brings you to Phoenix?”

“Oh, just a brief visit with my father,” I answered, misty-eyed, smiling slightly.

*Below is a prayer I wrote that accompanied What a Wonderful World, at Eileen’s service. Today it has a new meaning for me, a new purpose. Surely, Eileen is an Angel….yes, the young mother’s Angel. Eileen sits beside her through each and every cancer treatment. Eileen dries her tears, eases her loneliness and eventually, will reunite her with family. And, yes, the young mother will be happy and healthy, living to raise her daughters into womanhood.

Oh, What a Wonderful World.

Angel Prayer-

Before the sun shall rise again, darkness descends upon the earth

And, though I do not see, nor hear, nor touch…

What lies beyond the ink of skies above

My faith surpasses any doubt of where I soon shall fly…

Be still all earthly pain, and hush my labored breaths

Blanket weary lids, and rest ‘till morning dawn…

View these beautiful Angel wings above favorite desert peaks

For He has grasped my hand in Heaven 

So full of joy it spills forth

With light and love…

Gaze with me as glory casts golden rays

For now and all eternity.

                   ~Amen~

 

“My Angel”


My father lost his beloved wife, Eileen on Monday evening after a four-month battle with cancer.

About two weeks ago, I was able to speak to her over the phone. “Your father has been my angel,” she said.

Last evening, again on the telephone, my father asked for my help in preparing Eileen’s memorial brochure for the funeral service. Even though I’ll be in Phoenix later today, he needed to get started on the information immediately. So, I sent him a photograph that I took last year at 5:30 in the morning while visiting the two of them.

As I forwarded the photo on to my father, I mentioned to him that it might be appropriate for someplace in Eileen’s memorial. I remember how she loved it so.  To me, it symbolizes Heaven, with the clouds above appearing to look like angel wings. My father agreed.

“I called her my Angel,” he cried through tears.

How ironic. Two Angels. One on earth and now one in Heaven above.

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you…

Philippians 1:3

A New Year Has Just Begun


I received a darling picture of my oldest granddaughter yesterday. She was all dressed in her 1st day of pre-school finery. Sitting on the stoop of her house, she carried the weight of her most prized possession, a striped hot pink backpack strung over her shoulders. In a sense, a new year has just begun.

My husband called while on the road to say our youngest son had put his beloved home for sale. He and his family of five including my Babies of Two are moving to a new state because of his job. Perhaps their present home has been a stepping stone to where they are meant to be? I’m praying for my son and daughter-in-law to find a new home that they love. A home to raise their babies in for a long, long while. A house that one day, the kids may even begin to skip off to school.

In talking to my father, he told me the doctors found another large lump on the back of his wife’s neck. They had already done another MRI and would be coming back to discuss treatment. She can’t even get out of bed. I spoke to my father, asking him if I could be ‘honest’ with him.

“Yes, of course, always,” he answered.

I went on to tell him of my good friend, and excellent internist who began a terrific Hospice House here in St. Louis in order to focus on palliative care. My father had met my friend in the past and knew he was a good man.

Finally, my father hesitated before speaking. “I’ve been thinking and I don’t want to put her through anything more. I just want to take her home to the house she loves. I want her to look at the desert stars before she falls asleep and for her to see the sun rise above the mountains in the morning.”

With those words, my father cried. Before I even spoke to him, he had already begun to accept the idea of hospice and was preparing himself to let her go… Today he hopes to take her home where they will simply love each other until death they do part. Tomorrow is their four-month wedding anniversary.

There are still two more weeks before I finally move into my own new house. Yes, I know, it has seemed forever…..My goal was to find something close to my son and daughter-in-law who are expecting their third baby around Christmas. At the same time, I wanted to be near nature if possible, have room for an office, and a sleeping area for visiting grand-babies.

Well, my husband and I feel very fortunate as we enter this last stage of our lives. Our new home is only a short distance from family, and although smaller and very different on the inside, it looks very much like the outside of our current house. We plan to use the formal dining room as an office where I’ll soon write from my half-moon desk in a windowed turret just as I’ve done for many years.

Next to our bedroom is a small space that will be used for the grandchildren’s sleeping room. Bunk beds and a white spindled crib will soon be rolled in beneath a breezy fan. The closet is already stacked with shelves to fill toys and puzzles soon to be spilled upon the wooden floor.

On the back of the house is a full length screened porch where painted wicker furniture awaits future family gatherings. A round glass table will be set with plates for summer BBQ or early evening board games. Nearby, a chair teeters back and forth. In the spring, I’ll rock the next bundled baby close to my beating heart.

As mentioned above, my husband and I feel very fortunate. Our new house is in subdivision encompassing a dedicated nature preserve. The view from the back of our house is tall trees where a walking path winds over a small stream and through the thick of overgrown wildflowers. A few minutes to the left are trails surrounding a 15-acre lake stocked with fish for catch and release. No boats are allowed, only wildlife and the stillness of peace.

I’ve missed the whole of summer which feels like the whole of a year. Family issues have been filled with stress, but in the end, life begins anew. God has parted a curtain. The previews have finished with the main feature now in full play. And, although I don’t know the ending, I’m certainly looking forward to living again.

Yes, in a sense a new year has just begun.

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.

 

The Model Girl


*Shopping for gifts yesterday among the hustle and bustle of the holiday chaos, I was reminded of a post I had written long ago. Words of it kept gnawing at the back of my mind the whole night through.  Please keep good spirits of the season within your heart, remembering that everything may not always be as it seems.

While shopping for a gift for my son’s birthday, I stopped at one of our major department stores.  You would recognize its name if given here.  It’s one of the mall’s Anchor stores.

Bending down to peer inside a case of clear glass, I was awed by its riches, a medley of valuables in all sizes and shapes.  I was quite intrigued by an array of special ball point pens.  Most were made from artful mosaic glass, with cases to match.   Lying next to them were sleeping lead pencils in beds of deep blue velvet.  Together, they created a beautiful display.  Like a painting that should have been hung on someone’s wall instead of hidden behind a case for the likes of you or me to see.

A trio of young women soon swooped by, nearly knocking me off my wobbly feet.  I was still low to the ground to see the unique treasures inside the case of clear.  None of the women stopped to apologize, instead they giggled and laughed, moving on their merry way.  Instinctively, I grabbed hold of the nearest thing to break my fall, leaving my DNA upon the showcase.  The police did not have to be called to dust for finger prints.  There they were in plain sight.

Quickly, a tall dark Model girl came rushing from behind the counter, her designated sales spot.  “Don’t touch the glass,” she scoffed at me!  “I’m sorry,” I answered back.  I was just admiring your pens.  A gift for my son,” I went on to say.   I thought about mentioning the three women who nearly knocked me over, yet I didn’t bother.  This Model girl’s main priority seemed to be cleaning the glass.  She sighed.  Clicking her tongue, she rolled her big brown eyes.  Quickly, she grabbed a white cloth together with her blue cleaner.

When the Model girl finished her task, I was about to ask to see one of the beautiful pens behind her spotless, clean case.  It was then that I noticed her eyes glistening with dampness.  I sensed something in her and in return she sensed something in me. Lowering my voice, I said, “I’m truly sorry that you’re having a bad day,” from behind the counter a few feet away.

Holding her head high, this lovely Model girl brushed back falling tears.  From behind the counter, a soft, pink tissue appeared.  Somewhere deep inside, she regained her composure, her strength.  In thinking back now, I don’t know how.  Reaching across the counter, she gripped my hand looking for comfort then. “I have breast cancer.  My surgery is tomorrow.”

Unexpected Easter Gifts


Shopping after church this morning, I observed a young child whose head was bare of hair except for strands of dark blonde, here and there.  Wispy, some long while others short.  New growth spouted at her scalp, fuzzy in texture and darker in color.  Her eyes were bright emerald-green, reminding me of St. Patrick’s Day.   Beneath the ‘sparkle’ of her eyes were shadows of gray, lying in pockets like puffy clouds that hinted of rain.

From an isle away, I stopped my cart, not able to look away from this innocent one.  She dangled bony legs in a basket pushed by her loving mother who was obviously celebrating a day alone and away with her daughter.  In their basket, a dress of white ruffles with a yellow satin sash.  Smiling, the little girl lifted thin arms, hugging her mommy around the neck.  Bending down to plant loving kisses I noticed a tear or two fall from the mother’s face of blush pink.  Quickly, she wiped them away with the palm of her hand.

I was in the store shopping for two of my grand-daughters, both of whom are healthy.  I suspected the little one being pushed in the cart was not.  Around the corner was a rack of fancy hats.  All child-sized, some with colored rainbow ribbons falling in back, others with big bows to the side and more with flowers painted in colors of pastels.

At that moment I accidentally pushed my cart into the mother and child’s silver of the same.  The little girl desperately wanted to wear a hat for Easter Sunday, and her mother so wanted to purchase one for her.  Yet they were all too big on her tiny head of no hair.  “Can I ask your opinion,” the mother nearly whispered to me?  “Why sure,” I replied, with a smile to my face.  “Delighted to help.  Let’s see what we can find!”

At first it seemed a fruitless task.  The sweet child’s head seemed to be swallowed in every brim.  At that moment the little girl noticed what was in my cart.  Easter presents for my grand-daughters.  Big baby dolls with hats on their heads!  Beautiful hats with ribbons and lace and yes, flowers to their sides bursting in beautiful blooms!

With an “Ah-Ha” moment I asked the mother to wait right there.  Quickly, I went to the isle where baby dolls sat on shelves.  Choosing another with a beautiful hat atop its head, I ran towards the front of the store.  The hat was white with a pink satin sash around the middle of the wide brim.  To the side was pinned an enormous flower of pink with variegated petals dipped in lime and peach.  I quickly paid for my purchases before returning to the row where my new ‘friends’ could be found.  There I handed the mother a separate bag.  “Please accept this Easter gift on one condition.”  She blushed, not knowing what to say while peeking inside.  “I’d like to see how lovely your precious daughter looks in her new hat before I leave the store.”

With that the mother’s eyes welled with tears again while placing the new baby doll in her daughter’s arms.  The hat from the doll’s head was lifted atop her child’s own, where it fit perfectly.  Together, we wheeled their cart to a shiny mirror in order for the little one to see her new ‘hat’s self’ for the very first time.

Clutching the baby doll in arms of two, a forlorn little girl suddenly smiled with glee. Gently, she fingered flower petals as if seeing them for the very first time in the whole of her life.  “Oh, Mommy, it’s so pretty!  This new hat makes me look and feel like a princess!”

One week from today, I shall think of my new ‘friends’ on Easter Sunday, together with each and every year afterward.

Lessons Learned…..

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