A place where I can chronicle my family's journey through cancer. A place where WE can discuss our concerns. A place where WE can inspire each other. A place for hope.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Vitamins and Supplements and ReallyAnnoyingBloodTests, Oh My!

So, as I posted earlier, we started seeing our nutritionist/alternative practitioner recently. So far so good. The following is a list of recommendations provided for us to keep in mind:

There are a couple tests that we've decided to perform on my mom to identify certain conditions in her body. Besides the typical CBC work done from our regular blood tests, we've also gone ahead with one called a "Urine Toxic Elements Test", which is used to identify the presence of any toxic metals within the body. Basically, you're hooked up to an IV (pretty much my mom's BFF at this point) that contains a liquid that draws out the metals in your body and helps excrete it into your urine (which is collected and shipped off to the US for analysis). Simply put, you're given what is called a "chelation" agent. It was important for us to do this during our week off because, as mentioned, it draws out metals from your body. That combined with chemotherapy would be too much on the body. I'll keep you posted on our results, which take about 2-3 weeks.

The other tests that were recommended to us included a "Comprehensive Parasitology" (identifies organism imbalances within the digestive tract) as well as a "Comprehensive Bio-Terrain Test" (determines the balance between the major regulatory systems in your body, allowing for a more precise dietary and supplemental recommendation). Unfortunately, we couldn't go through with them, and won't be able to until we have a good long break from chemo. Chemo basically effs up the results and skews the information you receive from these tests, soo we'll have to put these on the back-burner until ... WE ARE IN REMISSION! (*positive vibes/spirit fingers-motion*)

Basically, we just have to continue what we've already been doing. That is, eliminating flour products and gluten-containing grains (i.e. wheat, rye, oats, barley) as much as possible, eliminating sugar/sweeteners and refined foods, and cutting down on our red meat consumption. In terms of what we are to add to our diet, more organic and free-range foods, as well as raw fruits and vegetables (blended, juiced, or chopped up). Oh, and of course, PLENTYYYYYY of water (even if it forces you to be in constant close vicinity of a washroom.....which it does). In addition, cooking our food with olive or flax oils, or if you want to get all fancy pantsy, coconut butter, butter (ok, not so fancy) or clarified butter (ghee).

We were also advised to purchase some sort of "green" drink (ex. wheat grass or barley grass) or powdered green drink (ex. Pure Synergy, Berry Greens, Greens Rx). We bought the Berry Greens and Greens Rx and are very pleased with it. It seems to keep my mom's energy levels up and, more importantly, consistent. No peaks and valleys, my friends! I know fatigue is a huge issue with cancer patients, so it's something that we needed to address.

Wobenzyme PS: enhances natural killer cell activity and immune communication. It acts as an antiinflammatory and stimulates your immune cells to focus in on cancer cells.

Avemar: enhances natural killer cell activity while reducing cancer cell DNA synthesis and repair.

A.H.C.C: improves immune strength during chemotherapy. It is derived from a type of Japanese mushroom.

Vitamin D: 8000 I.U./day(!!!) There is a TON of information on vitamin D, specifically D3. My most-recent "WW" post had some information about it.

Salvestrol Platinum: related to resveratrol, they promote cancer cell death (apoptosis) via activation of CYP1B1.

Chemo Support Formula: keeps the liver, kidneys, and nervous system strong during chemotherapy.

Vitamin B12 (methylcobalamin): promotes normal cell division and growth while supporting nerve health. Specifically, these would be used to help with my mom's peripheral neuropathy. She's just starting to feel the tingling/numbness associated with the condition, so we thought it best to catch it early before any kind of permanent damage was done.

Modified High Myer's IV Cocktail: ensures basic nutrient needs are met. This is what we were receiving when I posted earlier today from the nutritionist's office! It was very interesting, actually. Basically, it's this little IV bag (once again, BFF...) that you're hooked up to that gives you, as the name suggests, a "cocktail" of different vitamins and minerals to replenish what your body is lacking. The nurse told us to note how much fluid was in the bag if my mom started to taste or smell something "vitamin-ey". Right away, my mom reported it within a couple seconds of administering the fluids. Initially, I thought that this would be a bad thing. But then the nurse told us that was an excellent sign as that meant that my mom's vitamin B levels were up to par and doing well! Yeeeeuh! Also something to note, after receiving the cocktail today, my mom felt pretty much energized throughout the whole day right up until around 1am. Hopefully that is the cocktail at work. HOPEFULLY. One other thing to note is that it is a water-soluble solution. From what I gathered, that means that your body takes what it needs from the cocktail and then excretes the rest through your urine within about 24 hours. This is important because it means we don't have to wait until our week off to receive it. If we administer the solution a day before chemo, that should give my mom's body ample time to absorb what it needs and get rid of what it doesn't so as to not possibly interfere with the other drugs. Correct me if i'm wrong?

Far Infrared Sauna: enhances tissue detoxification and elevates core body temperature which is known to slow cancer cell growth.

PHEW! that was a.LOT to get through! Now, out of that ginormous list, my mom decided that, for now, she would only pursue the basic dietary "rules", vitamin D (new dosage), B12 shots, and the Myer's cocktail. We were given this list of recommendations at the same time as when we were taking Revlimid for the first time. To be safe, we thought we would avoid all the other stuff (as most of them deal directly with the cancer and chemo) so as to not skew the results on how effective the Revlimid was. So, that's pretty much where we're at. I know it's a lot of information, but hopefully it helps you in some shape or form. Most importantly, our nutritionist is helping us plan for how best to recover from the transplant as quickly and safely as possible.

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