Saturday, March 6, 2010

Graduation Day & Flash-Free Nights

Yesterday was my 2nd 3-month follow up with the oncologist since I completed the herceptin in September. We were holding our breath on this one, since the cancer markers had risen as of my last visit. Good oncology news with the lab tests: all the blood tests are great, the numbers for the cancer markers dropped back to normal levels, and despite the chemo, radiation and bout with Arimidex, the dexascan shows my bone density has decreased only slightly from pre-treatment levels. I’m nowhere near osteoporosis. If I can get up off my Twitter-butt long enough to exercise on a regular basis, these old bones will be fine. I’ve graduated to the six-month follow up plan!

The best news is that she agreed the Arimidex was not for me, and maybe none of those meds will be. I’ve been off it a month, and although several symptoms are gone, and the joint pain is significantly reduced, it is still there. Now I have this weird stabbing pain in my left hand that only happens after 9 p.m. and lingers until morning.

I had been trying to get through a 15 minute routine on the rebounder, and halfway through it was all I could do to follow with small movements. The pain in my right hand and elbow was severe enough to preclude my lifting a 5 pound weight. By the second week off that wretched drug, I not only got through the full routine without even getting winded, but I did it in conjunction with arm exercises using both weights. I’ve directed my excitement about the increase in my energy and stamina to override how pissed off I am about the insidious side effects. I was down so long with that stuff that I didn’t know what “normal” was supposed to be.

Monday I’ll see the radiologist for that 6-month follow up, a week before my 1 year rad-iversary on St. Patty’s Day. Even though the process was much easier on me than it has been on so many women, cancer treatment is a brutal insult that is imbedded in the memory of my body and soul. Time seems to have passed so quickly, but it feels like I’m still climbing out of an altered state, surprised every time I reach another step towards health that I didn’t anticipate.

There are yet more special events left in the wake of Arimidex: hot flashes and the dreaded night sweats, which had been long gone and didn’t even arise during chemo. During a relentless attack the other night, I remembered someone telling me of a remedy of apple cider vinegar and honey (or maple syrup). I thought the recipe was for 2 tablespoons of each in water, so that’s what I did. Not only did the hot flashes stop within moments, but I conked out for the rest of the night.

I looked up the recipe the next day in a little booklet my mom had sent me about 20 years ago (and I filed away thinking it was crazy). It actually suggested 2 TEASPOONS of vinegar. No wonder I felt slightly queasy. But it worked – really, really fast.

Usually I have several flashes throughout the day, so I dress in layers, starting with sleeveless. By 3 pm the following day I realized I had been working all day in a sweater AND jacket, and had never felt uncomfortable. I’ve continued the remedy several times a day for the past 3 days; I still have them, but they are significantly less frequent and less intense. I passed the info to a friend who is in a constant state of spontaneous combustion, and it’s working for her, too. Bear in mind that both my friend & I are following a pretty clean diet – little, if any, processed foods, lots of fruit & veggies, etc.

The purist recipe is here:
This is an excerpt:
When you wake up in the morning just make a delicious cocktail using 2 teaspoons of raw, organic apple cider vinegar, and if you need a sweetener, use organic honey, 100% maple syrup, or molasses to taste. If you are diabetic, use the sweet substitute stevia. I recommend you use only distilled water. This "Bragg Healthy Cocktail" is designed to flush out wastes that are clogging the organs of elimination, the bowels, lungs, skin, and the kidneys. Take it at least twice a day, and you will start to see changes like increased energy, soft skin, and decreased muscle and joint aches from exercise. Make sure you use raw, organic vinegar, never dead, distilled vinegar because the natural enzymes, minerals, and nutrients are destroyed in the distilling process. Any vinegar that is clear and has no "mother" (the strand-like substance in the bottom of the bottle) has no nutritional value. Natural raw vinegar should be pungent, with a rich, brownish color and a visible "mother." Drinking apple cider vinegar daily, and eating a largely fresh, organic, vegetarian diet, along with following a simple fitness program, will change your life so dramatically you will never go back to your old ways!

Mr. Bragg is a character, and claims it will cure everything, and the book made lots of unsubstantiated claims. It does not mention hot flashes, so I don’t know where I heard that tidbit, but I will say it helped lower the heat!

I do like their products, which you can get at most health food stores. I have been using the Bragg’s Aminos for years and it is delicious; I use it just like any other soy sauce as a seasoning, and always spray it on my salads.

If you have hot flashes and try this remedy, please let me know – did it work for you?
In the meantime: What do YOU do for hot flashes?

1 comment:

Cristal said...


I recently attended a teleconference whose subject was hot flashes. The only remedy suggestion I took away from that was to exercise, which isn't the easiest thing to do when you have neuropathy from chemo.