Blasphemy! or Sugar is Bad, ‘mmkay?

It's evening and I just woke up from a nap.  The air is redolent of apple turnovers and freshly cut grass.  My household is full of activity.  Except for me.  I'm sitting around like a lump of clay, taking turns gazing at a digital thermometer and the amazing flowers in my living room.

I couldn't go to my last big chemo treatment today.  My white blood cell count was woefully low.  The required baseline is at least 1400—mine is off the charts at 300.  I didn't have a fever when the chemo nurse called to cancel, but lo and behold, an hour after walking on the beach with mom and hubby, my temperature shot to 100.6.  It dropped to 100.3 later, just hovering below where I needed to either call the oncology nurse or haul my butt into emergency.  Amazing what a couple of tenths can do.  I'm in the blood count Olympics, trying to make the cut.

Low blood counts that don't bounce back generally indicates significant toxicity (from chemo).  There's nothing I can do but wait it out, practice good handwashing, and stay away from crowds.  I can't even get a flu shot—my body can't handle it.  So I started reading this book:


I picked it up on a whim at a juice place during the info feeding-frenzy post-diagnosis.  To my horror, I'd gone against its simple advice by drinking lots of juices (loaded with sugar) and occasionally indulging my big weakness, sweets.  I'm ill—why shouldn't I eat a cookie once in awhile…for breakfast?  I'd read of people beating their disease by going on macrobiotic diets.  I'm not willing to commit to that (yet, Gwyneth)—I don't like brown rice or chickpeas.  And It's not like I'm eating bacon and ice cream every day.  
 
The salient point I honed in on was how damaging sugar is to one's immune system.  It seems that ingesting 100 gram (3.5 oz) portions of carbohydrates as glucose, fructose, sucrose, honey, (that's pretty much all the sugar categories) or pasteurized orange juice all significantly reduces the ability of white blood cells (neutrophils) to engulf and destroy bacteria.  These effects start within less than half an hour of ingestion and lasts for more than 5 hours.  There's at least a 50% reduction in neutrophil activity 2 hours after ingestion.  Since neutrophils constitute 60 – 70% of the total circulating white blood cells, impairment of their activity equals depressed immunity.  Depressed immunity means I can't fight off a single, miniscule microbe, no matter how minor.  Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!
 
Have your eyes rolled into the back of your head yet?
 
Long story short, Sugar is BAD!  And I am reluctant to villify that which gives us joy, so let's go with "all things in moderation".  Did I mention my mom just made apple turnovers from fresh apples?  How little of one scrumptious pocket pie can I get away with?  A forkful?  Or should I just inhale the aroma and not succumb to what Buddhists call lust (food lust, in this case)?
 
So,  I need to boost my white blood cell count by 1100 units by Monday.  I'm supposed to eat lots of carotenes—dark greens, squash, carrots, yams, sweet potatoes, red peppers & tomatoes, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, collards, kale, cauliflower, berries, garlic, and Jerusalem artichoke.  Sugar = 0. 
 
Whoa baby!  Hook me up to the power grid— the gas I unleash could power Alameda by the end of the decade!  And it's renewable… 
 
On a positive note, my last CT scan indicates I'm responding to chemo and my disease is considered stable.  In other words, the large tumor in my lung is shrinking, hopefully meaning the "disease not showing up on the radar has been zapped".  Supposedly this is the reason I feel pretty good despite such modest results.
 
"It's a long road, and you're hitting pothole after pothole.  Don't suffer or put yourself at risk."  The doctor's words.  And he's right—I had allergic reactions to my first 2 chemo agents, I'm on my 3rd agent and I just want to get it over with.  I have burn scars, vein flares, black fingernails.  I am so ready for Halloween.  I think I'll go as Uncle Fester.
 
As for those of you who have called and haven't received a return call, please be patient.  It probably means I want to have a long conversation with you, and my hoarse throat just isn't up to it.  But I'll call you eventually, I promise.  Those of you out there eating all the things I love that I can't have right now (sushi, corned beef sandwiches, sweets, fancy coffee drinks, pearl drinks, alcohol, fried chicken–or anything fried for that matter, salad, etc)…think of me and enjoy it twice as much.  Hopefully someday soon I can join you for one of those meals.
 
 

Q: How do we heal the soul without destroying the body?
A: Become a Buddhist.  Desire is the cause of all suffering.  The end of suffering is possible. 

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One thought on “Blasphemy! or Sugar is Bad, ‘mmkay?

  1. I actually enjoy reading your blog. Your professional writing style keeps my interest and makes me want to hear more. You don't mind making light fun of your serious situation. I find that very interesting especially seeing how your life is changing drastically. I guess we all get serious about how we are going to deal with our situations when the affects of life really show up.
    I am concerened about the signs of self-loathing. I really don't want something that starts out as a joke to turn into a consistent choice. Like playing with my spouse that a younger guy would be more ideal in her eyes than I am – just joking of course. Never seeing or taking ownership for the fact that these last couple of weeks of not speaking to each other, steming from our blow-out fight, based on those futile comments, were not the intended components of the fun I expected. I, perhaps didn't know what I should expect by making comments like those. I realize today, that we are ensnared by the words of our lips. Our words do have power and they will lead us to believe what we speak. Not like sorcery but by taking for granted, time and time again, that what was intended to just be coarse-jesting is/was actually forbidden. Why? Because it leads to seperation.
    We are in a time that we need know seperation from our Higher Power. We have got to say things to honor him in our Him, even in our current condition/s. I am guilty of letting an inch turn into a ruler. Our inch will become inches and rule us. Our idle words will return to transform us and represent us. Our words not having much wait to the naked eye, speak volumes in the heavens. Speak freely and rightfully so. We have the right to speak the word of life over ourselves and believe that life will come from the Words which reinforce our belief. We have the right and we are granted a time, a season and a purpose to speak up. Redeem the time, because the days are evil. Let us speak freely for the sake of life. Not that life should not be enjoyed to its fullest. But because life is a gift that should be appreciated and savored for every moment we have it. We are blessed!
    Have we ever thought about the fact that we could have been chosen not to exist – ever? Then I guess we would believe we had to exist in order to be counted out. It is true, we existed before we came on the scene here. Our Higher Power new us before we were formed in the our mother. We have got to get a clue. There would have been no reason for us to be counted in the number of those that were sent into this place if it weren't for a purpose. Even in our private and deep concentrated suffering, our purpose is to be fulfilled. We have got to respect the time we have been alotted.
    I like the apology you made regarding the food. I like it because I want to eat the same way you do. Thank you for the reminder on the refined sugar.
    We miss you and we love you and thank you for starting this blog. As an IT person, it is shameful that I don't know more about these things.

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