Villains and Heroes and COVID-19

Here’s what I have found to be true as a cancer patient.

When I am scared, I need to be surrounded by people sending me love. Comforting me. Saying they will help me if I need.
It never helped me to be around people who said things like “F*ck cancer”, or were angry people. Energy and vibrations matter.
This past week in America has been hard for everyone, but especially the elderly, the immunocompromised, and the ones who love them. Hearing over and over that they are the ones who will die, when we have been fighting another beast trying to kill us, is hard. It’s like we’ve been in the arena fighting the lions and are exhausted when suddenly, the gates open and in come the bears.
Here is what is making it harder.
Depending on the news organization or social media feed, we are either all going to get it OR it’s just a cold or it’s just like the flu. The government and people aren’t doing enough, OR it’s all overblown and ridiculous and people are stupid for preparing and shutting down. It’s a political game, and either the politician and party you support is doing enough OR the other side is doing too much.
Perspective matters here.
Science matters.
I found through the cancer journey that it is important to read true studies, become informed from all sides and then figure it out.
I’m wondering how many people who are saying it’s all a hoax and overblown are reading the same studies and articles as me.
Compassion and empathy is what is needed here.
To many, if you are in the 80% who will be fine if you get it, great. I truly am happy for you.
It means you are some of the luckiest people on earth and have won the life lottery because you haven’t been dealing with death and disease, and old age is still far away. You don’t know how lucky you are.
It also means you are going to be either the heroes of this story in the history books, or the villains.
Because if you are the 80%, and you have compassion for the elderly who are frail and scared and not as mobile as they used to be, you can help them. You can do welfare checks of your elderly neighbors. Offer to go shop and leave it on their stoop. Nursing homes are now shut off to families. Have your kids mail them letters. Make a strangers day. This generation gave you the country we have been living in. Comfort them during yet another scary time.
If you are the 80%, and you have compassion for those with cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart and lung issues, transplant, breathing conditions, you can help them…instead of saying over and over that this is ridiculous and they are the only ones who will die so they should just quarantine themselves and let everyone else go about their lives.
Stop overreacting over the 20%.
It’s smoke and mirrors. Twenty percent seems small. One in five doesn’t. Out of one hundred million people, that would equate to twenty million. Saying it differently changed it.
The 80% can be the heroes.
They have the superpower. They have the ability to “flatten the curve”.

They can’t stop it, but they can slow it down enough so hospitals full of the the true superheroes of this story can help more people live.
Picture a speeding train. Everyone on board is the elderly and immunocompromised and medical staff. The 80% can either shout at it that it’s not really that fast and they aren’t on it so they are fine…until it runs off the cliff.

Or they can run to the train and start trying to hold it back, slow it down, so the medical staff can get everyone inside off.

We have to think, why are all major sporting events shutting down? Disney world and other atttractions? Broadway?
They are the heroes.
Yet here is the conflicting part.
Governor Cuomo and Mayor Deblasio.
Cuomo went on and on about how serious this is. How NYS has the most cases in the country right now. Then he said he is lifting the 180 day rule for schools to be in session in order to get state aid. State aid is so important. Public schools will crumble without it. He owes my district thirty million dollars still. Aid is a big deal. I was like, “Finally! He has a heart!”
Then came the fine print. What he didn’t say is that it is only lifted IF the district used all of their snow and vacation days first AND they closed because the department of health or the state shut them down. He said he is leaving it to the district’s discretion.
He said he won’t close schools in NY because the kids need the two meals a day and parents need the babysitting essentially so they can go to work. Then he said kids will all get it no matter what you do to protect them, but the good news is 80% will recover.
If that man had a mustache, he would be twirling it while he said that as he watched the speeding train go off the cliff.

Then deblasio said he is keeping schools open in NYC. Again, because of two meals and babysitting. He would be the stooge next to the mustache twirling Cuomo.
Which leaves the local districts holding the bag. They are seeing state after state after state shut down schools for the next few weeks. But their governor and mayor are playing money games. In communities like mine where most of the town badmouths the schools and decision makers, if they don’t close they will be bashed for putting lives in danger. If they do close and it wasn’t by directive or DOH or the mustache twirling governor, and it goes longer than two weeks, we don’t get state aid. Which would then cripple us in the future.

It also pits district against district, as state tests are coming up, and regents and AP exams. Is this what it is about? That seems like a ridiculous thought. I mean, colleges are closing for the rest of the year and going online. But from what I understand, any online work or time spent working through school closures doesn’t count to the 180 days for public schools.
Life just got harder for families.
All of us.
I got a call yesterday that I can no longer have anyone accompany me to the hospital. Which means rob, who helps me with the frozen therapy for my hands and my feet and spoon feeds me ice chips so I dont get mouth sores can’t come. I can phone conference him in to my doctor appointment, but it’s not the same. Ask my principal what it’s like to be with me during a phone call about my life. That poor man had to stand in for rob when I got a call at work and he saw the Keri you all don’t see. A crying, in shock, shaking Keri. It’s not pretty.
Life is going to change for a long time for us all.
The 20% needs the 80% to be the heroes.
Do what you can to keep us safe.
Be kind.
Be helpful with your words.
Human touch is healing, and that’s been taken away from us. So use your words to help heal.
I went to the beach with the girls yesterday, and walked either far behind or far ahead.
I reset myself.

We can all reset our world.
We have become so divisive lately.
Perhaps this is a test.
Maybe we reconnect with each other. Families spend time with each other and play games. Go for walks outside. Reconnect with nature. Write letters to strangers in nursing homes.
This is our chance to show what’s in our hearts. If your the 80% and schools close, perhaps volunteer to man mobile food pantries. I think of the black and white movies during World War One when everyone stepped up and did their part.
Will we do the same now?
Love thy neighbor as thyself.
God bless the school leaders who were just thrown to the wolves by their state leader. I pray they make the right decision, and the community supports them.
God bless everyone in the hospitals and first responders as they prepare. They are the true heroes in my book.
God bless us all.
In Jesus’s name, amen.

Plot Twist

Getting the email about two tumor markers dropping but not knowing the numbers was stressful. (Even with five exclamation marks from my oncologist.)
We still didn’t get the fax of the results, so I texted my oncologists assistant and i literally got the text with the numbers three minutes before the call with Donnie.
It wasn’t as much as I had hoped, but it was still a drop. Had they both gone up, I would have chosen the totally herbal route.
Pressed pause…
detoxed heavily.
Used natural herbs and prayed.
But now… once again… “plot twist!”
Hence the life of a metastatic cancer patient.
Calls with Donnie Yance are a master class in medicine and plant medicine. I record it and take notes. Yesterday was four pages of notes. And I had to look up a bunch of things when we finished.
Hearing him say that there may be a time to just do herbs but now is not the time was important. He explained how complex the cancer is, and he knows every mutation inside and out. If there is a chance that doxil is finally starting to work, we cannot throw it away yet.
Is it actually working? Time will tell.
In the meantime, we are adding some new things.
I’ve got a week and a half before the next tumor marker test and we will know more then.
This is exhausting.
He is very happy with my chem panels and other labs. He said I am in good shape otherwise… and have to lose weight.
Which is incredibly hard when I get steroid push and am on chemo and stressed.
So now we work on that as well. My goal is forty pounds by July.
I received my new batch of stronger herbs and the special cinnamon. It’s a potent cinnamon tea he has me drink, and another hard thing to get down.

There is little pleasure in eating or drinking for me these days.
Eating and drinking is just for nutritional medicine now.
I’ve got to find other sources of comfort for when I’m stressed. Hot baths are out because of the chemo. Reading books is challenging because it tires my eyes. I’m looking forward to nicer weather. Perhaps just sitting in the sun will be enough.
I’m sharing a lot, and getting so many private messages and texts from others in this situation. It’s hard to respond to everyone. Just know I send you all love.
I’m up and preparing for the day.
May we all find comfort in ways that heal us.
In Jesus’s name, amen.



The Work

Benadryl knocks you for a loop when they give it to you. You feel like you are drunk and feel sleepy for hours.
Until it wears off…and the steroids they gave you keep you up all night long.
Fun times in Cancerland.

We left the hospital with only one tumor marker back of the three… and it’s three times higher than it was a month ago.

That will keep you up as well.
Today I’ll work all day and most of the afternoon. I’ll leave at 2 and run to take Donnie’s conference call with rob.
I’m anxious as to what he will say about our leaning towards stopping chemo and just going with my herbalist. They know each other from years back.
I’m still feeling peace, and have to work hard to keep it. I’m laying it at God’s feet, but it will be hard to hear educated people on my team tell me they don’t support it and the reasons why, should that happen. They’ve spent years and years studying cancer.
I’ve spent three and a half living with cancer.
As a teacher, I’m open to new ways of approaching teaching children. Times change, different material becomes available, more research, and each child is different. I find that the material made by teachers is usually the best. They are in the arena, doing the work, instead of people who have never even taught the grade or have been out of the classroom for years.
Doing “The Work”. I came across a podcast with Oprah Winfrey as she interviewed Byron Katie. She discusses the four questions.
When you are upset, find out what it is that is truly upsetting you. Write it down. Then ask yourself four questions.
1-Is it true? This is a simple yes or no answer. Be still and see what arises. If it’s a yes, go to question two. If it’s no, go to question three.
2-can you absolutely know that it’s true. If it’s a yes, ask yourself again and shine a flashlight on that moment of time and ask again.
3-How do you react… what happens?.. when you believe that thought? Notice and write down how you treat other people, yourself, what addictions or obsessions begin to appear when you believe that thought?
4-Who would you be without that thought? Take time to observe and reflect the question again but without the thought . Drop your judgements.
We do turnarounds.
We switch the story. With disease, we place all the blame in the body. But the story we are telling ourselves is in our mind, our thinking. Let the professionals and choices you make help the body, and you work on your mind. Believe the good story.
Everything happens FOR me, not TO me.
Gratitude is what we are without a story.
Reality is always kinder than the story we are telling ourselves about it.
I am a seeker of approval. I always have been. It hurts me deeply when people are unkind to me. Deeper than it should. I need to let go of wanting approval. That’s hard work, and all in the mind.
The hardest question I have to turnaround and release is about rob and the kids. With cancer, the thought of leaving this world and leaving them alone takes my breath away.
Because I think they won’t be ok.
But when I went through the four questions… i realized.
They will be fine.
Oh, grief and sadness are normal, even for a lifetime. But they will be ok.
Rob is an amazing father. I couldn’t have chosen a better one to help raise children with. My children have been raised to be good and kind. They have all they need.
So my thought of them not being ok?
It’s not true.
They’ll be great.
I’ve watched the Facebook feeds of families of friends who have loved ones who have passed from cancer.
They are all ok.
So yesterday… after listening and learning and reading about “The Work”…
I released my biggest fear.
Which brings me to the next question.
Am I going to be ok?
The answer to that one… is up to God.
There’s a song written by Jenn and Brian johnson. “You’re gonna be ok”. I’ll leave a link in the comments.
Today, may we all ask the hard questions, turnaround the story we tell ourselves, and be still. The answers are better than we think.
In Jesus’s name, amen.



My East is Your West

We are up and getting ready to head to the airport.
What a week.

Somehow, against all odds, we ended up here at this conference. My oncologist encouraged me to come, we booked two last minute flights and two different hotels, had the funds thanks to the go fund me from the fall, and my parents took the kids and the dog.
There was a reason for me to be here.
Yesterday’s speakers were great.

Jane McLellan is remarkable. Stage four ovarian cancer along with another health issue, and she is still here over twenty years later. She did what I have been doing… research. She is much smarter and better than me, and discovered how to use off label drugs, repurpose them for cancer, and how to pulse them for different phases. She also spoke of the cancer stem cells. Chemo kills the tumors, but the cancer stem cells are so minuscule and float around and outsmart the medicines. There are multiple pathways it uses for energy. She has a metro map that explains how to cut off the cancer sources of energy.

Another woman spoke about fasting. Listen, it’s hard… I know. I’m starting a three day fast today (although I am eating breakfast because of the plane ride). She said something that was so profound to me. It’s hard to fast because our hunger is uncomfortable… but there is something else.
It’s hard to fast because we use food for emotional comfort. We turn to food to feel better. If we take away food, especially during emotionally hard times, what do we use to fill the gap?

Dr Gregor also spoke and made the case for a plant based diet. His speech was full of research. You can’t argue with it. He also showed slides of how corrupt companies and the government can be. He showed ads from the 1950s that spoke of how good smoking was. When we go to the doctor and complain of illness, do they ask what you are eating? Or do they just prescribe drugs which give you side effects that you need more drugs for?

Rob and I will be signing up for a one mont challenge that is free. I’ll look up the link and share it later.
I am walking away from the conference in a calmer place than I walked in. I am at a crossroads. I have been taking chemo after chemo after chemo and none of them are working. My herbalist wants me to stop, give him three months, and see what happens. I messaged a friend who has used him for years, and she said whatever he tells her to do, she does. She stopped and is now NED. I ket another man, a pharmacist with prostate cancer, who also was told to stop by my herbalist. He is now NED. A new friend I sent to him yesterday met with him and he told her she needs chemo, so we know he isn’t anti chemo.
When we met the woman yesterday who is a researcher at John Hopkins who stopped chemo and uses my herbalist, right after we were told about her by Rick Shapiro… we took it as a sign.
Then we went to the beach, I put my feet in the water, and thought maybe it wasn’t. So I asked for signs of butterflies.

At the beach
We placed a rock for a special boy

If i saw three butterflies i would know.
Wouldn’t you know, as we walked along the shops, we saw butterflies.
One was a statue of a lion with butterflies coming out of its belly, one was butterflies on a dress, and one was butterflies in a store.

We ate dinner over a tree that changed colors; and it was called a wishing tree.
In the sky above it was one star, or maybe a planet. We made a wish.

Then, we told our waitress about the conference and the decision we may be making about eastern medicine over western, and she said to look at the sign past the tree. It’s has all these letters that light up at different times and spells out words.
“My East is your west”.

We came back to the hotel and who did we see again?
My herbalist at a table by himself. We went over and talked once more.
It’s a hard decision .
But one I feel more comfortable making
Should we need it. I’ll do chemo tomorrow and see what the markers say.
Then we make our choice.
I keep hearing the poem in my head. Two roads diverged in the woods, and I took the one less traveled. And that has made all the difference.
I hope you all learned something this weekend. God led me here and if you saw
Something for yourself, it was meant to me.
I’m so grateful to Ann Fonfa, “Annie Appleseed”, for being so brave and strong and sharing her story. She is also saving my life through these conferences and her story.
I cant wait to hug my kids today.
Please pray for safe travels and healing.
In Jesus’s name. Amen.