On my last day of radiation, I distinctly remember walking out of the radiation center feeling very jubilant and hopeful. Not only were my sessions done and over with but the nurse’s reassurance that each week thereafter will make me feel even better and stronger.
Soon afterwards, I noticed that I started having difficulty swallowing where my esophagus met the stomach. I felt pain with each time I swallowed any solid food or gulped a drink. Liquids, however, were more tolerable as long as I sipped it slowly. My strength deteriorated and fatigue worsened further, and developed tachycardia soon afterwards (and lasted till April/May, my radiation concluded in February). I was out of breath and couldn’t even climb 11 steps to second floor to get to my bedroom without gasping for breath! My face swelled up and the irradiated areas in the back (along the spine and in the front) changed color and became black and blue(and later in the stomach as well). Other things that developed and I am still feeling with in May is skin dryness, excessive flakiness, skin peeling, swelling of feet, etc.
I continued on Manjistha (to help cleanse the blood and lipids) and Ashwagandha (for strength and — stress), along with good nutrition (stews and soup with a lot of green vegetables) and stayed away from raw food/vegetables which Ayurveda says is hard for the stomach to digest. Wore loose soft fabrics. Drank mostly warm water for deep cells absorption and later added coconut water. Also in April returned to pilates!
It was a beautiful day to celebrate and honor my mother. Another highlight was getting to do so with Aunty Grewal as well. Both are such amazing women and I feel blessed.
Neurosurgery visit was really reassuring. My neurosurgeon went over my imaging studies, the state of the spine and the spinal cord, and options available in case surgery was indicated (now or in future). He also conducted neurological and tendon reflex tests, and although my reflexes were below normal (hypo-reflexic), my surgeon was satisfied. He asked me to return in January 2019 to assess progress and/or the need for surgery and also ordered additional x-rays to be completed in a months time. I also got clearance from him regarding an exercise regimen in order to gain strength- he okayed walking for 10-minutes and slowly building it up. I was also able to negotiate Pilates as long as it was low-impact! I am so very HAPPY!
Bone biopsy results are in….drum roll please! It confirms that my cancer of the spine is ‘Breast Cancer’ indeed, and it substantiates for my oncologist that my cancer is growing in response to estrogen and not progesterone (ER +positive PR-negative).
My oncologist is going to start me on oral chemo by prescribing me Letrozole (Brand name Femara), and based on my tolerance, he may continue, change and/or add to it! Let’s see how I tolerate it’s potential side effects of hot flashes, hair loss, joint/bone/muscle pain, tiredness, usual sweating, nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, trouble sleeping, etc.
Tomorrow, I see the neurosurgeon to assess the stability of my spinal cord and possible next steps. Wish me luck!
Waheguru Simran (click to listen)
I find the vibration of ‘Waheguru Simran’ (an ‘anhad naad’ vibration) allows my mind and body to go into an emptiness trance (or ‘sunn-samadhi’, which helps still the body and mind so that the senses can be controlled from drifting). If you are anything like me, it is during my meditation that my mind wanders, remember things or chores, my dream or fears, etc., and never stills! For these reasons, meditating by reciting ‘Waheguru‘ over and over again allows the mind to reach a state of a state of peace, self-realization and transcendence, where the soul becomes totally absorbed on to the Divine and eventually merges with the Infinite Consciousness!
Babaji Guru Nanak Ji, Sikh’s first guru, gave the ‘Waheguru’ jaap, so that thru surrender, we can grasp and contemplate God consciousness with wonder and reverence! In 2nd Pauri in ‘Japji Sahib’, he tell ‘those who meditate on God’s name, get embued/ permeated with the name of the lord on their minds. They alone serve the God, upon who’s forehead such pre-ordained destiny is written! They continually sing the glorious praises of the lord, and singing glories of the glorious god they get uplifted.’
The link above is a beautiful ‘Waheguru Simran’ rendition by Nirinjan Kaur. Hearing her bring us this divine meditation and vibration in her open, beautiful and effortless ‘naad’ voice is truly a blessing. Thank you Bhenji Nirinjan Kaur!
Invoking creativity, visualization, relaxation, balancing emotions and spiritual practices thru painting and visual imagery. Who knew I could paint…Lol. Masterpieces indeed!
Being young, single, successful, immortal and invincible, I had plenty of time to get my financial house in order! Perhaps a partner and children will come into my life and that’s when I will square my financial interests. Didn’t realize that everyday I was taking a risk and playing ‘Russian Roulette’ with all my investments, retirement and saving accounts, property and assets, etc. Never did I take the time to identify how I would like my desires and wishes to be carried out in case I got incapacitated from an accident, illness, disability or death. I guess I must have felt that I was going to live forever!
Now I had the chance to make this right. I researched the ubiquitous DIY online $49 deals, perused many DIY blogs and youtube videos. Although many of these processes seemed simple and doable, I knew it was above my expertise, knowledge and experience! So I bit the bullet and I decided to go with a professionally trained flat rate lawyer well-versed in estate planning and probate law. Boy was I glad that I did. Following is what I learnt-
- It was more than a ‘Will”. There were several ‘must have’ documents that needed to be completed, such as, revokable living trust, pour over will, durable power of attorney for assets, advance health care directive, etc.
- Any property or asset not listed ‘living trust’ goes under the jurisdiction of the probate court! During probate, it must be proven in court that the person’s Will is valid, their property is inventoried and appraised, taxes and debts must be paid (as well as the lawyers and court fees), and then the remaining property is distributed among the heirs and beneficiaries (a lengthy process). Plus, probate becomes a matter of public record at the time of the individual’s death. Most if not all DIY will end up in the probate space.
- Living trusts bypasses probate, since technically assets you put in a trust are owned by the trustee, not you, so upon death the trustee can transfer your property and assets directly to your beneficiaries. Revokable because you can amend it as you go along or to cater for any life changes that occur.
In conclusion, I think if you want to do this correctly and save your loved ones the hassle, do choose a professionally trained attorney. Not only is the process made seamless and straightforward, with long-term economic advantage, the guidance and advise was direct. For instance, I asked what if I were to buy additional property, how would that work? She told me to buy it in the name of the trust as it automatically will fall under my ‘revokable living trust’ with no need to make additional amendments! And I can always reach out to her for any questions I may have. Monies well spent!