Warrior watercress

The University of Southampton recently published a study suggesting that watercress may help stop the reoccurrence of breast cancer. Isn’t that convenient?

Apparently they had a small group of women fast 24 hours and then eat a cereal bowl of watercress, after which blood samples were taken. The results were promising.

Findings suggest that watercress blocks a signal vital to tumour growth. You may or may not know, but cancer tumours need a lot of blood to grow. When scanning the body and looking for tumours (e.g. with the MRI, etc.) they are looking for splotches where an abnormal amount of blood has developed. Probably there is a lot more to this body-scanning science, but I’m happier without the details. Point is, tumours need blood. When they use up the blood around them, they send out a signal for more. Like waving over the waiter at a restaurant.

But in this case the cancer cannot signal the waiter. No blood arrives. Tumour dies. DIE TUMOUR! AH HA HA HA!

Obviously this is just the start for watercress research, and is only one of the many studies with many possible cancer solutions.

But it’s been published at my university, and it targets my particular problem. I’ve taken it as a sign, and have now started eating a small cereal bowl full of watercress per day.  Because, like I once mentioned, 50% of the pizza is not enough. I don’t want to play with my life expectancy like someone flips a coin. Screw that.

So along with everything else, I’m eating watercress. Add that to my pile of cancer fighting treatments, supplements, and therapies. Fifty percent is bullshit, though better than the ten percent they first quoted. Bit by bit I’ll raise my chances. By the end, we’ll eat that entire freaking pizza for  dinner, and a watercress salad on the side.

Chemotherapy crazy

Yesterday was my third annual visit to the Christmas Art, Craft and Gift Fayre; I suppose it’s something I would normally have skipped (due to chemo) but a friend was showing work, and I really wanted to pick up a few of her matchbox masterpieces.


Ulrike and I arrived early to avoid the crowds; we hovered table to table, chatted up vendors, sampled truffles with oil,  and shopped – I bought three matchbox ladies from Barbro, who also had a stall showcasing her beautiful hand-woven, hand-painted cardboard baskets.

So that was a lovey morning, but by the time Ulrike and I had gone full circle and decided on a cup of tea, my legs felt like tree trunks and my head slightly fuzzy.

But sometimes a girl needs to socialize.

Mind you, I go crazy strange in the midst of exhaustion. Just this evening I was freaking out over nothing and Zsolt had to calm me down. It’s 100% a result of ‘too much activity’, which is tricky to manage during chemotherapy. This drug gives me the allusion of health . . . like, hey, I feel fine this morning so why don’t I do this, and this, and this, and this . . . except that come mid-afternoon I’m flat on my ass from a spinning head and can’t think straight.

It’s tricky, tricky stuff.

But nevertheless it was a lovely Sunday.

Another friend of mine who once had breast cancer advised that chemotherapy becomes more draining as time passes. She was concerned that flying to Canada would be too much. She’s probably right – I admit there is high risk of ‘Crazy Catherine, the Exhausted’ making a special appearance once home in Kanata.

So long as she doesn’t appear before, like when I’m talking to customs and trying to explain that hello/bonjour I’m Canadian, but I live in England, and yes I work there too, and no I don’t have anything to claim, and no I didn’t stop at duty free, and yes I’m home for a visit, and PLEASE stop asking questions because my parents are on the other side of that barrier and I’m dying to see them. At which point Crazy Catherine would take over and dive past the checkpoint, run across the luggage carousel, jump the security dogs, rip off her toque mid hot flash (revealing a suspiciously bald head) and probably end up tackled to the ground by that last fellow who checks your landing card and decides whether or not to search your bags.

Whew – sounds like an adventure I don’t want to have.

Therefore, the crazy will be saved for later.

Give me FIVE!

I’m now have eleven chemotherapy treatments done, which means FIVE treatments left, and THREE until I go to Canada.

My parents are rolling the ball in Canada, working things out on my behalf. We have to decide upon critical issues like when to put up the Christmas tree, who will decorate, and how many presents can fit into one stocking?

Essential matters.

Plus the OHIP (Ontario health care), scheduling, patient info and transferring of files – all that too.

But the ball is rolling.

Breaking news: my Swedish roots are abandoning me, instead I’m turning into a Monk. Zsolt was kind enough yesterday to point out that I have a ‘bald’ spot across the top of my head, with dark hair growing all around. MONK (also MANLY). Should I be embarrassed by this development? Well, maybe if the hair grows out an inch or so and the top is still shiny. . . then I’ll wear a hat. Meanwhile I’m simply glad to see it growing.

Breaking news part two: My weight is back to pre-chemotherapy measurements. Ever since Paclitaxel started I’ve been slowly putting the pounds back onto my shrunken frame. My rib cage is less pronounced, and I feel a tad more womanly. Meanwhile, the other side of my head is saying, “Alright lady, that’s enough with the weight gaining, time to slow down.”

But Christmas is coming, which means good food –plenty of good food. So whatever. Now is not the time to worry over weight (though that doesn’t mean I won’t worry, because it’s compulsive – BUT I know I’m being an idiot). Beside, who can say no to gingerbread cookies, and stuffing, and turkey, and mashed potatoes, and cheesecake, and baked filo wraps, and hot chocolate, and this and that, and all the goodies I’ll soon be eating.

Right. Twelve down (as of tomorrow), and four left.

This is progress.

PS. Today is my Name Day. Happy Name Day to all Catherines everywhere!

PPS. My big toes are starting to have a slight tingle. I’m not too happy about this, but it is still quite slight.