Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Well...after quite a while of being told to "wait" for my frozen shoulder and the neropathy in my feet to get better, I made a decision to try alternatives. Yesterday, I visited Dr Yang, who is a Doctor of Chinese Medicine and is a chiropractor. We discussed my issues and agreed to try a few things to alleviate the pain. We agreed to focus on my shoulder first.

So...yesterday was my first ever acupunture treatment. Dr Yang inserted somewhere around 14 to 18 needles in my legs. The basic belief is that pain is caused by an energy imbalance. Inserting the needles helped to "push" excess energy from certain body areas to those areas lacking energy. The needle insertions really didn't hurt - some I didn't even feel other than the pressure that I knew she was inserting a needle. After my legs, she next inserted needles into my right hand and arm. (The frozen shoulder is on my left.) Finally, she inserted three needles into my left hand and just above the wrist.

After inserting all the needles, she lightly rubbed my left shoulder with an ointment of some kind - smelled like menthol. She turned out the lights, told me to take a few deep breathes, said to sleep if I could and she left the room. Unfortunately, I was not able to sleep. After a few minutes of sitting very still, my left shoulder and the muscles on the back of my arm started to throb. It got pretty uncomfortable. When Dr Yang finally returned, I told her about the pain and she immediately rubbed my arm/shoulder with more of the ointment, removed the pins from my left arm and allowed me to move the arm - which eased the pain. Dr Yang thinks it may have been the position of my arm and we will try a different position next time. She also put an herbal patch at the spot where I indicated the most pain.

Now...the results...I actually do have reduced pain in the shoulder and I am able to move the arm more that before the treatment. I was able to lift my arm about maybe 45 degrees when extended to the side. I am not able to raise it just about 90 degrees - or almost straight out. Still can't raise if above my shoulder when extended to the side; but, it is better. Obviously, I must wait & see, but I haven't had any episodes of the shoulder throbbing yet. Maybe best of all, I slept well last night. Even though I have been taking Ambien, I have had some difficulty sleeping as I am unable to get into a position without pain.

Dr Yang gave me extras of the herbal patches and a bottle of the ointment (only available from China) with instruction to use them. We also agreed to treatments on Monday, Wednesday and Friday for two weeks. At that time, we will review status/progress and decide whether it makes sense to continue.

An interesting thing about this venture into treatment alternatives is the fact that Dr Yang's husband is a pulmonologist here in Indy. Therefore, she was very careful to ensure that her treatments don't interfere in any way with my normal lung cancer treatments and follow up.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

It's been a while

Well, it's been a while since I posted anything. I guess I just didn't have anything to say. But...today a read another article about "that question" you get when someone learns that you have lung cancer -- "Did you smoke?" I certainly realize that it seems like an obvious question. And, most people don't seem to realize that it is almost like saying that you are to blame for having lung cancer if you smoked. But..when they learn that I didn't smoke, there is always this ackward pause -- like they thought they knew where they were going but, now, don't know what to say. Of course, there is always the next question, "Huh, do they know what caused it?"

Fortunately, the people I work with most closely are now very accustomed to the situation. They realize that someday I will be gone -- but it ain't gonna be tomorrow. They work with me, talk with me and interact with me mostly like I am a normal person without lung cancer. And...on the days I need it, they cut me some slack. But...we go on another cruise in Sept and I know I will have to deal with the same old questions again.

Re: me -- I continue in remission. I am currently getting no treatments of any kind. I've been back to see Dr Einhorn once since my last Avastin infusion and all was OK. I go back again just before the Sept cruise. My feet hurt from peripheral neuropathy - damage from the chemo. Some days it is difficult to walk very much. The pain is pretty much there all the time. My shoulder is still a problem - frozen shoulder/adhesive encapsulitis. It's not bad some days...but...on other days, it just throbs. Sleeping is sometimes difficult because I can't get into a comfortable sleeping position. But...I am still here and I am figuring out how to keep going.

Re: Jill -- She had a bad episode last week. She ended up in the hospital for a couple nights. Even though the doctors could never confirm it, we are pretty sure she had food poisoning from a crabcake she had when the kids were here. She was miserable for about a week including the time in the hospital. Once they got her rehydrated with IV fluids, she began to improve. She is basically back to her normal now.

Speaking of the kids, we learned that Brett and Arielle plan to marry next April. Another great milestone to push to ensure that we both make it. And, Julie has started her first job. Apparently, she enjoys it so far because "everyone is nice and treats her nice."