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Chapter 10 - Dancing Beyond Cancer - Treating Improvement

Chater 10 -------- Treating Improvement

After several weeks of being at home, we started to see gradual improvement. The process was slow and rigorous for Danielle. She was not healing near as fast as she was expecting. The doctor said it should take two weeks to heal after the surgery, but at a month and a half, we were beginning to see the improvement we both so desperately wanted. Improvement was a constant judge of the progress we were making against the disease. All the new treatments had us convinced Danielle was going to beat the Cancer. I did not doubt in my mind that we would lose the battle.

Danielle’s doses of curcumin intravenously through her port produced immediate results. While it wasn’t quite the results we expected, it did show us that it was doing some serious work in her body. The IV’s were far more intense than we initially expected. The side effects varied depending on where it entered the body. Itching and slight burning were common side effects but typically when administered into the arms. Since we were using the port to administer the IV, we expected the irritation and itching would be less severe.

The biggest issue we faced was the reactions to the IV itself. The first week went by without a hitch. After a week, we started seeing more results, and these were very unexpected results. Danielle would explain it to me that it felt like her insides were burning, especially where the disease was. She also noticed that she would get pain in her gall bladder because of all the die-off from the treatment. From what I read in the supporting material, it was great at cleaning out the body, and sometimes the gall bladder would become overwhelmed. The ND explained it was something similar to gall stones but not quite as painful. Danielle felt the pain and having endured both agreed with the doctor.

I felt so bad for Danielle for having to go through such an intense treatment. The thought of even trying something more toxic or problematic seemed ludicrous. I knew that we might have been facing more dire problems during a chemotherapy regimen. Despite the potential comparison, we still were facing a powerful treatment. The intensity would wear Danielle out, and the nights after a treatment would be particularly rough.

Danielle found sleep rather difficult because of near constant discomfort. She would occasionally nap during the day, but mostly, she would try to stay up and sleep at night with me. Obviously, because of her pain, she often stayed awake while I slept. However, I would instantly wake up if she needed me. Most of the time, we would wake up several times a night to use the bathroom. The surgery had made her less regular with bathroom breaks.

It never bothered me being with her in the bathroom. It was more important to make sure she was safe versus worry about silly cultural taboos. She usually needed a little assistance to the bathroom, especially at night when she was often much weaker. Truthfully it was a great time to talk since the distraction helped with the discomfort. Some might have thought it was a shitty situation, but I enjoyed every minute with my wife. Thankfully, for her sake, she was becoming increasingly more independent with every passing day.

Danielle started taking short walks up and down the street. She was constantly trying to move to help with the rehabilitation. She felt so helpless because of her condition and what it prevented her from doing. The limitations pushed Danielle to accelerate her rehabilitation. The doctors had told us that walking regularly and keeping the body moving would assist in the healing process. So Danielle, even immediately after the surgery, was up and trying to walk around. After a month and a half, she was becoming far more self-reliant. I no longer needed to provide constant support, and she could easily walk a couple of hundred yards before exhaustion. I was so impressed.

The progress wasn’t without setbacks. Two separate instances had shown how important it was, for Danielle, not to push herself without assistance. Both accidents occurred while she was trying to take a solo walk. It was almost disastrous as she fell both times injuring herself. The added stress of making the injured journey home was likely more damaging. Danielle became increasingly cautious after the second incident, but that never stopped her from moving forward.

It would fill Danielle with great joy every time she showed improvement. Walking further day after day filled her with a great sense of accomplishment. Danielle appreciated and recognized the small improvements. Then she constantly tested her boundaries as she felt more and more capable. Typically we would do two to three hikes down the street every day, assuming the weather was cooperating. The cold weather was not Danielle’s friend. Her body couldn’t handle the shock of being cold, nor could it deal with the stress caused by prolonged exposure. Even properly dressing for the cold weather became a hardship. Despite the challenges Danielle gave her recovery every bit of strength she could muster.

As her physical strength began to return, so did her desire to help around the house. Even though I would discourage her from doing household chores, she still would find time while I was working. She knew I would never let her strain herself while I was home. Even though I knew it wasn’t the best thing for her to be doing, I could also tell that it made her happy to be a contributing member to our marriage. It always made her sad that she was unable to be of service. Danielle was truly an independent woman and a driven go-getter when I met her. I couldn’t imagine the struggle she faced with having that independence stripped away in such a traumatic series of events.

Danielle’s internal struggles were a constant stressor. I could see and hear the pain when she would talk about the things she wished she could be doing. She clearly missed all her students the most. She missed the dance, and because of that would completely avoid listening to music, something she did very regularly before the Cancer. Even texts from students would remind her of how much she wanted to teach. So many parts of her life reminded her of the things she had lost.

I even reminded her of everything she wished she could do as a wife. We were technically still newlyweds, and her health had prevented a proper consummation. There was so much she wished she could do for me, even though I didn’t need anything from her. The truth is that I had zero problems stepping up to the plate to be the person my wife needed. The satisfaction received from doing the right thing and the gratitude I received was all I needed to keep me going. I didn’t think much about the things we didn’t have because I fully expected we would have a lifetime to indulge in the physical pleasures.

I did everything I could to make sure that she didn’t feel inadequate. Danielle had never allowed herself to be so dependent on someone. So it was not an easy transition for her to let me fill those roles. There were many roles that she never thought I would have to fill. I don’t think either of us expected our relationship to evolve into a caregiver/patient union. However, when it came to the kitchen, I learned it was best to keep Danielle out, healthy or not.

I learned very early in our relationship that Danielle couldn’t cook, especially after eating my first boiled steak. So, it wasn’t a problem for me to prepare all the meals that Danielle needed. Her diet had greatly simplified, with overall guidelines being organic, non-GMO, and Gluten-Free. She also avoided sugars like the plague. I had no idea how much food has sugar added until I had to start reading every label. Where I could go, shopping was limited to Natural Grocers or the Local Health Market. Danielle ate loads of superfoods, smoothies, and super grains. Another staple in Danielle’s diet was gluten-free muffins and Free Range Organic Local Eggs. It was simple but rather expensive.

Thankfully due to the additional financial support, we were able to afford the best of the best when it came to food. I know how important diet is, and Danielle was even more vigilant in making sure everything she ate was up to her standards. I would often have to clear any new food with her, and even temporary food replacements needed approval. The ND was a vital part of making sure we had the best food for Danielle also. There were many products she recommended for us that I believe helped. Due to the surgery, Danielle had become hypersensitive to many different foods.

Dietary restrictions were one of the biggest challenges we faced with making sure that the food I purchased wouldn’t make her sick. A big challenge was to make sure her sensitive digestive system didn’t take in anything that would cause a negative reaction. Too much oil would cause digestive problems causing additional pain in her gall bladder. We practically removed all oils except for a little raw coconut oil. Most things were baked or steamed to preserve the nutrients. I did my best to meet or exceed all of Danielle’s requirements.

Gluten was obviously a big no-no in her diet. The smallest amount would cause extended abdominal pain. I also made sure that anything I prepared was free of onions, garlic, and spicy peppers. These were all of Danielle’s previous diet restrictions before the surgery. The only exception was a very nutritious Bone Broth made with garlic and onions. If we veered off the path, Danielle would experience more pain, more discomfort, and further bowel issues. Digestion was one of Danielle’s biggest concerns.

To keep the digestive concerns under control, we kept a strict diet. Most mornings would start with a completely plain gluten-free waffle from the restaurant we first met. I would also procure several internationally famous raw chocolates from their chocolate bar. I would usually call in the order so I could drive down the street and return within ten minutes. I never wanted to be away from Danielle a minute longer than needed. Upon my return, she would usually eat the first half of her waffle then put the rest in the fridge. Simple and small meals were common.

Other mornings included buckwheat oatmeal with three soft boiled eggs. I perfected the amount of time it would take to make a perfect soft-boiled egg because they were Danielle’s favorite. If she didn’t have oatmeal, she would often accompany the eggs with half a gluten-free English muffin. There were very few companies that made an English Muffin that was tolerable to my wife. An issue that was constantly an issue when shopping, thankfully, we isolated the problem ingredients and avoided them no matter what.

As she healed, she tried to consume more and more food. It was very difficult for her to eat because of the nausea that she constantly felt. The curcumin treatment made it even worse, and Medical Marijuana only reduced the symptoms. We faced a constant struggle with making sure that the nausea was never more than she could handle. Danielle knew her body so well and knew its limits and would only eat as much as she felt strong enough to eat. Many times she would have to put the rest of her meal in the fridge for later. She would always make sure to finish it when she felt capable, so food rarely went to waste.

Most of her dinners and hot meals entailed brown or black rice from regions that produce highly nutritious superfoods. I would also boil the rice with ionic mineral and monatomic elements — both shown to help overall health. I did everything in my power to provide the best food possible. We started buying in bulk the items that we knew were satisfactory. It was a process, but we had each other through everything.

We were constantly studying and reading material about the foods and supplements that we were consuming. Sadly there was not a double-blind study showing a proper diet does or does not cure cancer. However, the anecdotal proof from the people who are trying alternative treatments is abundant. The stories vary, and there is a lot of proof that some treatments work for some people while for other people they don’t work. I did a lot of reading about the subject before I met my wife, so this was an even more in-depth research assignment than I had endeavored before. Not only was I reading the material, but I was also putting that knowledge into action constantly.

I knew that through my research and talking with the doctors that controlling inflammation and providing the essential nutrients to the body was crucial in a full recovery. We didn’t spare any expenses and made sure that Danielle was receiving a super dose of antioxidants every day. I would make her a super green drink that would include a little fresh fruit, greens, mineral whey for protein, chia seeds, hemp hearts, and a superfood powder, with just a dash of honey. I figured her diet alone would have cured her cancer, according to other reports.

After a couple of weeks of treatment, there was an improvement but not without consequences. Every time that Danielle would have a treatment, she would have about six to twelve hours of extreme discomfort to intense pain. She explained it to me that it felt like the cancer was “being burned” out of her. Cancer at this point would have been moving into stage four, so if that were the case, it would be very active in her body. The burn-offs, as we called it, were intense but showed immediate improvement. The most dramatic progress was during any healing crisis. The pain reduction alone was worth the initial discomfort, according to Danielle, which helped significantly with her moral and mental well-being.

After a couple of months of being incapacitated and incapable of caring for herself, she was finally starting to show real signs that she was healing. Every day that she had more energy was a miracle. Many afternoons she would relax in the front yard. October through November had beautiful days allowing Danielle to sit outside without causing any stress. Environmental stress being something we constantly made sure to keep at a bare minimum. Super cold weather meant very little travel outside. Road trips in the cold required preheating the car before we left. A quick trip from the door to the car was about all the cold that Danielle’s body could handle. Shivering was something that would wear her out incredibly fast, so I made sure that happened as little as possible.

The biggest challenge was late night showers. Often the hot water would help reduce the pain. I didn’t care if she wanted a shower in the middle of the night. All she had to do was wake me up and let me know. I would almost like a rabbit jump up and throw a heater in the bathroom and turn the water on to get the room super warm for her. Evenings were still always cool, and the trip to the bathroom was challenging for Danielle. Once in the shower, she would sit on the shower chair until she would request the chair removed.

It brought her comfort to sit in the shower on the floor, although she was still super self-conscious. So she wouldn’t want me to even look at her, even though I found her absolutely beautiful, she felt like she was now less than she once was. The surgery left her scarred, and the way her body had changed was still dramatic to her. The tone and fitness that she cherished her whole life was gone, the natural beauty was still there but not to the level that she wished.

She had high standards for herself, and it disturbed her, seeing that she now fell short. Danielle was ashamed despite my constant reassurance that she was still the most beautiful woman in the world to me. That wasn’t a lie either. Danielle truly possessed a beauty that I still find incomparable. I told her constantly.

As time went on and her health continued improving, so did her desire to do more. Even though her physical limitations were a huge barrier, she still wanted to be a wife who was of service to her husband. I never felt once that she neglected me. I think she made a huge effort to be the best wife she could be, which helped me to be the best husband I could be for her. For this reason, she made sure that when she was strong and feeling good that she would do one of my favorite things, give me a short back scratch.

I love having my back lightly scratched, and it is so relaxing to me. I never asked for one, but Danielle would always be the one to offer, and wouldn’t take no for an answer. In the afternoons, when she was strongest, she would tell me to lie down next to her. For several minutes I would slip into a state of pure bliss. It always made me feel so refreshed, and I could see she was satisfied at being of service to me. She would constantly say that she knew how to take care of her man, but I always said, “I don’t need anyone to take care of me. I got this, and I got you.” Usually followed by a kiss.

We never stopped kissing from the moment we started. The Truth is we shared a deep love that I still can’t explain. The connection we shared, and the friendship we cultivated was marvelous. Many days just involved laying with each other when I wasn’t working. I loved cuddling in our little single bed with my wife. In everything we were missing, we still found so much to appreciate. There was so much to appreciate while spending time with Danielle.

On top of that, I swear my wife had the softest smoothest skin I have ever felt. Her skin was perfect and never lost that perfection even through her illness. The sensation of just having her there with me was so powerful, and the companionship made us both stronger. I still look back at all the roles I filled and can only attest that true love carried me through it all. Love gave me the strength to persevere, maintaining the happiest and most loving attitude around my wife. The ability to maintain that space is one reason that our relationship grew even stronger.

We would constantly talk, during the time we were together, never running out of topics to discuss. The conversations were usually deep, not just simple small talk. We always talked about interesting and unique topics. Often, we discussed behavior patterns of others and discussed the reasons why people behave the way they do. Between the two of us, we felt we knew how to read people.

We both had our unique talents at reading people, and she was far better at spotting the dark side of someone, while I tend to bring the best out of people. I believe all people have a good and a bad side, and we observe the one that we encourage. I also don’t feel like I was blind to shortcomings, but I rarely spent time focused on them. I feel I would experience more shortcomings if I spent more energy focusing on them. Danielle could smell those with dark sides like a hunting dog looking for the kill. She excelled at her protective motherly instincts. Still, she would tell me that my ability to read between the lines was uncanny.

Danielle was very impressed by my simple conclusions. I try not to make judgments just observations. At the time, Danielle was concerned about a meeting request. The inquiry came through Danielle’s friend, who was helping us out with treatment. The invitation was a bit strange and vague. Danielle was concerned because it seemed like the woman wanted to offer advice for using social media. I did a little research online and found that the woman contacting us had a GoFundMe set up. I also think crowdfunding is great when done for the right reasons. I found some questionable motives that raised some red flags.

The GoFundMe on the surface seemed normal. A single parent is facing a potential cancer scare while looking to cover expenses. I was in support until I reached the end of the post. An update added said that the test came back Negative. Thankfully my wife’s friend was not facing cancer like we were. However, she was still asking for over twenty-five thousand dollars, which in itself wasn’t the problem I had. The problem I found was that she was solely requesting to purchase a twenty-five-thousand-dollar electro light therapy device.

After my months of research, I knew that the treatment option she wanted to have others pay for was considered the most expensive option online. There are many other less expensive treatment options, and the websites that advertise the device she wanted even states that finding a device in your area is far more economical. We even have one here in Sedona, which is why I was so concerned why it was imperative that this woman purchases a machine for herself.

Anyone here in town could get ten years of unlimited treatments for fifteen thousand dollars. It would need to be used for over fifteen years to recover the investment. So why was the option to use the local device never mentioned? If Danielle were able to use that treatment, I would have pursued an unlimited pass for her. I came to only one conclusion to why this person was marketing the GoFundMe as such. This person wanted other people to pay for her business, and she was using a tough situation to gain sympathy.

It was her goal to have people buy her a twenty-five thousand dollars machine. I could see through the pity story, and it was obvious to me what the goals were. I didn’t have a problem with the goal either, but I didn’t approve of the method to attain that goal. I would expect someone to be more honest about their intentions. Sadly the funding stopped after she learned that she did not have Cancer. Apparently, having cancer was far more profitable than not having it.

A motive had appeared, which I shared with Danielle. Danielle already expressed her doubts, but now I had some proof to back up her doubts. The message she received about social media made far more sense after reading the GoFundMe campaign. It was clear that this woman wanted to make a proposition to Danielle. I truly felt like this woman wanted to use Danielle to get what she wanted.

It appeared the dreams of a light therapy machine were gone when the diagnosis changed. People stopped donating large quantities. Now she figured she could use my wife to get the rest of the funds. My wife, however, was not interested in being public about anything. When she told this to her wealthy friend, they both confirmed this suspicion of mine. I could tell this would have been a pushy woman from reading about her and hearing Danielle talk about her. We decided to pass on any further communications considering it would not have been a positive interaction for Danielle.

We were always trying to limit exposure to people that would cause additional stresses. For this reason, I ran most of my errands to the store without her. She didn’t want people to see her and spread rumors about her appearance. Many women in town had histories of spreading rumors about my wife, some true and some not, but almost always done maliciously. So we limited exposure to anyone who might instigate that trauma. I still find the behavior women show to each other sometimes so much viler than even the most sleazy, deceitful guys.

Women mistreating women was another huge topic we talked about extensively. It was a common theme among many of our conversations. We would discuss the way Danielle’s students would treat each other, mostly how the recent generations were far more problematic than in the past. Rudeness and elitism were chronic problems in her studio. Danielle would never stand for it, but our observations came to several conclusions. The behavior seems to stem from poor parenting or simply a lack of parenting.

Danielle was far more upset about parents disrespecting the rules of the dance studio. The anger she had towards the behavior of the parents was something I constantly endured. Sometimes it was a stupid text, or sometimes it was the complete lack of texts. While she distanced herself from her students, she had many who couldn’t respect her privacy. This caused Danielle to push even more people away. The opposite of what we needed. If only more people were concerned with what Danielle’s wishes were instead of worrying about their own needs.

The Naturopathic Doctor was one of the few women that supported Danielle through everything, including the friend who paid for the treatment. That friend was a great reassurance to her constantly. Few people were regular about letting her know that she was in their thoughts. However, the few people that did make that effort were huge mood boosters for Danielle.

Some of the girls were very good about sending loving texts, but still, some would push to see her. As much as she wanted to see her children, she didn’t want them to see her sick. It could be traumatic to many children, and Danielle certainly couldn’t handle that trauma. I didn’t understand it at the time, but it makes a lot of sense now.

Danielle constantly struggled with her slow healing and her inability to get back to teaching. A mental struggle that I tried to assist. Talking it through, we could often help her come to peace with some of the behavior. My unusually positive outlook on life was a big help in making sure that we would come up with a positive understanding of the problem. I didn’t just want to play the blame game like most people. It takes a different level of thinking to own our part in any situation. We could only control our reactions to each situation, despite Danielle’s efforts to control all aspects of her recovery.

Some situations were just unavoidable, such as the time we were driving to the Bed Store and Danielle hoped out of the car and ran over to say hi to a friend. I parked the car and went to introduce myself. The friend was super surprised to see Danielle, and from what she had heard, this meeting was completely unexpected. She proceeded to tell us that Narcy, the one who showed up and caused a bunch of problems, was spreading rumors around town about Danielle’s health. One of Danielle’s greatest fears had come true.

Narcy was telling people that Danielle looked terrible, and her treatments weren’t helping. I can only imagine it was because she didn’t believe in Danielle’s choice of treatments. Including judging Danielle based on how she appeared during a random surprise visit. Danielle’s friend, who stood in the street was surprised to see Danielle in such good health. The fact that Danielle was able to run over to her friend had shown that her health was improving. It was just devastating to hear a woman was spreading false rumors around town. As upset as I felt, I knew Danielle was a million times more upset than I was.

Avoiding conversations or communications with certain people was a big part of eliminating suffering. Some people know how to push other people’s buttons while others live stressful lives spreading that stress everywhere, they go. Both kinds of people were highly toxic to Danielle literally causing health problems just from a simple visit.

Danielle was the go-to person for people who live stressful or overwhelming lives. Sadly these people could not leave their problems at home. Combined with the sadness surrounding Danielle’s Cancer, these people were walking time bombs around my wife. My wife’s sister, even though most of the relationship existed over the phone, was a “star stunning” example of someone who couldn’t control her emotions. That was the main reason I didn’t reach out to my mother for assistance. I knew she could be an emotional mess, as she has demonstrated at most events throughout my life. She always told my sister and me that she simply couldn’t control it. Now I see how important it is to have some level of control of our emotions.

The second type of stressful person that my wife encountered was the one who somehow got joy out of another person’s misery. I had a family member who I witnessed deriving joy from the misery of others, so I know it exists. I have observed this behavior all across our society. In Danielle’s and I story, Narcy was a prime example of this behavior. My wife and I constantly referenced her behavior when we would encounter other people who behaved similarly. Finding peace in turmoil was always the challenge. We could discuss the problems all day, but without solutions, we would just be dwelling in more trauma.

I still feel that she and I talked about far too much stuff that caused her stress. I will say in hindsight that I would have wished that we could have had more positive talks, and fewer talks about her life’s traumas. Also, in hindsight, I see that working through those stresses was integral to her spiritual growth and finding peace in this world. Ultimately, it was my goal to help her find peace with all her issues or trauma. I wouldn’t say I was always successful, but I always made an effort.

Knowing that just in our first month, I helped bring peace to her issues with Men helped me know we could heal the past. As much as this process was a healing process for my wife, it was equally as healing for me. I came to terms with many of my emotions, both good and bad expressions. Including a crash course in emotion management, I also learned how to be a caregiver and a healer. Through the healing process, I have found the practitioner is many times healed just as much as the patient. I felt the healing giving me additional strength that I didn’t know my body had. That didn’t change the fact that even I have limits and I was about to face those limits head-on.

I truly was growing, but I was still yet to face some of my greatest challenges. The upcoming holidays would prove some of the biggest tests of my entire life. It would change me in ways I could not expect. I might even regret my actions if it had not prepared me for even greater tests. My path was not going to be easy.

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