Happy Valentine’s Day 2018!

Valentine card 2018

My first Valentine’s Day memory was when I baked cookies the first time, I was sweet 16!
The cookies were for a man I admired, Richard Kermode, who played keyboard for Santana. I had met him when I went to see Santana’s concert. He was also in a band of my favorite American woman rock singer, Janis Joplin and played Woodstock concert (The Woodstock Music & Art Fair) in 1969.
Since my mother did not do any baking, we did not have an oven, so I asked to get a small toaster oven for our house. I had to wait to use the kitchen after we finished cleaning up dinner.
I think I started after 8 pm and finished after midnight.
February in my hometown of Nagoya, Japan, had no snow, but it was cold.

 

The cookies came out delicious, and I packed them to send to Richard in San Francisco.
I was so exited to go to the post office the next day, but I caught a cold, and a few days later, I got really sick with a fever. My mom thought it was because I’d stayed up so late making cookies. I got a high fever and ended up being in bed for one week.
But I got a phone call from Richard and was able to talk to him because I was sick and did not go to school. He really loved the cookies, so it made my cold go away.
When I was a teenager, I was fat (had a bulimia) and did not have a boyfriend, so this was a beautiful memory of Valentine’s Day.

 

Since I met Eric, he has been taking me out to Valentine’s Day dinner and giving me gifts. I usually make my own calligrahy card and a gift for him (a part of my Valentine card for Eric this year I put on the top of this blog – A heart wreath with many small hearts by water colors and Italic calligrahy).

This year, I told him I wanted to stay home, so he surprised me with a new ukulele and a card said,
“To my Valentine, Sanae…All my love on this special day and everyday! Love, Eric”.

How sweet Eric is and I really felt how much he loves me even I was diagnosed cancer twice (in 1993 & 2017), and became disabled because of the car accident I had in 2001. I am learning true love with Eric’s love. I am a lucky person to experience his love so I have a mission to get well.

Ukulele sounds were always so soothing and healing to me, ever since I went to Hawaii for the first time when I was 17 years old. Eric and I started practicing ukulele a few years ago and taking classes. Eric plays very well, but I am not so good yet. I just enjoy being with him and doing something together.

 

Because I was diagnosed lymphoma (Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma -DLBCL Primary non-Hodgkin of Liver)  last year, I could not practice anymore, so we stopped going to class. When the new year came, I felt I had enough strength, so we decided to try going back to class just a couple times a month. But I found that my ukulele had cracked; I had a soft case, so it must have bumped into something. It was still okay for practice, so I have been using it, but I knew I had to get one sooner or later.

Cracked ukulele

Photo: You can see a crack just around Jake’s autograph.

 

Eric found a ukulele specialty store, U-Space in Little Tokyo (in Downtown L.A.), so I just wanted to see what they have there.

U-Space Eric Nalu and Jason

Photo: Eric with our Nalu (she was a little shy) with U-Space’s Jason.

 

Jason CD

Photo: Jason’s CD!

 

 

U-Space

Photo: With Jason and owner of U-Space, Patrice.

 

We met Jason (who is a ukulele teacher and has a CD) and the shop owner, Patrice; they were so kind and attentive. They has so many beatiful and great sounds ukulele. Of course, I loved some of the ukuleles there, so I thought I would save up money to buy one for my birthday in April. But Eric said, let’s get one with a hard case now for a Valentine’s Day gift.
I was surprised and so happy.
I promised myself I am going to practice everyday, even just 10 minutes, so I can play better with Eric.
I also think ukulele sounds help me to recover from Lymphoma smoothly.

Kohaleha ukulele

Photo: My new ukulele, Kohaleha!

 

Now our friends Masako and Michiyo have joined our ukulele class, and our friend Kyoko will join soon.
Would you like to join us?
Our teacher is Dan of Dan How Music on 17th Street in Santa Monica. He has no website or Facebook page, so you’ll need to contact him at Dan How <danwayn@gmail.com>.

Ukulele with Dan

Photo: With uur ukulele teacher, Dan.

 

Ukulele class

Photo: With Masako (right) and Michiyo (next to Masako).

 

We would like to have a ukulele recital potluck someday.
Hope you come!

Love,
Sanae 💖

New Year/Year of Dog 2018!

650 New Year © HHP 2017 Christmas copy

Happy New Year /Year of dog 2018 to everyone!

Nikkan San front page

Photo: Our HHP (Healthy Happy Pooches) photos were chosen to be 音Japanese Paper “NIKKAN SAN”. They are in the center, Kula is also just right side below with a yellow flower and Nalu is the third one from the bottom right.

I love dogs (and cats, but there is no cat year except tiger), so I feel very good about this year.

I also want this to be a really good year for recovery from the lymphoma (Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma (DLBCL) Primary non-Hodgkin of Liver Stage Ⅳ – I got this cancer because of Hepatitis C from the blood transfusion I received after my car accident in 2001) I got last year.
I meant to write a New Year blog sooner, but Eric took a private cooking job in Aspen for one week after Christmas, so I was home with just my dog and cat family.

Being alone for the first time since I got lymphoma, and taking care of myself and my animal family (we have six dogs and two cats) on my own, took a lot of time and made me tired. I have learned not to do too much, so I did not write the newsletter and blogs.

I was able to go to a New Year’s Eve gathering at my friend, Michiyo’s house, where I had traditional Japanese New Year foods and watched a Japanese New Year’s Eve TV show. It was fun, but I felt more tired, so I decided not to go see the annual New Year’s sunrise in the mountains. I did wake up early, though, so I just went up on the rooftop of my house with my dog family to see the beautiful New Year sunrise and the still-visible super full moon.

650 NY Sunrise 2018

Poto: New Year Sunrise from my rooftop.

I missed Eric not being with me, but I felt it was a lesson for me to learn about taking care of and loving myself on my own.

After Eric came back, I was still so tired.
I realized that after I’d received the good biopsy results and then taken care of myself while Eric was away, the tension that had built up for some time in my body and mind was released. I felt like tiredness took over and I could sleep for days.  It took almost a month for me to feel all right.

Of course, I still have some chemotherapy side effects, so I am taking it easy and not doing too much (believe it or not, this is the hardest thing for me to do). But I started going to a dog training class for Nalu (our newest dog, whom we adopted last year while I was taking chemotherapy and wrote my blog “Adopting a Puppy Brought Cheerfulness to Cancer Household“) and went to ukulele class just twice (it was so much fun with Eric and Masako).

Ukulele with Eric and Dan

Photo: Regain my health back to be able to go ukulele class again.

I practice meditation everyday for an hour, and most of the day, I apply moxa over the lymphoma (liver), cook a little bit, and do a little bit of yoga/qigong.

Thursday, February 1 this year, is my 33-year sobriety birthday (I am going to an AA meeting to get my birthday cake, yeah!). It is also the day I’ll get my PET scan test again. I think it is going to be good this time, so I am not scared.
The following week, I will see my oncologist, Dr. Mead to get the results, so I will write again to let you know.

Thank you so much to everyone who has been supporting me.

 

With Gratitude,

Sanae 💖

P.S.

Chinese New Year this year is February 16. I usually follow old Japanese calendar of February 4 as New Year, so every new year in January, I start to sink into how I feel in the new year and write down on paper what my heart wishes. I think that this is a good practice for everyone to start the year productively.

2018, year of the dog, happy new year, lunar new year, chinese new year, korean new year, Tet,, paper-cut dog

According to the Chinese horoscope, 2018 – the Year of the Earth Dog – is a good time for lifestyle changes (quitting smoking or changing residence) and for the start of new business ventures.

It’s also expected that some of us will experience short periods of loneliness or transient melancholy; however, that should nourish the most sensitive and most creative minds amongst us. For others, these moments can result in a flutter in the implementation of their life plans, which will then be delayed until the following year.

Individuals whose energy map of Chinese astrology elements shows an excess of Water and Wood will be more susceptible than others to the specific fluctuations of 2018.

[Source]

What Year 2018 Will Be Like For You

  • 🐭 Rat – People born in 1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996 or 2008 are members of the Rat Chinese Zodiac sign. A Rat is an underdog when it faces a Dog. But Rat is very smart. It can steal the Dog’s food at night safely. The short prediction of Rat versus Dog of 2018 is your Reward is Required a Challenge…
  • 🐮 Ox – People born in 1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997 or 2009 are members of the Cow Chinese Zodiac sign. Cow and Dog are good neighbors. Cow is conservative and Dog is much more aggressive. Cow likes to have savings and Dog likes to invest. They need to find a balance point to work together. The short prediction of Cow versus Dog of 2018 is to Invest Money Cautiously…
  • 🐯 Tiger – People born in 1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998 or 2010 are members of the Tiger Chinese Zodiac sign. Tiger has the leadership skill. Dog is a diligent partner. Tiger and Dog can work as a team. The short prediction of Tiger versus Dog of 2018 is Good Career Opportunity is coming…
  • 🐰 Rabbit – People born in 1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999 or 2011 are members of the Rabbit Chinese Zodiac sign. Dog guards the farmland and expels the intruders. Rabbit lives underground. They can find a way to get along well. Rabbit can take this advantage to expand its territory. The short prediction of Rabbit versus Dog of 2018 is your Diligence Brings Good Income…
  • 🐲 Dragon – People born in 1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000 or 2012 are members of the Dragon Chinese Zodiac sign. Dragon can be in the sky, on the ground, and under the water. It is a symbol of power. Dog is a guardian of the farmland. Dragon is far superior to Dog. However, Dog is in charge of 2018. Dragon needs to communicate with Dog on the ground. The short prediction of Dragon versus Dog of 2018 is Humble Brings Good Reputation…
  • 🐍 Snake – People born in 1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001 or 2013 are members of the Snake Chinese Zodiac sign. Snakes are active when the sun is warming the ground. They hide and sleep after sunset. Dog is connected to the time from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Dog tells Snake it is the time to rest. The short prediction of Snake versus Dog of 2018 is to Recharge and Wait for Opportunity…
  • 🐴 Horse -People born in 1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002 or 2014 are members of the Horse Chinese Zodiac sign. Horse is the fastest animal for long distance traveling on the ground. Horse likes to compete with others during the day. Dog Hour is between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. That means Dog tells Horse to stop running. The short prediction of Horse versus Dog of 2018 is the Take a Rest First and Save Energy for Tomorrow…
  • 🐐 Goat -People born in 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003 or 2015 are members of the Sheep Chinese Zodiac sign. Sheep and Dog are respecting neighbors in the farmland. Dog acts as a captain to lead Sheep when going out. Sheep receives the protection from Dog during the working days. The short prediction of Sheep versus Dog of 2018 is the Hardworking Sheep Can Bring Rewards Home…
  • 🐵 Monkey – People born in 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004 or 2016 are members of the Monkey Chinese Zodiac sign. Monkey is active, aggressive, energetic, impatient and naughty. Dog can watch the Monkey’s behaviors and stop Monkey’s bad movements. Monkey needs to calm down when staying in Dog’s territory. The short prediction of Monkey versus Dog of 2018 is to Ask Second Opinion Before Taking Action…
  • 🐔 Rooster – People born in 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 969, 1981, 1993, 2005 or 2017 are members of the Chicken Chinese Zodiac sign. Chicken and Dog are neighbors in the farmland. Dog can be the Chicken’s bodyguard. Dog and Chicken are connected to autumn. It’s a season of harvest. It’s a time of good income. The short prediction of Chicken versus Dog of 2018 is Don’t Miss Money and Career Opportunity…
  • 🐶 Dog – People born in 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006 or 2018 are members of the Dog Chinese Zodiac sign. Dogs together could fight for bones. Dogs usually have a conflict of interest. When the other Dog is in charge of 2018, then we need to listen to it. Or we need to deal and work with it. The short prediction of Dog versus Dog of 2018 is to Take Conservative Approach to Face Competition…
  • 🐷 Pig – People born in 1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007 or 2019 are members of the Pig Chinese Zodiac sign. Pig likes an easy and peaceful life. Dog likes to manipulate the Pig. Dog brings pressure on Pig. Pig needs to be smart when dealing with Dog’s offensive behaviors. The short prediction of Pig versus Dog of 2018 is your Wisdom Can Remove Obstacles…

[Source]

 

The Best Christmas Gift!

Sanae Christmas 2017

What a year 2017 was!

Starting with my fever, my body was showing the sign of cancer already in January, but I did not find out right away.

Since I had ovarian cancer in 1993 it was always in the back of my mind that it may come back.
But I was taking care of myself to the best of my ability through macrobiotics, which I have been practicing since I got ovarian cancer.
After 24 years of good health I believe that I would not have cancer anymore so I was very shocked,  sad and felt very strained feelings when I was diagnosed with Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma (DLBCL) Primary non-Hodgkin of Liver Stage Ⅳ (I got this cancer because of Hepatitis C from the blood transfusion I received after my car accident in 2001) in early spring.

I thought I was able to recover again with macrobiotics and holistic way, but I did not feel I had a good connection and support with my first oncologist. Cancer grew very quickly and I felt that I was dying.
I felt that I had to found a new oncologist and two of my friends helped me to find Dr. Mead very quickly.
When I went to see Dr. Mead for the first time on May 17th, she told me that 90% of my liver was taking over by cancer. She told me that I had only weeks to live.
There was no choice except taking chemotherapy in order for me to save my life so I did 6 rounds of chemotherapy as I was told.
It was not what I imagine to heal myself and it was one of hardest challenges I had to take in my life.
I kept my macrobiotics practice and I did my best during the treatments.

Writing helps my mind to be clear and also heals my soul so I have been writing my blogs about how I faced chemotherapy with side effects and to live. If you missed them, please find time to read.

 

Cancer is Back!

Only Weeks to Live

My First Chemotherapy

Side Effects of Chemotherapy and Neulasta

Emotional Side Effects of Chemotherapy and How to Help Them

Shaving My Hair After Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy & Wedding Anniversary

Chemo Sucks!

Adopting a Puppy Brought Cheerfulness to Cancer Household

Advice from a Sunflower

After the Sixth Round of Chemotherapy

No Matter What I Am Thankful and Live One Day At A Time!

 

After sixth rounds of chemotherapy I was hoping to receive good news before Thanksgiving, but the PET Scan shows in an activity of Lymphoma in my liver, so I had to do another biopsy in mid-December.

Most biopsies are not so painful, but a liver biopsy can cause pain and breathing difficulties after the procedure.
When I did biopsy early this year I had so much pain and was not able to breathe normally. I also could hardly move, so I stayed in bed for a week, and the pain lasted over three weeks.

I felt so much tension before the biopsy this time and the stress caused pain on my liver on the front side and even back side. I was scared that the lymphoma was acting up, and I would have to endure another grueling round of chemotherapy (RICE).

Thankfully, the biopsy results were good, this was the best Christmas gift and to start New Year.

I need to monitor continuously and have to take PET Scan on February 1, 2018. But this was the best news this year!

I credit all of you for your continued support and well wishes.
Thank you so much!

 

Here are some photos that I took over the holidays.

650 Eric with kids Christmas 2017

Eric Santa Claus with his assistants: Mai Mai Lani (new kitty), Nalu and Happy.

 

650 HHP 2017 Christmas

Getting Christmas gifts: left to right – Happy, Oro, Leo, Nalu, Bubu and Lumi.

 

Tin Tin coughing

Tin Tin caught cold and coughing

 

Have a happy healthy New Year!

 

Love, Sanae 💖

P.S. After I heard good news Eric took me to see the sunset at the beach and we saw SpaceX Falcin9 as below with beautiful moon. I felt seeing it was a good sign for my recovery.

SpaceX Falcin9

No Matter What I Am Thankful and Live One Day At A Time!

650 Maple leaves in NF ©

After six rounds of chemotherapy, life started to move very fast.
I got stressed not only from the chemotherapy side effects, but from things to take care of: my computer crashed so I was not able to write a blog and newsletter for October; one of my dog family got sick and had to have surgery (she is recovering very quickly), and there have been more stressful incidents which I am not going to write about here.
Because of all the stress, I changed my PET scan date so I could feel all right while taking it. However, this was my third PET scan so I had gotten used to the procedure and everything went smoothly.

My oncologist, Dr. Mead, said it would be about three days to get PET scan results and she would contact me about them.
After five days, I still hadn’t heard from her so I was anxious and sent her an email.
She replied very quickly and said she had called me twice, but hadn’t wanted to leave her message on voicemail. Uh oh. She explained that there was an area on the PET scan she worried might be residual lymphoma. She wants me to do a biopsy and she asked me to come to see her next day.

My body immediately felt tight and my mind got dark. I was really hoping that I would receive “No more cancer” news, but the reality was not so simple.
It was a long 24 hours.

Eric and I went to see Dr. Mead.
She was not smiling like the previous times I’d seen her; I felt that she looked sad when she came in. She showed me PET scan test results and explained them to us carefully:

Here are three different PET scan results I’ve had in 2017:

 

  • April 27: Tumor size: 138mm x 82mm. SUV max 35.6
  • July 5: Tumor size: 57mm x 35mm. SUV max 2.4
  • November 8: Tumor size: 35mm x 32mm. SUV max 4.0

 

You can see that the tumor has only shrunk, and apparently a small amount of necrotic (dead) material left after chemo is not unusual, so the tumor size didn’t bother Dr. Mead. It was the SUV numbers that gave her concern.

So what is SUV?
It means Standardized Uptake Value, and it’s a measure of the amount of glucose that the affected area is taking up during the scan. The more glucose being absorbed, the more active the area is, and because cancer is very hungry for glucose, that can be a sign of cancer. The higher the SUV, the more aggressive cancer.

Dr. Mead explained that the normal limit of SUV is 3, so when I took PET Scan in July it was already within a normal range and Dr. Mead was so pleased with that result. However, in November, the SUV went up to outside the normal range, to 4.

Now 4 isn’t a very high number, and it could mean two things: either the Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma (DLBCL) Primary non-Hodgkin in my liver is very aggressive and it hasn’t been completely eradicated (yet), or it’s simply inflammation. Inflammation can produce higher than normal SUV numbers. In order to find out and make sure I must get another biopsy. Ugh.

 

I mentioned my first biopsy in my June 8th blog.

I had to be in a bed because of pain for one week and the pain lasted for more than three weeks (a liver biopsy has to go through ribcage so the side effect is a pain).

I am scared to take the biopsy so I told Dr. Mead about how I feel.
She said, “You were already very sick and weak the last time when you had the biopsy so hopefully this time you won’t have the same pain experience.”
She might be right because I am feeling better now than the last time I had the biopsy so I am encouraging myself to take the biopsy.

Dr. Mead explained also what would happen after biopsy:

If it is only inflammation, then I just do another PET scan six weeks later.
But if it is a relapse of the lymphoma, then I have to do a different chemotherapy.
It will be very strong so it has be done only in the hospital and I would also have to do a stem cell transplant (bone marrow transplant).
It is scary to hear about a chemotherapy that’s even stronger than the one I just had!

People have told me how strong I am, how positive I am, and how I am inspiring them, but inside, I feel so scared.
I do not feel strong and positive.
I am not inspiring myself.

When I didn’t get a good PET scan result, I immediately blamed myself: “What did I do wrong?
Is it that oily Chinese food I ate when I went to Japanese friends gathering?

 

650 Happy Family everyone together CR

Photo: Completing six rounds of chemotherapy gathering for Japanese friends.

 

Or is it that vegan donut I ate?
Or vegan chocolate cookie I ate at Cafe Gratitude when I had English speaking friends gathering?”

 

Cafe G with dogs

Photo: Completing six rounds of chemotherapy gathering for English speaking friends.

 

Eric was in shock when we came home from Dr. Mead office.
He sat down and looked far away. I saw that he was not able to do anything for a while.
I did not want to see him suffer, so I said: “I am sorry that I am not healthy, or young (I am 12 years older than him) and am a bitchy wife.” That word caught his attention and he looked at me said “bitchy?” and smiled.

I talked to my good friend, Jessica Porter, who has been helping me with her friendship and hypnotherapy.
She, of course reminded me “one day at a time” and not to blame myself.
“We have all seen what you’ve gone through and no one else is blaming you”, she said.

 

650 Maple leaves in NF ©

My maple tree in North Fork is showing beautiful autumn color around Thanksgiving time- read how I save this maple tree – http://www.sanaesuzuki.com/2016/12/02/miracle-maple-tree-recover/

I realized Thanksgiving is coming soon.
It would be perfect if I had good news of my recovery here for Thanksgiving.
So it’s not a perfect Thanksgiving, but no matter what, I have one day at a time to live right now and I am thankful for my life with Eric and our animal family.

I received a list of appreciation from a new friend, Michael Sieverts, who teaches Qigong for the Cancer Support Community. He said if your appreciation list seems too small, change what you can so that you can appreciate more.  We need to spend at least as much time on cultivating our soul’s expansion as we do on what causes us suffering.
I really like what he sent me.

This Thanksgiving I appreciate whatever goodness life is giving me: friendship (that includes you); good health; plant-based macrobiotic foods; interesting career; my love for animals; interesting hobbies (organic garden, photography, writing, knitting, bead jewelry, calligraphy etc. ); good movies/ books/shows/theater, and whatever gives me joy (this morning joy is writing this and enjoying morning sun with my cat, Tin Tin. I am wearing my favorite flannel PJ and organic thick winter socks).

Am light with Tin Tin

Photo: Morning light with my beloved cat, Tin Tin.

I could go on and on with my appreciation list . . . I hope your list is long and gives you joy.

Thank you so much!

Love, Sanae💖

 

Thank you for your prayers and continuous support.

We are grateful and invite you to help us at this time by YouCaring Fundraising to Support Sanae’s Recovery from Cancer or purchasing our books directly from us to cover my medical expenses.

Here are our books:

Love, Sanae

Love-Sanae-front-cover

Love, Eric and Sanae

love-es-front-cover

Love, Eric Revised

love-eric-revised-the-front-cover

Healthy Happy Pooch

HHP-book-front-cover

 

My post mailing address for sending your card, gift or check:

2610A 23rd St.

Santa Monica, CA 90405

I will not be able to personally reply to each person, but I promise I will read everyone’s messages, emails, and cards.

Love, Sanae 💖

After the Sixth Round of Chemotherapy

with Dr. Mead

Before I started chemotherapy in May 2017, my oncologist, Dr. Monica Mead (she is my second oncologist so she is not the oncologist I wrote for my blog “Cancer is Back!” on May 21, 2017), said to me: “You have cancer of Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma (DLBCL) Primary non-Hodgkin of Liver. It is stage IV and your PET scan showed that 90 percent of your liver has been taken over by cancer. You have weeks to live, so we must act right away. I recommend EPOCH + Rituximab chemotherapy—five days of chemotherapy for 24 hours a day, every three weeks. There will be six rounds of the treatments. As you receive each chemotherapy treatment, your body will become weaker, and the side effects might give you intense pain and symptoms.”

650 Dinner with Eric

Eating dinner with Eric at UCLA hospital in Santa Monica in May 2017.

 

I have had many clients come to me for macrobiotic nutrition counseling.
Some of them have had chemotherapy treatments, and I heard the side effects were very hard.
Cooking for themselves was sometimes impossible, and they were having challenges eating most of the foods that help them.
I could only imagine, but realistically, I did not know till I had my own chemotherapy.

I had no idea how much damaging impact my body and mind would receive—the suffering of pain, discomfort, and weakness—from the chemotherapy treatments. I had nothing to compare it to in my life, except heroin addiction withdrawal: achenes, pain, irritation, discomfort, fever, weakness, hopelessness, and more.

 

After this experience, I now know what my clients went through. I am sure everyone is different, so I do not know everything, but I can see where I was not able to help them now.
When I go back to macrobiotic nutritional counseling, I believe I can help a little better than before after this experience.

 

Back to my own experience of chemotherapy:

I wrote about my first chemotherapy experience My First Chemotherapy on my blog on June 12, 2017.
I was at UCLA hospital in Santa Monica. I started to feel better while I was there and in the beginning, I was curious and scared to see a new experience of chemotherapy. I had no idea the side effects were so painful experiences.
Especially the Neulasta shot caused really bad side effects of bone pain, which lasted more than a week.

 

The second chemotherapy was another new experience—doing outpatient and getting chemotherapy at home.
So again, being a curious person, I was focusing on new things. Of course, the side effects were very bad—which I wrote about Side Effects of Chemotherapy and Neulasta on my blog on June 14, 2017.
But I was still an inexperienced chemotherapy patient, so I was able to hang in there.

650 Sanae with chemo bag

Wearing Chemo bag (black).

Inside chemo bag

Inside the chemo bag – orange color Epoch chemo drugs mix.

By the time the third chemotherapy came, I was getting tired and wary of more.
I was experiencing sleepless nights and going to the bathroom six to seven times during the night.
Experiencing irritation and the inability to do anything but breathe and feel my heart beats as I lie down and feel pain.
I was learning the suffering of pain all over again (as when I had ovarian cancer in 1993 and a life-threatening car crash in 2001).
I was too weak and fatigued and felt too much pain, and red blood cells were too low so I had to have the first blood transfusion.

The fourth chemotherapy’s side effect triggerted me to have pneumonia and another blood transfusion. I really wanted to stop taking chemotherapy, but I got one week off from the chemotherapy and I felt a little better. The fifth chemotherapy treatment was unbearable and red blood cells and platelets were too low so I had to get another blood transfusion.
I got so depressed and almost lost hope and belief.
I wrote about “Emotional Side Effects of Chemotherapy and How to Help Them” on my blog July 10, 2017.

 

In order for me to overcome the side effects, I have been taking care of myself actively at home, eating macrobiotic foods, taking remedy drinks (Azuki tea, Green Leafy drink, Burdock tea, Lotus tea etc.) and doing external remedies (body, facial, and head scrub, foot and hands bath, etc.). I have been receiving Reiki every week from my friend Sally Barns (Giorgio Bosso and Kiyo Okada also gave me Reiki too), acupuncture from Dr. Kaneko, moxa by Emily Kiba, cupping and gentle massage by Vladka Zboril, Rakkenho massage by Michiyo Masubuchi, therapeutic massage by Sal Venice, shiatsu by Asi Shnabel, and hypnosis by Jessica Porter. I am also taking care of myself daily with moxa over the kidneys, intestines, and liver—which has helped me not have to go to the bathroom so often at night—and doing neck, hand, toe, and finger exercises and Do-In whenever I can. Eric has been giving me leg and back massages before I fall asleep every night. I do vipassana meditations—even a short one or while lying down—whenever I can, everyday.

650 Azuki Tea L1040932

Azuki Tea

 

When the sixth round of chemotherapy came, I finally saw the light in the dark tunnel, because this could be the last chemotherapy. It took much longer for me to start feeling better after this one because my white and red blood cells and platelets were so low, and I was not able to even move much. I had to remind myself once again that the key to my successful recovery was to be patient!

Last chemotherapy

I was seeing the light in the dark tunnel during 6th round chemotherapy so able to knit and relax.

 

 

I was so sure I’d have to go for a third blood transfusion, but my white blood cells and platelets came up a little bit, and Dr. Mead wanted my red blood cells to recover on my own this time, instead of getting a blood transfusion. I really appreciate her decision to trust my body would recover on its own.

 

Dr. Mead said, “You did very well with all six chemotherapy treatments. What do you think—it was not too bad, was it?”

 

I replied, “It was so hard and bad, and I did not know if I would make it!”

 

Her eyes got big. She said, “I am surprised to hear you say that. You had no complications, so I thought you did very well.”

 

“I guess I had no idea how hard it would be before I started,” I said.
“I love to be active, but I could not do anything.
I had to be lying down so many days with pain, and that was so hard for me.”

 

“I understand that you were healthy before and took care of yourself well,” she replied. “But this time, you had lymphoma cancer, and yours was very bad. Do you remember almost all of the liver being taken over by cancer cells? When you came to see me the first time, you could not even walk. I diagnosed that you had only weeks to live, but you look so much better now. You did not have to go back to the hospital with any serious issues, and you were able to eat without vomiting while you were in treatment. So, I would say congratulations for completing your sixth chemotherapy treatment successfully!”

 

She continued: “Your strength is going to come back slowly, but you must take it easy still and not do too much.
I know you want to go back to your gardening, walking with your dogs, teaching your cooking classes or yoga—but you must take time to heal. You have to have a PET scan test in the beginning of November to see how the chemotherapy treatments helped get rid of cancer. I have a good feeling it is gone, but we need to make sure and see what we can do next, and also take care of your hepatitis C. Now, go home and rest till all your blood cells are back to normal, and enjoy yourself. Again, remember not to do too much!”

 

I was happy to hear what she had to say.
I replied, “Thank you! You really helped me so much!”

with Dr. Mead

With Dr. Monica Mead

 

In the beginning, I had a different oncologist who I did not feel understood my needs.
I wrote about him a little bit as “Cancer is Back” on May 21, 2017.
It was very difficult to communicate with him, and I felt I did not receive a fair consultation from him, since neither he nor his assistant contacted me when my PET scan result showed 90 percent of my liver taken over by lymphoma cancer in May 2017.

I am glad I did not give up and found Dr. Mead, who understands my lifestyle of macrobiotic nutrition and holistic approaches.

 

As I am starting to feel better, my mind tells me to do many things: “Do this, let’s do that”—but my heart and body say, “NO, not YET! Take time to heal fully first.”
I am learning to listen to my body and heart so I feel connected and comfortable with myself.

 

I am so grateful to everyone who has been supporting my recovery.
Thank you so much, from the bottom of my heart.
There is the PET scan test soon so I hope to give you good news after mid-November.

 

With all my love,

Sanae 💖

 

Thank you for your prayers and continuous support!

We are grateful and invite you to help us at this time by YouCaring Fundraising to Support Sanae’s Recovery from Cancer or purchasing our books directly from us to cover my medical expenses.

Here are our books:

Love, Sanae

Love-Sanae-front-cover

Love, Eric and Sanae

love-es-front-cover

Love, Eric Revised

love-eric-revised-the-front-cover

Healthy Happy Pooch

HHP-book-front-cover

My post mailing address for sending your card, gift or check (check payable to Eric Lechasseru):

2610A 23rd St.

Santa Monica, CA 90405

I will not be able to personally reply to each person, but I promise I will read everyone’s messages, emails, and cards.

Love, Sanae 💖

 

Advice from a Sunflower

650 Sunflower with waterdrops ©

Advice from a sunflower:

Be bright,

sunny,

and

positive.

Spread seeds of happiness.

Rise, shine, and hold your head high.

I have loved growing many different flowers since I was a child. My grandmother grew chrysanthemums every year for the chrysanthemum exhibition award.

 

Chrysanthermum

Photo: This is similar chrysanthemum my grandmother was growing

 

I really admired how she grew them so beautifully.
She inspired me, and I grew my first flower, “canna” when I was 7 years old.

Canna

Canna flowers

 

The following year, I grew a beautiful “amaryllis” in an apple crate, which I got from a fruits market, and got a soil from the back of our place, where it was all empty lots. They bloomed so beautifully and so many of neighbors were impressed that I was the one to grow them.

amaryllis

Amaryllis flowers

I also enjoyed growing “morning glories” in the summertime, seeing them bloom in the morning and close in the afternoon when I was 10 years old.

morning-glories

Morning glories flowers

 

“Lilac, cosmos, freesia, chicory and native plants like white sage, Cleveland sage and gooseberry” – are another my favorite flowers to grow.

lilac

Lilac flowers

 

cosmos-flower

Cosmos flowers

 

freesia_2

Freesia flowers

 

Chicory

Chicory flower

 

White sage

White sage

 

Cleveland sage

Cleveland sage

Sierra-gooseberry-flowers-600px

Gooseberry flowers

 

For a while I learned how to grow lotus flowers.

Lotus

Lotus flowers

 

The last few years, I really enjoyed growing plumeria.

Plumelia

Plumelia flowers

 

As my feelings change and moods change, what I grow has changed.

This year, it has been all about sunflowers, so I got the seeds and planted them. The first time, all the sunflower seeds were eaten by squirrels and birds. The next day, there was nothing in the pots. I was amazed how they knew I had just planted sunflower seeds. I had to cover the pots with nets after planting the seeds again.

Here are some photos of my sunflower seeds for planting to blooming.

650 Sunflower seeds planting

Planting sunflower seeds

 

650 Sunflower sprout

Sunflower seed has sprouted

 

650 Sunflower sprouts

Sunflower seedlings

 

650 Sunflower green bud ©

Sunflower bud – beautiful even before open the flower

 

650 Sunflower bud open ©

Sunflower is taking time to bloom

 

These are all quotes about sunflowers that I love.
They are all perfect for me to go #6 (last) chemotherapy this week.

 

“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadows. It’s what the sunflowers do.” —Helen Keller

 

“I want to be like a sunflower; so that even on the darkest days I will stand tall and find the sunlight.”

 

“Be happy. Do the best you can. Be good and kind.”

 

“We’re all golden sunflowers inside.” —Allen Ginsberg

sunflowerfield-1000

 

 

I am a sunflower and will conquer #6 chemo. Here I come!

 

Love, Sanae 💖

 

Thank you for your prayers and continuous support!

We are grateful and invite you to help us at this time by YouCaring Fundraising to Support Sanae’s Recovery from Cancer or purchasing our books directly from us to cover my medical expenses.

Here are our books:

Love, Sanae

Love-Sanae-front-cover

Love, Eric and Sanae

love-es-front-cover

Love, Eric Revised

love-eric-revised-the-front-cover

Healthy Happy Pooch

HHP-book-front-cover

My post mailing address for sending your card, gift or check (check payable to Eric Lechasseru):

2610A 23rd St.

Santa Monica, CA 90405

I will not be able to personally reply to each person, but I promise I will read everyone’s messages, emails, and cards.

Love, Sanae 💖