650 Sky & clouds

Only Weeks to Live

After a CT scan, biopsy, and one more test to do—a PET/CT scan—I was going to decide what kind of treatment to do for the cancer I was diagnosed Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma (DLBCL) Primary non-Hodgkin of Liver, stage IV (cause was Hepatitis C that I got from the blood transfusion result of the car accident in 2001).

650 After biopcy

Biopsy: Two areas of the liver

I was already so weak from the CT scan test and biopsy procedure (I had so much pain after biopcy). I was not able to take the PET/CT scan test as I’d planned, but finally I got strong enough to go on April 27. I am very sensitive to chemicals, synthetic medicines, household products and skin products, so it is a challenge for me to take any test at hospitals or clinics.

Everytime I had to take CT or PET scan I had to drink a liquid that contains either barium or a substance called Gastrografin (diatrizoate meglumine and diatrizoate sodium liquid). Barium and Gastrografin are both chemicals that help doctors get better images of my stomach and bowels. Barium has a chalky taste and texture. They had natural flavor one, but it was artificial flavor of course and I had to drink two bottle of 450ml. I felt vomiting, but nothing comes up since I had to fasting for 20 hours.

One of the two barium sulfate containers I need to drink before my CT scan

Photo: One of the two barium sulfate containers I need to drink before my CT/PET scan

When a nurse put iodine into my vein, I felt a sensation of pain all over my body. I felt that I needed a human touch, so I had to ask him to hold my hand. He looked at me first like, What are you asking me? That is not in my job description. But he held on to a few of my fingers. I wish he’d held my whole hand, but it worked, and I felt much better in a minute or so. I let his fingers go and said, “Thank you!” He did not say anything and walked away. It is a simple human act to me, but it may be the first time a patient has asked him to hold a hand.

 

After the PET/CT scan procedure was done, I asked the technician when I would get the results. He said not too long—that my doctor’s office would contact me when it came out, so I should wait. I wanted to make sure, so I repeated, “I do not need to call? They will call me?” He said yes.

 

Most of the test results took a few days to one week, so I was waiting. On May 10, I realized it had already been two weeks, but I had not heard from my doctor’s office. I called the hospital and found out the shocking news. The results were out on May 1 (10 days prior), but the doctor would not release them unless I made an appointment to come see him. I told them I was not instructed do so and was waiting, waiting and waiting. They also said he would be out on vacation, so I would not be able to see him till June 6. What? What did I hear now? I just could not believe what I was hearing. I needed to know the result now, so I would know what is going on.

 

They said someone would contact me to take care of the matter. I got a phone call from my oncologist’s assistant, who said the doctor could see me on May 30 instead of June 6. She would send the test result by post mail, since the record would not be online for another week. I could not believe it, but I was so exhausted with all this nonsense that I had no strength to argue.

 

I was trying to think that maybe the result was better, and that is why he did not contact me. As I wrote in the last blog, I did not think this doctor was a match for me. But I’d found only one doctor who’s had experience with this type of cancer; he is in Boston, and it was not easy for me to make a telephone appointment with him. So, I was sticking with the first doctor I had.

 

I received the PET/CT scan result by post mail, and it showed that cancer was taking almost all the liver.

I was getting weaker, day by day, and after May 10, I had so much pain throughout my liver. Every morning when I woke up, I looked at the sky and said, “Maybe I will not make it today.” But I said, “Sanae, not today! Today is for you to live!”

650 Sky & clouds

I love sky and clouds

 

Every morning when I woke up, I looked at the sky and said, “Maybe I will not make it today.” But I said, “Sanae, not today! Today is for you to live!”

 

When I had a near-fatal car crash in 2001, I felt like I might die. It is not a feeling you can explain, but you just know inside—feelings of fading away and not being able to grasp the moment of spirit here with my body on this earth. I was not really scared at that time, but I felt that I needed to choose what I want to do.

I felt that this was happening again—that I might not make it, and I have to do something.

 

I managed to celebrate Eric’s 50th birthday on the 15th. We had a quiet but great time by the ocean, our favorite place. (I had planned a big party for him at the end of the month, but it never happened, since I ended up being in the hospital.)

650 Eric & B Card 05-15-17

Eric’s 50th birthday by the beach

 

But when the next day came, I really felt that my life was coming to an end unless I find a new doctor/oncologist and act now!!!

 

I contacted good friends who could act right away and help me find a new doctor/oncologist. Two days later, the appointment for a new doctor came out of nowhere on May 19, at 1pm because the doctor had a cancellation. I was so weak, but Eric and two of my friends coordinate to take me with a wheelchair to a new oncologist’s office at 3:30 pm.

 

The oncologist explained the test result of PET/CT Scan very carefully, but directly and clearly. I felt she was a very compassionate person. When she found out I live a vegan, plant-based, macrobiotic lifestyle (no refined sugar) have not taken any medications for many years, have had no alcohol for 32 years, and do not smoke or consume coffee/caffeine, she said it means I am taking care of myself and am healthy, which is a good thing.

 

She gave me a choice of treatments. Since the cancer is so big and taking over almost all the liver, she suggested I do an aggressive, 24 hours a day five-day chemotherapy *EPOCH + Rituximab in the hospital right away.

* E – Etoposide
    P – Prednisone
    O – Oncovin (vincristine)
    C – Cyclophosphamide
    H – Hydroxydaunorubicin (doxorubicin)
    R – Rituximab

It is 24 hours a day and a long five-day treatment, but it is not big doze at one time/one day like R-Chop (cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone, plus the monoclonal antibody rituximab – this was recommended by the first oncologist) so you receive treatment slowly and can monitor while you are receiving chemo to adjust the medications.

 

Eric asked what would happen if I did not do the treatment. Without hesitation, the oncologist said, “Sanae will die.”

Eric asked right a way, “How long does she have?”

The oncologist said “Weeks.”

I could hear Eric’s voice….“Not even one month?”

The oncologist confirmed: “Yes, less than one month.”

I could not see Eric’s face, but I could hear he was crying.

 

When I hear or see really scary things, I freeze and am not able to feel. I was not scared to hear I will die, but it is scary to see my love crying because I am dying. I never meant to harm him.

 

I was ready to take the treatment already, after wondering each morning whether or not I would make it. So, there was no question; I went to the hospital right away. The oncologist took care of everything, and I was admitted to UCLA Santa Monica Hospital by 5:30 pm.

 

It happened so fast, but I was feeling all right. Everything was good, even though I was not able to go back home to let my animal family know that I was going to be away for a while. I contacted them telepathically, and they all want me to get better.

 

Thank you for your prayers and continuous support.

We are grateful and invite you to help us at this time by YouCaring Fundraisng 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 💖

 

To be continued: My First Chemotherapy

img_sanaeflower

Hello World, Welcome to my website/blog.

I am excited to finally debut my personal website, sanaesuzuki.com (I created four different websites previously) on my birthday, April 4th 2016, which focuses on healing, happiness and what I love to share with the world.

It will be an ongoing creative process, so if you see a section that is not available, please revisit the site at a later time, or contact me at sanaehealing@gmail.com.

Do you know the story of The Rabbit and The Turtle?
I was born a turtle, but I misunderstood that I had to be a rabbit.
I realized many years later that I was not a rabbit and learned to love being a turtle. I move slowly and deliberately and need time to make decisions.

It may take time, but I am committed to completing this site, albeit at my pace.

I hope this site helps you to heal in body and mind, and find happiness in who you are.

With gratitude,

Love, Sanae❤️

650 Sanae eting lunch CR

Cancer is Back!

The oncologist said,
“You have *Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma (DLBCL) Primary non-Hodgkin of Liver.
(* I found out later that I got this cancer because of Hepatitis C from the blood transfusion result of the car accident in 2001)

It is rare cancer. I recommend that you take R-CHOP, usually with a regimen of four drugs (cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone), plus the monoclonal antibody rituximab (Rituxan). This regimen is most often given in cycles three weeks apart. Because this regimen contains the drug doxorubicin, which can damage the heart, it may not be suitable for patients with heart problems, so other chemo regimens may be used instead.”

He continued: “You can be in-patient at UCLA Hospital, so nurses and specialists will take care of everything to make sure for the first time, and you will be very comfortable there. I want you to make an appointment for chemotherapy right now and make a PET/CT appointment before chemotherapy.” He also said, very casually, “You need to take a bone marrow test.”

He did not stop. He asked me, “What kind of insurance do you have?”

His assistant said, “Ms. Suzuki has only Medicare.”

He said, “Medicare? That will not cover everything.
Do you have a secondary insurance to cover the rest of the cost?”
He looked down and continued, “Then you can be just out-patient to save money, but you must find your secondary insurance ASAP.”

 

Meanwhile, I did not say much.

The doctor said to my husband, Eric, “I think your wife is upset and not saying anything.

Well, you can think with her and decide on a chemotherapy date ASAP. Today, just do a blood test.”

 

I was shocked, confused, lost, and frozen. I did not want to say anything when I was in that state, and I did not really know what to say, either. I felt that the doctor’s voice was coming from far, far away. I knew I had to speak up to let him know how I felt… time was ticking.

I said, “I am not saying much because you just told me I have a very rare cancer. Don’t you know that I am shocked right now? I don’t think I can talk much now. I need time to digest this shocking, unexpected news.”

He said, “I understand, but the sooner you make a decision to do chemotherapy, the better.”

I asked him, “Do you ever have any patients who have same cancer as mine?” He said no. I asked if there was any way for him to find an oncologist who’d done treatment for this rare cancer. He said, “My three colleagues at UCLA who are lymphoma oncologists do no have experience with any patients with this rare lymphoma—so I don’t think so.”

 

I felt like he was a businessperson. I did not want to talk to him anymore, but I also did not want to leave the room with an uncomfortable feeling. So I said, “I have one thing I want to tell you before you leave: Your website photo is not so friendly, so you might want to change it.” He first looked at me like, What is she saying, but then he realized what I was talking about. He laughed and said, “I felt the same.” I was relieved to see he was able to laugh as a human.

 

I do not remember how I came home. I was too shocked to feel anything. I felt like I was trapped in a hole and could not seem to come out for a while again.

Slowly, my mind started to work and realized how serious this is for my life, Eric’s life, our animal family’s life, friends, family, students, and clients.

 

I first felt it couldn’t be cancer! What really happened to me?
No, I do not have cancer after 24 years cancer-free…
but the reality is that I have cancer again.

 

I am sad, disappointed, lost, confused, and scared once again. Silent—inside, I am calm and positive. Storm—my surface is chaotic and full of negative and insecure thoughts. I close my eyes and focus my breathing deep inside myself. I feel and hear what my surface is saying, acknowledge the thoughts, and move to focus more on my breathing. I repeat this over and over. Sometime later, I did not feel or hear negative or insecure thoughts.

 

I am shocked to find out I have cancer again, but I know I want to live—and I will live.

I am so grateful for 24 years of cancer-free life, and I’m now making an effort to accept my new journey and learn to live preciously all over again.

650 Sanae w Eric lunch

Photo: Eric brought his delicious lunch for me.

 

I know that even though I have been eating healthy lifestyle foods, like macrobiotic and/or whole, plant-based food, I am not going to live forever. Is this my time to go to heaven? No. I feel this is not my time yet.

 

Healing is multilayered; everything from emotions and beliefs, to the physical environment, affect our state of health.

 

From Louise Hay’s book Self Healing:

650 louise-hay-quotes-forgiveness-release-resentment

 

LIVER PROBLEMS (hepatitis): Resistance to change. Fear, anger, hatred. Liver is the seat of anger and rage.

Affirmation: My mind is cleansed and free. I leave the past and move into the new. All is well.

 

CANCER: What’s eating at you? Deep hurt, secrets, or grief.
Affirmation: I lovingly forgive and release all of the past. I choose to fill my life with joy. I love and approve of myself.

 

I need to let go of the past and take care of emotional wounds. It will take a big overhaul this time.

 

I found a new oncologist whom I could to talk to about my feelings and receive human compassion. The progress of the cancer was very fast and I was getting weaker by day. Macrobioitc and natural healing was not able to heal on time so I was admitted to UCLA Hospital in Santa Monica for chemotherapy treatments now.
I feel less stress so I feel more strength to move forward mentally.

I shall keep writing when I am able to do so.

650 Sanae UCLA admitted

Photo: Admitted to UCLA with V sign…I am so Japanese!

 

650 Sanae arm exersize

Photo: My routine arm exercise with a half pound weight.

 

650 Sanae w Yoko

Photo: Feeling good day, Yoko-san came to visit!

Thank you for your prayers and continuous support.

We are grateful and invite you to help us at this time by YouCaring Fundraisng 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 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 💖

 

To be continued: “Only Weeks To Live”

650 Sunset 04-04-17

After 24 Years of Recovery From Ovarian Cancer

It was my birthday on April 4th this month of April.

I spent the most ordinary, beautiful birthday at my favorite place in the world: the beach.

Watching a beautiful sunset and a full moon at the same time touched my soul so much.

Now I am 62 years old.

I had ovarian cancer when I was 38 years old. It has been 24 years I am very proud that I almost never got sick after I recovered from cancer and have been living a happy life.

 

650 Sanae with Oro on 04-04-17

Photo: On my birthday with Kula’s sister, Oro who is my new service dog at the beach

There were two incidents that led me to get sick last 24 years:

One was when I had a serious car crash in 2001 and had a blood transfusion. I found out I got hepatitis C virus ((HCV primarily affects the liver) from the blood transfusion. I was able to manage with macrobiotics and a natural lifestyle, so I did not have to take any medication.

The second incident was when I got Helicobacter pylori (bacteria infection in the stomach) while I was traveling 3.5 years ago. It was very challenging to recover from this bacteria, but I again used all-holistic methods—macrobiotics, homeopathic medicine, and other natural healing remedies. It took more than three months to see positive results.

Hepatitis C virus and Helicobacter pylori bacteria are types of conditions that you can manage, but once you get them, your body never gets rid of them completely. Also, they can lead to cancer, so I have been careful.

 

650 Sunset with seagul

Photo: Sunset and seagulls

 

But sometimes we face unexpected disaster, misfortune, accidents, trouble, sadness, grief, pain and suffering. I faced the loss of my beloved dog daughter, who was also my service dog for 13 years, as well as the closing of our restaurant Seed Kitchen after 8 years—both of which were very painful and challenging times last year. I was not feeling 100 percent last 6 months. I have been feeling weak and extremely fatigued without doing much, so I knew there was something going on. I decided to go see my doctor and take tests since I did not have any complete tests for a few years.

I was shocked to find out the hepatitis C virus had flared up, but I knew my emotional state was very fragile with grieving so much since last Aug.

Now I know why I was feeling so exhausted, so even though I was shocked to find out, I know what to do. To see if everything is all right, I will have some more tests to take soon. In the meantime, I need to rest a lot. I have started to make special healing food and remedies that work for me so I am able to get up and move around.

I also decided to take a leave of absence from most of my work and not take any new clients. I would like to focus on healing my mind, body and spirit.

I made a decision to live my life preciously when I had cancer, so I want to respect “Sanae” and her feeling and continue my life preciously and slowly.

 

650 Full moon 04-04-17

Photo: Full moon on my birthday

 

I love to express myself by writing, so I still want to write when I am feeling all right here and there like today. I will not be able to reply to you, so please understand.

I look forward to announcing my recovery and my new adventure.

 

Love, Sanae 💖

Whole Barley and Brown Rice

How Important It Is to Have Whole Grains Everyday!

After I got ovarian cancer 24 years ago, I learned the macrobiotic way of life. I healed the cancer with macrobiotic foods, many holistic approaches, and a natural lifestyle. I also had a serious car crash 15 years ago. I was in a coma for three days, and since my left lung and heart were crushed, they stopped working several times. Both my knees and feet were also badly crushed. The doctor told me I would not be able to walk, but I did not give up; I continued macrobiotics.

 

I started to move around after one year of bedridden life. I was able to transfer my body to a wheelchair, so I eventually went to yoga class every week. I still have pain all the time and take care of my physical and emotional disability. I had to build a strong will and discipline my mind. Macrobiotic, well-cooked, whole-grain foods have helped me keep the core of my strength.

 

My husband Eric and I have been cooking most of our foods at home with carefully chosen, organic ingredients, including whole grains, beans, fresh produce, sea vegetables, seasoning (sea salt, miso and tamari—soy sauce with no gluten), and condiments (umeboshi plum, gomashio, tekka, etc.). Also, we live a lifestyle that fits our healthy minds and bodies. We are active. Eric goes to the beach for his SUP surfing every weekend and goes skiing in winter. I practice yoga, and since last year, I teach it.

 

Traveling is fun and exciting, but it is not possible to eat like at home. We eat things that we are not used to, so our bodies have to adjust. We can avoid meat and other animal foods, but oil, spices, preservatives, non-nutritious salt, refined sugar, artificial sweeteners, and more are not easy to identify—so we lose our health balance sometimes.

 

The trip we had this March was the cruise of Caribbean of MSC ship which also serves Holistic Holiday Cruise (they are also call macrobiotic cruises) food once a year, so we have had travel with Holistic Holiday twice before so we trusted that we’d be all right. But we were disappointed, because this time was different from what we had before. There were almost no whole grains (brown rice), leafy greens, or sea vegetables. It was definitely vegan, plant-based food, but not macrobiotic.

 

I enjoyed the trip with Eric’s mother, aunts, cousins and nephew, but I think I lost my balance doing too much. I walked too much in Jamaica, so I was exhausted, and my feet were in so much pain—but I did not rest and instead went to a recovery panel to speak. I went to the dining room, which was even colder than usual, and they served only white pasta with tomato sauce for the vegan table. I was shocked and went to my stateroom to take a hot shower, but I already had a fever of 102. Since I was a child, a fever is my body’s signal when I lose balance. Unable to eat whole grains this trip, I realized how I was not able to keep my balance. Since I could see the ocean everyday, I found a way to keep my balance through my meditation.

650 IMG_7705

With Eric’s mom, her sisters, and brother-in-law.

 

I was so happy to be home and welcomed by our dog and cat family. I am now taking time to recover from losing my health balance this time. I realized once again that the purest foods we can prepare are in our own kitchen. Whole grains are most important for a macrobiotic life.

Here are blogs I wrote about blogs with recipes:

Traditional Brown Rice Cooking without a Rice Cooker (well-cooked brown rice)

How Many Whole Grains Do you know Besides Brown Rice?

 

My goal for 2017 is not to push too much, so I postponed the pickle-making class—but I hope to offer it soon.

Here is a pickle recipe blog for you, in case you were looking forward to coming to the pickle-making class.

 

With gratitude to be healthy and happy!

—Sanae

Wakame red radish ume pressed salad CR 650

Red Radish & Wakame Pressed Pickle Salad

Eating sour taste with fermented foods which have enzyme helps to detox your liver and gallbladder. (Liver and Gallbladder is active in spring time)

Liver and Gallbladder is active in springtime by Oriental medicine.

Making quick pressed pickles and eat as a salad is perfect for this season.

650 Red radish

Red Radishes with Leafy Greens from Santa Monica Farmers Market

 

Here is the recipe for you (You can use this recipe for your dog’s meal also, but take out umeboshi plums!)

Red radish and Wakame Pressed Pickle Salad

Makes: Two servings

1/4 cup soaked wakame sea vegetable, cut small

2 cups thinly sliced red radishes with the leafy greens

1~2 umeboshi plums – make a paste with knife

pickle presser or plate with rocks

 

  1. Soak the wakame till it gets soft. Cut the wakame bite size.
  1. Place the sliced red radishes with small cut the greens in a bowl and add the Wakame over
  1. Add umeboshi plum paste to the wakame and red radishes with the greens and mix very well.
  1. Place them into a pickle presser and put the top on to apply pressure or place a plate which fit to press to the bowl and put rocks to press.
  1. Allow sitting about 1~3 hours. Remove them and squeeze out excess liquid and taste.
  1. Arrange attractively in a serving dish.

 

650 Main Coast Wakame

Wakame from Maine Seaweed

 

Variation: Use daikon, Chinese cabbage or your favorite vegetables.

These pickles salad is even more delicious if aged for 2-3 days. It will keep about 1-2 weeks if stored in the refrigerator. Pickles aid digestion, strengthen the intestines and increase the appetite.

 

Bon Appetit!

Love, Sanae