How Our CGE Family is Waging the War on Cancer!
February 4th is World Cancer Day and for those of you who have been following our story here at Cleangoodeats, you know we’ve been fighting a battle with this awful, intrusive, life-disrupting disease. For those of you who don’t know back in September, my husband Omar, was given a diagnosis of stage 4 Cancer. Needless to say, our world changed in an instant. Since the diagnosis however, brighter days have definitely come and though we still may have some challenges ahead, Omar is doing exceptionally better than some of the doctors we encountered could have imagined. I say that for reasons you’ll discover as you read my Q&A with him below…
This Q&A is the kick-off to a series of stories we will share with you documenting a good part of our journey so far. We felt it was important to share because we feel that our story can be a huge help and comfort for those who may be going through this. Disclaimer: this post is longer than the average one but it is full of information that can be helpful if you know someone who may be dealing with cancer. Please feel free to share and invite them along this journey as well!
Sakinah (S): Back in September, what would you say were some of the things you noticed that were not quite right before your diagnosis?
Omar (O): I had a constant aching feeling in my groin area so when I would work out, it felt like I hadn’t stretched properly. I was on the treadmill one day doing some HIIT training and it felt like my thigh/knee area was about to shatter. Those were some of the key things before hospitalization.
S: When you noticed that, what was the next thing you did?
O: What really got my attention was, I was bathing and I noticed I had this lump. I knew that wasn’t quite right. I went through several doctors appointments to try to figure out what was going on and between the months of April, leading up to the middle of September, it took that long to realize that I had a cancerous tumor and because of the metastasis throughout my bones, the diagnosis was stage 4.
When I went to see the doctors about the lump they kept saying, “I think it’s this, I think it’s this,” and the “I think” didn’t sit well with me. I wanted to know exactly what was going on. It took probably about 30 minutes of going back and forth with a doctor before he finally referred me to someone that could help.
S: From the time the doctor gave you the referral, then what happened?
O: Then I had several tests: I did CT scan, Ultrasound, and MRI and out of all those tests I think the only one that saw anything was an ultrasound and it couldn’t really define what it saw. The general surgeon’s recommendation was to cut it out so they could send it out for further testing and it came back that I actually had two masses in my groin area and they were each about the size of a lime.
S: Eventually we were in California for a while. How hopeful were the doctors there that you were going to pull through this thing?
O: Initially, they just wanted me to go straight into hospice. They told my wife this and I rejected that right out of the gate. Hospice was never anything I entertained. In my mind other people I knew had cancer and they were able to survive it and I knew God so I knew that I could overcome cancer. So when they brought that hospice thing our way, I got very belligerent with them and let them know that was not…
S: He got straight up ugly and it’s funny because he was kind of out of it. His blood levels were all over the place and none of them were good. He was kind of in a fog, didn’t know where he was, didn’t know names. Initially they only gave him a really short time to live so they recommended hospice. They don’t know our God!
S: So then we get back to Tennessee, after a snowfall series of events that got us back to TN., so tell us about that.
O: Being back in TN was like a breath of fresh air. When I landed back in TN I felt so refreshed and invigorated and just excited to be back closer to home, closer to family and friends and I think that that was just like, an amazing feeling for me.
S: And it was an amazing feeling for me. I think our prayer was that we would be back in time for our son’s birthday. And I’m just going to say this: When you are going through something, you find out who the people are who really support you, ok? We have this couple and we’ve taken them on as surrogate parents because both of our parents are deceased and Rose and Robert White are just saints in our eyes. They drove our son from the E-Town area, all the way down to Tennessee so that we could see him only for a couple of hours for his birthday, in the snow! We were just so excited, floored and happy to see him. That reunion was beautiful.
S: After that, you get released from the hospital in Tennessee. We had no coats, hats, scarves, gloves, not even winter clothes because we had been in California…
O: I don’t even think we had long socks. All we had were ankle socks. But it all came kind of suddenly. There had been talks of them releasing me but nothing definitive. And it was like one day at 4:00 they were like…
S: “Need the bed! You’re out!”
O: “You’re going to be going to a local facility. We’re going to put you up in a hotel and you’ll come back here and do your care.”
S: The hotel was like, 30 minutes away from the hospital!
O: I was like, “When?” and they said, “Tonight.” I had already ordered my dinner for the night and I was like, “I’m not going anywhere until I get my food.” So they put us in this hotel. It was crazy.
S: Once we finished that, we got to come back to Ft. Knox and his care was in Louisville. That’s an hour drive from Ft. Knox to Louisville. Every day we had to do this drive because he was getting blood work and transfusions done EVERYDAY. If you follow our blog, the one that talked about the purpose and need for donating blood, donating blood is a serious thing. If you’ve never done it please look into doing it. He had to have multiple transfusions daily and this was what was keeping him alive. And there were times when they were like “I don’t think we have any blood today.”
O: So please, if you’re able to donate blood, please donate blood. I understand not everyone is able to donate for various reasons. But if you’re able to donate, please donate.
S: When you donate blood you may think it helps one person. No, at the least, it helps three people. You have red blood cells, platelets, which causes you to clot. Oh, we didn’t even talk about that! He had a brain bleed and he was not able to clot. That was scary.
O: With the brain bleed portion, that was probably one of the most frustrating periods of this ordeal thus far. Like she said, I couldn’t remember my kids’ names, the alphabet. It was serious. It got to a point where I had to write down Sakinah’s name, Jonathan’s, Elijah and just try to remember those names.
S: But you couldn’t read though. There was a time he would look at it and it would say our names but he didn’t process that in his brain.
S: Let’s talk about when you started to get better around the December time frame. When we say started to get better we mean he didn’t need blood transfusions everyday It became every other day, so that was nice…
O: That was actually a very good feeling because all my blood work had to remain at certain levels and it was a very good feeling the first time I went in there and the nurse looked at me and said, “Well sweetie, you don’t need a transfusion today.” But then I went back that following Monday or Tuesday, it had dipped.
S: You went to a different type of doctor. Do you want to talk about that?
O: We went to a functional medicine doctor. The functional medicine doctor really broke everything down for me to understand what my body was lacking and what my body needed to help fight this cancer, in conjunction with what I was getting from my oncologist.
S: The functional medicine doctor is a medical doctor but he deals first with the natural, meaning, how we can tackle this naturally? It’s more of an integrative medicine where the natural and the conventional meet up. So his oncologist does more conventional types of medicine, chemo, radiation, surgery etc., and the functional medicine doctor takes care of supporting that.
S: The functional medicine doctor does tests that most conventional doctors won’t do. They test nutrient levels to see what you may be deficient in, which is very important because if you’re deficient in Vitamin D, which is a hormone, then your other hormones may be off. If you’re deficient in Vitamin C, then chances are your immune system is going to be suppressed. So these are all things that he did but he also did genetic testing. So he looked for genetic mutations, chromosome deficiencies, things that conventional doctors don’t do. So the functional medicine doctor is more about the preventative than the reactive. To be continued…
Next week we’ll finish part two of this story, BUT I do have a very important takeaway from this one: If you feel like something’s not quite right with you and you go to the doctor and they tell you, “Oh, just take this,” and that doesn’t sit well with you, go to somebody else, and go to somebody else, and then go to somebody else until somebody listens. This is the only body you have. You can’t trade it in for a new model, at least not yet! Join us next week for part 2!
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