Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Seeking eastern medicine for poor chi. Will travel.

Erica asked me this past weekend, “Is it weird talking to a person who may be dead in year?” As I was completely taken off guard by this, I fumbled through a chastising list of reasons she shouldn’t talk like this, shrinking in my seat. But a day later, I brought it back up and honestly answered that “yes, it’s weird and it sucks… but it’s sort of a gift too”. I love that she understood what I meant.

We are enjoying each day for what it is and have sort of jumped the gun too by putting up a Christmas tree a wee bit early this year. Every other day, Erica still must go back to ITA to have her blood drawn and has consistently needed platelets. Some days she has more energy than others, but has taken to napping each day and sleeping 10+ hours a night. She has a pretty decent appetite, and with all the amazing dishes being sent over, it’s hard to object! Her spirits are always the highest when she’s with family and friends. So it’s good to see that some things never change!

One new development is the inclusion of eastern medicine to Erica’s continued western treatment. She still receives her low-dose chemotherapy monthly and takes all the meds prescribed by her physician at Stanford Medical Center. In addition, we went to meet a woman who is a Chinese herbalist and has been treating patients with a variety of ailments with treatments/herbs utilized for thousands of years. She spoke to Erica through our Mom (aka “translator”), asked about the meds she’s currently taking, felt her pulse, and examined her tongue. After a minute or so of “aaaahhhhhhhh”-ing, she came to the conclusion that a specific blend of dried herbs boiled for a couple of hours will fix Erica’s chi. In short, Erica’s immunity needs help, and her chi sucks. We quickly found that the final product of this boiling is something like a stinky brown sludge. Our Mom now boils this in an electric pot/kettle out on the balcony so we don’t have to smell it in the house, but poor Erica still has to drink two bowls a day! After cheerleading it down her throat, I stepped up to show her that it’s just not that bad… I found out that it’s far worse than Erica ever let on! One sip had me coughing and gagging, and she drinks bowls of sludge! So after this experience, I admit that most of my skepticism regarding eastern medicine was put to rest knowing that Erica believes in its healing properties enough to endure its flavor. I am not extremely educated in eastern philosophies and medical ideologies, but I certainly respect it.

In case we don’t post again before Thanksgiving, from our family to yours, gobble gobble all the goodness this year! It’s hard to imagine a family more thankful than ours: to know Erica, to love her, and to have the privilege of each day with her as a gift.


Abby Wood said...

Adorable, Jaci. Samina and I will try to keep dinner from looking like brown sludge when we cook it!

Hugs and hang in there,

artineh said...

I'm so glad that you are trying everything to beat this. I'm sorry it's in the form of brown sludge. If it helps at all, at least you're not Hippocrates who, I heard on NPR yesterday, would taste patients' urine to see if they had diabetes. Yuk.

So I'm coming to the bay area in early December. How might one send over home-made Armenian food (Karineh will cook, I'll watch and sprinkle in some love). I am ready and more than willing to visit too, but am not sure you're taking visitors and want to respect your wishes.

And if I don't talk to you before Thanksgiving, I want you to know that I give thanks every day for friends like you. You are a gift to all of us who know and love you.


Anonymous said...

Brown sludge... uuuuuh... might help to think of fudge when the next bowl is waiting for your generous sip.
Go E, go chi!

Katrina said...

I'm glad to hear you're pursuing the sludge, E! If it's any consolation, I'm pretty sure that all chi-fixers taste like fermented compost...yet another reason why you're a hero of mine.
I hope you and the family have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Anonymous said...

My wife did the brown sludge and never complained. She was a stud. I had done some of that too back more than 10 yrs ago and some tasted like hell while one or two mixes weren't bad and made me feel really good!
Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

Anonymous said...

I"m thinking of something entirely different when I think of brown sludge. As in ... what the dog left me as revenge when I didn't get home in time to walk her ...

(((HUGS))) from all of us here in Gettysburg, PA.!!

Anonymous said...

Sorry - posted that too soon - meant to also tell you how much we are all rooting for you here! You are so much braver than I to try this brown sludge stuff - hang in there ... we'll be home for Xmas but will respect your wishes for privacy if you're not up for visitors then.

All the best to you, your mom and Jaci .... xx00 Jen

Clif said...

Thank you for the update Jaci!

I will not be coming back to SF again for Goggle Gobble Day, but will be back for Christmas, so I hope to see both of you then. All my love to you both!

shannon said...

I think I told Erica about this before, but when I was living in SF last winter, I worked for an amazing holistic doctor - G. Kingman Fung. His office is (I believe) still located in the Presidio in the city. He is an amazing doctor and truly a healer. I will call him tomorrow... If you are interested in speaking with him, please let me know. I will have him contact you if you like, but I don't actually have your contact information besides this blog... I'll verify his number and worksite are the same and I'll pass that info to you.
Sending you all the best,
Shannon Jerger

Anonymous said...

Dear Erica,

My name is Christina Lee and I am a provider of Traditional Chinese Medicine(TCM)in Chicago and an Oxy alum;0) I heard about you through my good friend, Janet McIntyre, and then recalled that I had read about you in a recent edition of the Occidental Magazine (you make no hair look good!). It's funny that you have begun integrating eastern medicine because I have been telling Janet that it is something that could greatly benefit you. I have full respect for the provider that wrote up your TCM prescription (aka brown sludge-keep taking it!), but I wanted to also tell you about someone who may be another helpful resource. Dr. Guo practices in Chicago (has three offices, www.liferising.com) and has worked with oncology patients for decades. I think he was an oncologist is China. He has saved the lives of people who were given weeks or months to live. He is a man of a few words, but his heart is in the right place and the results speak for themselves. He works with patients with and without chemo/radiation/surgery. It is my understanding that his cancer patients are prescribed an average of five TCM formulas (most of them in pill form-he has his own herb manufacturing company)to take three times per day, daily, religiously. He may also recommend acupuncture as adjunct therapy. His website again is www.liferising.com. I believe you can even email and call him with your questions. He may be able to treat you without having to physically see you. One of your loved ones may want to ask him all questions you have (as your health advocate). Feel free to contact me for any reason at (312)493-6459 and lee@greenbambooacupuncture.com. My best to you, Erica.

Jessie said...


We're all thinking of you! In fact, we miss you so much that we decided to send you one big giant hug from last weeks social hour.

So here it is - a giant hug from the Fletcher community!



All of Fletcher (the MALDs, PhDs, MAs, Faculty, Staff, and new MIBs!)

Samina said...

Loved the giant hug :)

Thank you, Jaci, for sharing that moment with you and Erica ... it is what we are all grateful for, those moments when we share and connect our innermost thoughts and feelings with those we love. And any human being for that matter - from those who read this blog who have never met Erica but send their love anyway, to those strangers we sometimes meet in airports or on the street with whom we share a smile and jolt of positive energy.

Much to be thankful for, as much as it is also an unfair and heartbreaking situation.

All my love to your family,

Anonymous said...

Dear Erica-

It sounds like you're doing great considering. I know we all don't know each other very well, but you've touched our hearts and for that we're thankful. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

The Murillos (Marifin, Carlos & Jonah)

Sara said...

You guys are so strong and brave and I love it that you have not indeed lost hope... we haven't either!

Please keep writing we all are rooting for you Erica!


Anonymous said...

I loved hearing from you! Just a note to tell you I was reading this blog and the comments and the baby starting kicking!! So Much Love from Anita Bean & the Frijolito ;)

Anonymous said...

Yay Eastern Medicine!!! I'm SO glad you doing this and I am ten bazillion percent behind you! I also HIGHLY recommend a network chiropractor. I used to see one in SF (they are famous for helping people when doctor's say surgery and meds are the only answer!)so, when I call you tonight (which I WILL), I will give you my former chiropractors info and tell you more about it.

Sending hugs in red and green and yellow!


Katie Windle said...

Erica, as always you are a trend setter. Where has everybody else been? Didn't you know that 'brown sludge' is the new Grande Chai Tea Latte??

In all seriousness, I'm glad that you are exploring alternative treatments. Keep on fighting my dear. We love you so much.

cliffokada said...

I've been following your experiences for some time now; since your early days of searching for a donor the first time around. I'm sorry I wasn't your match.
Your experiences and your words are amazingly inspiring, and your family and friends with ginormous hearts are a testament to the love you've surrounded yourself with. You live in the hearts of others; even in strangers as myself. Thanks Jaci for the updates, as I check the blog often, and with hope.
Appreciating everyday,

Susan C said...

Erica, I come to your blog through Nancy Sakakura's. I'm so pleased that you are surrounded by so many who love and support you in giant hugs, expressed in so many ways.

Rooting for you in So. Cal.
Susan (another Hapa)

Corinne said...

That hug is just beyond awesome. Wish I'd been there to participate, so here is my small digital individual hug.

viewpoint said...

admire for giving trust and benefit of doubt to herbalist. post the name of herb ingredients. save smaple for toxicology lab before and after boiling, as the chemicals change after boiling. herbalist calims as simple as the depth of undestanding of pathophysiology.

Anonymous said...

Hello Erica and Jaci, I am glad you are going through with alt avenues in your quest to find a cure. I was hoping if I could give some advice from my own experiences on a diet that helped tremendously. First I would highly recommend drinking Essiac tea (organic) and red clover tea(organic), Essiac was really great in helping with my case. Also I changed my diet around, I stayed away from anything with preservatives, if it came in a package it was probably laced with crap. I essentially stayed on the perimeter of the grocery aisle: fruits, veggies (incorporate a vitamix blender and make shakes daily, but never any of hte protein shakes) eggs and chicken. If it had preseratives stay away. Also, look into organic flax seed oil by barleans. I will pray for you and try the essiac tea, and remember if something came in a package (gum, snack bar etc, cereal), it is laced with garbage, stuff which the cancer thrives on. Stick with the whole foods diet, and the vitamix blender is heaven sent. Take fruits, and veggies and add water (stay away from the milk and dairy except eggs) and organic nuts and make shakes daily. And make green juices daily ( kale, carrots) but only add water

Peter said...

Shit, Erica's a tough girl! Now when asked, who's the toughest person I know, the definitive answer is not Jaci. The toughest person I know has a vocabulary beyond numbers and amounts of charm that dwarfs our expansive universe. Hi Erica my Cayucos buddy!

Tim said...

Not sure you will recognize (or appreciate) this voice from the past but please know you are in my thoughts and prayers. Looking into the marrow registery now. God bless you and yours. Please know I would do anything and everything I can. Have limited financial resources (but some) and... anything else you might need?
Again...God bless. You and your sister have always been and remain ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!

Tim Durnin

Megan said...

You were always the coolest, now everyone is going to want to join the brown sludge trend too. You, your mom, and Jaci are in my prayers. I hope you kick those blasts' butts!
Megan Boysen

Jaci said...

Durnin! I'm always astounded and humbled by the amount of people who look in on this blog. Of course, we both remember you and have such fun memories of our ASB days at SJHS...
Thank you, and EVERYONE, for the ongoing posts of encouragement and support.
I wish I could send a big huge hug back to Fletcher... That was so amazing!