The Babz Chula Lifeline for Artists Society

Archive for the month “February, 2010”

Babz Chula on The Express

Update from India, Feb 13

When I left Vancouver my feet were swollen to twice their size and I could not walk without my cane.  I a so full of vitality and strength right now that I can’t wait to return to Vancouver and the West End and Stanley Park. I will be walking around the Lagoon if you are looking for me… jogging, even.

It remains to be seen as to whether or not my numbers match up with how I am feeling, but hopefully they will reflect my current state of mind and the cancer will be under some kind of control.

Tomorrow we leave Sreedhari and go o Cochin for six days.  Anne and I intend to have manicures and pedicures and to get in some shopping therapy.  On the brochure for Sreedhari they refer to us as, “inmates”. No kidding.  We feel like we are escaping.

I will try to blog from Cochin in a few days, but so far this looks like it may be my last entry until I return to Vancouver where the Winter Olympcs are taking place so be patient with me and wait for the wrap up to this most amazing adventure.  Ah…India.  Once she touches your heart it is forever.  My love to you all.  I am soon to be home where I will hug you all.



Update from India Feb 5

I realize yesterday’s blog entry was lacking…so today I’m going for something new and different.  Anne has loaned me her computer for an hour or so and I am going to try to catch you all up to speed on the happenings here.

My six A.M. dose of ghee has been increased by 1/4 and tomorrow it goes up to double the amount.  I have an elaborate and extensive way of getting this medicine down and keeping it down which I will describe:  there is a nose piece that goes to Anne’s sleep apnea machine that she has been so kind to loan me.  It is a nose plug.  There are two nostril pieces that one inserts into the nostril that are held together by a plastic ring.  The effect is much like a cow being led by a ring through the nose.  But the selling point for me is that it completely blocks out one’s sense of smell, which seems to be the only way to get the ghee past the mouth.  It is a taste almost like a smell and wants to repeat for an hour or so.  The only way seems to be to either hold your breath or use a nose plug.  This makes going back to sleep a near impossibility as breathing through your mouth tends to dry it out.  That, and the fact that laying down flat in a sleeping position lends itself to indigestion and seems to aggravate the situation.  So.  I struggle to get it down and then I sit up and mouth breathe and try to fall asleep again. If I am able to get to the sink, I’ll brush my teeth, but the sink is at the top of Anne’s bed and I do not like to wake her.  About an hour and a half later I am brought a different kind of medicine that is thick and sweet/hot and bitter.  This requires many glasses of luke-warm water to wash it down and get rid of the aftertaste.  The secret, tho, is keeping it down as it’s mixing with the ghee that is trying to digest in your stomach.  Needless to say, morning medicine is not something I look forward to.  At noon I have a cold water treatment.  Actually, today is the last in a series of nine.  Apparently, the oil massage that starts tomorrow is more pleasant.  Currently, I am massaged for ten minutes or so with warm, medicated oil and then lowered slowly into a cool herbal bath and submerged until my liver and spleen are under water.  I lay in this for fifteen minutes, or until I am chilled.  Jaia helps me out of the tub and gives me a bucket bath until I am warmed up and the oil is partially dissolved from my skin.  After that I am toweled off, dressed and instructed to rest for half an hour.  I am not sure exactly the names of the herbs used in this treatment, but I am so thoroughly exhausted and drained when it is over that I have to fight to stay awake.  It is as if all my energy was sucked out by the herbs.  The treatment focuses on clearing the liver and promoting liver function.  I am not sure if it is doing the job, but before I left Canada my liver would tend to pulsate and throb occasionally, and it has not done so since the treatments.  Later in the day I seem to regain my energy in general, but the breeze stops at around two and things get very hot and still around here.  Anne and I consider this brain dead hour and we often lay in a stupor on our beds sweating and panting in the 37 degree heat wishing for a breeze through the bamboo… anything to break the monotony.  By evening the mosquitoes are out, but once protected from that we play cards on the balcony outside our unit with Ray and Luben and often other guests at Sreedhari.  Bedtime is nine-ish and we try to get to sleep by ten or eleven.  I will never forget, for the rest of my life, laying in the dark in this long, bare room and talking with Muggie in the night.  We laugh and cry.  It is a golden and magical time and I’ve come to adore her.  A great Canadian dame, that Anne Wheeler.

A rather tense development is the increasing concern for Muggie’s brother, Kenny.  The irony of the situation does not escape us.  He is in Vancouver in cancer care at VGH and we are here on the other side of the world doing the same thing, but in a very different way.  I pray for him constantly and keep an eye on Anne and attention to her mood and state of mind lest she start to fret or worry for him.  I think about how I would feel were it my own brother instead of hers and cannot imagine how I would be able to remain on this side of the planet.  She is extraordinary… and so is he from what I understand.

I have one week and a little more before I leave Sreedhari.  I am anxious about how all of this will read when it comes right down to my blood work and the numbers.  My home care will continue for three months after I return, and I just hope I can stall any suggested treatments by the conventional doctors until I see the final results of this attempt to arrest the cancer.  My concern is that the results of this treatment will not be final until more time has passed, and it’s causing me some worry.  Nevertheless, I have given this my everything.  It is not always easy here and initially I was hit by many obstacles, but these last weeks have seemed fruitful, and I am hopeful that something  has changed for the better.

I will continue to blog when ever possible and I thank you all for your support and your prayers.  I feel you with me.  I carry you in my heart minute to minute.  You are with me when I awake and when I go to sleep.  I love you.  I thank you.  I will see you soon.

Update from India, Feb 4

I’m trying for the new post here before the electricity goes or the computer craps out… I am here for ten days more. My treatments have become intense. I am on ghee…which is clarified and medicated butter and very difficult to take. It does, however pass the blood/ brain barrier and consequently the medication in the ghee gets carried to all parts of the body which is a good thing. I cannot describe adequately the fatigue one feels as a result of the treatments and the heat in combination. I’m often simply wrung out and laying on my bed in front of a fan for an entire day with a crippling headache.

I am anxious for this to be over, but am still giving this my all. There is not much time to turn things around even tho I will be sent home with three months supply of meds. My understanding is that those three months are particularly telling and that things seem to continue long after leaving here.

We will go to the old European area of Cochin after leaving here to a guest house that Muggie found in a book. The airport is just outside of the town and on the19th we fly to Mumbai, London, and home.

I will try to get to computers along the way and keep the loop open, but it is nt always easy to find a connection. Please be patient and I will blog again soon. I love you all and miss home terribly. I hope to find a better computer in town so no more typos, etc.


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