Cancer Tests and Magic Mushrooms
Monday, 11 February 2019
Wow oh wow oh wow oh wow.
After all your wonderful well-wishes on Friday's post, I wish you could have been there on the telephone with me and my new oncologist Friday. As we were getting through the preliminary niceties, he interrupted us saying, “Let me get to the point first.”
The thing about that is you wait and wait and wait, rocketing back and forth between fear and confidence, and suddenly the answer is right there, right now.
Sharp intake of my breath on my part and then he says – this is close to verbatim:
“The CT scan shows the size of the lesions in your lung have decreased by half and some are no longer detected at all. The one lesion in your peritoneum is not visible.”
This does not mean the cancer is curing itself. It means the chemotherapy is doing what it is supposed to do – slow the growth of the cancer to give me longer healthy time to live.
The doctor is so encouraged that if the news is as positive when the next scan takes place in two months, he will extend the scan interval to three months.
For now, however, Wow oh wow oh wow oh wow.
Chemo continues every two weeks until it doesn't work anymore. No one knows how long that is – it's different for every patient. But I'm encouraged now that I will still be here for my 78th birthday in April. For a long time I didn't believe that.
A couple of comments last week are of some concern to me. In one of them, the writer says that since I was fearfully anticipating the test results, my psilocybin session that freed me from my paralyzing fear of dying, must have failed.
Perhaps the writer doesn't understand that humans can't live with two and more emotional conditions, even strong ones, at once. I thought everyone knew this.
I can be, and was simultaneously, scared of test results and not afraid to die.
He also suggested that to maintain the results, I would probably have to have regular psilocybin trips. I don't suppose it would hurt and I have supplies for micro-doses but it certainly hasn't failed for me although I don't know about other people.
Speaking of psilocybin and other psychedelics used as therapy for depression, anxiety and PTSD among other conditions, I was surprised and pleased to see that in at least one survey, a majority of Americans support the use of these drugs for treatment.
As reported at YouGov that conducted the survey in 2018,
”Despite the stigma surrounding these controlled substances, new data from YouGov shows that many Americans are ready to embrace psychedelic therapies.
“What’s more, a relationship appears to exist between higher levels of education and increased support for psychedelic research and treatments. At each increasing level of education, there's a corresponding increase in support for medical research into the potential benefits of psychedelic substances, such as psilocybin mushrooms, MDMA, and ketamine.
“53% of all respondents support medical research into psychedelic drugs, and this number increases to 69% for respondents with graduate degrees.”
Here is the YouGov chart on support for psychedelic therapies among education levels:
Both the state of Oregon and the city of Denver already have ballot measures approving such use of these drugs ready for a vote in the 2020 election.
You can read more at YouGov.
Again and from my heart, thank you for your many words of love and support through not just this latest test scare, but for the entire 20 months so far since my original diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. I love you all.
Great news! Love those mushrooms! Have a great day! Dee:)
Posted by: Dee Hayes | Monday, 11 February 2019 at 06:01 AM
Posted by: John | Monday, 11 February 2019 at 06:37 AM
Great news! Made MY day. Can only imagine how you must feel!
Posted by: Antonia Albany | Monday, 11 February 2019 at 06:42 AM
I am glad you are enjoying all the supportive comments. You have worked hard over the years on this blog which so many of us your readers have benefitted from, you deserve to reap a few rewards.
Posted by: Annie | Monday, 11 February 2019 at 06:56 AM
Your new oncologist gave you a Valentine's Day gift, early. Hurrah! I am so pleased (make that thrilled) for you!
Posted by: Cop Car | Monday, 11 February 2019 at 07:22 AM
Same here for what Antonia said. Open minds go farther than closed ones! Big hug for you, Ronni!
Posted by: Norma | Monday, 11 February 2019 at 07:24 AM
I feel so good reading this! Such wonderful news!
Posted by: Carole Leskin | Monday, 11 February 2019 at 07:33 AM
So very happy to hear your good news. Yes, very true you've given us all a lot. I remember finding you as I was beginning to consider my own aging, and you have been a very *human* voice. Which sounds silly and obvious--what I mean is that *you* are present in your work; you've never been hidden behind some writer/journalist screen. What that's meant to me is that you've been a mentor to me, and you've modeled a way--ways--to move through aging.
Posted by: Mary Jamison | Monday, 11 February 2019 at 07:40 AM
I'm so happy to read this!
Posted by: Frank | Monday, 11 February 2019 at 07:40 AM
Love you back Ronni. That's an early Valentine's gift for you and your ship full of friends.
Posted by: Celia | Monday, 11 February 2019 at 07:40 AM
That is definitely wow and oh wow. What a great report. Wishing you a great day today. Grins around the internet for you. :)
Posted by: Janet Spiegel | Monday, 11 February 2019 at 07:41 AM
That is great news!
Posted by: Jackie | Monday, 11 February 2019 at 07:52 AM
My brother died 2 weeks ago, and strangely, I was hit this morning with deep grief. Your news has lifted me. You mean a lot to me; I can see that. So, Ronni, thank you and I'm so happy for you. I'm 79 and have been learning from you for several years. The power of good news for someone you care about is energizing.
Posted by: Judy Jones | Monday, 11 February 2019 at 07:53 AM
I hope you are planning a big bash for your 78th Ronni! You certainly deserve it, and by then you may feel even more like celebrating. Keep on keeping on!
Over the weekend I listened to a 2015 interview of Mary Oliver by Krista Tippett. It was a fairly good interview, and death was a significant topic, but I couldn't help but feel that Ms. Oliver still carried a lot of turmoil, though she did state that she was not afraid of death. In spite of having had an experience with lung cancer a few years ago, she lived until last month.
Although she was not afraid of death, she said she was afraid of suffering, but I suspect that she had suffered greatly during much of her life, and that her suffering, along with what she found in nature to help it or at least help her cope, may have been the very source of her poetry.
Listening to that interview, I found myself wondering whether she had ever thought about, or whether anyone had ever suggested to her, trying psychedelics. But she may not have had an opportunity, or felt the need for more than her communion with nature, and the creation of exquisite poetry. Both are extraordinary gifts that have provided a balm for many other souls on their mortal journey.
I wish that more progress had been made in understanding entheogens and considering acceptance of their use. Although marijuana has been fairly accessible on the streets of Illinois for decades, its medical use only recently became an option here, and we just inaugurated a new governor who is supportive of its recreational use, so who knows what the future holds. But regardless of what happens with marijuana, it is not an entheogen. Like alcohol, it is more of an anxiolytic, and may temporarily lower inhibitions and anxiety but doesn't have lasting effects that lead to real insight or transcendental experiences. And, as a schedule I substance, people are still being arrested and serving prison time for possessing too much of it. I would, though, like to try it for a more sound and prolonged sleep.
Posted by: Cathy J. | Monday, 11 February 2019 at 07:57 AM
What a great way to kick of the week. Congratulations on the very good news. I will now be smiling all day long. Happy early Valentine's Day to you and all the ship members. I'm honored to be part of the journey. Big hugs!
Posted by: Regina | Monday, 11 February 2019 at 08:00 AM
So happy for you!!
Posted by: Marilyn Bunte | Monday, 11 February 2019 at 08:03 AM
Ronni - Thank you for sharing your journey with us. I am sure it will help me and many others when we are facing our own death. xx Camla
Posted by: Camla | Monday, 11 February 2019 at 08:08 AM
Posted by: Daria | Monday, 11 February 2019 at 08:12 AM
Good morning Ronnie. What a good morning!
As a fairly new reader I would like you to know I have learned a lot about living and dying from you. However, I have also learned a lot about the new and wonderful world of the internet. How nice to realize if we are alone but sincere and write well we can gather sharing friends to feel our souls and make both living and dying easier. Many thanks and I hope that chemo keeps working for a long long time.
Take care, Betty
Posted by: Betty Bishop | Monday, 11 February 2019 at 08:12 AM
That was supposed to be FEED our souls!
Posted by: Betty Bishop | Monday, 11 February 2019 at 08:18 AM
Oh oh oh - that is just the best news! I am so happy for you, I can imagine you dancing around the kitchen (because that's what I do when I'm crazy happy) with a big smile on your face.
My first thought is that there's now the possibility - and hope - that you are still going to be writing in your blog when the current administration goes down in flames. I can't wait for that, and I know you won't want to miss it.
Hurrah for this day!
Posted by: leslie | Monday, 11 February 2019 at 08:20 AM
Feeling the love and rejoicing with you!!
Posted by: Carol | Monday, 11 February 2019 at 08:28 AM
OMG! Sail on, Sail on. Your news makes me so happy!
Posted by: B DuPree | Monday, 11 February 2019 at 08:28 AM
There must have been a collective intake of breath as we read -- the anticipation of what you heard and then reading it. OHWOW is an understatement! You do far better w/ a roller-coaster of news than many of us - the "I'm going to die soon(er than later)" and now to know you'll celebrate your birthday in April! WOW is an understatement. (Are you a Taurus or an Aries??) Here's to what can only be thought miraculous news and mostly to you! Mazel Tov for more life.
Posted by: Joan Eisenstodt | Monday, 11 February 2019 at 08:38 AM
Such great news, Ronni. I can only imagine how it must have lifted your spirits.
As for research into psychadelics, I'd support research into anything that could be medically useful. The next breakthrough could come from anywhere, from ground moon rock to something that's been right under our noses all this time.
Posted by: Susan R (Pied Type) | Monday, 11 February 2019 at 08:42 AM
This is great news. The weight on your back must have evaporated.
Posted by: Julie Anne | Monday, 11 February 2019 at 08:47 AM
Wonderful news Ronni, Visualize clapping, jumping into the air and clicking heels and yelling WOO WOO!
I'm so happy for you.
Posted by: Estelle D | Monday, 11 February 2019 at 08:51 AM
I am not a religious person and don't believe in prayer. But after confronting a serious health scare of my own a few years ago, I have become more spiritual.
Why some people defeat illness and others succumb we do not know. I do know that there is some force in the universe that controls all of us. Whatever your destiny is Ronnie, its been foretold.
Posted by: Bruce Cooper | Monday, 11 February 2019 at 08:54 AM
My own experience with mushrooms--admittedly, long ago--was very, very positive. I began without fear and simply expecting a comfortable or an interesting "trip". From what i've heard and read, it's almost only the fear that raises negative emotions.
Posted by: Barry Dym | Monday, 11 February 2019 at 09:02 AM
Huge sigh of relief with and for you! So happy to share in your great news!! Hoping that chemo does it work for you past your birthday and far beyond to the next ones
Posted by: Fran Hansen | Monday, 11 February 2019 at 09:03 AM
Posted by: Mary S | Monday, 11 February 2019 at 09:30 AM
Let me first say that I'm delighted fir you. I am a pancreatic cancer going on three years...but deep in my mind and heart I personally will choose no further treatment if or when the cancer returns...I'm living fully everyday, traveling, enjoying life....but I have always wanted to embrace my death. I don't want to chase me nor I chasing it. I know our thinking differs but that is okay, no right or wrong...it's a personal decision....I can see your motivation to continue the writing you do for as long as you can..and it is certainly a gift you have given us.
I don't fear death but fear the process...I want to further educate myself about use of magic mushrooms...it is all new to me. You are such a brace and gifted woman
Posted by: Glenda kimsey | Monday, 11 February 2019 at 09:41 AM
What super good, beautiful news! While reading the words of your doc, my mind was racing with something like, "Well then, why would it not be possible for the lesions to all disappear.........forever?!" Crazy hope. Why not?
I'm glad to hear that people are wising up about psychedelics. I always worry a bit though......remember, the Native Americans used tobacco for sacred purposes, then the white people got it and............hey, three packs a day! In "Just Kids," Patti Smith wrote about marijuana not being a party or escape drug for her, that she used it in relation to her work. I learned some important lessons from psychedelics that have stayed with me and always will.
Posted by: Salinda Dahl | Monday, 11 February 2019 at 09:42 AM
We live in a world where contrariness is an identity for many. You meet your life as you are able and you share your journey with us as you are able. Our judgements on your choices are not of value unless asked for. If the mushrooms helped for a day or for your remaining time, that is for you to know, not us to quibble about.
Thank you for sharing your journey!
Posted by: Bill Pearson | Monday, 11 February 2019 at 10:01 AM
Posted by: laura | Monday, 11 February 2019 at 10:02 AM
Wow oh wow indeed!!! So very happy to hear this news!
Posted by: Ursula | Monday, 11 February 2019 at 10:13 AM
Have you heard about essiac tea?? I am consideriNGOs using myself after a second Breast cancer event. I heard about it from a nutritionist friend.
Maybe worth a look.
Posted by: Linda Carmi | Monday, 11 February 2019 at 10:18 AM
We love you back! Your coming birthday we will be celebrating worldwide while your family also will be celebrating the gifts of life— yours, theirs and the Reunion.
Posted by: Tamar | Monday, 11 February 2019 at 10:28 AM
Ronni, I am so happy for you! What wonderful news. Celibrate, ceilibrate, celibrate!
Posted by: Peter | Monday, 11 February 2019 at 10:37 AM
Simply wonderful news. Hurrah.
And if they work, do it.
Posted by: Mage Bailey | Monday, 11 February 2019 at 10:51 AM
That is such splendid news!
Posted by: Anne | Monday, 11 February 2019 at 10:56 AM
Wow oh wow oh wow is right!
Ronni -- if I travel to Oregon, where can I find practitioners who would guide me on an experience with a variety of psychedelics -- from helping me figure out which one might work best for me to hanging out with me during use?
Thanks, and I'm glad you can celebrate your birthday AND, perhaps, hearing what Robert Mueller has to say.
Posted by: Cat | Monday, 11 February 2019 at 11:14 AM
OH, WOW is spot on! Thank you for sharing the good news with all of us. I've tried CBD and a CBD/THC mix (legal in my state) for back/neck pain a few tines--no breakthrough results but I'm not through trying.
Posted by: Elizabeth Rogers | Monday, 11 February 2019 at 11:38 AM
I just finished reading Cory Taylor's book and am halfway through "The Bright Hour" which I think you also mentioned (Nina Riggs). They are fascinating books written by women taken way too early but magnificent writers. And then I get this post from you, and I'm thrilled beyond what I should be by the implications. Thank you Ronni, and thank you to your doctors for giving us more time with you! :-)
Posted by: DJan | Monday, 11 February 2019 at 11:55 AM
Great news Ronni, so happy for you. And for us.
Posted by: Wisewebwoman | Monday, 11 February 2019 at 11:55 AM
God is great and prayers are indeed answered.. Continued for you in hopes that more good news is to come. SO SO happy for you.. Celebrate your news!! <3
Posted by: caroldee | Monday, 11 February 2019 at 12:09 PM
Wonderful news is an understatement!
Posted by: joared | Monday, 11 February 2019 at 01:20 PM
Wonderful news, Ronni. I’m so happy to hear it!
Posted by: Mary Robertson | Monday, 11 February 2019 at 02:16 PM
What wonderful news Ronni! I’m so happy for you.
Posted by: Barbara | Monday, 11 February 2019 at 02:23 PM
Fantastic post. A lift for you & shared with us. So much to be grateful for & anticipation going forward. Wishing you all the best as you continue to live & enjoy your life.
Posted by: Ann Stock | Monday, 11 February 2019 at 03:26 PM
"You've got this, Ronni!
Sending a million virtual hugs to you.
And a hot chocolate topped with whipped cream.
Posted by: doctafill | Monday, 11 February 2019 at 03:27 PM
I am over the moon!
Yours is the second report today about an acquaintance getting good news about incurable cancer. A meditation teacher learned that his glioblastoma shrunk significantly - a rare event according to his oncologist.
These new cancer management protocols are amazing.
We should plan a virtual birthday party for you on the blog.
Love to you.
Posted by: Elizabeth | Monday, 11 February 2019 at 03:38 PM
You always thank "us" but truly your blog has been a giving and insightful lesson, lecture, tool....I'm not sure what to call it or that I am expressing myself clearly enough but suffice to say I have benefited in many ways from reading your blog. It is a lesson for me in how to life a life graciously lived. I pray and continue to hope for positive news. Maybe that's why the news is positive because you are realistic and positive. Take care. Teragram
Posted by: Tera | Monday, 11 February 2019 at 04:51 PM
Dancing on the ceiling.
Oh wow oh wow great way to start the week.
Posted by: Redstone | Monday, 11 February 2019 at 05:48 PM
Terrific news - great start to the day Ronni - long may the results continue!!!!
Posted by: Jeanette | Monday, 11 February 2019 at 06:48 PM
So very, very happy with your news! We love you back, Ronni!
Posted by: Sandra J | Monday, 11 February 2019 at 10:22 PM
Excellent news!!! All my love.
Posted by: Mirella Gibeau | Tuesday, 12 February 2019 at 02:01 AM
still dancing the happy dance. hugs galore!
Posted by: Julia | Wednesday, 13 February 2019 at 04:41 AM
So happy for you and - actually - for all of us, who look forward to your words and wisdom.
Posted by: Rebecca Magalhaes | Wednesday, 13 February 2019 at 10:27 AM