Thursday, May 17, 2012

An Unusual Birthday But a Good One

We started our morning very early (too early for me) with an 8am appointment with the new medical oncologist.  Dan and the new oncologist are bonding nicely which meant that they both had fun picking on me this morning. Great, I am outnumbered again just like with the last oncologist.  The doctor did say that Dan and I should do stand-up comedy because we are very funny. I assume this is because I was half asleep but then again you never know.  ;-)

I took this picture when we were leaving the first appointment because it always makes me smile. This is the baby grand piano in the atrium of the cancer center at Johns Hopkins. When we arrived this morning someone was playing the piano.  I know it sounds silly but having music at the hospital is definitely comforting.

One thing that always strikes me when we are at the cancer center at Hopkins is how sick everyone else seems to be.  Many of the patients are wearing masks to keep from being exposed to “any germs”.  Additionally lots of the patients can’t walk or they have no hair.  I saw one woman today pushing an IV pole whose wounds absolutely broke my heart. She was definitely younger than me, possibly by a decade, and she had big round black spots on her legs that looked to me like dead skin. I assume this was from targeted radiation therapy but I didn’t ask.  I am telling you all of this because I realize that not many people get to see what I see in regard to the impact cancer has on people. 

Please, if you are on the fence about changing your diet don’t wait!  Pounding down nutrition in the form of vegetables and green smoothies can only help by providing your body with the raw materials that it needs to fight disease. I hear people say all the time that “being vegan is extreme” and I would disagree.  Eating vegetables, fruits, beans, seeds, nuts and whole grains is normal.  Getting surgery, taking drugs and getting chemo or radiation is extreme.   Modern medicine definitely has a place in the world and I am not saying you should avoid it.  However there is nothing to be afraid of by adding natural foods to your diet. I am not saying that Dan is doing as well as he is completely due to good nutrition but I know that it definitely plays a role.  As you probably know I am very passionate about this and much of that is due to what I see.  I only hope that some of you are listening and moving closer toward eating a whole-food plant-based diet.

Okay on to brighter stories since cancer is not exactly upbeat and perky birthday talk.  You did realize that my hubby likes technology right?  ;-)  I think we have settled on the specific new cell phones but Dan will make the final call since I am not exactly technology girl (a serious understatement).  One of the phones I tested this afternoon takes panoramic pictures which I think will be very useful.   Okay I should say it will be really fun if I were being honest.  Let’s hope that particular phone turns out to be the winner (hint, hint …if you are reading this Dan).

Once we left the cell phone store we stopped for Indian food in Towson at The Kathmandu restaurant. We explained that we were vegan and they had no difficulty modifying the dishes for us.  Nice!  Here is what we had:

Dan “had to” order the vegetable samosas which he loves.  The pastry around the spicy potato and pea filling was so thin and tender. Seriously, the crust was the best I have had outside of India!  Really, really good!  If you are local you should check it out.  I am sure that you won't be disappointed they were delicious.

Then we ordered the vegetable jalfrezi and whole wheat flat bread stuffed with potatoes and peas.  Both were very good but the samosas literally stole the show.

We spent the afternoon at the boat. Where else would you expect us to be?  Dan had to be on a conference call and I spent that time visiting the nice people in the marina office and feeding my duck-daughter and grand-duck.   Yes I did say singular grand-duck. Sadly there is only one little baby left which upsets me. However I am trying to focus on the positive side of things and the one remaining baby is very lively and adorable.

In addition to taking the day off to hang out with me and taking me to lunch Dan also bought me something that I have been hinting around about literally for months.  I really wanted to upgrade my camera and Dan got me a new camera. Woo hoo!  I am not the proud owner of a Canon 60D.  Everyone needs an 18 megapixel camera don’t they?  I realize that this is not actually a need but really more of a want.  However I really wanted it!  ;-)  I am very excited to have a new fancy camera, now I just need to figure out how to use it.  Somehow I will manage to find time to play around with my new camera soon.

Happy Thoughts:

Thursday has been a good one which means that I have many things to be thankful for and some of them are the following:

  • Yesterday was a gorgeous day.  It started off hot but cooled down in the evening and resulted in beautiful views.  I never get tired of the scenery at the boat, as you have probably noticed. ;-)
  • Today I was reminded how important it is to be thankful.  Spending time at Hopkins is always humbling and reminds me that our situation is vastly better than most people.  I only wish that everyone understood that there are actions that they can take to help themselves.  Maybe one day more people will realize the power of good nutrition. Until then I will continue to spread the word.
  • I am thrilled to have my husband take the day off to spend with me.  He never makes a big deal about his birthday but he knows that it is important to me so he makes a fuss about mine. Dan is a good hubby; I think I will keep him.  ;-)
  • I love the camera that Dan bought me for my birthday present.  Wow, this is a very powerful camera and I can’t wait to use it.  *happy dance*
  • The weather has been gorgeous for my birthday. Thank you Mother Nature!  We have had beautiful blue skies and moderate temperatures (mid-70s).  Definitely nice birthday weather if you ask me.
  • Later today we are going to go for a nice walk along the harbor and get in a bit more exercise since we were up and out of the house so early this morning we need to move around more. Besides we definitely have a big Indian lunch to burn off. ;-)
Signing off:

Dan is off his conference call, my webinar is over and the ducks are fed so it I time for me to get off the computer and spend some time with my hubby.  I hope you are having a wonderful Thursday.  Talk with you again tomorrow.  J


  1. Happy Birthday and what a nice present! Plus you can't go wrong with spending it with the person you love :)

  2. Thanks Nadine,

    I had a very nice birthday! At the last minute we ended up going to see Ian and the gang for dinner which is always great. Eric from the marina joined us and we were the last ones out of the restaurant. It was the perfect way to end the evening. :-)

    My hubby is very thoughtful. I really, really love the camera he bought me. As much as I love to take pictures it is hard to imagine a more perfect present to get me.

    happy Friday and talk with you later,

  3. Happy Birthday Ali!

    Glad you and Dan are doing well. It's good to see you posting again. Have a wonderful weekend

    1. Good morning Lea,

      Thanks for stopping by to say hello. :-) I have had the craziest few months where I felt like my life was nothing but bouncing from project to project. Things are still hectic but I seem to have them more "under control" at this time, if that is possible. ;-) Today I am working on the second site and have a exam to take, then it is the weekend. Woo hoo!

      Hope all is well with you and that you have a wonderful weekend too,

  4. Welcome back Ali, and a very Happy 50th to you! I'm so glad to hear that you've been busy, productive and having some fun. That camera looks marvelous! I've been enjoying my 50's so far, although there have been some significant physical changes (mostly skin-related)--but noone is immune to that! I have a friend that's used henna for many years and I'll ask her about the brand she uses, but is 5% gray worth covering? Doesn't sound like much. I'm so glad that you're back online!

    1. Laura,

      Thanks for the birthday wishes. Shockingly 50 was much easier than I anticipated which was a relief. ;-) I am LOVING the new camera. Wow what a difference it makes in terms of photo quality. So far I am still shooting on automatic but I hope to go manual this weekend which will be great for a geek like me.

      Skin changes? Oh no I hate to even imagine what that means. I haven't had many of those yet. I hope you are only referring to sagging and winkling and there isn't anything worse to come that I don't know about. LOL

      Thanks for the henna info I would love to know what brand your friend uses and if she has any tips for making it look more natural. I know 5% doesn't sound like a lot of gray but since my hair is so dark it is more noticeable than you would think. Thanks for taking your time on this for me. I really appreciate it.

      talk with you later,

  5. Happy Birthday! What a wonderful birthday present!

    I was recently diagnosed with cancer (thought to be stage 1). I sat at a major hospitals cancer department a few days ago and felt like I was watching the walking dead. I am in my mid-40s and have been a vegan for 12 years. I think one area where I went wrong was I consumed sugar and sometimes potato chips. Not much, but still. I immediately went raw vegan after the diagnosis and fired my juicer. I don't plan to be one of those walking (or in the case of many - not walking) dead. Now I need to find an oncologist who will follow me if I refuse all treatments. How are they at Hopkins? Do you they support people choosing to do natural treatment?

    I just bought henna for the first time. I found out that my 'natural' hair color had a dangerous chemical in it. I hope that the henna works well.

    1. Hello Betsy,

      Thanks for the birthday wishes. I think that my hubby is the best. He does a great job with presents for me. :-)

      I am sorry to hear about your diagnosis but stage 1 is the best possible scenario so that is good. What I have learned in my research about cancer is that it starts 10 - 20 years before the doctors can see it so you probably had it before you went vegan. However you are right that the sugar probably didn't help. I haven't heard of any oncologists who will follow people who refuse treatment. However I have noticed that the younger doctors are much more open to natural methods in addition to conventional treatment which is the route we went. Additionally one of our doctors did his residency at NCI and he is very supportive of natural methods. I hope that helps you.

      Have you read the book "Life Over Cancer" by Keith Block MD? That one is very detailed and I have found it very helpful in terms of navigating treatment. If you have any other questions or would like other book recommendations let me know. We can chat about this in more detail offline.

      I agree with you on the "natural" hair color, I found the same thing which is why I didn't use it. Have you been to the site? It is a great resource. Please let me know what you think of the henna. I would love to hear more about your experience with it.


  6. Hi Ali.

    Happy Birthday to you. What a wonderful way to spend the day! It's great to see you online again, and terrific to hear that your sabbatical was just due to busy-ness. Keep up the great work, and good luck in your new venture!


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