MM – March 03,2016

HI Folks,

I have been quiet for a while due to being in hospital with Influenza B. It took a serious toll on my poor immune system, affected my kidneys and left me with little to no motivation. I thought the lack of motivation was due to depression. But I have come to find out that kidney function affects a great deal of behaviours in the brain and that my lack of will power or motivation is low because my kidneys are compromised from the disease.

It has also made it impossible for me to go back to work even part-time with the lovely folks at ART KNAPP Plantland.


I have been learning a lot. It’s not an easy thing to do, learning, when your whole body, brain included, is feeling tired, drained all the time.

I sit at home many days and “do” very little. I have people who try to motivate me some and usually I am very self motivated but even the things I really enjoy to do, take alot of effort and I don’t get very far when I am only functioning for a few minutes at a time. As a result most things take a long time to see any progress or don’t get done at all.

Which is very frustrating for me. As demonstrated in other posts on this blog, I have always worked and worked hard all my life. So much so, that I have only ever had 1 vacation (for 3 days in Disney World, many years ago).

Since I started the GO FUND ME program, I’ve had a varied response. Some people are very supportive. Some people suggest I just want a vacation in Spain. I don’t find that particularly funny, since my life is on the line here and all the cancer clinics cost US$20,000 to $30,000 for treatment (and they don’t offer a good time). If I wanted a vacation I could go to Mexico on the cheap, I suppose, but that is not my focus. I’m just trying to survive.

When I started the Go Fund Me campaign I calculated the costs at that time (October 2015). Since then the Candian dollar has dropped significantly and costs have increased everywhere. So my original estimate of CAD$20,000 is actually closer to $25,000 and that is just for the treatment and air fare.

Meanwhile, since October, I have embraced as much of the Budwig protocol from home as possible. This results in a special toxin free diet of primarily organic foods, including lots of fresh fruits & veg, that can be made into juices and smoothies. Plus copious amounts of flax oil, colloidial silver, curcuma 100, magnolia oil, cannabis oil (pheonix tears) and other alternative treatments such as, acupunture. The wonderful folks from Purica have gifted me with Immune7, Recovery and Adrenal Support (mushroom therapy).

I have recently been advised to add milk thistle, mistletoe & frankincense to my regime. And I am researching further for things I can do from home. Other than the mushroom therapy, it all costs money.

organic-food-beaufort-herban-marketplaceI’ve used the donations already given for food and other treatments here at home, so I would still need the full CAD$20,000 to go to any cancer clinic. I am just hoping folks can continue to offer me something, as I cannot even continue what I am doing from home unless I continue to get help.

I have explained previously that any of the money I had saved from my working career, is now gone and I have incurred considerable debt on top of it. I am trying to live on a Disability Pension which gets topped up by Social Assistance. (CPP $760./month and SA adds $300./month) That’s all I have to work with and it is not enough to pay for my basic living requirements (rent, utilities, vehicle repairs/insurance, etc.).

I don’t think a lot of people realize that many treatments are not covered by our provincial medical plans.  (It’s different in each province) The general assumption is that ALL our medical care is covered by Medical Services but that is not true with something like this disease. It is only partially covered. Some of the chemo drugs cost $2000 for one dose.

What is a person supposed to do when the best of the medical professionals in our system say they can offer nothing else to help you fight this disease. When they have prescribed the most aggressive treatment possible and it doesn’t work. Just lay down and die??? I am so tired of this fight that some days I feel that might be the easier choice.


Stem Cells

Unless a large benefactor comes forward, I will not be going to any distant cancer clinics, anywhere. Right now most of the money I have received via donations, has been used towards treatment here at home and there is not enough to make the trip to the Budwig Cancer Clinic in Spain or any other clinic.

I am not winning this battle. My latest blood work shows only rapid growth of the cancer cells throughout my body. I am so full of cancer right now it is 6 times worse then when I was first diagnosed in March of 2014.

So my appeal for help continues. The Go Fund Me campaign will continue, although it is more practical if money is sent to me directly as the Go Fund Me takes 10% off the top of all donations.

Any funds can be sent in an Email Transfer to my account. Please believe that every penny is being used and is very much appreciated.

Happy Living!


The Messy Shepherdess

Please help me get to The Budwig Cancer Center, Spain!

I am so Thankful for any help towards my trip to Spain.

I have exhausted ALL options for cancer treatment offered by our Cancer practitioners here in BC, including Stem Cell Transplant and the strongest available Chemotherapy. I have worked with the head of the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit, Dr. Nantel, of Vancouver General Hosp. My Oncologist, Dr. Shustik, of the Fraser Valley Cancer clinic, can offer me no further treatment that could give any chance of success.

2014-08-06 ~ Stem Cell Collection - Cynthia Tupholme

2014-08-06 ~ Stem Cell Collection – Cynthia Tupholme

The Budwig Cancer Center has had success with my type of cancer. It is not new or unproven, Dr. Budwig started her work in the 1950’s, was nominated for the Nobel prize for her work and has thousands of success stories.
I am fighting for my life. Please help me!

Cynthia Tupholme, 56 yrs

Cynthia Tupholme, 56 yrs

The Messy Shepherdess

Cynthia Tupholme

Multiple Myeloma is back

Hi Everyone,

As my followers know, I have cancer, Multiple Myeloma.

I have 2 young adult daughters and a young grandson. I am only 56 years of age. I have been an organic landscaper and farmer for most of my life. I have raised my family on Salt Spring Island, BC for 20 years and recently moved to Surrey in close proximity to the Fraser Valley Cancer Clinic.

Cali & I

Cali & I

The doctors have done everything they can and I had a brief remission. But it’s back now and growing fast. The doctors can’t offer me anything else. At the rate it is growing I have about 6 months. I am already feeling the effects of the cancer and will soon be incapacitated. The only recourse I have been able to find that offers any hope is to attend the Budwig Cancer Center in Spain and hope they can slow or stop the progress. They have had a 49% success rate with my type of cancer.

I have no money left, as a result, I have started a GO FUND ME campaign

The $20,000 will cover air fare for myself with one daughter and two weeks at the center, where I will be given treatment and learn how to continue that treatment at home.

There is no time to waste, so I am urgently appealing to you to help fund my trip to Spain and the Budwig Cancer Center.

Even if I don`t reach my goal, any funds I receive will be used towards treatment of my cancer or to help alleviate the expense of burial for my daughters.

me n flare

Thank you for taking the time to read this. Any and all help will be so very much appreciated.

The Messy Shepherdess

Cynthia Tupholme

Organic Pest Management and Organic Fertilizer Options Simplfied!

More from my part-time job answering folks questions about gardening…

What can you use for organic pest management?
Organic gardeners have several options for pest management. The most important methods work with natural systems to provide long term protection:

Beneficial - Dogbane Beetle

Beneficial – Dogbane Beetle

Beneficial Insects: Plant hedgerows and flowering insectary plants to attract beneficial insects that help control crop pests. See our flower section for the best varieties to use.

Companion Planting: The age-old practice of companion planting is another method used to repel and deter pests. Certain flowers and herbs grown in near other crops are known to deter pests, improve vigor, and increase yields.

Here is a general list of some of the most common solutions:

Insecticidal Soaps: Some come pre-mixed while others are just mixed with water and sprayed on plants. These are effective for controlling aphids.

Diatomaceaous earth: A fossilized shell which when ground-up, breaks the outer layer of an insect and dessicates them externally on contact or internally by digestion. Useful to control slugs and snails, among other pests.

Pyerethrum Daisy grown in South Africa used to create the insecticide pyrethrin dust

Pyerethrum Daisy grown in South Africa used to create the insecticide pyrethrin dust

Bt – Bacillus thuringiensis: This is a naturally occurring bacteria with many powerful insect-specific strains that effectively kill caterpillars and insect larvae, minimizing the harm to beneficial insects. This is usually applied to plants and then ingested by pests.

Pyrethrins: A natural insecticide derived from a specific species of chrysanthemum, these are often combined with soap to provide broad spectrum control of pests. Use only as a last resort since this will kill the beneficial insects as well as the pests.

Organic fertilizers?

There are many organic fertilizers on the market today, and sustainable agricultural methods, such as cover cropping, composting, and rotating crops will provide most of a plant’s nutritional needs. Below is a general list of some of the most common materials:

Compost: Well decomposed compost is the best thing you can add to your soil to improve its structure, fertility, and water holding capacity. Make your own or buy from a reputable certified organic source.

Manure: Well decomposed animal manures provide nitrogen, but care must be taken to ensure they are fully composted to prevent potential health issues. The National Organic Program does not allow the use of fresh, raw manures in organic agriculture.

Fish and Kelp: Liquid fish emulsions supply nitrogen, while liquid kelp extracts supply micro-nutrients and help support strong roots and stems. These are especially useful for fertilizing seedlings until they are ready to plant outside.

Ground Rock Powders: These can be mixed with soil to provide Phosphorus, essential minerals and trace elements. Phosphorous supports lush flowering and fruiting.

Natural Fertilizers: Dry powders derived from vegetable and animal sources can provide nutrition and modify the pH of your soil. These include alfalfa meal, cotton seed meal, bone meal, blood meal, and greensand, among others.
Happy Living!
Messy Shepherdess


Beneficial – Lacewing


Seeds of Change FAQ –

Seeds… Really, what is the difference?

Hi Folks,

I am really enjoying a part-time job answering peoples questions about gardening and thought it would be good to share some of the questions and my answers here. Plus I have found some interesting articles written by others, that deserve to be spread around so have included links to those articles below.

“Heirloom” Seeds?
Heirloom seed varieties have been preserved and kept viable for multiple generations of gardeners and sometimes passed down for hundreds of years. They typically have unique attributes that are considered to provide some value, such as exceptional flavour or disease resistance.stock-photo-cereal-grains-and-seeds-rye-wheat-barley-oat-sunflower-corn-flax-poppy

Not all Heirloom Seeds are automatically considered to be Organic seeds.
Just because a seed is heirloom does not make it organic. Organic refers to the way the seed is grown, without use of chemicals, while heirloom refers to the seed’s heritage. Both “Organic” and/or “Heirloom” seeds are Non-GMO.

What are “Open-Pollinated” seeds?
When seeds are pollinated naturally by insects, birds, wind or other natural mechanisms, they are considered Open Pollinated and the seeds of open-pollinated plants will produce new generations of those plants.

What is a “Hybrid” seed?
Hybrid seed is seed produced by cross-pollinated plants. For example, often planting two different varieties of the same family of plants close together in the same garden, will result in the flowers of both varieties cross pollinating. Then the seed produced could have attributes from both varieties appearing in the next generation. Hybrid seed production is predominant in agriculture and home gardening.

F1 Hybrid refers to the first generation of offspring plants produced by a cross of two genetically different parent varieties, usually of the same species. Hybrids can have advantages, including robust growth known as “hybrid vigor,” uniformity, and the fact that they are often bred to be disease resistant. Since the 1920’s, many hybrid varieties have been bred using traditional breeding methods. Seed saved from F1 Hybrids will not grow ‘true-to-type’.

What makes “GMOs” so different?
“Genetically Modified Organisms,” or GMO type of plants or animals are created through the gene splicing techniques of biotechnology, also called genetic engineering, or GE. This experimental technology merges DNA from different species, creating unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and viral genes that cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding.

You may have heard the term GMO and that many groups around the world are fighting to have foods containing GMOs be labeled or in some cases banned; many countries already require mandatory GMO labels.  GMOs are usually only planted by large-scale mono-crop farmers and cross contamination is a big concern for open-pollinated corn and other crops in the same area as GMO fields.

For how long are seeds “good” and “plant-able?”
Each species is different, but most will last at least 3-4 years under proper storage conditions. The exception is alliums, such as onions or chives, which might only keep for 1-2 years. If you are unsure the seeds are still good then start just a few of the seeds to test their viability.

To keep seeds “fresh,” store them in a cool, dry, dark place. One technique is to put the seed packets in an airtight container with some dry rice grains in the bottom to moderate the humidity, (like mixing dry rice with salt in the salt shaker to keep it flowing). If space allows, you can also store seeds in the refrigerator or freezer, in a zip lock bag or airtight container. Allow seeds to return to room temperature overnight before opening the container to prevent condensation that may spoil the seeds.


Happy Living!
Messy Shepherdess


Organic seed expert: Phil Winteregg –

Seeds of Change FAQ –

MM – February 25, 2015

An overdue update.

I am feeling much better. Been slowly recovering over the past few months and have improved significantly. I am not currently taking any form of cancer treatment, other than monthly blood-work to monitor for any problems that might arise and Pamidronate IV, to strengthen my skeletal frame. My kidney function is good. I was taking medication for the neuropathy in my feet and although it isn’t completely gone, it has improved enough to stop taking the medication. I still get some swelling, soreness and tingling in my feet but that should improve as the nerve sheaths grow back.

When I had my first follow up with the specialist after my treatment from September, I was advised to get updated on ALL vaccinations again, along with Flu vaccines and Hepatitis shots, because the cancer treatments would have depleted all of my former antibodies. However, instead of signing up with the public health nurse for a complete vaccination regime, I decided to ask my family doctor to arrange for a Titer test. This is a simple test that is done using a blood sample to determine what level of antibodies to common diseases you may or may not, have in your body. I have seen and heard of too many side effects, which can on occasion be very serious, occurring from unnecessary vaccinations or over-vaccinating.

Rubella particles digital art by Russell Kightley

Rubella particles digital art by Russell Kightley

Don’t get me wrong, I am not what is currently being referred to as an Anti-vaxxer. Vaccinations can serve a very beneficial purpose in protecting the body from common diseases, however, they serve no purpose and can often be very detrimental to the immune system if there are already sufficient antibodies occurring in the immune system. A Titer test can determine whether a vaccine is necessary or not. I would highly recommend it before subjecting anyone, including infants or youth, to vaccinations. It takes the guess work out of the equation because then you know for sure whether you are at risk or not. And as for the Flu vaccines, if you are generally a healthy person, eating well and getting exercise, I do not think it is wise to prevent your body from naturally fighting off any colds and the occasional flu that might be around. (Most 24 hour flu bugs are not caused by influenza at all, but are typically bouts of food poisoning.) However, I do think the pharmaceutical companies are enjoying quite a profit from the promotion of these Flu shots.

In any case, the results from my Titer test showed that I still have all of my immunities, so it is unnecessary for me to get vaccinated again. The exception was Rubella, aka German measles, which is usually one part of what is commonly referred to as the MMR vaccine (measles, mumps & rubella). If I can source a Rubella only vaccine, then I will get it, but I am not in a big hurry as I don’t plan to travel to any third world countries so I think my risk is minimal.

Oh! And my hair is growing back. I probably have about a half inch of hair on my scalp now 😀 I still wear a hat because my head and ears get cold!

I am slowly getting back into the swing of things. I have started back to work, part-time for now, to see how well I adapt to working again. I have missed working and interacting with other people, (those who are not Doctors or nurses). I probably wont be posting much more about my cancer, unless I come across something interesting or my current health takes a dive.

Happy Living!

Messy Shepherdess

Seed Catalogues & Soil Amendments

Tis the season…
…for Seed catalogues!

My first seed catalogue arrived in the post this week! I will be found happily pouring over the pages to see any new (to me) seed varieties that are available and to decide which ones I should consider purchasing to add to my own personal collection or to try, just for fun!

I do most of my seed ordering online, however there is nothing like getting my hands on an actual catalogue full of gorgeous photos taken from the past seasons harvest to inspire me and I often have to whittle down my seed wish list to a more manageable amount financially, as well as, for a more realistic view of what I can truly expect to accomplish in the space and time I have to give the garden.

Over the years, I have been asked many times about ‘Soil Amendments’ and what their purpose is in the garden. I have a reference list that I use but soil amendments or additives can vary a lot depending on soil requirements and on the types of additives available from region to region. However, in my travels on the Internet, I came across this great graph at Planet Natural and although I am not trying to promote their site, I thought I would share the graph with you folks. It gives a well rounded selection of amendments and their recommended application rates. Although personally, I would go a little lighter on the application rates, preferring instead to build up the additives slowly over time in order to create a more balance soil composition.

I would highly recommend before adding anything to your soil, besides compost, to have your soil analyzed by a local lab and hopefully this will help to determine what your soil needs most to get off to a good start. Often asking other gardeners in the area what they have experienced, can also be very helpful.

Most soil amendments are added to improve the structure of the soil, to increase the organic content so that the soil is more capable of holding nutrients and moisture. When these organic materials are added to the soil, they also act in varying degrees as fertilizers, providing a mix of nutrients to plant roots.

  • Alfalfa Meal
    Primarily a plant source of nitrogen, Alfalfa Pellets (5-1-2) also contains trace minerals and triacontanol, a plant growth promoter.
    25-50 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft.
  • Blood Meal
    A strong, slow release source of nitrogen, Blood Meal (13-1-0) is also chock-full of trace minerals.
    10-30 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft.
  • Bone Meal
    Granulated for easy application and quick uptake by plants, Bone Meal contains 20% phosphate and up to 23% calcium.
    10-35 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft.
  • Chicken Manure
    Composted Chicken Manure (3-2-2) provides a well balanced supply of nutrients and is excellent for mulching and moisture retention.
    1 cu. ft. covers 200 sq. ft.
  • Coconut Coir
    Made from compressed coconut fiber, coir is an eco-friendly peat alternative! Works anywhere you would normally use peat moss, rockwool, vermiculite, perlite, or pumice.
    1 part coir to 2-3 parts soil.
  • Compost
    No amount of organic fertilizer can make up for poor soil. Compost provides a microbially active source of organic matter and other important soil builders required by plants.
    Up to 20 lbs. per 100 sq. ft.
  • Greensand
    Contains about 7% total potash, along with iron, magnesium, silica and as many as 30 other trace minerals. May also be used to loosen heavy, clay soils.
    50-100 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft.
  • Gypsum
    Used to loosen heavy clay soils, Agricultural Gypsum contains about 23% available calcium and 18% sulfur.
    40-120 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft.
  • Kelp Meal
    A great source of micronutrients and beneficial plant growth promoters. Kelp Meal also encourages tolerance to stresses such as pests, disease, frost and drought.
    5-20 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft.
  • Dolomite Lime
    Sweetens soil (raises pH in acidic soils) and is a quality source of calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg). Promotes healthy plant growth.
    25-50 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft.
  • Rock Dust
    Improves soil vitality and plant health. Rock Dust contains a broad range of trace minerals. Many of which have been slowly lost through the ages, by erosion, leaching and farming.
    50-150 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft.
  • Rock Phosphate
    Provides up to a 10 year reserve of phosphorous! Contains 27% total phosphate, 33% elemental calcium and many other trace minerals. Great for flowering plants.
    50 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft.
  • Shellfish Meal
    A source of calcium (23%), nitrogen, phosphorus, and a large number of trace minerals. Contains chitin, which stimulates the growth of soil microbes that inhibit root-knot nematodes.
    30 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft.
  • Sulfur
    Lowers pH in alkaline soils. Elemental Sulfur contains 90% sulfur with 10% bentonite as a binder. Also useful around acid loving plants such as blueberries, azaleas and rhododendrons.
    10 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft.
  • Sul-Po-Mag
    Also known as sulfate of potash-magnesia, Sul-Po-Mag is a quick release source of potassium and contains 22% soluble potash, 22% sulfur and 11% magnesium.
    5-10 lbs. per 1,000 sq. ft.
  • Worm Castings
    Gardeners know Worm Castings to be the most nutrient dense organic compost available. In soil, they retain water and release nutrients in a form that is easily used by plants.
    5-10 lbs. per 100 sq. ft.


Hope everyone had a happy holiday season filled with friends and family!!!
Happy Living!
Messy Shepherdess

Cotswold Sheep

There are literally thousands of sheep breeds in the world, but many of them are small in number and on the verge of extinction. It’s hard to choose a favorite because each has unique characteristics which have been developed over many, sometimes over hundreds of years, that makes them suited to particular purposes and environments. However, one of my favourite is the Cotswold breed.

Cotswold Ewe

Cotswold Ewe

Cotswold sheep are a rare, heritage breed in Canada. Their ability to maintain a good carcass size on less grain and produce an amazing fleece, makes the breed highly desirable for small farm flocks.

Body weight: Rams: 115 – 130 Kg Ewes: 80 – 100 Kg
Fleece: 20 to 30 cm (8 to 12 inches) in length, and weighing 6 to 9 Kg (13 to 20 lbs)
Cotswold sheep are polled (hornless) with black hooves.

Even though by today’s standards in the sheep industry, Cotswold are considered a fairly slow growing sheep, they have many valuable attributes such as,

Cotswold fleece locks

Cotswold fleece locks

– easily birthing hardy lambs that have small heads,
– good growth on less grain,
– generally a calm, gentle nature making them easy to handle,
– a large finished carcass size, with meat that has a mild flavour regardless of age,
– a fleece that is highly valued by fibre crafters and artisans, nicknamed the ‘Golden Fleece Breed’, Cotswold wool is exceedingly strong and lustrous. It hangs in long, ringlet locks, and attains 8 to 12 inches of growth in a year.

One of the oldest breeds of sheep, it is unknown whether the Cotswold breed was named after the Cotswold Hills where they were found or alternatively, the hills were named after the Cotswold sheep that were already there.

I am particularly excited and proud to announce the birth this past spring, of twin Cotswold ewe lambs, both of whom carry the coloured gene but one of which has a unique and unusual colour to her fleece. We call the colour blue. We are very excited to see how she will grow out and if her colour stays true. I imagine there will be some competition from fibre crafters to get a chance to create something amazing from her fleece, if it does grow to be as wonderful as it seems so far.

Bonnie Blu

Bonnie Blu

Her sister has a pure white and lustrous fleece, but as a full sister she also carries the coloured gene so has the potential to have offspring with the blue colour. Well worth protecting and breeding for the future.

At this time there are less than 300 Cotswold registered in Canada.

Happy Living!

Messy Shepherdess

Roasted Leg of Lamb

Easy, uncomplicated, hearty food is the norm in lots of farm kitchens.
Here’s a simple recipe I use for roasting a leg of lamb. Something my family has had many times over the years on cold rainy evenings.

Roasted Leg of Lamb

1/4 cup light oil (olive, sunflower, vegetable oil)
4 cloves chopped garlic
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons basil
1 tablespoon thyme
1 (8 pound) leg of lamb, boned and butterflied to a more or less even thickness
1 lemon, juiced


1. Mix oil, garlic, salt, pepper, basil and thyme; spread paste on both sides of the lamb and let stand for an hour until meat comes to room temperature.
2. Adjust oven rack to upper or upper-middle position (depending on lamb’s thickness) and preheat broiler on high for at least 10 minutes.
3. Place lamb, cut side up, on a large wire rack set over a foil-lined roasting pan. Broil, moving pan so entire surface browns evenly, about 8 minutes. Turn lamb over; continue to broil until well browned on the other side, about 8 minutes longer. Turn off broiler, remove lamb from oven and let rest for 10 minutes.
4. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Place a meat thermometer into the thickest portion of the lamb; return it to the oven. Roast for a total of 50 minutes to 1 hour, until thermometer registers a rosy-pink 140 degrees.
5. As soon as lamb comes out of the oven, squeeze on lemon juice. Carve, slicing across the grain when possible. Arrange on a platter, drizzle with accumulated juices, and serve.

You can fill out the meal with your choice of vegetables.
I usually wash some root vegetables but leave the skin on, like potatoes, carrots and beets, cut in half or in large 2″ chunks and place around the roast as it is in the oven for that last hour. Scooping them out when a knife easily penetrates the skin and placing all together in a big serving bowl.
There’s also usually enough drippings to make gravy as well. Just add a cup or two of water to the pan and bring to a boil, slowly stirring in a rue of corn starch and water until it thickens. Yum!

Happy Living!

Messy Shepherdess

MM – October 05, 2014

I am sorry that I have not been able to write anything for awhile, however, I did loose most of September from being in the hospital and although I am home now, I am still very weak physically and will take some time to build muscle and get my immune system working again. I have to be careful for the next couple of months not to expose myself to too many germs or I will get very sick as I don’t have a lot of resilience to fight things off.

About the middle of August I lost most of my hair. I still have these wispy pieces that need to be cut off so I wont look like some mad professor but for all intents and purposes I am bald now and wondering how long will it take to grow back?

In order to facilitate the next phase of treatment I booked a room at the Cancer Lodge near the hospital and the out patients unit called the BMT Day Care. I was advised that the Lodge had a nurse on staff and could help keep an eye on me as an out patient during the treatment. However, I found that they were not of much help at all and it turned out the only advantage was its convenient location near the hospital.

My Stem Cells

My Stem Cells

At the end of August I went in for the Hickman line catheter insertion, which went well. It is treated like a surgical procedure but they only use freezing in the areas they cut to insert the catheter. It really didn’t hurt and once the freezing was gone I didn’t feel the catheter inside me but the concept still bothers me as being very invasive and I was glad when it came out but that wasn’t for over a month. The removal involved just pulling the line out so it was simple and only hurt a little.

The next day, through the Hickman Line, I received the 8 hour treatment of chemotherapy. Melphalan. The following day, (I was already feeling the nausea), I received the stem cells back that had been collected earlier in the month.

I was required to go to the BMT Day Care every other day to be monitored and for symptom management. However, I immediately started to vomit every couple of hours and have diarrhea (caused by the Melphalan). All of this vomiting and diarrhea causes the body to loose fluids and become dehydrated. Along with the fluids the body looses a lot of essential nutrients including potassium and magnesium which is crucial for kidney function. I couldn`t possibly drink enough or keep down all the pills they wanted me to take to help control the symptoms, as a result, I became critical very quickly. They had to admit me to hospital and give me the meds through the Hickman. I still experienced about 10 days of vomiting and extreme diarrhea before the meds were able to slow it down and give me a break from the racking heaves. By this time the muscles in my entire mid section, front & back, were sore to the touch.

I can understand now. why they prefer the Hickman Line, as I wouldn’t have wanted to be poked for all the blood they were drawing or have IV’s for all the medications they were putting into me, all at one time. I also acquired a Walker during this time to help support me while I was walking and give me a place to sit when I became short of breath, because I became so weak I could hardly hold myself up.

Another week saw me recovering to the point where I no longer vomited at all, although I still had nausea and some diarrhea, I looked like I was on the way to recovery so they discharged me from hospital and I went back to the Cancer Lodge for a couple of days before I went home.

Everything seemed to be going along fine at first, although the nausea was still present, I was taking the pills and then after I was home for a couple of days, I vomited again. the next day I vomited three times and then it started again in earnest every couple of hours, the diarrhea, too! By the time I went back to BMT Day Care, I was in bad shape but they pumped me full of fluids and I felt OK, so I went home again, had a nice dinner and by ten that night started vomiting again.

By morning I could hardly move and had to beg a ride from my neighbour, ( for a 2 hour round trip on a Saturday), to the hospital and the BMT Day Care. I had already called the Day Care in advance and they just took one look at me and admitted me back to hospital. It took another couple of days to get the vomiting to stop and several more days to stop the diarrhea. This time they were not discharging me until all my symptoms were gone, including the nausea, so I spent another 2 weeks in hospital.

I had the Hickman line taken out last week. Finally. I hope that is an indication I am passed the worst of this chemotherapy treatment. I have some more Doctors appointments and blood work to get done this month. And if I have any say, I believe this is last of the chemotherapy treatment I will ever get. I will be looking into some alternative treatments in future.

So I am home now and feeling tired. I am still dealing with Neuropathy in my feet. I have a ways to go yet for recovery. As I said in the intro paragraph, I need to take some time now to rebuild my body and be careful of exposure to germs but I have survived and am getting better!

Happy Living!

Messy Shepherdess