• Kelsey Taveira

1 year after chemo

A year ago today I made the decision that many questioned which was to end my Temodar Chemotherapy at 6 months rather than continue the recommended "standard of care protocol" which is 12 months. I felt it in my gut, my soul and just knew it was the best decision for myself and future. I wasn't going to just stop everything, only the chemo and then continue doing everything holistic I was doing plus more. After speaking with my oncologist in Portugal and at UCLA and both assured me that there was no evidence proving 12 months was actually better than 6 I found it an easy decision to stop.

On October 9th I had my 3 month routine MRI and all showed stable and no signs of change or growth. I was once again reminded this is great news and to be happy! I want so badly to hear shrinkage or there is nothing there but it seems that will never be the case so for now and always STABLE is what I want! I can live with a brain tumor forever my oncologist reminded me, the main goal is to keep it STABLE. So, in the end I am so happy I trusted myself and stopped chemo. Although it hasn't been a total breeze since stopping and I think many people think once I decided to stop that everything would become "easier" and "back to normal"..well NO. I am not feeling 100% even a year later....and because of what I believe the treatments did to me. Which is another reason I am so happy I decided to stop and go full holistic because I cannot imagine how I would be feeling today if I had continued putting myself through pure torture.

Overall I feel good but I for sure feel the side and after effects of what these treatments did to me physically, emotionally and mentally.

I have chronic back pain which I work on with physical therapy, acupuncture, chiropractor, stretching, yoga and massages once a month. Icing and heating daily. I refuse to take anything for pain but cannabis oil and lotion helps a lot. Other side effects that got worse but I am working on our my anxiety, PTSD, stress and many times over minor things which can leave me so aggravated I snap and then I feel guilt. It can be a vicious cycle. It really varies day by day and you just never really know what the day will entail. I continue to stay as busy and active as possible which with all my appointments and work I stay very busy, I still am on all of my supplements, medical marijuana, ketogenic diet and still working on everything I can do to keep my mind focused, positive and happy. The only pharmaceutical drug I am on is Keppra 1000mg 2x's per day. My seizures have been way more controlled and if I have had one it has been a partial seizure which I am able to control and know why it happened. Main triggers are lack of sleep, overdoing it with staying out too late/drinking, stress and over exhausting my body. Sleep is SO important! For everyone but especially for a brain tumor patient.

Regardless of all these side effects I still know how lucky I am and how important working on them is and that I am able to do so. I hope they only get better from here on out. I know it takes time and I try my hardest to be patient and stay strong. I am incredibly happy with life and am truly blessed to have my husband, parents, sister, family and friends. I LOVE living in Portugal. Europe is a different way of life and I love it. It feels like home and being away now I already miss so much about it. Main thing is my husband, Philip who doesn't arrive here in CA until November but I miss many other things as well. One thing that is easier here in CA is healthcare and using my insurance. Unfortunately, I am unable to do most of my treatment plan while there because insurance does not cover it and I cannot afford it so I for sure take advantage of everything when I am back visiting in California some things are covered here like my physical therapy and chiropractor. I also have an acupuncturist here that I love so I try and see her at least once a month and she gives me a deal. They do take some insurances though, just not mine anymore but if you have insurance it is worth seeing if they accept it. Aesthetic Genesis in Redondo Beach!!! We all pay so much for insurance so take advantage! I wish I had been doing all this stuff for many years!!

Another thing I have recently started is therapy. Something I know I should have started a long time ago....back when I had my first surgery but was very stubborn and didn't think I needed it...I guess I truly didn't want to face what happened, happening and would happen. Really everyone does need it! Also insurance covered so take advantage! It has been almost 4 years since my diagnosis and everything has now progressed to where I decided I do need someone to talk to and to help me understand how I can deal with things in a healthier way. Life can get better and I can move on from past situations. The better I become the better person I can be all around. I plan on being around for a very long time so the sooner I address my issues the better.

I will be here in California until the beginning of January and look forward to spending time with family, friends, new friends and only making myself a better, stronger and more positive person. I have high hopes and very confident 2020 is going to be a positive and refreshing year filled with lots of great news and hopefully a kid or 2!! That has been my main goal and focus is knowing I will be a mother hopefully soon so working on myself for that one day is everything. As always I am thankful and so grateful to have such an amazing support system! XOXO

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Redondo Beach, CA, USA