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Old 03-14-2015, 08:48 AM   #29
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Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Somerset, NJ
Posts: 486
Re: cancer is killing my spirit

Those are two great ideas, Jessica, particularly the meditation. The Center for Head Injuries uses MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction), developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn, in its program for TBI and other brain-injured clients. I just completed the course with one of their neuropsychologists, who offers it at a much-reduced cost to patients with balky insurance companies. The studies demonstrate (using MRIs) positive brain changes in MBSR practitioners, which defines it as a medical treatment. The course I took cost $300 vs. $2600 for the hospital-based course, because my insurance insisted on paying it as "behavioral" and the hospital will only bill it as "medical." One hopes this will not be such a fight in the future.

A very good free MBSR course is available online. I plan to update the chemobrain thread with this information, including a link to my Dropbox folder where I have downloaded all the audio and video files, and created a single indexed PDF of the manual (which needs some formatting tweaks, which is why I haven't posted it yet), but in the meantime, here's a link to the site:

Palouse Mindfulness

John Kabat-Zinn offers his tapes at the Sounds True store, where Pema Chödrön's offerings are also available. I find his voice and timing and choice of words really annoying, so I use the Palouse materials as well the audio and video from UC San Diego Health System, which offers yoga instruction by Lynn Rossy. She's far more pleasant to my ear, but not everyone finds Kabat-Zinn as unattractive as I do.

The difference between the two programs is that MBSR is secularity. I have always been attracted to Buddhism, and I plan to branch out in my meditation practice, but for those who prefer an approach that is simple to learn, as well as medically documented, MBSR is a good choice.

Edited to add:

I just listed to a sample tape, and Pema Chödrön's voice and manner is also far more appealing that Jon Kabat-Zinn's.

2/6/09 Core needle biopsy: negative; Mammos through 2010: no change
3/30/11 Pea-sized lump in left breast at site of prior biopsy; mammo negative, sonogram not so much
4/14/11 Core needle biopsy: negative for cancer
5/18/11 Excisional biopsy 1.2 cm tumor, LVI, positive margin; ER+60%,PR+20%,HER2/CEP17 5
6/15/11 BMX: Left DCIS & LH; Right ADH; SNB: 2/3 nodes: 1.4 cm and 1 mm; ALND L1&2: 0/10; Stage IIa, Grade 3
7/14/11 CT/Bone scans NED; MUGA 66%
7/19/11 Biweekly dd AC w/Neulasta; done 8/30/11
9/13/11 Transfusion (Hemoglobin 8.6); MUGA 64%
9/20/11 Start Taxol + Herceptin; Taxol done 12/6/2011; continue Herceptin until 9/4/2012
12/27/11 Radiation - 6 weeks; 2/27/2012 - DONE! Yayyyy!
2/29/12 Start Tamoxifen 20 mg/day; continue until 2/28/17
5/16/12 Start five-years Metformin trial
6/19/12 MUGA 61%
8/21/12 Brain MRI NED (head still hurts, brain still fogged)
9/4/12 Herceptin done!
9/6/12 Port out!
7/11/13 Aricept 5mg for cognitive impairment; increased to 10mg as of 8/23/13; back to 5mg 12/2013
5/2014 Add Namenda 7mg
9/2014 Stop Aricept and Namenda; Neuropsychological evaluation
10/24/14 Start cognitive rehabilitation therapy
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