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A Day in the Life: A visit to the Oncologist by Debbie Young

Posted Sep 14 2008 1:25pm

Today we're going to give the WLIR stage to one of our favorite bloggers, Mrs. Debbie Young.

Debbie is a 49 year old work-at-home mom to 3 kids, a freelance journalist, and a full time online community organizer. In April 2007 Debbie was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphoctytic Leukemia, a chronic form of Leukemia tracked by the rise in the white blood cell count.

When Debbie first got sent to the oncologist, her count was 14,000 (normal is less than 10K) then the count quickly went to 17,000 and hit a high of 29,000 just seven months ago. Four months ago, after the successful implementation of a raw food diet, it fell to 16,000.

Debbie blogs regularly at and today she's joining us here on WLIR to 1) talk about what a day in the life of a visit to an oncologist looks like and 2) share some more great news about her white blood cell count.

A Day in the Life: A Visit to the Oncologist

Today was my check up with my oncologist, routine but really, is there anything routine about going to the oncologist? I always try and prepare myself, sort of make a plan of how it will go, how I will act with the Dr and the nurse, trying all the while to stop staring at the enormous elephant in the living room that is my white blood cell count. I have CLL, also known as chronic lymphoctytic leukemia. In an attempt to heal myself and achieve optimum health, for the last 8 months I have been a raw vegan, cutting out all dairy, meat, processed food and refined sugars out of my diet.

When I was diagnosed, I had no symptoms other than a white blood count of 14,000 (normal is 4-10K), that rose to a height of 29,000 7 months ago. Four months ago, it fell to 16,000, less then when I had my harrowing encounter with a giant needle to get a bone marrow biopsy on April 4th 2007. I drink green juice daily, love my green smoothies, eat tons of veggies, some fruit, lots of almonds, hemp seed, spirulina and a few food based supplements. So the litmus test of my lifestyle is the onc visit and blood test.

Here is how I roll:

I woke up at 5:45am, decided that is as good a time as any to get up, I don't use an alarm. Dry Brush my bod and face all over, brush my teeth, do the morning ritual. Wanted to meditate with Rodney Yee, but Sam is sleeping on the couch in the room I use,so I head downstairs and outside. A cool breeze is moving around and the swing beckons.


Make a quick cupa pomegranate green tea , consult with Dali Lama's entry for July 2nd:


'....there is an Indian saying: if you are struck by a poisonous arrow,it is important first to pull it out. There is no time to ask who shot it, what sort of poison it is and so on....similarly, when we encounter human suffering, it is important to respond with compassion rather than question the politics of those we help.' Or question ourselves too much, I am tempted to add.


Malcolm the Wonder Dog

Get boy wonder Malcolm and cross the wet grass to sit zazen on the swinging bench, apropos no? Once there, make the intention to slow down my breath, work on gratitude a bit, then move on to forgiveness, which gets easier and easier every day. Take a minute to think of all the blessing that I have in my life and how I want this appointment to go. I also think that for a moment my Mom might actually have come back as my dog but cross that off as not really probable.

My Life Line aka my email inbox
Time to check email, update my Crazy Sexy Life folks, thank everyone for pulling and praying for me, I can actually feel the love coming out of my computer! Go to my favorite raw food blogs, check out WLIR, GI2MR, leave some comments, spread some love around the joint.

Morning crazies ensue, then the doorbell rings, postman brings a special delivery from Leenda, filled with love and laughter, incense, a bike horn, a beautiful necklace that I don immediately, it says "Live Light" perfect, just what I needed.


The Box of Love from Lovely Leenda:)

Time to juice green, get that plant blood in the old bloodstream.


The Magic Maker: My Omega Juicer


My Daily Prescription

I gather my ammo: aka reading Material, currently loving David Sedaris 'When You Are Engulfed in Flames." Makes me laugh every page, love him and his crazy life.

Double your pleasure, double your fun bike


Get my helmet, get Sam on the double bike for the ride to summer school and we are off, flying on 3 wheels.Ride home, park that one, take a quick shower cause I don't want the Dr. to think I smell bad (what is that all about, very third grade of me isn't it?)


Choose Your Wardrobe Carefully When Discussing Cancer


Ready to Face the Music ie: Get my Butt on the Bike and see the Dr.

I hop on my bike and get my butt over to the office. I feel free when I ride, like a teenager again, jumping curbs, cutting corners, just plain having fun.


I sign in, sit and ................ wait............................ and then have an insurance issue, clear it up, pay copay and ......................... wait some more .............. trying to read, aware that I look like a crazy bag lady with my backpack, helmet, bike bag, camera, all fumbling all over ........... and I read David Sedaris, he is trying to quit smoking in Japan ........... can't focus............. waiting.............. wait impatiently, consider taking a picture of the waiting room but honor the privacy of the innocent bystanders ............. and finally my name is called. I joke with the nurse that my blood pressure might be high after this, waiting 45 minutes to get to see her. Weight: 126 (same as when I was 16), BP 110/70, pulse 72, temp. 96, mind: calming down and getting ready to ..................... wait....................... this time in the room.

My Dr arrives, asks if there are changes. I say I feel great, I rode my bike over here, like perhaps he thinks that my helmet is just a rouse, a cunning way to fool him into declaring me healthy.

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