Thursday, June 01, 2006

Drain-O-Vac and Dandelion Root

When I came out of surgery on May 16th, 2001, I had this hideous little creature called a “Drain-O-Vac” hanging off my side attached to me by a little tube sucking the fluid out of my lymphatic reservoir, where they had removed 14 nodes. Just thinking of it sends me into the first stages of shock. I hated it and it hurt me. I didn’t know it at the time, but where the plastic tube-y part came out of my wound it did this little u turn thing, and there, right where my nerve endings were all confused from having been severed and put back together (well, placed back together, but they had yet to make up after such a damaging split), it rubbed up against me, day in and day out, causing me to call out for morphine (for my three days in hospital, when I still had that option, at any rate).

So here is this ghastly, pain-inducing contraption. And every 12 hours I (or, lets face it, those near and dear to me) had to empty it out and see how much fluid it has sucked out. Once the fluid output had dropped down to below 20 cc’s and had remained there for two or three “checks”, then I could have a nurse come in a remove the dreaded Drain-O-Vac. Oh joy. I couldn’t imagine that the removal was going to be any fun either. But still, this seemed a very worthy goal to pursue. So what does any sane person do? Call their naturopath. “What is my fastest way out?” I beseeched Glenda. Dandelion root, she answered without a moments thought. Well, mercy be, I already had some in my cupboard (have I previously mentioned that normal is not my MO, I mean not everyone has dried dandelion root handy in their cupboard). And so my concoction was born. And work it did! My next reading I saw a drop from 30 cc’s to 15 cc’s. I called the nurse, hoping for early release. She told me to see if it held. Twelve hours later, I was at 5 cc’s. The nurse was over within the hour. Goodbye Drain-O-Vac!

Hello my new friend Dandelion Root. I quickly developed a renewed respect for this underrated herbal ally. I mean, when something is reputed to sooth and support the liver during the distress of chemotherapy (among other things), eliminate free radicals, create a potassium-rich anti-cancer environment, relieve chronic constipation (a challenge during chemotherapy), reduce hypoglycemia (that has nothing to do with cancer, just one of the many other great things Dandelion Root does), and, as I can personally attest to, balance and regulate the lymphatic system, how can you walk away and ignore this character. If you do, you do so at your own peril. Now most of what I know about Dandelion I have learned through a book called Healing Wise by Susan Weed (yes, that truly is her last name, sometimes we just know what our calling in life is), where she doesn’t just give you some good facts, she also weaves in some entertainment and fun. Gotta love that. I totally recommend it.

So now you are enrolled, yes? But what do you do? Well the way I use it is to put about a teaspoon full into about two cups of boiling water. Then I continue to boil the crap out of it for about an hour or so, or until the water has been reduced to about a cup. Then I drink it. Yummy. Actually I am not being cheeky here; it really is fairly yummy, kind of rich and sweet and nutty. I tend to combine it with Burdock Root, which no doubt I will go into more depth about shortly. I love knowing that each sip is healing me and helping me to gently and naturally heal my body. It doesn’t get any better than that on the food as medicine, medicine as food front.

One last thing to say about Dandelion, although it really had nothing to do with the good old-fashioned medicinal value of it. But just writing this down has me remember… I used to use the Dandelion as my cancer analogy, when I needed people to better understand the treatment regimes. Here is how I spun it: the Dandelion plant and flower that you see is like the cancerous tumour itself. Surgery is like cutting it away, leveling it, removing the “weed”. Then radiation is like taking a long trowel and digging deep into the soil and removing the root that will re-grow the “weed” if left unattended. Finally chemotherapy is like blasting the whole field that you found the Dandelion in with herbicide. Kill everything, so that none of those pesky little white Dandelion fluffs could go somewhere else in the system and start a new growth. A simple way to explain the basics, so that people can focus on loving the patient instead of trying to understand the complicated details of treatment. See, one more way that the Dandelion is our good and useful friend!


At 6:40 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 4:45 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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At 1:44 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

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