Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Meet My Cancer-Fighting Army

I'm now five days post-op and feeling great.  Each day is getting better. 

The surgeon said the procedure went perfectly and he was able to take out everything he wanted with clear margins. I'm still a bit sore where the lymph nodes were removed (amazingly, the breast itself doesn't hurt because they took the nerve endings along with the tissue, but there are still plenty of nerve endings in my armpit). I've been using my right arm as directed and we've been up and about since Monday, walking the corridor and courtyard outside. They took my drain out last night and let me just say that was a relief. 

While I've been recovering from the surgery, my treatments have continued to work their magic on any left over cells floating around my body. Frankly, I have to believe all of this work to boost my immune system has helped me heal from the surgery as well, as several of the doctors and other patients have remaked on how quickly I seem to be improving. 

Here's a brief rundown on the various therapies I've be receiving, with links to the full technical explanations from Angeles Hospital's functional oncology program site.

Ozone (
I've had two types of ozone therapies: 

1. Systemic ozone therapy, which involves oxidating the blood because cancer cells cannot survive in high oxygen concentrations, and 

2. Transdermal ozone, which serves as a detox.  

With the systemic ozone, the doctor slowly introduces ozone (O3) to my blood, carefully mixing it in a  syringe for several minutes, then injecting it back into my blood stream via the catheter. The ozone weakens and kills the cancer cells by inhibiting their metabolism and creating a peroxide imbalance, effectively breaking down the outer layer and destroying the malignant cells through cell lysis. When I'm finished, I'll have had a total of six systemic ozone treatments, all painless and about 30 minutes each. 

The transdermal ozone is basically a mini sauna that looks like a turtle shell.  You sit in it with just your head poking out while they pump hot steam and ozone into it so you sweat out the toxins for about a half hour.  I've had two of these treatments and am due for one more.  It's a little intense, and I'm glad I'm not claustrophobic, but really no big deal. 

Hyperthermia (
The hyperthermia treatment is a three-hour process over which all five liters of my blood are slowly run through a machine that heats it up to 108 degrees Fahrenheit and reintroduces it via the catheter.   They also put a heated blanket they over me to help raise my body temperature. It is painless, though very warm.  The high blood and body temperature negatively affects the cancer cells' ability to function and helps reduce blood flow to any tumors. While the high blood temperature is damaging to the rogue cells, it is safe for the rest of the body because unlike a 108 degree fever, there's no infection involved. I've had one hyperthermia treatment and will have a second tomorrow. 

High Dose Vitamin C
As I mentioned in a previous blog post, there have been a number of studies that have proven the effectiveness of high doses of vitamin C when administered intravenously in annihilating cancer cells. 

Bio-Immune Cell Therapy (
Meet my very own cancer fighting army. These immune system super heroes have been recruited and trained specifically for this battle. Basically, the cell therapy works to super charge my immune system's ability to seek and destroy malignant cells.

Last week they drew blood and sent it to a lab where my natural killer (NK) cells, lymphocites and dendritic cells were cultivated and specifically programmed to track down and annihilate the cancer cells in my body.  The activated lymphocites and natural killer cells are the soldiers that hunt and kill cancer cells and the dendritic cells are the generals that tell them how to recognize which cells to attack.

In the lab, technicians grow the patient's dendritic cells in an incubator with the actual tumor antigens, so that when the new dendritic cells are put back in the blood stream, they wave around the tumor antigens like a flag, signaling that those are the cells the immune cell fighters should eliminate.  I love picturing this powerful army taking charge (and taking no prisoners).  

The lymphocites were reintroduced to my bloodstream via IV on Monday and the dendritic cells were injected to the tissue of my leg over three days, the last of which I received today. I was told I might experience some fever-like symptoms as the immune system was fully activated, but I only experienced a little tiredness on Monday and took a great nap. Overall, I continue to feel great and definitely think my immune system is firing on all cylinders. 

We are on target to check out on Saturday and will spend another couple of nights with our friends in San Diego before flying home on Monday.  As wonderful and life-changing as our stay here has been, we can't wait to get home to see all of our dear ones, most of all little Charlie, who has been living it up with this grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins at home.  He has been thriving while we've been here, though we foresee a little culture shock in his future when the current chapter of being spoiled rotten comes to a close (this actually applies to Dave and me as well; it's amazing how accustomed one can become to being catered to). 

For now, I'll be enjoying the home stretch of cancer camp and the wonderful people it has brought into our lives. I am thrilled that I will finish treatment on my actual birthday and then get to celebrate the beginning of the rest of my healthy and long life in the company of dear friends and my true love.  We will surely toast my cancer-fighting army and the full battalion of our supporters!



Anonymous said...

Happy for the wonderful news and Happy early Birthday!!! Jen and Chris

Anonymous said...

Can't wait till you're home so we can celebrate your birthday & new chapter in style! Love you so!! Xox Ceil & Bill

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday, Kelly! Thanks for sharing your journey with us...have learned so much. We are waiting our last flight home in the Atlanta airport. Wishing you & Dave safe travel and will rejoice (love that word) with you at home. Love, Debbie & Mark

Anonymous said...

Hey Kelly, this is Gail Loos, a new friend of your mom's, thanks to visiting Africa last summer....I had the pleasure of getting to know her and grew to love her in a short period of time.. I have been praying for you and watching your blog while you've been in Mexico. I love reading your blog and admire you for putting so much to paper while you are there. What a journey you have been on and I pray this will be of the end of it all.....I know this has changed you in so many ways.....I had a friend who also did what you takes a lot of courage to do....pretty sure I would do it too...praying your trip home goes well and the recovery continues....God's very best to you and your family!!!!! Oh and I guess today is your Birthday!!!!!!! Happy Birthday Kelly!!!!! Also "rejoicing" for all "He" has done.....

Kels said...

Thanks, Gail. It's so wonderful to connect with you through this blog and thanks for taking the time to leave such a wonderful note. I'm blessed to be able to share my journey with so many kind and loving people.

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