Wednesday, December 17, 2014

New Cells, Fresh Lobster and A Day at the Beach

Puerto Nuevo, Mexico

Tomorrow is the last day of my booster treatment program, and while we've been enjoying ourselves and making the most of the relaxation, we are very ready to come home.  We miss our little guy like crazy!

However, while we're here, we've committed ourselves to taking advantage of the opportunity to rest, read and sleep in.  Seriously, I feel like a college kid again, only this time there's actually some guilt at the decadence of sleeping in until 7 a.m. (it doesn't sound too bad until you note that it would 10 a.m. our normal time) and lounging about for good portions of the day.

Over the weekend, we checked out some local sights.  On Saturday, a driver took us to a nearby seaside town called Puerto Nuevo known for its lobster.  There were about 25 little restaurants clustered in the five street "town" that all (aggressively) market their lobster.  There were also a plethora of little shops selling souvenirs.  I was lured in by promises of "practically free" jewelry at each stop, while Dave was offered tequila shots made by the owner's "grandfather."  Literally, each of the shop keepers said his grandfather made the tequila.  Either everyone was related or they were scamming us.  Probably a little of both.

After sampling the local wares, we scarfed down a lovely meal of lobster "Puerto Nuevo style" with homemade tortillas, rice, beans and guacamole at a restaurant overlooking the Pacific ocean.  It was beautiful and filled my soul to bursting with the sight of the waves crashing, the smell of the salt in the air and the sun on my face.  God is indeed watching over us.

Sunday brunch at a yummy local restaurant in Tijuana

My treatments have all been going well.  This week I had another round of systemic ozone and transdermal ozone therapy.  The systemic ozone is introduced through my blood via the catheter and is quick and painless.  

The transdermal ozone is the turtle shell sauna, and yep, I still hate it.  I could happily lay on the beach or poolside in 90+ degree weather for hours on end, but for some reason, I can barely tolerate 10 minutes in the 90-degree sauna.  I think I made it all of five minutes this time.  Fortunately, the doctor says that because the procedure's main purpose is detox, I can achieve the same effect through exercise, which is much more fun for me and easier to maintain at home anyway.

Today I'll get my dendritic cells and tomorrow my T-cells, both harvested last week and supercharged in the lab.  As a refresher, the dendritic cells are fused with any floating tumor antigens from my blood (coaxed out by the hyperthermia I had last week, which causes cell apoptosis via heating the blood to high temps).  When re-introduced, the dendritic cells act as the generals of the immune cell army, telling the soldier T cells what the enemy looks like (i.e. anything that looks like the tumor antigen) so they can surround and neutralize it. 

The human body is truly incredible, is it not?

Hooray for my fabulous immune cell army!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Mexico 2.0 - Week One Update

Well, we are officially at the end of week 1, and I'm happy to report that Mexico 2.0/Wellness Retreat has been even better than last time. The central line/catheter/port placement - the only procedure that concerned me because it was mighty uncomfortable last time - was much more manageable.  Where last time I needed IV painkillers and Dave to help me shower and do my hair for a few days because my arm mobility was limited, this time around, I experienced much less discomfort, no sleepless nights and was able to not only shower, but also to blow dry my hair AND set it with curls.  Overly ambitious for a day of medical treatments? Most definitely, but I was celebrating my triumph (also, have I mentioned that I have attractive Mexican doctors...I mean....ummm...a handsome hubby to impress?).

In any case, I was thrilled to have such an improved experience and the rest of the procedures have been a breeze.  On Tuesday I got my catheter and also had hyperthermia.  Wednesday was T-cell modulation therapy and the blood draw for the harvesting of my dendritic and T-cells, yesterday was systemic ozone and today was transdermal ozone (the turtle shell ozone sauna, which oddly, is my least favorite; not sure whether I'm clausterphobic or just sensitive to the heat, but I do not enjoy it) and a Vitamin C IV.  Next week I'll get my dendritic and T-cells that have been growing in the hospital's lab and also have additional rounds of ozone and Vitamin C.

With the exception of Tuesday, the treatments have been finished by midday, so we've taken advantage of the hotel amenities, namely the gym and pool.  Yes, that's right, we lounged poolside yesterday.  It. Was. Glorious.  Vitamin D therapy in December, thank you very much.  The weather has been much more cooperative than it was at home, with highs in the upper 60s or low 70s, as it was yesterday.

And the personal chef service?  Ah-mazing!  And I can confirm that this is what every wife and/or mother should be petitioning Santa for this Christmas.  We've quite enjoyed the delicious organic meals delivered to wherever we happen to be, hotel or hospital, and hope to come home with some tasty new recipes (including one for "golden milk," almond milk with tumeric and cinammon that has been decadent and yet healthy, with its anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties).  Frankly, this little luxury has been so glorious and so reasonable, we are considering asking Chef Daniel to come home and live with us. 

I don't have any more treatments until Monday, so we are going to venture to a nearby beach town known for its lobster tomorrrow.  The hospital connected us with a trusted driver who will take us the 45 minutes to get there and wait as long as we'd like to hang out before driving us back.  Once again, we have been very blessed with how accommodating everyone has been.  

Thanks again for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers.  For as empowering as it is to know I've been blessed with the right treatment program for me, there's still something about being treated that I've been trying not to allow get into my head.  I keep reminding myself that this is all about prevention and that I absolutely will continue to stay cancer-free. Yet, I'd be lying if I said I haven't had any moments of concern - I'm sure being in a hospital with other cancer patients will do that - and that's where the prayers come in.  My own active dialogue with the Big Man and the prayers so many loved ones are sending my way are making all the difference in pulling me back into the love and light when I have a "moment."  So thank you, and if you would, please keep sending all of that positive juju!  I do love it so.

Monday, December 8, 2014

My Wellness Retreat

We made it to Mexico and all is great.  Travel yesterday was smooth and we got to catch up with my wonderful college pal in San Diego, who graciously hosted us last night. 

Because this tune up treatment program is outpatient, we are staying at a hotel a few blocks from the hospital.  The hotel is lovely and we have a view of the pool with a fountain outside our balcony. The bellman brought us a fridge and microwave and, through the hospital, we have arranged for a personal chef, who will be delivering fresh, organic, gluten-free, dairy-free, low glycemic meals made to order (!!!).  

I'm pretty sure this is the best healing trip ever.  In fact, last time we were calling it "cancer camp," but now that I'm in remission, we have decided that Mexico 2.0 shall henceforth be referred to as our "wellness retreat."

Day one was easy breezy.  We arrived at the hospital where they drew some blood for tests, to ensure everything looks good before they proceed.  I assume it does because they scheduled the surgery to insert the catheter/port into my main artery tomorrow morning at 6 am and I'll have hyperthermia after.  

Mostly we just lounged today while waiting for the test results. We went to a cute little organic cafe for breakfast and hung out at the hotel.  Dave gave me reiki and we went to the hotel gym to work out. We even ate lunch by the pool (it was about 65/70 degrees today; definitely an improvement from the chilly temps at home). 

So tomorrow the tune up officially begins.

Thanks for all your continued prayers, love and energy!