Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Year's Eve

New year’s eve: Today the church here met at the home of one of the members. We didn’t know the time and didn’t want to intrude, so we went to the beach and communed with God in all His handiwork. We went to three beaches and saw whales at 2 of them! At the third we saw schools of yellow fish right from the side, so we didn’t even have to get wet to ‘snorkel.’ At the 3rd I could also pick up a tower on the cell phone. I was so excited I called Gretta, and only got to leave her a message. Then I called our friend Joan, who is checking our mail at home and forwarding it to us. She doesn’t have email, so I can only be in touch with her by phone or snail mail. She was excited to get to whale watch with us over the phone! Then, can you believe it? My phone battery ran down! UGH! I didn’t need to talk to anyone, and at least I know how far I’ve got to go to us the phone, now.

I sent Trish pictures to put onto the blog. I have lots more pictures, but I don’t want to put too many onto the blog because the pictures make it so slow to load if people are using dial up. If you want to see more pictures, send me an email and I’ll send more pictures. I don’t mean to be hoarding them, but I remember when we had dial up services how cantankerous my computer got when I had a bunch of pictures to download.

The siamese kitty is Iki, which means little one in Hawaiian. She was little when she was a kitty, but she's a big kitty, now. The striped kitty is Hehe, named that because they kept calling him 'her' since they'd always had girl cats before him. He is incredibly strong. He's like a little loving panther. He LOVES to be petted, and would like nothing better than having you rake over him with the rake. He's a tough dude of a cat. The next shot is of the big red poinsettias and the little white ones right beside it. The last shot is looking down into the ocean onto a school of beautiful yellow fish; that's way easy snorkeling. :)

Today we ate both breakfast and lunch on the lanai; that is so nice. We filled the bird feeder, so we’re enjoying fun birds, out there, too.

Today, I’m catching up on laundry. All those clothes I wore in Tijuana need to be washed and buried deep in my suitcase. Hawaii weather is wonderful! No long jeans until we go to the volcano and sleeveless tops. It’s watering day on the west side of the house, too. Remember, I love you all.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Hawaii Update

Hawaii update! Hawi is the little town in Hawaii where we are house sitting. It’s pronounced Ha – vee. I flew over Oahu landing and leaving Honolulu yesterday and was reminded that it is beautiful there, but so full of tall buildings and people. Then flying into Kona was so refreshing. Imagine getting of the enclosure of hours on an airplane after weeks in a hotel room or a clinic and then walking into an airport with no walls! It was just breezy and wonderful and there stood my wonderful husband. Dot, you’re so right! We fell into each other’s arms! It was so good to see him after 10 days that seemed like decades. We went into Kona, which is pretty busy with people, but nothing like Honolulu, and shopped for groceries. We went to Wal-Mart to get the heavy stuff I didn’t bring like saline solution for my contacts, etc., and then we went to the Subway to eat. I was starved, so that was such a wonderful sandwich! They had whole wheat bread and all fresh food for it, so that was acceptable in my kill the cancer diet. It was 9 by the time we made it up to Hawi. Then we unloaded all the ‘loot’ and put it away. It was so good to get a bath and fall into bed with Don. I slept like a brick and he let me sleep until I woke up. Then we had breakfast on the lanai (that’s Hawaiian for deck or patio). We also had lunch out there. Man, is it awesome!

Today I’m washing veggies for salad, cooking chicken to put into the freezer, making hamburger patties. It’s work today, but it’ll make it easier in days to come. Before lunch we went to check the mail and then went to our favorite lava beach. That means it’s a gob of rocks and no sandy beach. For good swimmers it’s a great place to snorkel. We’re pretty fair swimmers, but we don’t feel confident about getting in and out of the water where it’s deep and on the slippery lava, so we don’t snorkel there. When the water is calm you can just stand on the edge and look down in and see wonderful, beautiful fish. When the waves are really rolling, there are about 8 different blowholes that we love to watch. We love the way the waves crash against the lava, too. There is a swimming hole there where the water is shallow enough to just play, but we’ve only seen people swimming there one time, besides us. Today we took beach chairs to sit on the side and watch for whales. Guess what? WE SAW SOME!!! We were so excited to see whales on our first time out to watch for them! Brent, Zelma, Steve, and Mary, you’ll know the place: Old Coast Guard Road Beach. There were two other cars there with the people sitting in the cars watching for whales. That’s the kind of Hawaii we love; where there isn’t a whole crowd of people!

Before lunch we went out and picked up a 5-gallon bucket full of grapefruit, tangerines, and limes. I learned to love to eat limes in Mexico, so I’ll love them. The grapefruit and tangerines are right up my alley, too. The ones that were burst open we tossed over to the two cows that Bob has out in the pasture. Actually, I gave them some more from the bucket, because I can’t imagine eating all those and they love them like I do.

I’ll take some pictures soon and put them on the blog. There are poinsettias blooming in the yard; little white ones and big red ones. There are even a few white pineapples in the pineapple patch. That’s a real delicacy, so we’re anxious for them to ripen! Either the cats remembered me or else they’re just easy. Iki slept with me and Hehe (the outside cat) acts like I’m his best friend. They loved Don until I got here, so I think they just like the new kid on the block.

It’s wonderful to be ‘home.’ Thank God for this wonderful home away from home and for safe travels and happy healing! Thank you for caring, posting and praying. God loves us all and smiles when we please Him. I love you all!

Friday Dec 29 Update

Now, this is too cool! It’s Friday and I’m flying from Los Angeles to Honolulu, and I can connect to the Internet! I thought I’d write what I could and save it and send it whenever I get to Bob’s house in Hawi, but I’m going to send it from way in the air. I like this!

We had an extra patient come into the clinic yesterday, so things got hectic. However, it was wonderful to see her! She is another breast cancer patient who I met the first week I was in Tijuana. She lives in the LA area, so she comes down to Tijuana for hyperthermia and IPT once a month. (I hope I don’t have to do that!!!) She had a way more serious cancer than mine, and she is doing very, very well. She is a storehouse of information, so I was glad to get her card so we can communicate after our brief meetings. We left an hour later than we meant to leave, but everything worked fine. When we came across the border, they made us go through a secondary inspection because of all my supplements. They didn’t even look at them, but they detained us 15 minutes longer. We ended up crossing the border in an hour and a half, so that wasn’t so bad. My driver was the husband of our precious nurse, Marena. He doesn’t speak much English, but enough and he is an awesome driver. I only gasped one time, and he just smiled and said it was okay. He helped me get my bags up to my room in the hotel and looked like he hated to leave me there. J God love him!

The hotel in LA was a pit. The price was right and it was better than sleeping in the airport, but it was the worst place I’ve ever stayed. I didn’t even undress or take a bath. I brushed my teeth and carefully went to bed so I wouldn’t be a zombie today. I made the reservation and it met my criteria of having a shuttle to the airport and being cheap. It was actually DIRT-cheap because in my non-smoking room there was an ash tray with ashes in it. The fridge worked to keep my meds cool, though, so that counted for something. I didn’t even consider taking a bath or shower. I’m sure I’m cleaner with neither than I would have been had I used that tub. Ugh. Don has loved me on our sweaty walks, so he’ll still be glad to see me if I missed a bath one time. It was just part of the experience. It was probably what you thought it might be like in Tijuana, but it reminded me that we had it VERY NICE in Tijuana. I never took pictures of the hotel, but you could look it up on the Internet at their web site. It was the Hotel Real Del Rio, I think. I just tried to look it up to confirm the address, and it didn’t work, so maybe this connection isn’t so cool after all. Anyway, I was grateful for the pit, relative to sleeping in the hotel or spending mega bucks in something better. I lived over it and TODAY is reunion day with Don!

I slept the first hour in the plane. Now, I’m freezing cold, so I got out the laptop to warm up my lap, at least. I have about 2 ½ more hours to fly to Honolulu, and then I have to gather my bags and go over to Hawaiian Airlines to fly to Kona. I was 11 pounds over on one of my bags this morning, so I took out a couple of bags I had prepared in case I had to remove something. It was a couple of plastic Wal-Mart type bags; one with herbs for the next couple of months and one with clothes I could stand to throw away if they wouldn’t let me carry them on with me. I crammed them all into one bag, and nobody said I couldn’t carry them on. I look like the original bag lady, but it’ll help Don to recognize me since I don’t have on any make up. He’ll recognize the bag lady with the red shirt! J I got spoiled in the clinic not wearing makeup, so I may come out of this absolutely clean!

Oh, my! This is way long. Next time I report will be from my home away from home in Hawi! Thanks for keeping up with me. I love you all!

PS: I'm in Kona at the airport WITH DON, waiting on my luggage. It looks like I might have a connection, so I'll try to send it again! Oh happy day! God is so good!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Quickie from the blogmaster

Hi guys! It's me, Tricia. Mom has been traveling all day and may not get to do an update, so I thought I'd tell you what I know in case you're watching and waiting for some kind of news. Mom just called from the airport in Hawaii saying she had made it fine and was waiting on her luggage. Yeah! Earlier today she said her tumors had shrunk considerably, which is way cool. She has several weeks of oral medication and will evaluate treatment options after that. That's what I know! Sounds really good! Thanks for reading and commenting, praying and sending good thoughts and wishes.

Love - me

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Wednesday Dec 27 Update

Wow, today was kind of a grand finale. I did a double in the hyperthermia chamber. I didn’t know I was going to do that, so I was really thinking it was lasting a long time! My veins were running from them, so even with them dilated from the heat, it took a second stick before they got a good one. Then it complained the whole time. (burned) I guess it was more painful because I was in there so long. I think they were doing a double because I missed Christmas day; also because it’s my last hyperthermia chamber event. I guess they wanted us to have a great party. If they hadn’t kept sticking me and if my arm weren’t burning I would have enjoyed the party, more.

I was not to be outdone, though. I threatened them with the whole TN Army National Guard, and they cried, “Uncle!” Not really, but in my imagination, YES! I decided everyone didn’t have to deal with the heat, so I took another escape. We went to the hotel in Los Angeles and you all helped me pack all the heavy stuff in my little suitcase. You are all Gumby size, so, you’d jump into the spaces and see just what would fit where. Then we all went on the flight to Hawaii and all of us met Don at the airport. It was a gala event, and you were al such a big help. The cheering was awesome. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty drained from it all.

It’s better not to eat before going into they hyperthermia chamber. So, I came out starved and mostly thirsty. Poor Irene. She hadn’t had a bit to eat all morning and she couldn’t go in until I came out. Good thing she only has 3 teeth or she might take a bit out of someone when she gets out if we don’t get food to her quickly. Bless her heart; she prayed for us the whole time I was in the chamber. Most people would have prayed for food, but she is so generous! I’ll be we go to bed early tonight; we’ll both be worn out and have full tummies!

I don’t expect any more news today, so I’m going to get this written so I won’t have it to do later. As soon as we get back to the hotel I’ve got to get everything ready to check out in the morning. Now, tomorrow’s update will be late. I don’t even know if I’ll have computer access in the hotel. So, no news is good news. I’ll get an update online as soon as I can. Friday night I’ll be in Hawaii, but it’ll be 4 hours behind Central Standard Time. So, when I get there at 9 p.m. it’ll be 1 a.m. for you in the Central time zone. So, take a couple of days off from checking the blog and join me in trusting God to take care of everything. He is so good! Remember I love you all and I take you with me everywhere I go!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Tuesday Dec 26 Update

Picture one is Dr. Santa Cruz, Irene and Jo. Picture is Dr. Santa Cruz and wife Lydia.

Hello Sweet Everyone. Can you tell today is such a good day. I know everyone but me must be thinking, “How can they manage 6 kids?” I just watched The Sound of Music the other night and that was a good example of how you manage 6 kids: with lots of love! Nobody could do it better than Trish and Rob. God wants them to have these kids, and so do I. I get that it’s all about love and that’s what God is, so this is right up His alley. If you aren’t keeping up with the comments on the blog, then you missed Tricia’s hint and my reply. The bottom line is that they are expecting baby #6 on July 20th. I am rejoicing. I finally got Don on the phone and the cash register is still going off in his head, but he’s a softy. He’ll quickly realize that he’s not buying and melt over it, too.

My day at the clinic was sweet and quick. I had the spa day, so it was infrared light therapy, galvanotherapy (which went very well) and the awesome massage. My veins have already packed and left for Hawaii, so only my body is really left here, I think. She stuck me 3 times and couldn’t get a vein, so that wasn’t going so well. She finally gave me a butterfly stick in the hand and that worked, so I didn’t have to wear a catheter back to the hotel tonight. Tomorrow is hyperthermia day, so the veins will dilate with the heat and she’ll be able to get the catheter going for the last two days. Tomorrow might be my last hyperthermia. It’s the last scheduled one. If I can talk him into doing another one on Thursday I will because I can’t come close to getting that anywhere else. Can you believe I’m ASKING for it!? Really, you all and God have made it possible for me to actually want to do the hyperthermia treatments. Anyway, I have only 2 more days at the clinic! After my treatments on Thursday I will be heading for Los Angeles! I’ll spend the night there and then Friday morning I’ll take an early flight to Hawaii. YES!

After our treatments today Dr. Santa Cruz took Irene and I touring with his wife. The four of us toured around Tijuana some and went to the beach area of Tijuana. He took us to a wonderful restaurant, which overlooked the border. It was very interesting to look out and see San Diego in the distance! It was a very interesting evening. Dr. and Mrs. Santa Cruz are really a wonderful couple. Irene is doing really well because she got her stitches out today and was feeling so good about it!

I love you all; tonight I’m mostly Grammy!

Monday Dec 25 Update - Merry Christmas!

I’m sending these so late to Trish that it’s getting confusing on the blog. This is really the update from Christmas day. It’s only 9:15p.m. here, but it’ll be 11:30p.m. by the time I get done and she probably won’t get it online until in the morning. It’ll likely be morning before you read it, anyway. Only Don, in Hawaii, is behind us in time. Time is so confusing to me! Anyway, today was a nice, easy day. I had the meds I had to time, which I hate, but it’s not a big deal except that it’s a TIME issue. Ugh.

Other than that I spent the day reading, answering emails and resting. Tonight I went to dinner with the other patient and she just left my room. We had some deep discussion and ended with prayer and promised each other to seek God’s word and read it and confess it daily. What a joy to have her here with me!

Dr. Santa Cruz called to check on us and he will pick us up at 9 in the morning. I talked to Don and he is doing well. We are so counting down the days. I have Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Thursday after my treatments I head for Los Angeles. That’s 3 more days! Friday morning I leave LA for Hawaii!!! That’s 3 days until I leave and 4 days until I get there!!! Woo Hoo!!!

I love you all! Jo

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Sunday Dec 24 Update - Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, Everyone! Today has been a wonderful day for me. I slept late so that was a blessing! Then I had a light breakfast of some high protein foods the doctor had sent home with me. He is such a cool guy; he brought treats for me to have at the clinic and then sent them home with me. One is like rice cakes made with molasses. That’s what it tastes like but I’m sure that’s not what it is. The other is a lot like oatmeal cookies, only lighter. They are delicious treats, and along with fruit they are plenty for me to eat. The next good thing is this is the 7th day of my meds, so I only take 3 of this one at 3 different times during the day. It’s wonderful to have a day of easy meds. Then Don wrote that awesome post. What a day to start out my day! He really thinks I’m terrific; we have this boomerang kind of fan club going between us, so I am completely happy.

The other patient, Irene, came over with a Christmas CD she had bought and we played it on the computer. That was a fun treat. Then we found a great picture of the Christmas tree from the clinic, so we enjoyed viewing that and sending it to her brother and sister. I’ll send it to Trish and maybe she can put it onto the blog. We spent some time counting our blessings and reliving Christmas times in our past and thanking God for all our many blessings and of course asking for healing. We went down to the hotel restaurant and had a wonderful Christmas meal. She did great; she’s learning to order things that she really can get down with only 3 teeth. I’m enjoying so much getting her to smile and laugh, which she was embarrassed to do at first. She’s a joy and she has great memories to share. I’m headed to the bath right now and she’s back in her room waiting for a call from her aunt. She’ll come to my room tonight, later, and we’re going to do a little Christmas celebration on our own with Jose Feliciano in the background. She is such a Santa; she has given everyone in the hotel chocolates and they all love her to death! I’m not going to poison them with chocolates, so I just flash them a smile, which Ilene is afraid to flash with her teeth gone. She’s such a sport, though; she keeps saying, “All I want for Christmas is my TEETH!”

I talked to Don and he is having a good day, too. If there is no earthquake then how could you have a bad day in Hawaii? FOUR more days till I follow him! Remember I love you all! Thanks for your encouraging words and prayers!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Saturday Dec 23 Update

It’s amazing how time flies! Here we are off for Christmas! Today flew by. It was the wonderful ‘spa’ day. I’m even getting good at the galvanotherapy. I guess it’s time for me to be done; it’s all too easy. J God has been so good to give me ways to get through this without great difficulty. He’s been so good to me in so many ways.

Today we had to say ‘good-bye’ to wonderful Dr. Zavalas because he’s going on vacation and we will be gone when he comes back. It was a taste of what it’ll be like to say good-bye to all of them. It has truly been a precious month here with people who are so kind to care and show it. I remember when Mom was in the hospital and the whole 3 weeks she was there she never had the same nurse except for once when a nurse worked a double. It has been so nice to have the same nurse every day and the doctors there with us all the time instead of just when they come in making rounds. They’re not only here, they care and it is a big boost to the morale.

You all who keep up with me and write me notes to let me know you care make such a difference too! Thanks so much for all you do and for your prayers. God is driving and it’s even better than an E ticket ride at Disney World! It’s fun all the way and I know He is in control and I’ll be safe. 5 more days until I follow Don!!! Merry Christmas to all of you! I love you, Jo (This is the short post I promised LAST night! I reserve the right to be confused.)

Friday Dec 22 Update

Sorry to be so late getting today’s blog done. It’ 3:20 a.m. in OK, so I hope Tricia’s not up to get this onto the blog! It’s 1:20 a.m. here. Not to worry, I can sleep at the clinic tomorrow. I’m going to make this short though because you don’t have time to read a bunch and there’s nothing new.

I had a wonderful hyperthermia chamber day. It was reunion day! I was meeting Jacob at the airport, and I was landing in Kona and meeting Don at the airport! God is so good. He let me run all over the place and be in the chamber, too. I wonder if I’ll ever have a right mind again after all this great pretending. I like this becoming as a child thing!

The best thing in the chamber was when they went for the vein for the IV. They got a good vein on the first stick. There was great celebration in the chamber over that!!! My hand is so sore from the last catheter. It’s going to be cool to get this one out tomorrow and then have two days off!

The other patient who is left here with me got in a bit of a bind with a reaction to something that’s going on with her treatment. (She’s a chronic fatigue syndrome patient; not cancer.) She needed some extra support tonight, so I was in her corner. Plus we were getting notes ready to present to the staff tomorrow wishing them all a great Christmas. They’ve been so good to us that we want to be sure they know how much we appreciate them. She and I are getting very close. You know when you go through storms together, you really do get close. This is an endearing time and we love each other.

Tomorrow is spa day; I’m looking so forward to it! This time next week I’ll be asleep in Hawi, Hawaii. YES! I talked to Don tonight and he’s doing fine. I promised this would be short, so I’m out of here. Things are good for me. You all have a wonderful Christmas! A big thanks to all of you who are sharing this with people who don’t have computers but care! Remember I love you. Jo

"Peace on earth will come to stay,
When we live Christmas every day." Helen Steiner Rice

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Thursday Dec 21 Update

Another wonderful spa day! I did the galvanotherapy at the very highest level I’ve ever done today. I’m so pleased I could do it. The nurse asked me, “Are ‘jou’ sure?” I told her, “Yes, if my daughter and 3 nieces can go through labor and delivery, then I can do this.” She said, “Jour baby do labor TODAY?!” I told her, “No, not today, but it’ll be soon! She was relieved, since Gretta (she calls her ‘jour baby’) was just here a few days ago!

The general traffic around here is less this week because the kids are out of school. You wouldn’t believe all the alarms that sound around here. There are LOTS of car alarms sounding and fire engines and police, I guess. It doesn’t seem to alarm anyone except me. They tell us that the traffic on the border is awful. It takes from 2 – 3 hours to get back into the states because of people going to shop for Christmas and then shop the after Christmas sales. I’ve been in Hobart too long to find this kind of hubbub in my comfort zone; I stay close to the hotel and clinic. Don told me to just keep my eyes closed when we cross the border because I’ll shriek and scare the driver if I watch. I’m glad I’ve only got one trip to make across the border! I don’t think I want to miss the crossing; wonder if I can get some duct tape? 7 more days! (And Gretta did it day after day; bless her little tough heart!)

I got to talk to Don yesterday. I got Bob’s machine today. Don’s taking Bob to the airport, so he won’t be home until later; maybe I’ll get him later, though? I get so confused time. I’m doing good to get myself down to my ride to the clinic on time everyday, let alone keep up with the folks back home, who are two hours ahead, Don who is 2 hours behind, and Gretta and Gina who are 3 hours ahead. Besides that I have to keep up with when to take my meds, which I’ve never done before in my whole life. It’s a challenge to me, but it’s nothing God can’t handle.

We had Asian pears at the clinic, again, today. We’d never had them before we came here, but they are really good. They are huge and delicious. They are round and look like big apples, but they are very juicy pears! I’m learning so much! I’m also learning that real Mexican food is probably better than Tex-Mex. We get so accustomed to the Tex-Mex and really love it, but I’m getting hooked on the food here. I had to learn how to order, I guess. Things are good; tumors are still shrinking. That’s so good. Praise God! I love you all!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Wednesday Dec 20 Update

Today was the best day ever in the chamber! I got to thinking that if God could let me resize everyone to Gumby size to come into the chamber, then He could certainly let us take and excursion! Of course! God can do anything! So, I had my scripture taped to the chamber and it was talking about Him being my Rock and my high tower and my safe place . . . so we all escaped to one of my favorite climbs. We went up Elk Mountain down in the Wichita Mountains. It’s really a huge rock pile. It was easy to go for even those of us who normally use canes or hiking sticks or even wheel chairs! God took us! It was a breeze. Those of us who could enjoy the hike did and the rest just appeared at the top of the mountain. It was the high tower where we looked off at all God’s handiwork in southwestern Oklahoma. There in the midst of all that flat land, we were on our high tower! It’s a real place and Don and I have been there lots and love it, but today was just a breeze. And all this while I was cooking those cancer cells and getting after them with Carnivora! Terri was singing her heart out, and all the rest of us, too. We could all sing beautifully. Gabe was chasing lizards and Mason was, too. Little Phil was recalling the ‘up-blows’ (buffalo) he had seen when he was there as a little wee guy and he was excited to see some again. Nobody fell and sprained an ankle or even got out of breath because we were in our safe place with God. Even my so special friends David and Dorothy were able to go and enjoy the view with breath and energy left over! It was as cool a thing as I’ve ever done. The singing was as beautiful as if we were at the Quartz Mountain women’s retreat.

I guess I went to sleep because when I woke up I thought, “Uh-oh; this isn’t working right; it’s not very hot.” About that time Marena, the nurse came in and asked me what I wanted for lunch. I asked her if the lights were working right and she said, “No; the lights are off; ‘jur’ finished!” I think I had a taste of heaven right there in the hottest place in the world. I hope you all feel as invigorated as I do after that experience today. I’m sure I haven’t described it well enough, but the important thing is that we cooked the cancer another day and lived through it richly blessed. Thank you all for helping me to make these chamber cookings be so great. The first one was awful, but with God’s permission to use my imagination, and your encouragement to participate it’s become a joy. I never was a sauna person before, but I will be after this. I see the need and good in that kind of heat.

I talked to Bob Dwyer and Don in Hawaii, today. They are having a good time, so I’m so glad for that. I’m down to 8 more days until I head that direction!!! I think that’ll be 3 more hyperthermia chamber events unless they change the schedule; I’m almost disappointed! God will show me another way to keep cooking the cancer! Maybe the Hawaii sun will do for a couple of months! I love you all!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Tuesday Dec 19 Update

I keep looking at my watch to see what Don is doing; should be just about landing in Honolulu! I’m excited for him! He’ll have a little over 3 hours to wait around in Honolulu, so I imagine he might be pacing some. Bless his heart. I hope he didn’t have to carry on a bag to lighten one of his other bags, but we had one packed inside a big one that he could take out if he had to do that. He likes to be unbothered by ‘stuff,’ so I hope he doesn’t have a bag to watch and can just walk around. He’ll like the exercise. THEN, he’s in for such a treat when he gets to Kona! Our friends, Steve and Mary from Oklahoma City, are meeting him at the airport. Then they’re taking him up to Bob’s in Hawi where they will all go to the Bamboo restaurant to eat supper. Steve and Mary and Don love that place. It’s probably old hat to Bob, but I think he’ll enjoy the company.

Things were just great at the clinic today. The Galvano treatment went better than usual. I was able to take it at the highest level ever for me with no whining! I thought of 3 nieces and Gretta who will all be going through labor and delivery from now till June and I determined that I could breathe deep and get through it. Everything is so mental! It amazed me how well that worked! The infrared heat felt wonderful because it feels so cold here. And the massage is something I’m sure going to miss when I leave! One of the patients is sharing some wonderful books and scriptures with me. How blessed we are to have each other for support. I’m going to look on Ebay and see if I can find a good deal on a massage table. I’m memorizing all she does and I’d love to treat folks to such a massage, not to mention it will make it easier to swap massages with Don if we have a table. It might be out of the question, but it won’t hurt to look.

Thanks for looking, caring, posting, and praying. I know it’s not always easy to post, so don’t worry if you’ve tried and have trouble. I’m getting lots of good vibes, and God is taking care of me.

Love you all!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Monday Dec 18 Update

Today is really cold in Tijuana! We never expected it to be so cold here. It’s 57 now, but it was 47 this morning when we walked to the clinic. It’s a good thing, because if I’d realized it was going to be this cold I would have tried to pack MORE clothes! That would have been a disaster! When we checked in the first night, the bellhop asked us with dismay if we were staying one night! We told him, we’d be here a month and he relaxed a little over our 4 huge bags. We had enough clothing to get us by, but we really look goofy to the locals. We walked over to the clinic this morning, and there were two ladies sitting outside the building in boots, winter coats and scarves around their necks and heads. We walked up in our jeans and jackets, but I had on flip-flops. I was headed to the hyperthermia chamber, so I intended to go in there with cold toes to help to chill us out. It worked! Today was the best day yet in the chamber!

My mother-in-law would have just memorized this scripture, but she was something else! I copied it down and taped it above my head to the chamber and it was a comfort to me:

“My soul put all your faith in God; for from him comes my hope. He only is my Rock and my salvation; he is my high tower; I will not be greatly moved. In God is my salvation, and my glory; the Rock of my strength, and my safe place.” Psalms 62: 5-7

Today I had another IPT treatment with some chemotherapy. If you haven’t read about IPT, it’s really an interesting concept. You should read about it because someone you know and love will need to know about it and use it if at all possible. It’s kind of a deal where the doctors take the cancer’s own traits and turn them around and smack them in the rump with them. In lay terms, they heat me up in the chamber, which is no big deal to my healthy cells. The cancer cells get real pathetic over the heat, though. When they are way down and out, the doctors run in with some chemotherapy and the cancer cells gulp it up like a milk shake, only it’s poison to them. I really get a charge out of it. You should have heard the cheering in the chamber this morning. It was like a great game where Hobart is winning already and one of our guys intercepts a pass and runs in for yet another touchdown. When they use IPT the doses of chemotherapy can be very small because they are so effective. That way, they do the job on the cancer, but they don’t cause all the negative side effects that usual doses of chemotherapy do. I haven’t been sick at all and I fully expect to keep all my hair.

My veins are getting tight with the nurse. You know I have great veins for donating blood, but I guess they want some different vein for this IV dripping. She had to stick me more times that I wanted to count (or be stuck!) this morning. I ended up with the IV catheter in the back of my hand, which is really uncomfortable, but relative to all the horrible things I can imagine, it’s a piece of cake. I’m going to have to change that to a piece of fruit. Cake is leaving my vocabulary because sugar feeds cancer. We’ll be having birthday fruit I guess, and giving praise and thanks! Love you all! Thanks for looking, caring and praying!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Sunday Dec 17 Update

Today has been very interesting! We had breakfast and then walked the two blocks to the laundry mat. Then we came back to the room and determined to pack our bags to be sure we could get the weight distributed between all our bags. It’s very expensive to go over the allotted 50 pounds per bag and we had to shift some stuff around on the way here to manage limits. Since we’re going separately we will each only have two bags to shift things, so we decided to make it work. We got Don’s done, but one of my bags was still way too heavy. I was searching for every ounce of weight that might be removed and I unzipped the outside zipper, which I only use to drop in after thoughts like glasses or lotion. I thought maybe there was a bottle of lotion in there that I could remove. There in that zipper pouch was the envelope with my ultra sound films!!! I thought I had left them in the baggage claim area in the San Diego airport. We were so exhausted when we got here, that I didn’t even give them a thought until we needed to take them to the clinic the first morning and they were nowhere to be found! I had called and talked to no less than a dozen people with Continental all over the country in search of those films. I had called the hospital at home where they were done and asked them to fax the report to us TWICE. They insisted they faxed them, but they’ve never arrived here. I know the doctor is going to be very pleased to see these films tomorrow and to have them to compare to where we are now after 2 weeks of treatment. He’ll probably also consider referring me to a shrink! I can’t believe I looked all over the country and even had Gretta scour the airport in San Diego when she came, and they were right here in my suitcase! God takes care of us, though!

A friend wrote today and asked if we got to go to church here. Of course others have asked, too. There is probably a church somewhere, but we haven’t seen it. It’s not like we can look in the phone book; we can’t read it. Our attitude has been that EVERY single moment is a moment of worship. We are missing the assembly as we know it, but we are also experiencing the closeness we feel with God’s family all over the world right here with us . . . even when we’re not in the hyperthermia chamber. We have on the computer a program that has the Bible in 17 different versions and MANY helps with it, so we have a great study manual, which we use often. We pray without ceasing and we make melody in our hearts. We give thanks and enjoy the protection of our Father every moment. Thanks to all of you for caring enough to check on us and to pray!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Saturday Dec 16 Update

Today was a ‘spa’ day, in that all the things were good. The Galvano treatment is not a piece of cake, but it’s so nothing compared to what many people have to face. The electrodes feel like someone is gouging me with razor blades and twisting, but I figure if our troops can do what they do for our country, then I can take a few gouges for my own health. It only lasts for 20 minutes and the first 5 or 10 aren’t so bad. I counted and pretended I was counting down the time until Jacob Sells and Brandon Hope come home. Coming home has a precious ring to it! My catheter was to come out today, but it didn’t make it through today’s drips. It clogged and had to come out early. Then they put a butterfly type IV into the back of my hand, which was no picnic and kind of messed with my ‘spa’ day. J I just tell you that so you know that this is not all peaches and cream, in case any of you should follow me. It’s really a wonderful experience, but there are some challenges.

After we finished at the clinic we walked across the walkway that goes over the nearby highway. We were surprised! We see 5 lanes of traffic on our side, and then there is a wall. We thought there would be 5 lanes going the other way on the other side of the wall. There was a RIVER there! Past the river were the 5 lanes of traffic going the other way. It was an interesting walk. There was a park and a swimming pool over there besides a hospital and lots of other things. We didn’t go down; we just viewed from up on the walkway.

It’s brisk and cool outside, but it’s still nice for walking. We see a couple of guys who can barely walk from time to time, and we are so grateful for our health. Everyone here is so nice to us. We’re grateful for that, too.

Everyone have a wonderful weekend. Thanks so much for your love and prayers!!!

Friday Dec 15 Update

Emily and Robert left for home today, so it was kind of bittersweet. We're glad for them to get to go home, but we'll sure miss them. We've built a great friendship. Of course we'll be keeping them with us in spirit and thought and prayer . . . and email!

They tell us on the weather that we're expecting a storm over the weekend. We wonder what that means and what it will mean to our trip to the laundry. We'll see. Don leaves Monday for Los Angeles. I made a reservation today for him to stay in a hotel near the airport Monday night so he can take an early flight to Hawaii on Tuesday. I also made my reservation for a room on the 28th, so I can go through the same process to leave to meet him on the 29th. We are closing in on the last half of our stay here!

These are the doctors. The two together are the oncologist (whose name I can never get right) with Dr. Santa Cruz. The oncologist is about Don's size. The other doctor standing alone is Dr. Zavallas.

Doctor Santa Cruz examined me today and agreed with Dr. Zavallas, the nurse and Don and I that my lumps are shrinking and softer. That is good progress for just two weeks! We are excited about what the next 2 weeks can do to those lumps! Then I plan to continue with 12 more weeks of oral treatments in Hawaii and when we get home. I will have another mammogram and see where we stand at that point. Of course we will do assessments along the way, but that is the general plan at this point. Thank you all so much for your prayers and support!

The hyperthermia chamber is open and ready for me to climb in. Notice the rolled towel for my pillow. It's my request; others use a regular bed pillow. They zipped me in and Don took my picture before I melted. Today was a great day in the chamber. Little Phil led prayer, Deanna was singing with some of the women from church who sing like angels. I wore my red shirt (support the troops) until I had to strip down for the chamber. The troops (TN National Army Guard) were all there and we were counting down the days until Jacob Sells comes home for Christmas.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Thursday Dec 14 Update

I’m glad Trish was able to get the pictures on the blog this morning, because this is my first opportunity to write today. When we finished at the clinic today, Dr. Santa Cruz took all of us down into Mexico somewhere for dinner. He drove us around Tijuana first, and then he drove us south about 30 minutes to a wonderful old historic restaurant. It was just south of where The Titanic was filmed and lots of relics from that set were at the restaurant. We got there just at sunset and it was gorgeous. I’ll post pictures from there in the next day or two. This restaurant does weddings for people and there was a wedding there tonight! We got to watch the wedding right over the ocean. Then they had their wedding dinner in the room right next to us with a Mariachi band and all! It was so much fun!

The doctor was so kind to us. He knows that our families and friends are all worried that we are in some third world country, and we must have doubts, too. So, he’s determined to show us the good side of Mexico. He‘s really a fun guy, and it was a very pleasant evening to get to spend it with him as our guide, to get to know him on a more personal level, and of course to see some of the real Mexico. The food was absolutely delicious, too. I had the best quesadillas EVER. Don had really good fajitas. Jo, and Dorothy, we missed not giving you my guacamole. I gave mine to one of the other girls, but Don’s went to waste.

Today was what I call my pampering day, because it was the Galvano and Infrared treatments and then the wonderful lymph massage. Listen to this! My niece’s husband is bringing his whole National Guard unit of 178 guys to help out in the chamber tomorrow. Now, how great is THAT for an old military brat!? He promised that united they can do anything and they can always bring in the whole TN Army National Guard if necessary. I’m thinking this cancer is really running scared, don’t you!

Love you all . . . watch for more pictures coming soon! God bless!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The "Drip Club"

Here are pictures of the "Drip Club." Emily has breast cancer; her husband, Robert, had a bad tooth infection while they were here and he had 3 teeth pulled yesterday. They'll come back in 6 months and he'll have and implant and a bridge done, I think. Anyway, he has joined the "Drip Club" to boost his immune system while he has this dental work done. This picture was made while Irene, another patient was gone to the dentist.

Bill Brown, a pancreatic cancer patient lives not too far away and he comes for a week at a time from time to time. He was here when we came but has been home this week. He's coming back next week.

Dr. Santa Cruz is pictured with us. I hope I can get more pictures soon of Dr. Zavalla and Marena, the nurse. There are a couple of other doctors who come in and consult and help when needed, but I doubt if I'll catch them for pictures. They aren't there much or I'm in the chamber when they're there. One is an oncologist, one is a cardiologist, and one is an anesthesthesist.

Notice the poinsettias sitting around and the beautiful Christmas tree.

This will give you a clue about where we spend a lot of time these days. Pardon me for no makeup. There's not much point in wearing makeup when I'm going to be sweating like a pig or getting rubbed down with oils! Don said, "But, how will I recognize you?" Keeps me laughing!
Thanks for your love and prayers . . .

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Wednesday Dec 13 Update

Today was hyperthermia day. Man, it’s hot in there! I came out looking like a wet mop. Go heat, go! All day yesterday I was feeling a little nauseated and thought it was a migraine coming. I had the great lymph massage, and I thought that would surely fend off a headache. It seemed to, but I was still nauseated. In the night I woke up 3 times to use the bathroom and still felt nauseated. It hit me then that maybe it was because of the treatments. I wasn’t sick enough to barf; I just felt like I did with pregnancies; just enough to notice, not enough to be miserable. I told the doctor about it this morning, just so he’d be aware, but I stressed that I didn’t want him to back off on anything we’re doing to attack this cancer. Anyway, I went into the hyperthermia chamber thinking it would surely set off a migraine if a migraine were happening. Sure enough, as soon as I got into the chamber I went right to sleep and woke up with an excruciating headache. I was relieved to recognize the headache! Normally, I hate the idea of having a migraine, but I was happier to know the cause of the nausea was a migraine! I sure didn’t want to have a problem with this treatment! I think the relief made the pain go away! No joke. I turned over on my side and it was gone! So was the nausea! I was pretty drained as a migraine leaves me, but you were all there to keep me boosted.

Today the doctor went to Costco and bought a roasted chicken and a broccoli salad for our lunch. YUM! He is really a thoughtful guy! His wife came by to meet us all, today. She is drop dead gorgeous. He’s really a nice looking guy, too. Gretta said he looks like a Mexican Ken doll; well, his wife is the Mexican Barbie. She is a chemist and teaches chemistry somewhere; I’m not sure if it’s a college or high school. They have a set of twins (a boy and a girl) who are 8 years old. The wife and kids came up to the clinic on Monday night, I think, and decorated a beautiful Christmas tree for us. They really go the extra mile to make us feel at home and comfortable.

All is good here. You all keep the faith and keep us in your prayers, please. I love your notes and you!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Tuesday Dec 12 Update

Today was the fun day. Great massage! Since there is no real news I’ll tell you something funny. The first day we were here an older gentleman patient mentioned the corncob soup. They all laughed and I thought when I grew up I ‘d catch the joke. Well, I grew up in a day or two. They bring us soup everyday with lunch that is cut up vegetables in broth. It’s not thick at all and very watery, but good with some salt. In the soup is cut up pieces of corncob! Some days your cup misses the corncob, but some days you get two or three pieces. I just can’t believe it wouldn’t be easier to cut the corn off than to cut through the corncob for all those pieces. It’s about one inch thick and then cut into thirds. So you get a piece big enough to hold while you chew the corn off; or else break a tooth chewing it! It’s a hoot! I hope it’s purely a Mexico thing. And, by the way, Tex Mex is so much better than real Mexican food, in our opinion!

Everything is good with us. Thanks for caring enough to look and pray.

Love you all . . .

Monday, December 11, 2006

Monday Dec 11 Update

Today got even more interesting. It was my day for hyperthermia and IPT. In the IPT treatment I got the usual Carnivora, but also UKrain, which I also had last Wednesday, AND today they added a dose of Navelbine, which is a kind of chemotherapy. The three complement each other, so it is a very aggressive approach to the cancer. The dosage of chemo is not big enough to be likely to cause any adverse reactions, but it is strong enough and given at the precise time in the hyperthermia treatment to be very effective to treat the cancer.

I have to tell you a funny thing. The doctor came in and told me he was making jams in the oven and asked if I’d ever done that. I have only made one kind of jam before in my life and it was in the freezer with strawberries. I was sweating in the chamber, but he was making me drool thinking of my frozen strawberry jam. I asked him if that’s what I smelled that smelled so good, and could we have some? He said sure, but I said, won’t it have too much sugar? He said, it was all very natural and healthy and sweet without sugar. I was wondering what would be legal for us to spread it onto, but decided to just wait and see. When I got out of the chamber I asked the other patients if they’d had the jam yet and they all looked at me like I’d fried my brain in the chamber. So, I told them about the jams; they had a really good laugh! In Mexico they pronounce ‘y’ like ‘j’ and he was talking about YAMS! Thankfully, I really love baked yams, so I was still in for a treat; it’s just another of the comical memories we’ll take home with us. They had asked me today, “What time is ‘jur’ baby coming?” They miss Gretta, too! I should have caught onto the yams deal, but I guess I was just ready for something sweet and jam sounded so right!

FYI, the ultimate goal here is for the tumors to dissolve and leave my body. If they shrink, that will be good and the beginning of them dissolving and leaving. The first step is to stop the growth; we think we’ve accomplished that. They feel like they are softening to me, so that is the next step toward shrinking. If I am progressing in that direction when this month of treatment is over, then I will continue with oral treatments at home when we go to Hawaii. If we are not satisfied with my response when I finish here, then I will pursue treatments in Hawaii. I’ve already talked to the director of the oncology department at the hospital near where we’ll be in Hawaii. I have a list of doctors. I’m ready to attack this in Hawaii as women there do if what we’ve done isn’t working, but I fully expect this protocol we are doing to at least give us a running start.

This has gotten too long, so I’ll go take my bath and call it a day! Love and prayers . . .

Sunday, December 10, 2006

How to Comment - from the blogmaster

Hi guys! Quick administrative note....

Mom's right - at the bottom of every post it will say 'o comments' or some other number and the word comments. If you click on this, a new screen will appear and you will be able to read all the comments folks have made to this post on the left. On the right will be a little box you can type your own comment in. Then you will be asked to copy the code in another smaller box, then choose an identity. If you choose anonymous you will not have to sign in or create an account, you can then choose publish and presto! You've left a comment! Now when anyone clicks on '1 comment' (or whatever number there are) they can read the note you left. You can comment on any post. I love to read the comments you guys leave and I know mom loves them, too! Thanks for all your love, prayers and support!

And now back to your regularly scheduled updates from Tijuana....


Sunday Dec 10 Update

Today was a beautiful day in Tijuana. We got a little rain during the night, but it was sunshiny and nice all day. We enjoyed having Gretta spend last night and today with us. She just left a few minutes ago to head back for the border and San Diego. It’s been wonderful to have her and to get to have her hugs and feel some kicks from her baby! We enjoyed a good breakfast in the hotel restaurant; then a walk to the laundry mat; then a walk out to dinner late this afternoon.

We were so saddened today to learn of the accidental death of a precious 8-year-old boy from a family at home who we love so much. Our hearts are consumed today with prayer for that family. Although they can be so proud of his life, they have to cope with their personal loss and trauma.

We feel that we are blessed to have challenges with which come hopes. We are blessed to have a heavenly Father who takes care of us in His way and His time. We pray for the ability and courage to accept His will.

Thank you all for caring and for praying for us. If you have trouble posting to this blog; don’t worry about it! I just figured it out myself. I would explain it to you, but it’s in Spanish on this end, so I don’t know what to say. If you see a place that says ‘post a comment;’ then it will shift you to another page that has a box for writing a message. Write your message in there (sign your name, so I’ll know who wrote) and then there is a code; type that code into the box provided. Then, just click on anonymous; then click on publish comment or something like that. (It was 45 years ago that I took Spanish, so I’m doing a lot of guessing!) Just kind of fumble with it; it’ll probably work.

I love you all . . .

Saturday Dec 9 Update

It’s been a great day! Gretta came to the clinic just about the time we were ready to leave, so we walked back to the hotel together. We’ve just been sitting around enjoying visiting all evening. By the way, I stand corrected. Gretta is 7 months pregnant; not 6. Time is really short! Her baby is due March. 4th.

My treatment today was a regular light day, in that I didn’t have hyperthermia. It’s more like pampering. I had the infrared light therapy, then the Galvano therapy (electrodes attached to my breast), then and the wonderful lymph massage. Those are all very serious and helpful, but they are so pleasant that it seems like a light day to me. Today they added breathing exercises. I don’t have any trouble breathing, but they wanted to be sure that I know the art of breathing to relax. I’m really way good at that! I love working with them, though.

Tomorrow is our ‘day off’ from the clinic. We don’t have to go to the clinic at all, and even my oral meds are simpler than the rest of the week. The rest of the week I have several sublingual meds per day and several capsules. On the 7th day I only do 3 capsules 3 times a day, so that’s so easy and nice. Tomorrow we will go to the laundry mat and clean up our clothes. Monday, I will start the week with the hyperthermia and IPT treatments. None of the treatments are bothering me in the least, and the hyperthermia has turned into a party, so don’t any of you worry about me. Please keep me in your prayers and God will do the work. Pray for Gretta to have a safe flight home on Monday and catch up at home without too much stress. We all need to de-stress as much as possible; cancer loves it when we have stress! That is my challenge: de-stress.

Everyone have a wonderful weekend. Thanks for checking in with me and for your love and prayers. I love you all . . .

Saturday, December 9, 2006

Friday Dec 8 Update

It’s hard to believe that we’ve been here over a week! But, time is flying. With Gretta here, it’s really flying. We’re really enjoying her! Today was my hyperthermia day and it went really well. I feel really guilty to have that incredibly hot, healing place to be when most of the people I know and love are in the middle of real winter weather! I’m grateful for the opportunity to do this and have this avenue of healing. This catheter on the outside of my arm is the best one I’ve had. I hardly know it’s there and I don’t get nearly as tangled like I did with the other ones. Praise God!

Tomorrow Gretta is coming to spend the night in the hotel with us. She’ll be with us at the clinic for all my treatments, and then we’ll have the rest of the day and night together and Sunday. Sunday night she’ll head back to her friend’s house in San Diego, then her friend will take her to the airport on Monday to go home. It’s been a great visit for us and for her, too, I think. At least she knows I’m getting good care, here.

Thanks for all your prayers and concern and emails and calls. Remember, I will answer when I can. Sometimes that’s not so quick, but I’ll get to it as soon as possible. I can’t email while I’m in treatments, and sometimes I can’t get a connection. Then, sometimes I have to share the computer with Don! J Usually the connections here are very good, so I’ll get everything answered!

I love you all!