Monday, August 6. (Day -1)

9 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ 9 dwell in me. 

2 Cor 12:19

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Last day of chemo!  Tomorrow I get the stem cells back. WOOT!

imageMy chemo-pal, Kristin. We’ll be done

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Post last chemo wall support

I believe my optimism was a tad rushed.  And, that’s how it goes sometimes… Doing that ‘can’t hold down water’ thing. But David bought me a popsicle and some lemon lime electrolytes and I’m good to go. At least there’s no more chemo therapy, and I am well over halfway finished with this program. Bless God. He’s been so good to me. Yes

Sunday, Aug 5 (Day – 2)

Happy Sunday! THIS  Is the day that the Lord has made and I will rejoice and be glad in it. Thank God for iChurch!

Today started with an inviting breakfast of a granola bar , about 2 pounds of pills, and highly concentrated instant coffee. Hana taught me that little trick. If you don’t want to coffee headache but you can’t drink water just dissolve some instant coffee and as little water as it takes and chug it down.   She’s so smart. I made her.

David is fitting in quite well here. Last night he took his harmonica up to the roof with several of the young Mexican kids that play guitar every night and had an absolute blast. I’m so proud of him. I think it’s really strange that we always end up with kids this age. I don’t know if that means that we’re just totally immature or… Whatever. We just love kids.

Today they are harvesting my stem cells. I have yet to have time to name all 78 million of them, but I’m still working on iit.75297259-5FE9-4042-BEFC-03DB5CEE2020Little known side-effect of stem cell harvest: Instantaneous and freakishly large foot growth.

F6D30BB5-7BCE-4FD3-AD00-4066D72C1554If anyone had told me 20 years ago that THIS would be me in 2018, I am quite certain I wouldn’t have believed them. I mean…really. In Mexico, tubes running in and out of me, silver-haired, bespectacled and dealing MS its final blow.

What’s actually happening is that I was using my glasses to keep the blanket from slipping down. Cousin It.

Saturday, August 4. (Day -3)

4B01E253-A229-4EB1-893D-583945570AC7Look  Who dropped in to see me! I missed him so much. But, I have to tell you it was really hard letting Hana go back to Atlanta. She admitted that Chemo Camp had been a blast and she’ll miss all of this.

Yikes!

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I have apparently sprung a leak. Dr. McDreamy will be back shortly before I bleed out right here in the Hospital Puebla.  I think I’m probably exaggerating, but it’s so icky having blood somewhere on my shoulder that’s taped down.

Bum, bum..another one bites the dust..

The only thing is that she’s she’s so naturally beautiful that it doesn’t even make a difference.

I’m  just so behind the other groups that I haven’t suffered enough chemical insult here at Camp Chemo to lose even one strand. I won’t lie to you: not having to wash and dry my hair when I get out of the shower is something I  look forward to.  I may have good hair but it comes at the cost of having to whip it into submission every morning. It gets old after several decades. And I am going to look BAD in my do-rags. Soon enough.

Friday, August 3 (Day. -4)

This bone pain feels remarkably like back labor, only I’m not having a baby. Instead, I’m having millions and millions of little stem cells reproducing. Oh the joy of it all.

The best part is that David will arrive any minute now! The worst part is that Hana will be departing in the morning. I will be having my PICC line inserted tomorrow morning and the rest will be history.

 

Thursday, August 2 (Day -5)

Another day in paradise. Following is  terrifically informative stuff from Chris, a friend of Roger’s.  Roger is in my group.  Chris has been through the program.  Enjoy!

At the moment, apart from the mobiliser, your medication is filling you up with, anti biotics, anti fungal and anti viral agents. All these can cause stomach upsets etc, so they also give you an anti sickness/ nausea drug on some days. The Filgastrin is the one that primes your stem cells to grow! This means they leave your bone marrow and enter your blood stream. When there are sufficient (it really is very easy to count them electronically), then they can drawn from your body and separated from your blood and stored (again, a very straight forward procedure). As soon as that is done you get 2 days of chemo with cyclophosphamide. This is the cytotoxic drug…..it is actually inactive when administered, however it is rapidly converted to an active form by your liver. Oh, the Mena drug is an anti emetic.
After 2 days, your stem cells will be introduced. From then on it’s high dose antibiotics anti inflammatories while you stay nice and secure in your apartment.

Let  it never be said that I didn’t explain it to you.  Right now I am the only one on the roof gazing at yet another panoramic view of the city and beyond.  David is arriving tomorrow, Hana leaves on Saturday morning, I get my stem cell insertion early that same day, and then we get down and dirty.

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Wow.  What a year.  This has been the longest year in the history of mankind.  The sequence of events had to have been from God; I know nothing takes Him by surprise.  I heard about HSCT in March and talked to David about it upon my return from London.  He issued an firm NO.  Then I started praying that if this was what I was to do, then he’d change his mind.

Then April happened. Hana and I spent not quite a week in Houston trying to get things settled.  Thank God for their dad who did so much of the upsetting sorting. By the time I returned, David was totally onboard with Puebla.  Why? Time is so short, not to mention that God made a way for us to do it.  The whole thing has been miraculous

 

Tuesday, July 31 (Day -7)

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Can’t resist sharing just one more picture from the rooftop.  Who am I kidding?  I’ll probably post a dozen more.

Today has been a much, much better day.  I’ve resisted the urge to throw up, have remained hydrated and have eaten! At 5PM I will have a consultation with Dr. McDreamy about what they are planning to do to me over the course of the next week and then I’m sure he’ll ask me if I have questions.  I have the understanding of a small shrub when it comes to medical stuff and have been doing my best to come up with questions.  So far I have, “Will any of this hurt?” and “Can I still have children?”

I kid, I kid…

On Saturday I’ll get a PICC (?) line inserted in my shoulder/chest and then I have stem cell harvesting followed by 2 days of high dose chemo.  At least I won’t have to deal with more IV’s.  Day “0” is the day that my deleted immune system gets my own, uncorrupted stem cells back and begins to rebuild without MS.  Pretty exciting.

I know I’ve bragged about Hana since I’ve been here, but I really have to. She’s a phenomenal woman.  Not only is she kind, gentle, and smart, she’s a total blast to be with.  This will be an adventure that we will never forget and I love her so much, not to mention that she speaks Spanish and has far more personality than Google Translate.

I am also so astonished that my “kids” are staying with me every step of the way, encouraging me to put one foot in front of the other.  To think that these kids (see previous post) weren’t part of my life before JohnHarlan’s death.  What a gift God has given me.

David gets here on Friday and I can’t wait!! I miss him so much.

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6

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Or, perhaps I should say GAG.   Yesterday was pretty awful. Wait…not pretty at all.  It was, as they say in Texas, flat bad.  By the time for my evening injection, I couldn’t hold down water or stay out of the bathroom.  But, this place is so amazing! Lupita, the nurse on call, sailed into our room with saline and a host of other concoctions to get me through.  When she came in to replace the first bag, I insisted on giving her a little beso.

 

Monday, July 30 (Day -8)

 

If you didn’t know better you’d think this is a vacay  however, you’ll notice there aren’t many pics of me.  That’s probably because I have been more photogenic in the past. There’s just something about being green around the gills that makes you not particularly want to get your picture made.

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Oh my gosh! Last night was breathtaking! Distant thunder to the south and sunset to the west. What an experience.

Sorta bummed that I don’t feel well enough for an outing with the rest of the group, but I have to keep in mind the sightseeing is not my primary objective. Besides, they all want to go to malls—high-end, outlet, neighborhood. I hate malls. I would rather than eat dirt and stick a sharp stick in my eye. So, it hasn’t been quite so hard  making a choice between  outings I don’t want to do  or staying in my room and throwing up.  I am not a complicated woman.

Sunday, July 29. (Day -9)

Treatment today is only a shot in the morning and one at night plus a lot of pills.

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the outlet mall

After breakfast we were off to the outlet mall for bargains! We had to shop hard, but we got some pretty good deals.

Me? Not so hot. Super tired but this too shall pass—maybe like a kidney stone, but it will pass

D79535C3-3CEF-45C5-8DB9-BAEFA38C0EB1Start of a beautiful day with these wonderful, brave friends. The last couple of days I have had the breakfast sandwich: egg, bacon, lettuce, tomato and cheese. Holy cow. Anybody else going to gain weight on chemo?

 

fullsizeoutput_596eLater all of us are getting on a van and going to the outlet mall where rumor has it we can buy namebrand clothing for $3 and up. This really has been as painless as it could possibly be.

It’s amazing how this has stirred up my emotions though, I miss David and the cats. Don’t laugh—I miss the cats. Actually… I missed them  until I realized that I have a little hole in my shirt, and now I don’t miss them quite so much. I still miss David.  I have discovered no ruined shirts in my suitcase.

However, it’s hard going through all this away from home. I am so grateful for Hana I can’t even say. God could not have given me a more wonderful daughter. She is gracious and kind and has a real servant’s heart.  Just last night she asked me (yes, she asked) if she could give me a foot rub.

Saturday, July 28. (Day -10)

Chemo day 2. Hana seems to be enjoying herself. Who could blame her?

I got sick last night, but nothing too bad. I’m just a bit sleepy 💤

Just a couple of random impressive things from the building.  An the left, you will notice outlets like we have in the U.S.!  On the right, is a pile of freshly laundered, folded clothes that automagically just appeared from Blanca, the wonder woman who keeps our suite spotless….or at least as much as Hana and I will let her.