Each day is an opportunity to become a better version of yourself.
Grateful for the gift of life. Happy National Cancer Survivor’s Day!
Towards a Bone Marrow Transplant
I need a new immune system since mine no longer recognizes and attacks cancer cells; that is why on September 16, 2014 I am going to have a bone marrow transplant at Johns Hopkins. My amazing sister Caro is my donor!!!
A bone marrow transplant looks like a regular blood transfusion. The difference is that this procedure provides a cure for many types of blood cancers and saves lives. The transplant entails taking healthy cells from a compatible donor and infuse those into the bloodstream of the patient. In order to prepare the patient for the transplant high dose chemo and radiation are required.to replace the old and defective cells. After the transplant the patient has a high risk of infection and needs to be isolated, wear a mask, and be extremely careful with potential sources of external infections.
The type of transplant I will have is called a haplo, half, or mini. This is an option for patients like me that don’t have a donor who is 100% match but have relatives that are 25% or above compatible. Before my transplant on Tuesday I have to do 5 days of chemo and 1 day of full body radiation. Today is my day No.2 of chemo and I am feeling well, just a bit tired.
These days I have a lot of mixed feelings, sometimes I am positive and hopeful and others I am just plain scared about everything. I am living one day at a time and thinking about what I want to do once I am healthy again and free to live my life free of this disease.
I am reading the book “Raw Faith” from cancer survivor Kasey Van Norman a great resource that is helping me to strengthen my faith; something I need so much right now.
Thank you for reading, thank you for the prayers, the positive energy, and encouragement.
I will keep you posted!
PD. Before the chemo gets all my hair. I cut it short.
2014: I am free
This year is bringing good and positive things. In the second week of January I went to NIH for my follow up scans and studies. It was a relief to hear that my scans were clear, I am in remission, and cancer free!!!.
For the first time in the last three years I am free, free of the constant thought of cancer, free of being afraid, free of sadness, and free of pain.
2013 started rough but it was a great year full of wonderful events such as the arrival of baby Isabella, my beautiful and happy niece (I can’t wait to see her again soon); the weddings of my cousin Geny and my dear friend Lu, my remission, our new home (topic that deserves it’s own post LOL!), seeing my parents more often, spending time with friends and family. Also 2013 highlighted the fact my health is back, I am running again, and Dave and I celebrated our second anniversary as a married couple (I love you Dave!)
May God bless you with a healthy and positive year!!!
In December 2013, Dave took the photo below at the historic San Juan de Ulua Castle located in the city of Veracruz in Veracruz, Mexico. Mexico is indeed a magic place.
Tears of Joy
Let a joy keep you. Reach out your hands. And take it when it runs by. -Carl Sandburg
Today I received the best news I could ever hear: I am cancer free!.
Today my tears are tears of joy; I have a second chance in life.
All your support and prayers have kept me strong and positive during this journey and I am grateful.
Thank you God!
Battle Mode – Round 2
I took a break from writing on the blog because I wanted to take some time off after the treatment and the intense but fun projects I have been involved at work. But I am back to share with you our favorite recipes and the adventures and feelings of the new battle I have to fight. This is round 2.
For Thanksgiving we traveled to Bloomington, IL. We spent a day in Chicago – what a great city, – it was almost 18 years ago since last time I visited the windy city. We had such a fabulous.
I had a CT scan which showed an increase in the size of a lymph node on my neck. The fear of having the Lymphoma back was quite evident.
And yes, unfortunately the Lymphoma is back and not only back but it seems that I have a combination of two types of Lymphoma (Hodgkin’s and Non-Hodgkins). This combination is known as the “Grey Zone Lymphoma” a rare type of the disease discovered in 1998 that affects a very small percentage of patients. Definitely, I am going to buy several lottery tickets, perhaps I will have the same luck.
I had a partial biopsy of the lymph node, but yesterday I had a full surgery to remove three big nodes on my neck. I am doing well just tired and sore but feeling better.
On mid-December I will start chemotherapy again, it seems that the treatment is intense and concludes with a “stem or bone marrow” transplant, but let’s see….. I am quite disappointed and angry this time (but I will get over it). My hair was growing back and I was starting to recover my strength.
I have no choice, I am in round 2 of a battle that I know I am going to win. This time I am thinking about cutting my hair to be ready for this crazy battle. I like Charlize Theron’s haircut for the role she performed in the soon-to-be-released movie Mad Max.
Thank you to my family and friends that have been praying and thinking about Dave and I.
I am strong believer that love, a positive attitude, and a warrior spirit can get you through the most adverse and difficult circumstances.
I am ready….
Feb 4 – Cancer Awareness Day & a Recipe
Today February 4, is the World Cancer Day, a global observance that helps raise people’s awareness of cancer and how to prevent, detect or treat it.
I cannot complain, I have the best care a patient could ever ask for. Yesterday, I had my third chemo and so far so good. The medicines I get are strong. There is one in particular that felt like it was burning my veins. Luckily enough, Lynne increased the amount of saline solution in the IV and I felt better afterwards. Today I only have a small headache but nothing else!. I appreciate your prayers and good vibes that give me strength and reinforce a positive attitude.
Lynne, Jeni -my amazing new friends and nurses – and I share the passion about cooking. Right after coming back from the hospital I couldn’t wait and I made for dinner an easy-to-make and tasty recipe Jeni shared with me. Thank you Jeni!
Couscous Chicken Salad
20 min | 4 servings
1 lg chicken breast (or two small)
1 cucumber (remove seeds and dice)
1 pint of grape tomatoes (halved)
1 small can sliced black olives
Diced green onion tops (to taste)
1 box unflavored couscous (substitute with Orzo or pasta)
1 to 1 1/2 cups greek yogurt (to taste)
Couple tablespoons olive oil
Juice & zest of 1 lemon (lima o limon)
Salt & pepper
Grill and/or bake the chicken breasts (season to taste). Dice chicken. Mix the dressing the bottom of a large bowl and add the vegetables and diced chicken. Prepare couscous (pasta or orzo) according to package directions.
Mixed prepared couscous with dressing, veggies, and chicken. Stir in feta and serve either warm or refrigerate and serve chilled.
Cooking tip: After boiled, run the couscous through cold water to separate the grains better. I like Chobani greek plain yogurt which is a good option for this recipe.