September 16 – My Second Birthday

September 16, 2014 is my second birthday thanks to my brave sister Caro who donated bone marrow to save my life. Caro is now in the list of real heroes. Thank you sis, I love you. 🙂

Today I am feeling well, just tired and have been experiencing nausea.

Dave’s aunt Marsha, and my parents have been helping us out and taking care of me and my sister while we recover.

I want to thank all our dear friends and family that have been praying, helping, and thinking about us during this time.

A special thanks to my husband Dave, he is my everything. I couldn’t do this without his love, support, and humor.

Thank you for reading and I will keep you posted on my road back to full health.

Love,
Bea

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In Sickness and in Health – I love you

Our beautiful ceremony in   Aug 13, 2011
Our beautiful ceremony in Aug 13, 2011

Three years ago after a crazy and unexpected storm Dave and I promised each other love and respect in a beautiful ceremony with family and friends as witnesses.

Today is our wedding anniversary and to celebrate our life together, I want to write an open letter and dedicate this post to my husband, my best friend, and the love of my life: Dave.

Since we met in 2008, Dave and I discovered multiple things in common and the fact that we are very much alike. We came to the conclusion we lived in a parallel universe since we experienced similar situations he in the U.S and me in Mexico.

I am grateful we found each other, that we support each other and that despite trying times we always find time to laugh and smile.

Dave is an incredible person, a kind and devoted husband who is patient with me and always makes me smile and laugh. I admire his commitment to serve his country, his commitment to us, his strength.

These last years haven’t been easy and not exactly the way we pictured them; yet, during this time we have grown and confirmed that nothing is more important than to love and to cherish each other in sickness and in health.

Definitely I am lucky, lucky to have Dave in my life and have the opportunity to build and share a life together.

To you my love, to us, for many years to celebrate and give thanks. 

Happy anniversary!!! I love you Dave with all my heart.

-B

Our religious ceremony in  Oct 2011 in Mexico City
Our religious ceremony Oct 2011 in Mexico City

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.
20140124-092321.jpg

New look, New Year, New Treatment

2013, a year that starts with a new look (I am bald now) and a new treatment.

Although we were very busy during the holidays, we had a great time. My parents and younger sister spent Christmas with us. We had a Mexican/American holiday dinner on December 24 that was delicious. It was great having them at home since I went through the first cycle of intense chemoteraphy during the holidays, their moral support was very important.

In a previous post, I talked about the hard decision we had to make regarding treatment. Indeed I believe in research and after doing my homework, looking for information on “Grey Zone Lymphoma”, reading blogs from patients and survivors, and having conversations with friends and family; We decided to go with the treatment proposed by the Lymphoma Team at NIH.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the US medical research agency. It is a federal government entity whose work and research benefit not only the people in the US but the world.

The new treatment proposed by the group of experienced doctors and nurses at NIH consists on two cycles of intense chemoteraphy followed by 6 weeks of radiation. Each chemo cycle lasts 5 days. The first day I had to stay in the hospital for 24 hours. The next 4 days are not so bad since I carry a fanny pack (“cangurera” in Spanish) with a pump that administers the chemo. I can go home and do my regular activities. Each day I go back to the hospital to change the chemo bag and then I go back home.

The new chemoteraphy regime includes the following medicines: Campath, EPOCH and Rituximab (DA-EPOCH-R). These medicines are extremely powerful and believe me, they work. When I asked about loosing my hair, I remember the doctor telling me that I will will lose my hair on the the third week after the first cycle. Since I didn’t lose all my hair on the first round, I thought the doctor was underestimating my “Mexican genes” (like Dave says)…. well my hair is gone and I have a new look.
New Look 1

Now I can change my look each day and I am having fun with it. It is definitely a process of finding what makes me feel comfortable and great. I can wear a wig, a scarf, a hat, or whatever I want. I can also try different colors, lenghts and styles. Certainly, on the next post, I will share some of the funny stories.

Tomorrow I start cycle 2 of my treatment and I will spend the night at the hospital so the chemo does it magic and gets rid of the cuckoo cells.

This is certainly a new start and I am looking forward to winning this battle and regaining my gNew look 2ood health.

Your prayers, positive thoughts, calls, cards, and emails mean a lot to me. But most importantly, I am grateful for feeling so loved and supported by our families and dear friends. Thank you!

I will keep you posted.

Enjoy the rest of the week!

It is not “Enchiladas”

Many of you are familiar with the saying “No son Enchiladas” (It is not Enchiladas) a common phrase used in Mexico when talking about something not easy to do. The similar phrase in English is “It’s no piece of cake!

Dealing and living with cancer is not easy. I know now that very tough times are ahead and quite frankly I am a bit scared this time. Last year when I was dealing with the Hodgkin’s Lymphoma diagnosis and treatment, I felt very confident. The prognosis of the disease itself was quite encouraging and the fact that young patients were going through the same thing and succeeding made me feel I was not the only ugly duck, and that I had a chance.

This time is different…

I was declared in remission in July this year, but honestly I didn’t feel “cured”. I tried to believe that I was in remission and “cured” but I had an inexplicable feeling that something was not right. At the beginning, I tried to focus my mind in positive things and get my negative thoughts out of my head, but that didn’t work.

When I was told the Hodgkin’s was back and not only back but his friend Non-Hodgkins accompanied him, I was not surprised. I was just sad, very sad. The feeling was different, I felt different.

Since my lymphoma is rare and special, I am going to NIH for a second opinion and consultation. There are few cases of Grey Zone Lymphoma in the US and NIH has successfully treated several of those. I am looking forward to the appointment tomorrow.

By the way, if you were thinking about Enchiladas for Breakfast or Brunch, try Paula Dean’s “Crustless Spinach Quiche” instead. I tried this easy-to-make recipe last Saturday and I love it!!! . This is the link: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/crustless-spinach-cheese-quiche-recipe/index.html

Even though cancer is not an Enchilada, I will stick to the belief that I can and will beat this thing successfully.

Thank you for keeping me in your prayers. I am grateful for the love of friends and family. John Lennon once wrote: “All we need is love”…. I agree.