Grateful and in Remission!

Enjoying a beautiful day @ Chesapeake Bay
Enjoying a beautiful day @ Chesapeake Bay

After 10 days of anxiously waiting for my scan results, my oncologist said the word we were praying to hear “Remission”.

We are grateful, happy, and excited to leave in the past these very challenging three years and a half. It was a long and difficult road that taught us the importance of having a support network of friends and family, the critical role of healthy eating and exercise to heal the body and to keep it strong. We witnessed and experienced the power of prayers, hope, and faith. And certainly we are blessed with the gifts of life and love.

I am no longer the same person and now I am on a mission to create a better version of myself.  I know and believe I have a grater and bigger purpose in life to accomplish.

Certainly, life is about the moments and relationships we create, it is about enjoying the time with family and friends, it is about overcoming difficulties and leaving the past behind. Life is about seeking balance, practicing kindness, being grateful, and pursuing a better version of yourself.

Thank you for keeping me in your prayers, for giving me strength and hope when I needed it the most. May this experience serve as a reminder that life is a precious gift.

Thank you for reading and may God bless us all.

Love,

-Bea

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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!