Friday, September 28, 2007
The good news is after one week of being home Jon gained almost 2 pounds! That's the first gain since March and we are encouraged he is gaining strength. I spend many hours planning menus, shopping, cutting, mixing, and cooking. Everything is whole grain, whole foods and I like the challenge. It's paying off! Jon has been doing some light pool work a few hours a day and tries to get in a mile walk in the evening.
We have an appointment with a liver specialist at UC San Francisco on Tuesday and hope to find out what is available for treatment there. We have lots of questions and we know they go beyond the normal "standard procedures" for cancer. They are listed as one of the facilities that provide hyperthermia for cancer but don't know if liver cancer is included in the clinical studies.
Jon will go back to Mexico for treatment the middle of October for 2-3 days. This will provide some follow-up treatment and boosters to his system for the areas of concern. He also continues with handfuls of supplements every day set up by Dr. Bradford.
Jon's brother Doug arrived last night from Maryland and will be a great support for the next several days as they visit and laugh and work together. Doug is a government attorney and we are so happy to have him here helping . . . fix pool equipment! It's a good change of pace for him!
Thursday, September 20, 2007
As is well stated and all are aware, this blog is to serve as a ongoing “Web Log” of my journey through the near death experience I was given. This may be one of the last needed additions to this blog. Although we will continue it just to limit the number of phone calls we take and the enormous time it takes to repeat the message, but this may well be the first of the last. It goes without saying, thanks be to Kaylinn and Dianna for all the time and effort they took to put this together and to add to it as needed. We have received many positive and encouraging comments by blog, email, letter, card, phone calls, and not to mention in person. So many thanks need to be given.
There are too many to count who have given of their unquestioning support with time, money, gifts, well wishes, hugs, and encouragement of every kind. I cannot begin to mention the heart-felt gratitude that Di and I feel for support in endless ways.
On the other hand, it has been stated by several the foolishness of my decisions to take my health care out of the hands of American-trained and FDA approved procedures and gallivant off to what would appear as a world that cannot be trusted. Astonishment even, that I would give thought to such a course has been expressed by many. “Surly,” they say, “you know of the corruption and vice that exist there. They don’t care about you they just want your money” I would like to take this entry to set those fears aside and to thank my Father in Heaven for offering me a new chance that many in my place are not given.
I do not in any way mean to construe this to be the whole story of my cancer journey, which will never be over and which is too long for a single entry in any journal. Let this simply be my eternal statement and testimony to all those who felt I was out of touch with the spirit and could not make decisions based on God given directions. I feel sorry that my life has been of such a poor example that some would not have trust in my ability to feel the directions of God after searching diligently for them. On the other hand, I more than understand the feeling exactly, by those who know me best, how this would give them reason to pause. I apologize for the many poor impressions I have left, and wish forgiveness from them and my God for having lived in such a way. The most troubling part is that I am but a man. I will no doubt add at later time, wonder and doubt again in their minds, how could “one such as he” ever have been so guided.
And so it starts that, in the beginning Dianna was impressed on an already busy day to take the time and talk to a friend. She was told by her of the place I eventually ended up. By this time I had been given dozens of web sites, telephone numbers, manuscripts, magic elixirs, and places I should look for help. So many people knew someone, something, or someplace I should look. Because I was so out of it, all these were never even looked at. Yet when this friend of Dianna’s called and gave me yet another web site, phone number, and person to talk to about her experience with American Biologic, the following day I was pressed, as it were, to call their number. I ask you, why that number and not the many dozens of other ones I received by well meaning and loving folks? Why be honestly moved to get up and call one, and not have that same feeling to call or research the others?
During my conversation with Dr. Bradford, the
Let me add here, by the time I made this decision, I had my first and last round of chemo and had slipped greatly in my physical abilities to function. Chemo had taken me a huge step in the wrong direction by blasting my immune system with no follow-up to strengthen it, only encouragement to eat right. At this point I am convinced if I had had yet another round of chemo it would have been the sewing of the satin in the coffin, the final screws in the hinges, the fitting of the robes, and the purchase of the plot. I was so far down that I could easily see the end. I had stated more than once I wanted it over, and I didn’t know how much longer I could take it. Can you imagine giving another dose of poison to a person in that condition? Yet that is what my doctor here in
So, along with many other moments in time, and a feeling I cannot explain except to those who have experienced it, of a calm re-assurance that I was being guided by a spirit larger than myself, I attended one more time the temple of our God in hopes for his assurance that I was not reading the many, many signs as more than mere coincidences. In that moment of pure celestial gratitude which I felt, I was assured that there was nothing wrong with what I had decided to do. It was no one else’s decision; I alone made it and secured Di’s agreement.
I have only to stand before you as a person who was given 90 days to live (and given poison to hurry up the process) who will live much longer. You alone will have to deal with this physical testimony that there are powers larger than life that were at work in me and I did, indeed, listen to them. Here I am, touch me, see, and believe that the death sentence was averted. Take it for what it is. Believe how you want to believe. But I am, at this point, very biased in my views. Am I special in my personal worthiness to have received this gift when others have not? I respond with a resounding NO. But there were, for reasons beyond my understanding, prayers by the thousands on my behalf to a loving God who listened to their pleadings. I am forever in their debt.
Once again, I wish my personal example would not have caused those to doubt. I am truly sorry. Yet at the same time they were adding to my healing moment with their own prayers. Again I am eternally grateful.
To summarize, there was guidance from the beginning. I knew ahead of time I was doing the right thing. This is why I could do “such a stupid thing”. Will I share what is available to others as I become aware? Of course, at the same time I will leave it to them to choose what they feel is right.
My gratitude is boundless to those who petitioned our God in my behalf. I simply state here to all who read, Thanks for Life!
Brought Jon home yesterday. So many, many have welcomed him home after his long battle the last 3 weeks in Mexico. When Jon went to Mexico for treatment, we were fearful he was too far advanced for anything to be of much help. He has come so far but it will still be an uphill battle for quite some time.
Dr. Bradford was so encouraged by the progress Jon has made. He stated that only 50% of the cancer patients respond to treatment as well as Jon did. That's a miracle for us! He was so impressed he wanted to take a CT scan there before sending Jon home. On our price list, that was a $400 fee and Jon told the doctor he would get one here at Kaiser upon his return. But the doctor said, "This one is on me." :)
Dr. Rodriguz came running down the hall, "Jon! Jon! You've got to come and see. Hurry and come." Jon said calmly, "As soon as I finish my lunch." Dr. Rodriguz says, "Oh, you can finish that later," as she grabbed his drip pole heading out the door.
The success of the hyperthermia treatment was literally evident in black and white, and Jon has shared the x-rays with me here at home. We compared the CT scan taken on July 16 next to the one taken Tuesday, August 18. How amazing! Many of the tumors were so large on July 16 it was easy to compare tumor for tumor on each film. There was an obvious 50% decrease in size and they didn't look too healthy, meaning not nice and round! We have been told that the complete affect of the treatments will not be for another 6-8 weeks as the tumors continue to shrink and die. So not only is his whole body a health and nutrition fighting factory, his tumors have been reduced by half. How amazing is that! What blessings we have received through Priesthood power! Thank you for your faith and prayers in Jon's behalf.
Dr. Bradford wanted to have Jon back in one month for just a few days. He will be put on IV for some very specific boosters to help in his fight. In the meantime, I am learning how to cook with real food. I actually spent an hour at Trader Joe's yesterday and will become very familiar with the food there, I'm sure. I am becoming expert at nutrition labels.
Today . . . what is Jon up to . . . pool service as usual. We have had wonderful help with the routes and Val Toland's son has been taking care of our commercial accounts. But Jon is looking into a few problems I couldn't handle on my own on his first day home. In fact, he couldn't wait to get his hands working again! He loves being home with his own bed and home atmosphere and smells, different from a hospital room!
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Words cannot begin to tell Jon's progress because it is so special and beautiful what has happened. Maybe if you could actually see the blood tests and pictures you could appreciate the miracle he has experienced over the last two weeks. I can tell you this much, we would have never received this treatment in the US. Dr. Bradford has done nothing but build up Jon's body with nutrition. He also uses herbs, vitamins and minerals to fight inflammation and rid the body of toxins. He drinks the "green drink" with every meal in addition to 9 bags of nutrients through IV (which take about 9 hours a day) and 52 pills by mouth during the day, one shot in the rear of B12 (Jon says it stings a lot for about 15 seconds) and a glass of saline mixture three times a day.
Speaking of meals, Jon's appetite has returned 80%. Now he looks forward to his meals and has them gone in short order whereas before he would just look at the food and force himself to eat, taking an hour to get through a meal. Last night he actually got the "munchies" and I went to the little kitchen there and got him an apple, some nuts and raisins to eat. I know the pain medication was key to his loss of appetite and how could he get better if he didn't eat, continued to get worse, more pain medication and the spiral down continues until . . .
And now there is no pain! The liver distress is gone! The swelling is gone! But Jon is still in the critical stage of cancer and there will be many months of follow-up treatment with a strict regime of diet and exercise. We were told to have another CT scan in eight weeks as the results of the heat treatments will not all be visible until then. If there are remaining problem areas, more follow-up treatments will be needed. Not chemo ever again!
We celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary . . . yes, in a hospital, but we are so happy!! We are already planning our next 30 years together . . . with a whole new outlook on the purpose and meaning of life.
And here's an interesting article for you about our freedoms being eroded out from under us, another reason why we had to go to Mexico for treatment. Go to: http://www.democracyinaction.org/dia/organizationsORG/healthfreedomusa/blastContent.jsp?email_blast_KEY=1077060&t= and read about the "Mother who may be forced to put son through Chemotherapy." (Sorry about the long address.)
Monday, September 10, 2007
As we continue on this journey, we see how far we have come and look ahead as we know there is a long way to go. BUT Jon is moving forward, just little baby steps but it's forward. For example, he is totally off the pain medication, has been for three days now. On Saturday, he said for the first time in many weeks he enjoyed eating his breakfast, he actually felt hungry and it tasted good. Now that was just breakfast on Saturday but today, he said he was hungry for each meal and he wanted to eat. Another little step is his energy. He actually walked about a mile today, pretty slow but steady.
He will have more blood tests on Wednesday, his two week mark, and at that time Dr. Bradford and Dr. Rodriguz will evaluate whether he will need more heat treatments to the liver. I will be there on Wed. to see for myself the improvements to the blood, yeah! I will stay the rest of the week. Actually, we will celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary on Thursday so I've got to get real creative for that.
Jon has had some wonderful visits from friends who bring so much love and smiles, some who live there in So Calif. Another very good friend from Utah is there with him now, flew in yesterday and has stayed all day today and tomorrow. He brought so much laughter and memories with him to be such a lift for good. We had arranged beforehand with the doctor that this "intern" who was learning the program would be in to visit with the patients to talk with them. So in comes Barrie with his lab coat, stethescope, wig, glasses and . . . Billy Bob teeth! I was talking to Jon on the phone when he arrived and at first Jon says, "Oh the doctor is here . . . wait, he doesn't look right . . . I think it's Barrie!!" and he busted out laughing. It sounded so good to hear him laugh again! That was a giant step for Jon.
Thursday, September 6, 2007
Yesterday Jon had more blood put under the microscope. When he entered the hospital one week ago, his red blood cells were deformed with only about 30% as nice round cells. His white blood cells were almost non-existent. One week ago we only saw three, one dead, one discolored and dying and one healthy working white blood cell. There were definite signs of liver stress and lots of fungus. Now his red blood cells are up to 80% healthy, lots of visible healthy white blood cells, liver stress down more than half and the fungus is nearly gone.
This treatment of nutrients and antioxidents and all the other cancer fighting good stuff pumped into his body has been wonderful but it would have been only half of what he needed and not enough to sustain his life. On the one hand, killing the cancer without the nutrition, more cancer would have come back. On the other, only nutrition without heat treatments would not have been enough to fight the advanced cancer and hundreds of tumors. Working with the hyperthermia to the liver and killing the cancer at the same time as building up the body with nutrients is what the key has been. So what a blessing and answer to our prayers to find a complete treatment with both parts. We have a very spiritual doctor who prays for her patients every day, that she will be guided in their care. As she was looking at the new blood pictures, she kept saying, "Thank you, God! Thank you, God!" That brings more tears as we, too, say "Thank you, God!"
Not out of the woods yet. He still has no appetite and does not gain weight. At least he is not losing weight any more. He has no energy, feeling tired all the time. A good thing is that he does not take pain medication any more and I'm hoping that will help increase his appetite.
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
He continues to receive nutrients through IV up to 6 hours a day. That's in addition to about 50 pills he takes orally every day. His meals are simple with no added salt, sugar or spices but include lots of vegetables and fruits, whole grains, fish, soups, and at least a green drink or fruit drink with every meal. No pasta or breads, etc. He eats everything they bring with much less effort than last week although he still feels some nausea occasionally.
There is a woman in the room across the hall who Jon has befriended. She is from North Carolina and is in for Lyme disease being bit by a spider 11 years ago. She has been fighting the ongoing illness with $$$ all these years and has high hopes for a cure through Dr. Bradford. Her husband is with her, actually stays in a motel across the border but visits every day. They have included Jon on their walks along the Tijuana streets which isn't really refreshing but perhaps better than lying in bed all day every day.
Kaylinn and my mom were there to visit for a few hours Monday. Kaylinn gave Jon the ultimate buzz and shaved his head because the hair had fallen out and was blotchy and left hair everywhere. She also brought him a picture book full of all our latest family pictures. I had even taken some pictures of my hiking around Mt. Diablo trails which Kaylinn made a few 8X10's. He got pretty teary eyed feeling close to home. My mom took in four more books for him to read since he finished everything he had taken. If you double click on any of the pictures including the slide show, they will enlarge.
Sunday, September 2, 2007
The heat treatments to the liver are given every day, even today. This is in addition to continuous IV feeding of nutrients, antioxidants, elixir and herbs to help with inflammation. Just a little information on the hyperthermia, the machine looks much like an x-ray with a box at the end of a long arm. The box is placed over the liver and microwaves are used with use of computer. The machine is at another location outside the hospital where they actually transport Jon to conduct the heat treatment. The building has no air conditioning so with the window and door open, he appreciates the cross-breeze of air because the heat to the liver actually heats up his whole body and is quite uncomfortable.
The doctor explained that the tumors are literally "exploding" or popping as opposed to shrinking. The debris left over is washed out of the system as part of the IV feeding to the blood. This is not the case with all the tumors because he had a few that were the size of tennis balls. These will only shrink and die and actually become scar tissue in the liver. The effects of the heat treatments will not show up for eight weeks on a CT scan. Since we have a standing referral at UC San Francisco, we will follow up with a liver specialist there. It will be very interesting to see the new CT scan and the look on the doctor's face as he shakes his head in amazement.