For now, at least, the worst of the side effects from the vaccine and chemo seem to have dissipated. My stomach feels like someone punched me repeatedly and extensively, leaving some clear internal damage, but this is a step in a better direction, compared to what I experienced over the weekend. I have a few days’ reprieve from both those medications, and on Friday, Dr. Rubio, Sr. will introduce me to a second type of cancer vaccine – the one involving magnets and nanoparticles. He told me yesterday that he will administer that vaccine in 20-minute increments. If, after 20 minutes, I can handle the heat, he’ll do another round…then another… then another…up to two hours, if I can tolerate parts of my body heating up 50° for that long.
Bring on the heat, Dr. Rubio. I live in Phoenix.
*** *** ***
As you know, this weekend was rough. I was quite sick and regressing to a childlike state where I just wanted love and physical comfort, not broken Spanish conversations, solitary rainstorms in Mexico, and only a stuffed animal to hug. I cried a lot this weekend – both from the pain and from the frustration of being alone when I didn’t want to be. But you, my loved ones, refuse to let me think for even a day that I am in this alone. And now I am dealing with a whole new set of tears falling, as I remember you – my village – coming together the last time I went through treatment and finding any and every way you could to support me. THANK YOU. You are making this experience endurable yet again.
One of the mistakes I made the last time I went through treatment was not keeping up with all my personalized thank you’s. I had people donating leave time and GoFundMe money, taking me places, sending me cards and gifts, and helping me get insider information so that I could fight some evil people inside a corrupted state system. I failed to stay on top of personally thanking people – especially during periods of extreme sickness or despair – and I don’t want to make that same mistake this time. Someone recently RE-taught me the importance of verbally expressing my gratitudes. Granted, usually I am holding up a shot of tequila while stating what I’m grateful for, but let’s improvise (or, feel free to take a shot if your name pops up).
Dad – This starts with you. You funded this trip immediately. Had I waited until I closed all my retirement accounts, it could have delayed my trip by 3-4 more weeks. With cancer this advanced, that extra month of waiting could truly have been the difference between life and death for me. You handled business efficiently (like always!), and this probably saved my life.
Ms. Bowers, mom-mom, Kyana, Charmaine, and Carol – Thank you for the cards. They proudly line up on my eating tray in my room, so I reread them every time I take meals in my room.
Charmaine – Thank you for sending me dried mango and homemade tea. Those packages of mangoes were inhaled within a matter of hours.
Kyana – Thank you for being semi-willing to send me some of those potato chips you know I love. Thank you also for being my rock – both during your trip out to Phoenix to escort me to Tijuana and when it comes to communicating with my friends/family when I am too overwhelmed or focused on healing. I don’t know if I would have been able to hold it together like you did had our roles been reversed. You are, hands down, the best person to come into my life, and my relationship with you for the past 16+ years has continually helped elevate me as a human being.
HB – Thanks for making me a priority and visiting me that first weekend I was here so that I didn’t have to be alone. Even in my lame attempt at stoicism, you knew I needed someone here for me, and you made it happen.
Amanda – Thanks for setting up a GoFundMe account, to ensure that I have money if my treatment lasts longer than expected and that I still have a house to go back to WHEN I beat this.
Pietrini and Glenda – Thank you for both reaching out to people and coordinating donated leave time at work so that I am getting at least partial paychecks while I am out on FMLA.
Jenna – Thank you for holding down the fort at home. One of my biggest stressors when deciding to do this was knowing whether my pets would be sufficiently cared for. You’ve been on top of that, though: ordering my picky array of cat food online, walking Wishbone daily, taking Athena to the vet, intercepting birds from Kiki’s murder mouth, and doing your part to make sure they don’t all kill each other.
Glenda and Sacha – Thank you both in advance for coming to see me later this week. I’ve only been here alone for a week and a half, but it’s having an impact on my psyche.
Sacha – Thank you for getting me healthy ginger-ale and cruelty-free lotion. I had been unsuccessful in finding either of these on my daily walks around Tijuana. Plus, it’s been a torrential downpour for the last five days, so I couldn’t venture out even if I wanted. You’re helping both my aching stomach and my ashy skin.
Tyler – Thanks for checking on my pets and giving them an extra dose of attention in my absence. Thank you also for getting my garden gutted so that I can start planting cancer-fighting foods upon my return. (I’m NOT going to kill my garden again this year, dammit! It’s sixth’s time a charm…right?)
Aaand a special shout out to a person who should win an award for sending care packages:
Michelle, the items in your box had me laughing AND crying. Everything in there is functional and personalized, and it was an eclectic blend of things that will educate me, entertain me, feed my tummy, feed my soul, address my vanity, and keep me warm throughout it all. You know me way better than I realized you do.