Pam's Incredible Walk of FAITH

 

Chapter 1

Have you ever seen anything like it before? Everyplace you look someone is sick ~ for me, all I have to do is look in the mirror......

This past summer John and I worked in our yard quite a bit - trimming trees, etc. And we were going to do some landscaping so I gathered some grandkids together to help me pick up some rocks (which are plentiful). They would load up the wheel barrow and I would carry it to a different location. Yes, they were very heavy! We worked on this project for days - then the rains came and we never got back to it. In the meantime I decided to drive my Mother to Pennsylvania for a visit with her sister. We packed up and I drove for two days, stopping overnight once for rest. Yes, we were exhausted! It was the week of the 4th of July and there were lots of festivities planned so our week there was busy. We ate a lot and had lots of fun visiting with friends and family. In fact, I knew I was overeating because I was having a hard time closing the button on my jeans. I felt a little puffy in the stomach - I could still zip my pants but that top button was just not worth the effort. I noticed one night, as I lay on the bed, that I had a lump in my abdomen. A hard lump I had never noticed before. I thought I had maybe pulled a muscle (from all those rocks) or maybe I had a hernia .......I just knew I had something strange and it appeared overnight. I didn't say anything to anyone ~ just thought it would go away ~ and if not, I would give it some time to see what was going to happen.

After a week, we drove back to San Antonio, and when I got home to John I told him what had happened. He wanted me to go to the doctor, but I told him I was going to wait a little while to see what developed and how I felt. I didn't feel sick. I just couldn't snap my pants. And I was tired - but after all ~ I had just done a lot of driving.

I waited until the end of August to try to find a doctor to get checked out. I still wasn't feeling sick, but the swelling was not going down and I wanted to find out what kind of damage I had done to myself. Now, please know, I don't go to doctors. I went for a pap smear when I was 30 and it was a bad experience and I said I'd never do that again - and I didn't. I'm rarely sick, maybe an occasional cold in the winter, but other than that - I just don't get sick, so I don't go to doctors. I had to look for a primary doctor, and I wanted a woman ...I chose one from the phone book. She was a nice oriental lady that, after hearing my story, began to tell me all that I needed to get done to catch up. Pap smear, mammogram, bone density, blood work - this and that - and it was days of exams. I hated it! She finally sent me for x-rays on my abdomen and found that I had an ostrich egg size fibroid tumor attached to my uterus. She referred me to a lady gynecologist, and yes, we went through some of the same testing and more. Oh! I really hated this ~ but they had me now, and I was examined until I was tired. I even had to see a cardiologist for testing - oh this was really something for me! The gynecologist, Dr. Van did an ultrasound and after her description of what she saw I can only tell you that she drew something that looked like a hot air balloon and the air balloon was the tumor. The basket (or bottom part) of the air balloon was my uterus and she informed me that I needed to get rid of it all. We scheduled surgery for September 10, a hysterectomy. At 61, I wasn't planning on any more children anyway, so I was ready to go under the knife and get this over with! Dr. Van told me she wanted to do a laporoscopic procedure but for some reason, if she was not able to do that - it would be an abdominal incision. From my navel ...south. She preferred to do the laporoscopic procedure - where she would shred the tumor and bring it out in strips, like fajita meat. (Well -That's what she said)!

Of course, that didn't happen and I'll spare you all the gory details, but it must have been an ugly scene. In surgery, my vitals dropped when an artery burst and I lost 4 units of blood. They had to give me an emergency IV in the neck and I thank the good Lord I've lived to tell about it.....but the story is not over yet. After I woke up and was recovering Dr. Van came in to see me.

She sat on the edge of my bed and said, "you know, Pam, the Lord was really with you in that surgery" ~ I said, "yes!" She said, "No, I mean REALLY! I was unable to get the tumor out laporoscopically because the tumor turned out to be the size of a bowling ball - and inside we found a leiomyosarcoma - a cancer. If I had shred that tumor like I had planned ~ you would have had cancer spread all through your body."

She told me that she could not tell if they got it all - but it was encapsulized - so she thought she had. Because of all the blood loss, they were working feverishly to save me and she could not tell me for sure. She wanted to refer me to another doctor for a follow-up, when I recooperated....and she did.

I was going to see a male gyno-onccologist this time and my appointment was set for 11:15am. I was there early to fill out the routine/necessary papers and when we went into the reception area it was full of people. I didn't really think anything of it until John and I had sat there for over an hour. Finally, I turned to the man next to me and asked him what time his appointment was - and he said, "I've been here since 8:30.....my wife is in taking chemo."

As I turned my head a lady entered the room and she looked frail, weak and emaciated. She was an older lady and tall, like myself. Her hair was short like a man's. Her clothes were hanging on her and she could barely make it to the receptionist' desk, even though she used a cane. When she got there she whispered, "I'm so weak." The nurse recognized her and said, "okay, Miss Whatever, just have a seat we will be right with you." I sat there stunned. I thought, "oh my dear! THIS IS A CANCER CLINIC!!! Is this what is going to happen to me? Is this my destiny? Oh Lord, please help me." I looked over to John and he asked what was wrong. I had tears streaming down my face.......and I could not speak. About that time the nurse called my name. I was undone (to say the least), but I tried to pull myself together to speak to her. She took me down the hall and weighed me. She then told me to sit down while she took my blood pressure. I sat down in the chair she had pointed to - and when I did ~ I faced a room full of people hooked up to IV's - most all had a bandana on their head. I sat there overwhelmed and could barely breathe.

I asked the nurse if that was chemo, and she nonchalantly said, "oh yes, you can take it many different ways, even in your stomach" - I didn't hear much else that she said because my whole world was crumbling before my eyes. She took me to a room and told me that the doctor would be in shortly. John was in the room but I couldn't speak. The doctor came right in and after introducing himself - he told me he was going to read my pathology report to me and then we were going to discuss treatment for the cancer I have. HAVE???? My mind was reeling - why does he keep saying HAVE?? I only came here for a check-up. My surgery is over. My cancer is gone. I haven't thought about cancer for one moment - because Dr. Van got it all. I don't HAVE cancer - I HAD a cancer. Did he just say terminal?? Now he's telling me that the kind of cancer I have is very fast growing and that it will more than likely go to my lungs and lymphnodes......oh, this is W-A-Y too much for me! Now he wants to know if we have any questions. John asked if he might know what could have caused this. He tells him that we are vegetarians, no alcohol, no tobacco ......etc. The doctor says, "no - it's not lifestyle - it's just by chance. It can happen to anyone. There IS no reason." He then asked me if I had ever had radiation in my pelvic area. I told him no. To make a long story short, he wanted me to start chemo and radiation - yesterday! He wanted me to have a PET scan and a CT scan and on and on ~ ~ I asked him what a PET scan was and he said that they would inject radiation into me and it would highlight where my cancer was on the x-ray. I left his office devastated. I was numb! I walked to the car and I really couldn't believe all that I had just been through. John talked - but my thoughts were running every which way - I felt like I was in a whirlwind. We drove and I told John, "Please let me think about all this ~ I just need some time." I didn't cry - I just thought. I finally told John, "you know, this is not making sense to me. He asked me if I had had any radiation in my pelvic area ~ and NOW he wants me to have a PET scan - that will PUT radiation inside of me.......if it could have caused my cancer why would I want to be injected with it now??? I don't get it! I am going to have to think about this a little longer." It didn't take me long to decide I was not going to be that woman that walked into that clinic. I was just a dollar sign to that doctor. He had shown no compassion. Cancer was his business - his bread and butter. Sure my insurance would pay - but why would I want to make him rich and let him finish killing me? I told John I was not going to do it. I wanted a second opinion and I wanted to go an alternative way if all this was true. I told John that if I was dying I wanted to go with some kind of dignity. Not bald, not drugged up, maybe not knowing what I was saying or doing - no - that was not how I wanted to go down into the grave, if I was going to be laid to rest. John told me he would help me do whatever I wanted to do. What an angel!

A few years ago my cousin had told me about a friend of hers that had taken an herbal treatment for cancer - I called her and found out that now, this man has been cancer free for nineteen years. I decided to call the man and get all the details. I spoke with his wife and found out that they had gone to a clinic in Tijuana, Mexico. I got the phone number and called and spoke to a doctor. I told him all that you have just heard and asked his advice. He told me to go ahead and have all the tests - even the PET scan. He said that it would be a very small amount of radiation, and that I should go to the health food store and buy a bottle of SOD. I was to take it (immediately after the PET scan) as directed on the bottle (3 x a day) and that I was to take it for a month - until the bottle was empty. He also told me to gather all my records and then come to see him. I decided that this is what I wanted to do.

I called Mr. Ugly doctor back and told him I would agree to take the tests. My testing was done on a Tuesday in San Antonio. I was told to come back on Friday for the results. On Wednesday I got a call from the doctor's office and they wanted me to come in that day for the results. I told them I would see about that and call them back shortly. The phone rang again and this time it was the doctor. He said, "Mrs. Ladzinski, normally I don't give results over the phone but I think we need to get you started on chemo right away." I asked him what he found and he told me that I have cancer in my bones and that he saw four lesions in my pelvic area and one in my lower spine - tail bone area. He asked me how quickly could I come in and start treatments. I paused - then told him that I had decided to get a second opinion and that I would be in touch with him. We hung up and I called back to his office and told them to get my records ready that my husband was coming by for copies. They told me they would have them ready at the end of the day. We hung up and shortly, the phone rang again. It was the doctor. He said that he was calling back because he wanted to recommend some doctors in his group. I told him I had found one. He asked his name. I told him. He asked where he was located. I told him I was going out of town, and that I was going see someone that my cousin had recommended. He said, "oh, I didn't think I recognized the name." He then proceeded to give me the names and phone numbers of three doctors in San Antonio (in his group) that he wanted to recommend, just in case I changed my mind. He wished me good luck and I thanked him.

When John went by to pick up my medical records the doctor was still writing notes on them. John read them to me from the parking lot (I was anxious to hear) - his report stated what advice he had given me (chemo & radiation) and he had also written (but never spoke) the words "stage 4" and "incurable." Well, so okay, I'm dying...... but before I do .......I'm going to Mexico!

 

Chapter 2

So off we went to California. My cousin's friend had recommended a motel that had a shuttle to the clinic so October 24 at 8:30am we boarded and crossed the border into Tijuana. The clinic was up in the hills and it was very nice. Clean but modest and everyone seemed very friendly. I gave my records to the receptionist and then was taken into a room for a blood test and a urine test. Vitals were taken and I was told that the doctor would be reviewing my records and I would be called in shortly. John and I were taken into a large family room (of sorts) and there were other folks gathered and chatting. We were invited to join a group - one couple was there from Wyoming and the husband didn't have cancer but his kidneys were failing and his doctor gave him no hope so he was in Tijuana to see what they could do for him. Another couple was from Michigan - the husband has cancer and his wife and sister had come with him. The sister has cancer and we found out from her that the last time she had gone to her oncologist, he told her that he was giving her - her last chemo treatment. He said that she had gone through all the series that he could give her and that she just needed to go home - make herself comfortable - and prepare for the end. She was at the clinic for some bit of hope also.

They called my name and I was introduced to Dr. Teresa Palacios. She wanted to talk and get acquainted and she asked me to tell her my story. She then told me she would like to give me an examination and she was very interested in every spot and scar on my body. She told me that my incision looked good and it seemed to be healing nicely.

She confirmed my 5 lesions and said that I also had one at the T4 area of my spine (upper back). I asked her if the cancer was IN my bones or ON my bones ~ she told me that it was actually taking the place of my bones (eating them, if you will) and that I was going to have to be very careful not to do anything strenuous, or lift heavy objects. She explained that where the cancer is - the bones are very brittle and that I needed to exercise caution as not to get a fracture.
After the exam we talked more and she explained the program and treatment. She was quite surprised to know I was a vegetarian.......she asked me "why" ~ I told her I found out by reading the Bible that there were certain things we are not to eat and also for a healthy lifestyle that we didn't eat dairy,eggs, etc. She told me that from my lab work I looked amazingly "clean". Blood count excellent, thyroid, pancreas, sugar, etc. - everything really excellent - she told me that I probably was not going to have any problem with the program.....in fact I was practically doing it already. Now I know you want to know about what I'm doing and not doing so here goes~ it's mainly diet:
I drink a quart of diluted (pure) grape juice a day. I drink a quart of spring water a day.
I eat all whole grains, all fresh fruits (except tomatoes) and all fresh or frozen vegetables
I eats nuts and seeds and natural sweeteners (honey, maple syrup, molasses)
I eat only very small amounts of sea salt and olive oil.
I don't eat white processed foods: white flour, white sugar, white salt, white rice.
I don't eat fried foods.
I don't eat any foods with vinegar in them, I don't consume alcohol or caffeine products and I don't eat pork (she was surprised to know I hadn't eaten pork in 31 years!)
Daily, I take a multi-vitamin, calcium, magnesium, Ester-C, and an herb called yew nettle tips (from Montana). This herb has 27 anti-cancer agents in it. I also take liquid drops called Bonefos for my bones before my meals and then I take a liquid tonic after my meals.
For meat eaters they are allowed some during the week, also eggs and some dairy. I have to tell you that a lot of people have a difficult time with the diet - including our new friends from Wyoming and Michigan. I, on the other hand am doing very well on it, and have not lost a pound.
Some of her final instructions to me were that I am to sing everyday. I am to hum everyday. I am to laugh a lot and do things that make me really happy. I am to have fun! She also explained that because herbs take longer to work, than drugs, that the next time I came back I may have more lesions.......then again I may have less ~ depending on how I reacted to the tonic and herbs. She told me to come back in three months. We will be leaving San Antonio on January 29, and going to the clinic on the 30th. We fly home the 31st.

I solicit your prayers for safe travel and a good report. I have been in touch with Dr. Palacios and I am having CT scans done before I go. She will be able to compare these with my last ones. I have faith that whatever the outcome is - that the Lord's will be done. I trust Him and I am trying to do my part. I have really stayed strictly to the program and I have a dear friend that reminds me often that EXACT is close enough!

Through all of this ~ my spirits have been high and my courage is good. I repeat, "I have faith in God!!" I have had some good experiences and some difficult ones in the last three months but this disease not something that I would not wish on anyone. I have thanked the Lord many days for Him letting this happen to me - rather than my husband, or children or grandchildren or ANY of my family or friends. Everyone in my family has been very helpful and supportive and that makes things a whole lot easier.

I have had some experiences with doctors that have re-enforced by decision to do alternative medicine, and I'll end this "journal" with one last story: In November, I started having some severe pain in my groin/hip area (right leg). When I called Dr. Palacios she told me to see a doctor for an evaluation and I saw a lady oncologist from India. She is young and she too, wanted me to get on chemo. She told me that she had studied herbs in her country and " they don't work!" She also told me that she didn't agree with what I was doing and that she was concerned about my "quality of life" ........ but .....that she would help me. She felt sure that the cancer had moved into my hip and that possibly it was fractured, but to make sure, that I would need an MRI and some x-rays and that instead of me having to go to a lot of different labs - that if I would agree to being admitted into the hospital that she could get the tests done quicker and I could stay overnight and rest the hip. It was late in the day - I agreed.

While I was in "admitting" I received a phone call from a secretary of an orthopedic surgeon and she wanted to confirm my surgery. I said, "Wait a minute, I'm not having surgery!!!" She said she had me scheduled the next day for surgery. I said, "well, you can just UN-schedule me because I'm not having surgery!" She told me she would check with the doctor. I asked her what doctor - and it was a doctor I had never heard of. Ok, I am not happy......
I registered and asked if they showed me getting surgery. "Yes" was their reply. OK ......I am really not happy now, and I told them that I was there for an MRI, and some x-rays - NOTHING more. They said they understood. They took me to my room. John and I were furious with all this, but before I knew it they were coming in for vitals, then a tech walks in and says he's going to do my x-ray. He asked John to step off. The tech put a pad behind my back and snap - I'm done. I said, "why did you take an x-ray of my chest? The problem is in my hip." His reply was, "oh, we take x-rays of everyone's chest that is having surgery." OK ~ I want out of here!!! These people are crazy!!! About that time enters another doctor (that I have never met) and she tells me I am going to get my MRI now. I have to tell you I had a little fit right here, and John did too. We explained what all had gone on. She said she would take care of the misunderstanding.
After I got through with the tests I was taken back to my room where my orthopedic surgeon was waiting. "WHO??" I had never seen this man before in my whole life, but he was telling me that he had heard my decision of "no surgery" and he was very disappointed. He guaranteed me - in fact he told me that he was 100% sure I was going to fracture that hip because the cancer was there now. He told me that I needed a new ball and pin. I told him that what I needed was for him to write his evaluation, for my doctor, and then release me ASAP! The discussion was actually longer than this, but for the sake of time and space .....(he finally got my point). He left the room (mad), but came back and said he did not agree with my decision, but he would help me with a walker and a wheelchair and a hospital bed. I asked him who was going to pay for all this, and he told me that my insurance should take care of it. It told him to "bring it on!" He also asked if I would mind staying overnight - no tricks and no disturbances. I agreed. I was not disturbed. Jennifer (my youngest daughter) and her husband, Gabe, stayed all night with me ~ because you KNOW we couldn't trust any of them. We spent the night talking about death and I had a chance to explain to them that I was not afraid to die. I told them of how the Bible speaks of death as a "sleep" and that even Jesus, himself, called death a "sleep." I told them that the Bible does not teach that we go to heaven or hell when we die, but that we rest in the grave until He comes again. So dying now or dying later is a win-win situation, because the next thing the righteous ones will hear is Jesus calling them from their graves. Then they will see Him face to face. I told them if my work on this earth is done, and the Lord allows me to be laid to rest - I am ready. Daily, I ask that my sins be forgiven and I try to do His will and I really hope and pray that I will be in that number that comes forth first. What a day, glorious day, that will be! This conversation --- made this whole horror story worth it!!!
The next morning Jennifer and Gabe left to take care of their children, and John was on his way. Before he got there, my Indian lady oncologist came in. I can only tell you that she was one mad Indian! Since it was just her and I there she really let me have it.....she said, "Mrs. Ladzinski, what is the matter with you? Why don't you want to use modern medicine? What kind of a doctor are you seeing anyway? Is she even a doctor? How can she lay her head on her pillow at night when she is deceiving so many people? I just don't understand you, Mrs. Ladzinski!" I told her, "look doctor, I have made my choice to do this because I don't want your chemistry lab chemo....my God made herbs for healing.....and I am going to do it His way. I trust Him and I am happy with my decision......and this is the end of our discussion." She said, "well, if that is your decision, I will respect it - and I would like to see you after the first of the year." I told her I would see her then. As she was walking out of my room she said, "by the way, when was your last flu shot?" I said, "never." She said, "you've NEVER had a flu shot?? You probably don't believe in immunizations either - do you?" I shook my head, smiled, and said, "no." She walked out the door .......I'd say she was just a little frustrated with me. Poor thing!

I kept my word and went back to her last week. John stayed with me throughout our entire visit......and she was just so charming. She arranged for me to get my CT scans done this week, then I visit her next week (January 23) for the results. I will get copies and take them to Dr. Palacios. I just can't wait to tell you how this all turns out. I'll update you after our trip to Mexico.

Until then, God bless you and yours, and thanks for your time. I appreciate you and your friendship.......you HAVE to be a friend if you read this whole thing! Luv Ya,

 

Chapter 3

Someone asked me the other day when I knew that I had cancer ~ and I have to tell you that until the middle of November, two months after my surgery, you would have never known I was a cancer patient. I didn't look any different that I ever had and I was starting to do a little housework and gardening.......yes, I was slower.......but I felt good. I actually started having some severe pain after Thanksgiving but I thought I had over done it ~ helping Julie and Jennifer with their dinners. The pain started in the groin and that was because I had the lesions in my pelvic area. Then my right hip started hurting (and of course, you know about that nightmare). As time passed the pain moved to different areas~my back would ache just a little above the bra line area, then my right breast got so hard and sore and tender that I could not sleep peacefully. I couldn't lay on either side or even on my back - it seemed impossible to get comfortable. That was pretty miserable and for those that have never seen me I have to report that my breasts are huge so the intensity of pain was tremendous. My whole chest hurt. That has gone on for a couple of months now. I have, of late, developed lower and mid-back pain to the point that when I try to sit or stand it actually feels like my spine is being stretched over a rack and it is very painful and I am now experiencing some severe pain in my left breast to the point that the right one seems less painful. I know you cannot feel my pain and even describing it doesn't do it justice. The reason I'm telling you about it - is not to complain - but on reflection when I didn't have cancer and someone mentioned they had cancer ~ I felt bad for them but I NEVER imagined their pain. No one has ever told me how badly they hurt or how very helpless you could feel as a handicapped or physically challenged person. No one has EVER tried to explain the pain of cancer. My pain is something that, so far - has been constant.....in some part of my body and I want to tell you it's ugly.....it's really ugly. I guess a good explanation would be to say that it feels like a war is going on inside of me and that the cancer is fighting with all it's might to survive. I imagine it is moving around trying to find a nesting place where it can continue to grow. It's an ugly monster. I always think of that creepy creature that is in an advertisement for fungus under your toenails - he's just really mean and evil looking-and when they lift the toenail there are a million of his buddies working along with him. Oh, that's a creepy commercial....but that's what I think this cancer looks like...evil! I imagine it is digging and tearing and scratching and screaming because it cannot find a safe, undisturbed place to make a home - and that is because the tonic and herbs and good healthy food are helping to build up my immune system and to fight it. Well ok, so I have a fertile imagination......

Before I left for Mexico I was also experiencing (for a few weeks) some weird stuff - like pimples. One would show up on the back of my head - and would be there for about two days then another one would pop up on top of my head - same story - in a couple of days it would be gone. I ended up having about seven show up (one after another) on my face. Then my right eye started watering and I got a runny nose .......I told John that it seemed like maybe the cancer might be going up...and I knew if it went to my brain it was probably going to be sayonara. I did some serious praying and wondered what else could happen. Then one day, I happened to pick up my instruction sheet ..... The same one I had read over and over....but there it was: all symptoms of the body detoxing!! I got so excited I had to tell everyone (especially the Lord) how very grateful I was for my pimples!

Now remember I had CT scans done before Mexico, but what I didn't tell you was that I had requested that a copy be sent to me. They arrived about five days before I went to see Miss Indian Doctor. I looked over them, John looked over them, and my nephew, Jesse, who is an RN, looked over them and the report was all the same: some new lesions and one had increased in size~ but wait! The one in the right hip showed that it was healing. Yes, the report said "seems to be healing" - so that seemed like good news to me. I have pimples, runny eye, runny nose and a hip (that the doctors told me needed a new ball and pin) showed signs of healing. I was so happy. I was not at all worried about the new lesions because I was told there was a possibility of that.....so I was thrilled and considered it a good report. Of course, that was our version ~

On the day of my appointment when the Indian doctor came into the room she had my records in a folder and she sat down in front of me and said, "well, I know you are here for the results of your tests" (she opened the folder and closed it). She then folded her arms and put her face up in mine and said, "I can tell you, Mizz Ladzinski, that your herbs are not working! ALL of your lesions have grown and they are all multiplying......so now what are you going to do?" I asked her what she recommended and she told me that she wanted to start me on chemo. (This lady is like a broken record!) I asked her what exactly would that entail - she told me that she would do three series of treatments over three months and then we would have more scans and go from there. I asked how long I would have to do that and she replied, "the rest of your life." I said, "well, you have my records how long would that be?" She told me that people with my kind of cancer don't usually last a year. So I sat there a moment thinking we know I've had this since at least July so.....hmm mm..."six months???" She shrugged her shoulders and nodded to confirm. "Mizz Ladzinski, I have studied medicine for fourteen years and I am a professional - I know what I am talking about. You can't continue with that lady in Mexico that is telling you that she can help you - I just wish I had her name...what IS her name...and what is her address?" I told her I could give her a phone number....but she immediately changed the subject. I told her I was going to have to think about all she was telling me and she said, "fine - I'm off next week so come back in two weeks - that should give you plenty enough time to make your decision." She then opened the folder and said, "maybe we need to do blood work today ~ oh! I see you had it done the last time you were here.....and everything looked good." She closed the folder then looked at me closely and said, "you know, you LOOK good." I said, "I FEEL good." I then got up and opened the door for her. She said, "you're walking good, too." I said, "yeah, I'm walking fine, my hip is not hurting anymore." She asked me what I was taking for pain and I told her nothing. She told me, "I will get you some morphine." She then gave me a prescription and the nurse told me to get it filled ASAP because the prescription was only good for seven days. (MORPHINE!! When my uncle was dying of lung cancer I went to Pennsylvania to help take care of him...he was on morphine the last six weeks of his life. Morphine is the end drug.) John told the doctor "well, we probably wouldn't need more than 10 - just in case she gets some horrific pain that she can't stand." She wrote the RX for 60. This doctor really loves me!! I have to give her credit - the institutions of higher learning have taught her well to work for them. She's persistant to say the least. If she can't get me hooked up to chemo maybe she can get me hooked on morphine. I walked out of her office totally disgusted. I wish I never had to deal with her and her lies again. I need her though, so I will keep playing the game.

So finally Mexico is going to happen! I am so excited!!! I showered, dressed and walked to the car and off we went to the airport. I went in my wheelchair to make sure I was in the front of the plane, mainly because I can't walk too far and also because sometimes I am unsteady standing and I didn't know how the bathroom issue was going to work out. With all the grape juice and water I take in - just know that I have p-l-e-n-t-y of great elimination! The flight was 3 hours long and I was happy.......but that was short lived. The minute the plane took off I knew I was in trouble. We had terrible turbulence and my back was screaming ~ I could not get comfortable. Every move I made was painful. The seatbelt sign was on for an hour and a half before they allowed anyone out of their seat, then there was a steady stream of people running both ways to the bathrooms. I made a "gingerly" dash and was able to do okay, but the minute I was back at my seat they announced to buckle up again and we stayed bucked until we landed. I drank nothing and ate nothing for fear of having to go to the bathroom on the plane, and thank God, the one time I went it wasn't a great ordeal. Not so in the San Diego airport, though. A lady skycap was pushing my wheelchair and I asked her to take me into the bathroom. Now I have to tell you here that this story is going downhill ......I apologize for being descriptive but facts are facts and bodily functions being what they are.........poop happens!! For those that may have a weak stomach you may want to sit this one out and possibly jump to the end - or you can brave it out and come along and live the journey with me.

I tried to stand to get out of my wheelchair and I was totally crippled. It felt like I was being stabbed in the back with an ice pick. I had to pee and no one could help me - I - couldn't help me. I was crying because of the pain and almost screaming trying to get on the commode. I was begging the Lord to help me.....over and over.....and over and over. I didn't know what I was going to do. I stopped moving and tried to settle down, and enduring excruciating pain, I was finally able to slide onto the commode. Then I didn't know how I was going to get off. (Oh Brother) John had gone for the luggage and even if he knew I was in trouble - he surely couldn't come in and help me, so a repeat of the horrible struggle occurred again. The Lord helped me get back into my wheelchair and I cried all the way to the baggage area because I was suffering so. (Oh! This is a lot for me.~even childbirth was a drop in the bucket compared to this). Don't get me wrong - I'm usually a pretty tough cookie - but I'm REALLY no match for this cancer business. John tried to comfort me but now we had to get to a shuttle and get our rental car and I was just not handling the pain very well. Yes, it was a painful scene getting into the rental car and again trying to get out at the motel. People watched and heard me in both places but I was oblivious to their reaction. My focus was to get in a bed ASAP and try to let my body rest - but before I could lay down, I had to go to the bathroom again - only this time it was going to be a SERIOUS MOVE and I needed to be in the bathroom quickly. This was a total nightmare. I had requested a room for handicaps but the commode was so low that I thought my back was going to break. I just couldn't do it. It was the same move from my wheelchair to the commode but it was just too far. John was trying to do all he could but I was crying so hard and he was crying so hard that it seemed just impossible for either of us to accomplish this task. I was bent over pushing and pulling with all my might................then John just finally pulled my pants down and lifted my rear onto the commode. As quick as that! Now folks, you know I am not a little girl, and John has been having some back problems himself, but I'll tell you what ~ he was moving and grooving at this point and I made it just in time! I really thank God that John just did what he thought he needed to do....and by the time he got me in bed - we were both exhausted.

I had had one other experience like this at home a few weeks before.......but I was surely not prepared for this to happen on the trip. I had been laid flat on my back for two days with similar pain ~ but in my back muscles. At home I had my heating pad and bed pan and wipes, etc. ~ now John had to go find all this in California. (The man is an angel - I'm tellin' ya)! He made his "run" after he made sure I was fed and comfortable.

I called Mexico and talked to Dr. Palacios and told her I was in San Diego but was flat on my back and I didn't know if I was going to be able to make it to the clinic the next day because the plane ride was just too much for me and I was having severe pain. She asked if John could come and get a prescription for pain from her. She told me that if he couldn't that I would need to go the ER and get something for pain because my body was going to be so stressed that it could go into shock and my life could be in danger. (PEOPLE!! YOU CANNOT IMAGINE THIS ORDEAL!!!) John got back and was able to get a driver from the motel to take him. Before he left I was trying to figure out how I was going to manage alone for a few hours. The bathroom is sue.....(it's forever before me)....but you know - this is the way the Lord works: we had reserved a room with a king size bed...they said they had none available (non-smoking) by the time we arrived so they could only give us a room with two queen size beds....we were not happy but we accepted it ...and now....now I see that HE knew that we were going to need two beds because I had come up with a plan. (It was a gross plan but you know that old saying "necessity is the mother of invention" ~

Well, it was the best that I could think of in my condition.) I told John to bring the tall garbage can near my side of the bed, then brace a straight chair against the other bed. (I told you this story is going downhill!) I slowly wiggled sideways in the bed and my plan was to scoot my butt to the edge of the bed and laying flat on the bed, with my legs over the can and my feet on the chair, I would pee in the can. Is that disgustingly ingenious, or what???? Boy! I guess I never have thought about what kind of drastic measures must be taken in crucial times .....especially for handicapped people. Listen, brothers and sisters, I have gained a whole new respect for these kind of people. This has really been an eye opening experience for me ......I think I have been toddling through this life without a clue! No, now don't think I haven't helped handicapped people, many times, different situations.....but I've never put myself in THEIR position. How humiliating and degrading to someone. And speaking as an adult - I have been truly humbled and appreciative of all the heroes in my life that have sprung into action to help me.....when I was help less.... I LUV 'EM ~ I LUV 'EM!!!!!!!

Uhh oh! Overload......look for Chapter 4 ....if you're still with me!

 

Chapter 4

When I sent out my story I never realized the response I would have. I have heard from people that I don't even know and so many have said they were praying for me......YOU are my heroes!! I appreciate you all so much. Hugs and Kisses to each of you for living this with me. It makes it easier ~ the Lord in one hand and you in the other ~ what an army!!

So many folks have asked me to let them know my progress and they've said, "be sure to tell me everything ~ I want to know".........well, okay, so here we go again~~~ I am in the motel, exercising my new invention. It's not working out as perfectly as I would have liked.....but it's working and that's what counts. The Lord had arranged that He and I have some quite time now and I thought over His pain and suffering compared to mine. I felt amazed by His love for someone such as I, and wondered how He could go through the unimaginable torture- for such a disobedient child as myself. He helped me be still and calm - I felt safe and I fell asleep.

John made it back okay with the medicine and I took them through the night. I was able to sit up the next morning and using a "shower in the bed" towelette, John helped me dress and get into my wheelchair. The driver of the shuttle was very kind and let me sit in the front seat of the van. He had a step that made it easier for me to get in. We made it to the clinic. I was so happy to be there. They took my records and then I went for a blood test and urine test. They ask you to put on a robe, but they told me I could leave my slacks on, just to remove my bra and blouse. They let me stay in my wheelchair throughout vitals, etc. So that made it a little easier for me. My back was not hurting so bad and I was able to act fairly sane. God is good. The people at the clinic are so friendly - it really gave me a boost just to be there. We met so many nice people, some new, some returning, but everyone had a story and it was encouraging to hear of this one and that one getting clean bills of health. One lady had been going to the clinic for 13 years and she had just gotten her "all clear" sign. She told me her story and as I listened, I couldn't help but hope that one day, I would be THIS lady - in THIS clinic - telling MY success story.
They called my name and told me I was going to see Dr. Gutierrez. The nurse explained that they like all the doctors to know the patients and their cases. Dr. Gutierrez is a melanoma specialist, but there were no melanoma patients that day so the patients were divided equally among the doctors and he got me! I had met him before and had talked to him on the phone before - and he is actually the doctor who helped my cousin's friend with his cancer. So he took John and I into his office and we got acquainted better. We talked for quite a while -he then asked to examine me and helped me onto the table. John sat watching. He checked my eyes, ears, nose, throat, and then asked me to pull my robe down to my waist. He checked my breasts and I was really happy to hear him say he found no lumps. He did tell me that he noticed that I had something (a medical term) in my breasts that he wanted to treat. He said that even women that are not nursing have a serum that slightly flows through the ducts in the breasts. He said usually women don't even notice it, but he could tell there was a blockage in both breasts and that he wanted to dissolve that. Of course, my answer was, " well, no wonder these babies are so big ~ they're holding years of serum." Ok, we needed a little humor here. You ladies know how it is....you got some strange man that has his hands all over yours breasts.....you don't know whether to look at him straight in the eyes and smile like "yeah, I'm enjoying this too" ....or look away and pretend this is really not happenin'.......after rolling my eyes around a few times, I finally just told him, "thanks for having nice warm hands" and he kind of chuckled~~~~I'm sure he thought I was a total kook! He listened to my chest and back and then checked my surgery scar and said it looked like it was healing nicely. He told me to get dressed, then released us to go and have some breakfast. He said he would call us back when he got the results from my blood and urine tests. John and I had a nice breakfast and a couple from Ohio joined us. I'm eating bean and rice tacos (corn tortillas) with lettuce and onion. I'm also having a carrot, beet and celery cocktail. Lovely! I am on the diet! The lady orders two coffees. Her husband is the patient. I'm a little shocked because caffeine is a no-no.....and she didn't ask for decafe. He eats turkey bacon and eggs which are acceptable for meat eaters....but then he asks me if I've heard about these certain kind of acid-free tomatoes ....yellow and orange with stripes .....I told him no, but then he said he was going to check into getting seeds to grow them. I'm thinking "sir, there are no tomatoes allowed on this diet. No tomatoes means no tomatoes!" but I just smiled and pretended this was not happenin' either. When I mentioned this to John later...he reminded me that I am not the food police....(you gotta love him)!

When the doctor called us back in he had two print-outs on his computer. He told me everything looked really good. I had green dots by almost everything (which means my count was in an acceptable range). He then pointed to a red dot and said, "you didn't drink any water on the plane, did you?" I told him no. He said the 3 red dots were just slightly lower than what they should have been - but he saw nothing to be alarmed over. He gave me a prescription for the milk ducts. I am to take this for 7 days. He increased my dosage of tonic, and has added a Chinese herb formula especially for sarcomas. He also added an herb that works with fat. Knowing I am a vegetarian he asked me if I would mind having some yogurt, or cottage cheese or milk. He explained that the herb would attach itself to the fat and work longer in the body. I told him I didn't have a problem with that....if that's what I needed to do that's what I would do. I told him I was there to do the program! He said he knew that and he was encouraged by how well I'm doing and how well my immune system looks. So ........he's giving me a closing speech and then asks if we have any questions. I said, "you haven't even mentioned anything about my lesions." He said, "you got the results already didn't you? You know you have one healing." I said, "but the doctor at home tells me they are all multiplying" --- he started shaking his head "no" and waving his hand and arm --- he said, "I don't care what that doctor said --- WE are not going to focus on that --WE are going to focus on the one that is healing. Put everything else out of your mind." I said, "but she said I only have 6 months." He's waving and shaking "no" again. He said, "I don't care what she told you.....is she God? She can't make a statement like that ....you're healing! All she wants to do is get you discouraged and depressed and desperate enough to take her medicine. NO! We are going to think about the healing that is going on. Stay strictly on your diet. Take your herbs and focus on the healing. You're doing great - just keep it up." Ok, I'm pumped up now. His enthusiasm was contagious. I needed this "fix." I love this doctor and I love this place. It fills me with hope!!

 

Chapter 5

I wish each of you could see the clinic-I know you hear "Mexico" and instantly you think hole-in-the-wall, dirty knives...no, no...it's not at all like that....and there are a lot of people utilizing this facility. John found out there are 60 cancer clinics in Tijuana....hmmm people are desperate for a cure, not just death on the installment plan with drugs and even not remission ~ we want to be healed!!!

We loaded up to come back across the border and there were folks on the shuttle from some of the other clinics. John chatted with them as the driver and I spoke. We stopped at a regular pharmacy to get prescriptions filled but we had to go to a Holistic pharmacy for mine. One RX was for the breasts ducts. The other was for pain ...which the pharmacy was out of. Lovely! The pharmacist told John they would send the medicine to the clinic and the clinic could forward it to us. So, ok, we had a plan.
The process for going through security to come back into the U.S. Is that you must unload the shuttle - everything goes - and is checked. The driver told me that I was not getting out. (I love him!) Sure enough at the checkpoint everyone had to walk across but Ma rio came back with a border patrol and the officer asked me if I had a passport. I held it out but he didn't take it or open it - he just said, "ok" and told Mario to take me around. We met the other folks at a designated point. I was so thankful that I didn't have to get out and I was telling Mario how much I appreciated his help with that. Above his side of the door I noticed a picture of Jesus. He told me that the next time I came back that he didn't want to see me in the wheelchair.....I pointed to his picture and told him to have a little talk with Him....and said, "and you can mention my name, Pam, because He knows who I am.....we're on a first name basis." He laughed and said, "oh yes! That's good." He was so kind and helped me out of the van. He told me his home was in Tijuana, but he gave us his card and told us to call him when we came back...that anything we needed he would be happy to help. (Another hero)!

We were both pretty tired by the time we got in the room (it was a long day) but I was able to walk a little with John's help. We had a bite to eat and decided to retire for the evening. Early in the morning, while making a bathroom call, I was struck again...this time it seemed worse than ever. This was devastating to both of us because our plane was to leave at 11am and we had a car to return and be at the airport at least 2 hours early so now we were faced with a major problem....I can't move! I told John that there was just no way I could sit three hours on a plane.....I couldn't even sit up. So we called and cancelled our flight. They told him there was only one more flight leaving out that day - at 6:30pm and it had a stop in Loss Wages for an hour. There were no available seats on any flights going out on Friday - but there was one left on Saturday and it was straight through. We we tossing around the idea of driving. We'd have to wait to see what I was able to endure.
John decided to go back across the border to try to get the pain medicine. The shuttle left at 7am so he quickly put food, water, juice, wipes, etc. Out for me on the bed. He set up the pee can and chair again. He's rushing around like a mad man and trying to make sure I would be okay and have everything I would need. I told him I was cold so he put some socks on my feet, covered me and asked me if I wanted the heater on.....he did that for me - then he was out the door to make the shuttle on time. He called me about an hour later and said the pharmacy was not open so they had to wait. Even when they did open they still did not have the medicine I needed, so the driver told him they would go to a few other Holistic pharmacies to see if they had the medicine. In the meantime, the day was warming and so was I. The heater was about to choke me and I was having a hard time breathing - so after squirming around (like a worm in dirt) - FINALLY I was able to scoot close enough to the phone to call the desk. I told them I was sick and couldn't get out of bed to turn the heater off - they said they would send someone to help. When the maid opened the door, she said, "wow, it's hot in here".................I was so thankful that little hero came to my rescue before I was roasted hen!
It was seven hours before John returned......yep, seven....count 'em.....because I sure did. Pharmacies with no medicine and traffic and congestion at the border = all added up to a pretty full pee can in room number~~~~~.(maybe I better not tell you, just in case you might visit that motel someday). I was sure ready to see him when he got back because now I HAD to get to the bathroom. Ok peeing in a can is one thing, and having someone up close and personal in your private parts in one thing...........but dealing with poop......I am just not ready for that. And I wouldn't want to put anyone through that...............oh, yuck....so "please help me to the bathroom!!!"
So ok, it's 2 o'clock, and I am on the throne. John is calling around trying to find a car that I can lay down in - in the back seat. Can you believe they want six and seven hundred dollars to take a car one-way to Texas???? I sat listening and thinking how outrageous this was....and all because of me. John was going to have to drive 22 hours straight or two days and deal with me for that long in a car.....oh no. I needed to bite the bullet on this one and try to give the poor man a break. I begged the Lord for the strength to help me live through this. There were no flights the next day (Friday) and I, for sure, didn't want to travel on the Sabbath.....so while John was on hold- - -waiting to check on a mini-van ~ I called to him and told him to hang up and call the airline to see if we could get on the 6:30pm flight. He asked me if I was sure I could make it. I told him all I could do was try. For just a mere $400 more (added to our original ticket's credit) - we had our flight scheduled. (And he thought I was high maintenance BEFORE I got sick!) Oh brother!
We didn't have any time to spare- and neither or us had bathed for two days. Well, we grab the "shower in the bed" towelettes and get busy!! John has to go square-up at the office. I told him to see if one of the workers will sell him their back brace. He's out the door! He tells them I have been sick and have soiled the sheet and mattress pad and that he needs to buy a couple of pillows to cushion my back for a plane ride - yeah, they're okay with all that (probably not the first lame story they've heard). The workers have one back brace that they share (what's that about??) - but a driver is there that offers to run John over to a Wal-Mart. They go.....but I don't know that. I wait and wait and I am in a panic mode now. John left his phone in the room ~ I think he has had a heart attack - or gotten hurt and I am edging up to frantic. Voile! He charges in the door waving the brace he has found. He has the trophy!! (How could I be mad about this now?) He cinches me up and I feel like a stuffed sausage. No I can't breathe....but do we care? We've got a plane to catch so.......p-l-e-a-s-e get out of our way. My husband is a genius but when it comes to directions ~ well, ladies ~ we know I better not go there (ok, I'll whisper it "he missed his turn and he can't find the car return place.") Hooray! We found it....and instead of us being at the airport at 4:30 - we might make it by 5:30 if we hustle. (Did I mention I cannot breathe because of the harness I am wearing) - but I'm calm. When we pulled into Enterprise John jumped out and told the rep that we were running late for a flight and that we needed a shuttle with a lift because I was in a wheelchair. What a darling guy (named Taylor) ~ he told John to jump in the back seat - that he could drive us quicker and it would be less inconvenient for me. H_E_R_O!!! So it's nearly 5 and the line to check in is miles long. John and I are heading that way when an attendant grabbed me and pushed me to the front of the line. I AM LOVIN' THIS!!! Heroes everywhere....aka "angels." I am too blessed to be stressed at this point. I just see home in front of me and I am ready to get there.
Are you aware that they have "family bathrooms?" Well - who knew??? John was able to help me in San Diego, before we boarded the plane. Now THAT"S what I'm talking about!! Necessity IS the mother of invention! We have needs people - thank you!
We had a little time to eat and then we boarded. My back was killing me. The hour long flight into Las Vegas was a party flight for many. As we were landing the attendant did a Wayne Newton version of "Fly me to the moon" - oh the cheering and clapping. I was happy also....but it was because I was an hour closer to home. Another family bathroom....YES!!
We boarded and the flight going out of Las Vegas was really quiet. A lot of folks licking their wounds from losing their money, I would guess. BTW, the airport there was full of slot machines...so you can gamble your money away until the last minute! Yeah!
The quiet on the plane was nice but I was still hurting. I sat on a pillow and had one behind my back, I even loosened the brace to try to get comfortable. Every 15 minutes I was asking John, "how much longer?" Finally he said, "we have 35 minutes left." OH! There IS a GOD!!! I asked the stewardess for a cup of ice. I was parched. The ice was the answer - it froze my mouth so badly that it took my mind off the back pain. Two cups helped me make it to the landing strip and Texas Turf never felt so good.
It's taking me some time to re-cooperate. I am walking without my walker and moving slow...but once again, the Lord has been merciful to me and brought me through to another day. I am encouraged and hopeful that I will continue healing.
Thank you for riding this roller coaster with me. Thank you for all your calls and cards and visits and prayers and love.....I'm feelin' it, heroes!

You know, while I have been sick, my husband, my daughters, and my brother have said, "I wish I could take this pain from you." What a statement to make....and what love they have shown. I have told them that I REALLY understand what they are trying to tell me but I would never want anyone to suffer such pain. Many have commented on my "strength" - but that's not what it's all about. It's about the Lord, Jesus who took worse pain than we'll ever know - instead of us having to take it...and our faith in Him. His death ~ for our life! JESUS IS MY ULTIMATE HERO!! His strength is perfect ~ and I cling to that!. He has blessed me and even through cancer or other trials that may come my way- I want to continue having the faith to see through the darkness onto a brighter day. I am not a hero....but so many of you are: My darling John, Rockie & Julie, Gabe & Jennifer, Jimmie & (sweet) Diane, Jesse & Amie, Justin & Emily, little Rocky, Devin, Lindsie, MacCall, Grayson, Teagan, Gavin, Zach & Kennedi, Shailey, Lindon & Hanna, my 85 year old Mom, Connie & Wilbur, Verne & Anna, Merribeth, Ann, June, Emma Lou ("thanks for taking care of Boston and Smokie"), Diana, Bobby, Brenda, Bonnie, Don, Mr & Mrs E .... (oh, there's not EVEN enough paper for this) .....so many friends, and relatives and neighbors.....you know who you are.....I LOVE YOU! I LOVE YOU! I LOVE YOU! And I thank you for each act of kindness that you've shown by exercising the talents that the Lord has given you. Remember the Lord says in Matthew 25:40, "Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." Thanks for loving Him So!!

You have been patient to wade through this adventure with me and I will try my best to keep you updated. Thanks for the interest. Lord willing, I will make another trip to Mexico in April.

Until then, May God bless you and yours with good health and much happiness! I love you all dearly, and I am the least......but I remain hopeful!!

Pam