100 Days on Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Happy 2015!

May this new year bring health, opportunities, harmony, and peace to all of us.

I am grateful for starting a new year surrounded by family and friends. I value the support received and the lessons learned in 2014. Most importantly I am grateful for the gift of life.

During the Holidays, my parents and sister Cris visited and spent Christmas with us. We had a great time and celebrated the fact that on Christmas Day I reached 100 days post-transplant.  And to conclude the holiday season, we welcomed  the new year with my in-laws.
Christmas with Family

These 100+ days haven’t been easy but I have been patient. I am still in risk of infection and dealing with side effects on my skin associated with   Graft Versus Host Disease – a common consequence of the life-saving bone marrow transplants.- However, I started walking and running again, I am not struggling with daily nausea anymore, my hair started to grow back, I am tired but it is manageable, and I will go back  to work on January 5; all things considered I am in good shape.

I feel hopeful and I am looking forward to a great and positive year.

Love – Bea

70 Days – Grateful

Today is my day 70 post bone marrow transplant.

On day 60 I was discharged from the transplant unit and instead of going to the hospital daily or every other day,  I go only once a week now. My oncologist says that I am doing well and everything looks according to the plan.

I am taking many different medicines to keep my immune system healthy. Each day I feel much better and stronger, I even started jogging and walking again. I can’t wait to start running again soon.

My hair is starting to grow.
My hair is starting to grow.

This Thursday is Thanksgiving, an opportunity to give thanks, spend time with family, and remember what is really important in life: love and gratitude.

Therefore, I would like to thank my loving husband, my mother and father-in-law, and Marsha who took the time and spent countless hours in the hospital and at home taking care of me. I will be always grateful for your support, patience, and love.

Also I am very grateful and fortunate to have incredible parents and sisters. Caro saved my life and now we share an even more special sister bond. I love you sister 🙂  My parents have been fundamental in creating an entire network of prayers, good energy, and positive attitude. This group of family and friends has kept me strong and positive. I am very grateful for their support and love; believe me, it does make a difference!!

With B we Beat It!, Tagline of the video campaign Cris organized.  Thank you!
With B we Beat It!, Tagline of the video campaign Cris organized.  Thank you!

A couple of weeks ago I received a beautiful care packet from my sister Cris. It was a beautiful surprise that included books, a movie, and a video with the campaign “With B, we Beat it!” a series of uplifting, fun, and great messages from family, friends, and others that sent encouraging words to me. Thank you very much to all that participated. A special thanks to my cousin Nane and my friend Monica who helped Cris and Daniel to collect the videos. Thank you Nayelli for the logo and design. Thank you Cris for producing the video that lifted my spirit when I needed it the most.
Today I am particularly grateful for the gift of friendship and love.

Happy Thanksgiving / Feliz Dia de Accion de Gracias!!!

And remember to give thanks 🙂

Love,

Bea

Day 32 Post Transplant

I didn't lose my eyebrows. LOL!
I didn’t lose my eyebrows. LOL!

Today is day 32 post transplant!!! I am tired but feeling better. This is the first time I have a day off and I don’t have to go to the hospital!!!

After the transplant I was feeling well, just tired. However, days later I started struggling with constant nausea and headaches that I have never experienced before; it was rough. Also I lost my hair on day 13.

During this 30 + days I go to the hospital 7 days a week to check my levels and to make sure that I am doing ok. I have to wear a mask most of the time to avoid bacteria and infection. So far I have received a round of platelets and two blood transfusions.

Two days ago I was allowed to go to a public space and we went to the groceries (wearing my mask), It was interesting to see the reaction of other shoppers when they saw me. 🙂

The Mask
This the mask I have to wear.

I want to take the opportunity to thank my husband Dave, my in-laws and Marsha who have served as caregivers and have been patient with me particularly when I don’t feel great. Thank you to my parents, sisters, family, friends, and colleagues that are praying and always ready to help.

Thank you very much for the lovely cards, flowers, gifts, and thoughtful posts on my blog and Facebook which always make me smile. I am grateful for the encouragement and love.

Regarding Music:  Many of you know that my talented sister Cris is on the show “La Voz” (The Voice) in Mexico. She passed the blind auditions, became a member of #TeamYuri and will be in the battles this Sunday. For my friends in Mexico tune in this Sunday at 8:00 pm. Thank you for supporting my sister.

Con todo Cris!!!
Con todo Cris!

Love, – B

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

Towards a Bone Marrow Transplant

I need a new immune system since mine no longer recognizes and attacks cancer cells; that is why on September 16, 2014 I am going to have a bone marrow transplant at Johns Hopkins. My amazing sister Caro is my donor!!!

A bone marrow transplant looks like a regular blood transfusion. The difference is that this procedure provides a cure for many types of blood cancers and saves lives. The transplant entails taking healthy cells from a compatible donor and infuse those into the bloodstream of the patient. In order to prepare the patient for the transplant high dose chemo and radiation are required.to replace the old and defective cells.  After the transplant the patient has a high risk of infection and needs to be isolated, wear a mask, and be extremely careful with potential sources of external infections.

The type of transplant I will have is called a haplo, half, or mini. This is an option for patients like me that don’t have a donor who is 100% match but have relatives that are 25% or above compatible. Before my transplant on Tuesday I have to do 5 days of chemo and 1 day of full body radiation. Today is my day No.2 of chemo and I am feeling well, just a bit tired.

These days I have a lot of mixed feelings, sometimes I am positive and hopeful and others I am just plain scared about everything. I am living one day at a time and thinking about what I want to do once I am healthy again and free to live my life free of this disease.

I am reading the book “Raw Faith” from cancer survivor Kasey Van Norman a great resource that is helping me to strengthen my faith; something I need so much right now.

Thank you for reading, thank you for the prayers, the positive energy, and encouragement.

I will keep you posted!

Love, Bea

PD. Before the chemo gets all my hair. I cut it short.

Short Hair Again

Attitude is a Choice

I came across the following phrase, a good reminder. 

“Your attitude can take you forward or your attitude can take you down. The choice is always yours!”

-Jimmy Catherine P.

 

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

Round Three: Rough Times Ahead

I love this doll not only because it is how some relatives and friends call me but also because my hair right now looks like hers.
I love this doll not only because some relatives and friends call me Betty Boop, but because my hair right now looks like that.

Cancer is a horrible disease, it is not a blessing and it sucks. It interrupts lives and exposes the best and the worst of the human spirit.  Cancer doesn’t make you stronger, you have to become stronger because the alternative is to give up.

After multiple scans, a series of meetings with doctors, a bronchoscopy, surgery on my left lung, and many hours in the hospital, I am sad to report the lymphoma is back. I started a new regime of chemo two weeks ago and I will undergo a bone marrow transplant by early September.

This time has been hard, disappointing and sad. I haven’t shared much on this third diagnosis because I don’t have a lot of answers and sometimes I don’t know how to share that again I am going through this (I sound like a broken record). Definitely I am not the disease and there is no way that I will let the lymphoma to take over my time, my conversations, my days, and consume my thoughts and dreams.

At this point the treatment option I have includes three rounds of the new drug Brentuximab , chemo precedes a bone marrow transplant. Since I don’t have a 100% bone marrow match I will have a haplo or “half” transplant at Johns Hopkins. The transplant procedure sounds like something taken out of a science fiction movie or a super hero comic book; in a nutshell means “resetting” and substituting my deficient immune system.

Round three of this fight is hard both mentally and physically, some days I am doing great and others not so much. I know very rough times are ahead (which I cannot control). I definitely can control how I am preparing for September to fight like crazy and win.

Thank you for your prayers, positive thoughts, and encouragement. I will keep writing on my blog and keep you posted on the transplant process.

In other news: Mexico is playing today versus Croatia at the WorldCup. Good luck to our team! Vamos Mexico!!!

Love, Bea

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.
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