Day Three & Four
November 6 & 7, 2018
The night before last was again sleepless for Glen. He had massive night sweats and his bowels were in a constant state of pain and panic. His bed was wet with sweat. Lord please let this be a good thing and a sign that the cancer is coming out! As for me the pain in my shoulder spread to my mid back and throbbed with every breath I took. The “bed” I slept on was a little “couch” – a plank of wood with an inch and a half foam mattress on top. Dr. Torres took pity on me and had them bring another little mattress, which did help. I am thankful for every gift small or large in spite of continuing pain.
While we waited for breakfast we also waited for Glen to have blood work done. He was supposed to have it done at 6AM but no one showed up. By 9:00AM after telling the nurse that it was supposed to happen someone came and took his blood. Then by 9:30AM the lab technician (I think) also came and took 150 ml of blood for the dendritic Cell immunotherapy. This will be cultured, or “trained” to be “killer cells” that will be IV dripped back into Glen on Thursday. The blood will then be trained to kill the cancer throughout his body. He will be given the autologous immunotherapy on Friday or Saturday depending on how he does with the first one. I do not completely understand the difference between them but both are cultured from Glen’s own blood. Most of the time people get a fever for five to six hours but that is not a bad thing. If no fever occurs it also does not mean that it is not working – also a good thing. Dr. Torres gave us Dr. Josef Issels, MD book, Cancer A Second Opinion: The Classic Book on Integrative Cancer Treatment. It’s a somewhat technical read but we skipped to chapter 6 on Immunotherapy to understand it a little bit which is why I could write the above. The kind of immunotherapy that Glen is having done has actually been around since 1951! Imagine that! And, get this, the only reason it hasn’t garnered more attention is because chemotherapy and radiation came to the forefront. Dr. Issels has been arrested and everything because Big Pharma has tried to shut it down. Again I ask the question – why?! He has saved many people from a death from cancer. Chemo and radiation have a place if done specifically but it seems the farther we enter into the world of cancer and cancer therapies that the doctors are taught from the many billions of dollars Big Pharma creates – and they are taught against what actually heals the body. The state of our world saddens me in many ways and I long for our Savior to return. In the meantime we are saving Glen!
We managed to step out of the hospital yesterday and today. Yesterday (Tuesday) after his dose of IV therapy (multi-vitamins and then B17) and today he was given just B17. Although immunotherapy is legal in Mexico but not in the US or Canada, giving high dose IV’s is illegal in Mexico and legal in Canada and the USA. Go figure!
Yesterday Glen managed to walk all the way (less than a block!) to the store ‘Sam’s Club’ which is exactly like Costco back home. We didn’t realize what it was until we saw people with cards showing the greeters their card. The card greeter waved us through with a smile so in we went. We then found someone who spoke English who sold us a membership because Glen keeps sweating up his t-shirts. No membership, no buy. Fair enough! Everything down here is much cheaper than in Canada too. They had street bikes for around $1500.00 and really cool scooters for around $400.00. If I could have figured out how to bring it home the light blue one would have been a good “companion” for our son Josh’s white scooter, which he calls “Leonard”. Makes me miss Josh and Donovan our sons!
Last night we borrowed a movie from the public relations people downstairs and in between Glen being in the bathroom we were able to watch ‘The Shanghai Kid’. Jackie Chan, Owen Wilson and Lucy Liu all of whom always bring a laugh. We can live vicariously for a while and forget that we are fighting for Glen’s life. It’s such a surreal thing. He’s here and I can’t possibly imagine what life would be like without him. I get glimpses, as I have to go out more by myself even here in Tijuana where I went for a longer walk by myself both yesterday and today. I certainly don’t want him to leave me yet! We are daily claiming Glen’s life under the authority of Christ and extending the boundaries of his life to a healthy old age. I do believe that the enemy is trying to stop him and I from doing all that we are called to do for the Lord. It’s always been our dream and even our goal to set up a counselling ranch for those in need. There are so many people who come through my counselling office and when Glen was working, in his office, who are in dire need of more than just one session a week or less depending on how much they can afford. I try to help as much as I can but often feel, especially as the more desperate walk out of my door, that I just want to take them in, counsel them everyday for a bit, house them somewhere safe for a while, give them love, good healthy nutrition, teaching on healthy lifestyle and just help usher them into good health all around – psychologically, spiritually and physically. I believe that it will happen.
God has given me no indication that Glen will die from this as long as we keep believing and searching and pushing. It’s an uphill climb for sure. It’s taken its toll on both of us and on our kids. I see our precious, handsome boys. I remember coming home from the diagnosis and Donovan greeting me at the door asking how it went. Against all my mind told me I told Donovan the news and try as I might to not cry I burst into tears and he hugged me – probably in shock himself – but nevertheless giving his Mom comfort. I blubbered out, “I’m so sorry Donovan! You don’t need me crying on your shoulder.” He just hugged me tighter and said, “It’s ok Mom.”
I know we have strong boys but even the strong get sad. Even the strong and the young stumble and fall. We have all gone through ups and downs. So much of the time I actually feel joy and feel strong – as if Glen isn’t so sick! In spite of him being sick we are able to rejoice in all things…at least most things. We are really trying hard to rejoice even in the craziness of Glen constantly being on the toilet and the awful pain he goes through because of that. And the weekend we left – just a few days ago which feels like a long time ago already – we both took turns being emotional. I arrived at the barn and a song I was listening to suddenly turned my happy bubble into tears of sadness and stress running down my face. I pulled it together and walked into the barn only to see my friend Stacia. I tried talking and started crying again. I don’t even know why…I didn’t know what to pack for a month and felt so overwhelmed! She just hugged me and cried with me reassuring me that she didn’t know what to pack for one night away. It made me feel a lot better. Chronic stress of chronic illness is rather large. I know this as a counsellor. I observe myself and know that Glen and I are doing better than most only because God is carrying us. We also know that we will have times of outright sadness and even depression especially when he has to spend literally hours in the day on the toilet. Whoever thought life would look like this? Cancer and chained to a toilet. Yikes! Feeling overwhelmed was probably not about what to pack, though that had a little to do with it because I have to bring a lot of supplements and gadgets to keep myself functioning. Feeling overwhelmed, in retrospect, was probably more about the past three plus years of cancer treatments, of Lyme Disease treatments for me and our son Josh, and now the enormity of going for a whole month to kick this disease to the pit of hell. Of course I’m overwhelmed! Learning to give oneself grace is a difficult lesson. Learning to accept help, in any form, especially financial, is also prone to overwhelm us. We are so very grateful for all the financial help. The go fund me page, the random people from church, Glen’s work family, even my work family and other family and friends, handing us cheques or etransfers, the massive help from Glen’s parents – it’s overwhelming and we don’t have a clue how to say thank you for the enormity of it all. We are so very grateful.
When I arrived home from the barn the day before we left I was feeling better because I got a hug from a friend who cried with me and I got in some good DeOrro (my horse) therapy. He lets me hug him all the time and I would credit him as getting me through a lot of this (of course after God!). Glen was even more overwhelmed when I got home. In fact I’ve never seen him so overwhelmed to the point of panic. I hugged him and we cried again. The details of payment to Issels – such a huge sum of money; the details of the flight, of where we will stay in Santa Barbara, etc, etc…it all got the better of him and he was not doing well. Again, this was not about any of the above even though that was certainly the straw that broke the camels back. The stress of the last three almost four years has been intense so he is allowed to break down. I give him grace. I give me grace. Because God gives us grace.
I digress…but really we haven’t done much else here in Tijuana. We spend a lot of time waiting for Glen’s blood to “culture and be trained to fight”. We spent time searching for a deck of cards, which brought a laugh. We really needed to learn some Spanish! I followed a lady who I asked where I could buy a deck of cards. It took awhile for her to understand me so I typed it into my translator app on my phone (my goodness travelling is easier these days with nice apps like that!) and showed her that I wanted to buy a deck of cards. She spoke very fast Spanish to the pharmacy lady so I stood there as they talked back and forth for a few minutes. Then the lady looked at me and said, “Come.” Uh…ok…. Where? I followed her through the hospital to the front where she spoke with both the guards, again in very fast Spanish. I said, “It’s ok!” They weren’t listening nor comprehending. They led me back into the hospital to the public relations people (whom I had already asked about a deck of cards). We ended up with Goudala. Victor said yesterday, “We have a saying here in the hospital. If you want something done go to Goudala.” This made me laugh because Goudala was all over it. It must be the German in her… “I will make sure you get a deck of cards!” I believe her. That was yesterday. Still no deck of cards… But when I arrived back from my massage to try to fix my very painful shoulder Goudala was in our room saying to Glen, “I will make sure I get you that deck of cards!” It was quite funny. A few moments later the public relations gal arrived in our room with board games. Love it!
Tomorrow we get to give Glen the IV that will save his life! May God bless these treatments and fill Glen’s blood with His own already spilled blood and breathe new life into my beloved.