Monday, June 23, 2008

Guinea Pig Updates

Last week was a rather long and grueling week. I apologize for not updating and letting you know how the trial has been going.

Where to begin...where to begin....

First, I will begin by thanking all of you for the prayers that have provided this amazing opportunity. As the days have passed, I am learning more and more how fortunate I am to be involved in this trial. There are many, many people requesting to be a test subject. Fortunately for me, unfortunately for others, the criteria is very strict and CTCA must be very selective when accepting their candidates.

The first week of the trial was rather grueling, which helps me understand why they are so selective. Candidates must be healthy (well, as healthy as you can be with Stage IV cancer!) Having gone through my cleanse and clearing the toxins out of my body has assisted me greatly with my energy levels.

My days begin at 5:45 a.m. to get to CTCA by 7:30 a.m., as the commute is about 45 minutes. The first thing we do upon my arrival is vitals, urine and blood tests. They are required to test my kidney's, liver and other blood levels. Once that is approved...the infusion is a go! The infusion generally starts at about 10:00 a.m.

During the infusion, my vitals are checked every 15 minutes, including constant monitoring of an EKG machine that sends signals to the intensive care unit via satellite. I have been keeping ICU very busy, as we have learned through this that I am bradycardia ( Evidently monitors are going off in that department as if I am code blue many times throughout the day.

So...the infusion begins. After a bit of time thirst begins. Along with a 1500cc IV bag, I am drinking about a gallon of water during a 2 hour period. I don't need to tell you what happens when the body is saturated with fluids. So, before I know it, I am signaling to my nurse that I need privacy for a the portable potty, as I am not able to move too far from my bed, as I am hooked up to monitors. Urinating every fifteen minutes gets very old.

Last week the days were very long. Monday I was in the center from 7:30 a.m. until about 5:00 the next day....constant monitoring and very little sleep. Thursday required that I have several blood tests, at various intervals, the last being 11:00 p.m. That had me settling in my bed at Basia's at about 12:30 a.m. I don't know about you...but for me, that's a very long day!

Earlier in the week, Dick and I decided I needed to fly home for the weekend. I arrived in Minneapolis at about 4:30 p.m. Friday afternoon. When I saw my bedroom, I dived for the bed and stayed there until about 9:00 a.m. There is nothing like your own bed!

This week and next will be a bit less intense. My days will last until about 2:00 p.m. and then I will free to do as I wish.

There is really not much else for updates. Boring...I know. The big results will come at the end of the 4th week. Dick and I plan to spend that weekend in Chicago. We have a hotel booked on Michigan Avenue with the plan to celebrate and rejoice in good news.

The most difficult part of this journey has been being away from Dick and Eileen (and Bert). Vacations are one thing. Being away under these circumstances, one finds themselves in need of comfort, hugs and familiar surroundings.

Thank you so much for your continued prayers and support. You are all my hero's!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Official Test Subject

Thought I would take the opportunity to post an update. I am currently resting in my hospital room at Cancer Treatment Centers of America. Today was my first full vitamin C infusion. The procedure went well. Notice I didn't describe it as 'very' well. There were a few very tolerable side effects. One of them was being sick to my stomach. I don't care for that so much. Tomorrow's infusion will be better as they will adjust certain dosages. Hey...I'm a breathing petri dish in a Phase I trial. These things are going to happen.

My diagnostic testing last week returned good results! I am very happy and relieved to report that there has not been significant tumor growth in my right lung. That is a reason to celebrate in itself. The best news is that my scans showed that these tumors are still just hangin' in my right lung. No migrating to other organs!!! YES!!!!

One concern I had during all of my testing was that my blood counts or kidney function might cause me to be ineligible for the the trial. More good news....I am a very, very healthy specimen. As I was educating myself on this specific trial, I found a website describing the individuals involved in this trial as 'one foot in the grave and the other foot on a banana peel'. How dare they!!! I'm very far from that, thank you very much!

My days over the next four weeks will be very busy. I am required to be at the hospital every Monday through Friday at 7:30 a.m. My infusions and observation take place until about 2:00 p.m. daily, with the exception of Friday (they let me go early on Friday's). After that I have a rigorous schedule of acupuncture, massage, reiki, massage and more massage. Hey somebody has to do it!!

My dear friend, Basia, lives about 45 minutes from CTCA and is providing a relaxing and comfortable environment in her home. She even has a sweet puppy that enjoys sitting in my lap (sorry Bert!). A home away from home. We juice and create healthy food concoctions together. We're having fun getting healthier as we learn. Thank you, Basia. Your gift of hospitality and friendship will be forever appreciated.

There's the update. I am an official test subject. It's hard to believe sometimes. Me...the girl from Zion, could be setting the course for future cancer treatment. Cool, eh?

Here's the deal. I'll keep the positive keep those wonderful prayers coming. Good things are bound to happen.

My love to all of you.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Of all things....Vitamin C!

The headlines are going to read 'Woman Returns Home For Cancer Cure!'

Oh...sorry...I should probably explain the latest and greatest news!!!! I am going to be a human guinea pig. A living petri dish. A very lucky test subject!!!!

Last Saturday morning I was exploring various cancer treatment center websites for clinical trials. My search brought me to Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Zion, Illinois. I checked out their trials and found 'Clinical Trial of Intravenous Vitamin C for Cancer Treatment Underway'. Not only is it underway, but they are seeking test subjects. CTCA's first ever FDA approved clinical trial.

I made contact with CTCA that very moment. Wrote, in detail, my current plight. I said a prayer when I hit the send button; 'Please, Lord, guide this to the proper hands'. That person responded to me on Monday. Tuesday and Wednesday began a flurry of phone communications. Today, I was told I was accepted. Amen!

Things have happened very quickly. I report at 8:45 a.m. next Wednesday. The first day will be diagnostics. Thursday I meet with the head of the program, Dr. Robert Levin. We proceed from there. It will require four days of infusions for four weeks.

Maybe I should explain the meaning of Zion, Illinois to some of you just getting to know me. Zion is my home town. I was born and raised there. Grade school, high school, my first kiss.... Yup....Zion.

Anyone that knows me, knows I am a 'Google' nut. I've been doing my research on the Vitamin C subject. This, quite frankly, sounds God-Sent and amazing! This Phase I trial holds great promise!

A good friend has already shared a personal story of a local woman here in Minnesota. She was in late stages of cancer. Advised by her doctor that she had about one month to live. She chose to investigate an alternative therapy....Vitamin C infusions. She is now enjoying her forth year of remission! There are many, many more reports with similar outcomes.

When I was told in April that I was not a surgical candidate and I no longer had other viable treatment options, I felt I was being told I had a limited future. At the same time, I also remember telling myself there was a reason I didn't have those options. I allowed my faith to carry me. It has carried me through so much. Faith has now brought me to this place. I am whole and healthy....and ready to kick some butt with Vitamin C of all things!

Your prayers have indeed been working! Thank you for being with me and believing!

This story should be for my friend Montel Williams. Unfortunately, his show is no longer airing. Oprah... I have a great story to share with you. Care to listen?