This letter highlights the major components of my treatment in Mexico.

The Never Ending Day of Treatment

May 16, 2014

Subject: treatment update

Hi Dr. Brian [my light touch chiropractor],

Treatment has been a little bit of a roller coaster ride. My brother came at the perfect time, as there were many issues that needed to be addressed.

Immunotherapy has begun. They drew blood from my body through the ports they had surgically implanted into my neck. [These ports were implanted so that fluids could easily be removed or added to my body. These fluids include blood, medications, and the daily nutritional infusions. This way we do not have to depend on my veins to do all the work.] The blood they withdrew was used to isolate some of my immune cells. They modified or matured these cells to make vaccines which are then injected back into my body. The purpose of these vaccines is to help activate my immune system and improve its function. It does this by helping my immune cells recognize the cancer and also by helping my immune cells work as a team to kill the cancer. The technology is very sophisticated, way above my level. [For some general info, you can view Dr. Perez’s YouTube video. Dr. Perez is the director of the Angeles Oncology unit in Tijuana where I received my treatment. You can also view my video blog Back from Mexico. ]

These immunotherapy vaccines are injected into my thigh. I will receive 5 of these injections. I usually experience a high fever after each shot. After my third injection, my fever rose so high that they had to call a team of doctors and nurses into my hospital room to try to get my fever down. I was shivering with such intensity that my body was convulsing—contracting and releasing in sharp, cutting movement. The doctors gave me a shot (I don’t know what it was) and put icepacks on my forehead, neck and feet and my fever dropped in about 10 minutes. The shots also cause swelling at the injection site, so they alternate thighs to give the injection sites more time to recover.

While immunotherapy is the main treatment provided here, they offer many complimentary treatments as well. Today I was scheduled to receive ozone therapy.  It is a treatment where oxygen is added to my blood. They remove blood from one of the two ports in my neck, they add hydrogen peroxide to it, and then they put the blood back in my body through the other port. The goal is to add oxygen to 90% of my blood so it is a slow incremental process that takes about three hours.

When the doctors began my ozone therapy treatment, they had problems with one of the ports in my neck. They could not get a smooth outtake flow. After two hours of trying, they decided my ports were not positioned properly and needed to be adjusted which meant ANOTHER SURGERY!! The doctors would have to take out my current ports in my neck and put some new ones in, in a position that would hopefully provide a better in-flow and out-flow of my blood. So I was sent down to preop to prepare for this surgery. The surgery was supposed to take a few minutes and ended up taking two hours. When I complained that my neck hurt afterward, the doctor told me they had my neck in an awkward position during the surgery.

After this long-drawn-out surgery, I was sent back to the treatment room to resume the ozone therapy. Treatment was supposed to begin at 9:00 am and now it was 3:30 pm. My ports did work more efficiently but when the three hour treatment was over, I was beyond exhausted. In addition to the ozone therapy, I was also scheduled to receive hyperthermia treatment, but I refused the treatment due to my exhaustion. [Hyperthermia is a cancer treatment that uses heat to raise body temperature. It can be used with conventional treatments as well as with alternative treatments. Ultimately I was not able to receive hyperthermia because the radiation treatment I had when I was first diagnosed with breast cancer left me highly sensitive to heat. Also, the treatment was given in a tightly enclosed space that triggered feelings of claustrophobia.]

The last component of my treatment program is infusions. Infusions are treatments that are delivered through an IV bag that is connected to one of my ports. Some of the infusions provide nutritional support, other infusions support my immune system, and some of the infusions are anti-cancer treatments. Tonight I was scheduled to receive an eight hour nutritional infusion while I slept. I refused that treatment as well. The doctor says I need to be a partner in my treatment, so I told him if he wants me to be a partner in my treatment, then he needs to listen to my body, and my body was saying, “TOO MUCH.” When I get infusions during the night, I can’t sleep, because the infusions are fluid, so I wake up every hour to pee. Infusions don’t hurt. However, I am hooked up to a bag and a pole, so I can’t move freely and I have tubes attaching me from my neck to the infusion bag, so it feels slightly irritating to have my movement restricted.

As I type these last words, I collapse into my bed, my body limp and drained. It has been a long day, but the sun will still rise tomorrow and it will be a fresh beginning.



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