November 8, 2015

A little this and a little that.

As my mind continues to bring memories back, I have been reminded of some funny moments that I would like to share along with a quick health update.

Flight from Portland to Houston:
Leslie and I were so excited to experience traveling first class, in style. It was early in the morning when our flight was departing but our excitement fueled our alertness. As we boarded the plane, we noticed people were sitting in our seats. We both looked at our tickets to make sure we were on track – you know that quick panic prior to settling into the correct seat. For a moment, I thought perhaps we really did not have first class tickets – as though it was too good to be true. The flight attendant began talking with the seated traveling companions; they presented their tickets noting Row 22! As they relocated, there was some mumbling about traveling and airplanes. Leslie and I chuckled a bit, perhaps they thought they were flying Southwest, grab any seat you can! Thankfully our seats where reclaimed by its assigned owners – Leslie and I.

Flight from Houston to Portland:
I so want to share a story, but again Leslie would never speak to me; let’s just say there was quite a bit of chaos prior to boarding. As we settled in we were both sweating like freaks! I grabbed an ice pack and handed it to Leslie – she then quickly ordered an adult beverage and I took a Xanax.  Life was good. As the flight proceeded, I began having hot flashes, I was waving my church lady fan rapidly to gain some comfort as the sweat rolled off the back of my baldhead. A woman sitting across the aisle from us stood up and grabbed a portable fan out of her bag and handed it to me. THANK YOU! Nearing the end of the flight, I returned it to her – then shortly after I had to break out my hand held fan – I was hot flashing again. The lovely woman grabbed her fan and handed it back insisting that I keep it noting, “I have been there before”.  Awe, it’s about the little things…compassionate people, fans, and fresh air.

Hair falling out and hair coming in:
Of course, my hair fell out; I have been down this road before. What is new this time is that all my eyebrows and eyelashes fell out too! My first go around with chemotherapy in 2011 thinned my brows and eyelashes, but this time it claimed them all. I know my hair is growing back; I am kind of “fuzzy” right now. What I was not expecting was the resurgence of facial hair. All those years and money spent on electrolysis and laser hair removal treatments – washed away. The man hairs on my chin and upper lip are coming back strong, long, dark, and coarse! What the heck? My eyebrows are equally as wild, circa 1980s. I was so self-conscious about my eyebrows I went to the salon to have them waxed down a bit. While at the salon, I learned how to apply false eyelashes – that’s a bit tricky but I am getting better at applying them each day. Hair is clearly on my mind, I had a dream the other night that within a matter of hours my pubic hair grew back in full force! LOL This hair growing back thing is like something out of National Geographic deep jungle addition; I am bracing myself for the impending grow back on all areas of the body. Where is the bright spot, well I am counting on my hair growing back curly, just like last time. I know the curls will eventually leave, but they are super awesome for growing your hair back. Please, please, please, bring back the curly hair!

What’s new and what’s next:
After about 15 days on my new supplements (protocol), I had my blood drawn to check my tumor marker counts – the good news is that everything is holding steady for the moment! I am thrilled about this, yet the reality of the doctor’s diagnosis sits in the shadows of my joy. My increased energy has allowed me to resume researching clinics outside the US that offer treatments not available in the states. I found a clinic in Frankfurt, Germany offering several modalities I have used along with others I have researched and wanted to undergo – like stem cell and oxygen treatments. For now, I am excited about my bloodwork, increased energy, and possibilities to regain health in Germany. Time will tell what the next steps will be for me to continue a healing path.  

Cape Kiwanda Rock Cliffs - where true beauty unfolds.
I really wish I could go back to work but I know that my journey right now is to take care of myself and hopefully experience a healing miracle. I have been spending time with friends and family on the days I have energy and just hanging out at home when my body tells me to rest. This current space is a difficult one to sit in, for both Curtis and I. At times, we both become overwhelmed with emotions – it is not easy. The tears flow more often and sometimes comes without notice. I am determined to beat the odds and return to full health. I appreciate everyone that continues to support my family, send prayers, and positive healing thoughts my direction. There is a saying that one quickly learns who your real friends are when there is a challenge or tragedy – they are the ones that show-up. I am truly blessed to have so many people rooting for a healing miracle and loving on my family. Thank you for being a part of my journey! I enjoy those that continue to send letters – I enjoy writing, as it is very cathartic. I too am getting to know people on a deeper level along with cultivating new friendships. So keep writing – I send a handwritten response to everyone.

Send letters to:
Christina Garrett
PO Box 192
Philomath, OR 97370

Today, I am hopeful~