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February 27, 2016

Saturday February 27, 2016

The following video was made special for Ms. Jeskey's class at Trost Elemenetary School in Canby, Oregon but I wanted to share with all! Enjoy~

Video Of The Day: https://youtu.be/Ls9lVQQ-as0

Today was amazingly sunny, not a cloud in the sky; it was gorgeous although quite chilly. Curtis and I set out to explore the city a bit more. After walking to Starbucks in the center of town I spotted a small boutique with sunglasses in the front of the shop. As I began to try on glasses, I realized I was placing the "maybe" sunglasses atop umbrellas! Yippee, I accidentally stumbled upon the one item we were looking for over the past several days. It was delightful in this small shop, the cashier spoke English, always a plus, and she was smiling, friendly, and complimentary; we even receive 30% off our purchase. We were told we were only about five minutes from the river that runs through the center of Frankfurt; Curtis and I set our sites on finding the river walk. It was lovely and absent a concrete barrier wall blocking one from falling in, we were right there beside the river. Although very chilly, we were able to optimize the heat from the sun as we basked in its rays. These are several photos we took during our adventures.


We had a great day exploring. We returned to the flat after several hours, my stamina is not what it used to be, but this is okay. We finished our outing with a stop at the local equivalent of  WholeFoods too purchase local cheese, honey, nuts, and vegetables for juicing. Upon returning I tidied up the flat and positioned myself in a chair by the large floor to ceiling opened window so the sun could blaze down on me - there is a slight breeze; it feels grand!

After relaxing for an hour or so, Curtis decided he wanted to go back out walking and look around the mall at an electronics store. Initially I was going to stay back but decided to put my boots back on and join him. Holy busy city center. It was amazingly crowded - I imagine this is how New York may feel, but worse. What is clear is that this little country girl is not into big city living. Along our walk I was able to take a couple videos.

This is of a local street performer, okay, I know it says "no video" but I had started already. This guy had quite the contraption for entertaining. https://youtu.be/s5mtiFB3lJk

This is a video of me in the city center - it was wild and crowded. Did I mention the number of smokers in this city; there are way too many! https://youtu.be/xQUFrXRUD4M

Looking forward to relaxing tomorrow. Today I am hopeful~

February 26, 2016

Wrapping up the first week of treatment~

This photo was of the amazing sunrise this morning February 26.

This week flew by quickly and as I sit in my flat tonight, I am longing for the remainder of the three weeks to pass equally as rapid. If I were to pinpoint the single most difficult thing in being away from home in this foreign land, it is holding tight the my authentically positive and hopeful self. While this is a gross generalization, the people of Frankfurt are a stoic, unhappy, and perhaps repressed people. My soul and personal energy is very sensitive to others energy; I often need that safe place of my own to retreat in order to recharge and protect myself. This week has been a struggle on many fronts, may it be the culture, language barrier, tiny baby veins, shots, hyperthermia treatment, non American sheets, unfriendly faces, unknown food choices, terminal illness, and an array of other things. There too have been many high points - but first, I need to release a frustration that has been cultivating inside all week.

There is a disconnect between the clinic and the patients, outside the clinic. While the clinic is moving rapidly to make changes to meet the needs of the patients, the bumps that Curtis and I have encountered during our first week here is not uncommon to the patients of the clinic. It was quite lovely to be approached by Lisa, the quality control person with the clinic early this week to sort out some of the challenges Curtis and I encountered outside the clinic. I believe that the clinic strives to support the patients as best possible, even outside the clinic. I too know that patients sharing their experiences will enrich future treatment and clinic protocols for patients. Yes I know I am a therapist, I like to help people but I too am a huge advocate. I feel called to advocate on behalf of all Infusio patients.

Real talk - we all paid a lot of money to find healing in Germany. Most patients traveled many hours and miles to find healing. Our bodies are sick and weakened - we are not on vacation. Cancer patients are provided a package price (US$28,155) that includes an apartment during the month long treatment - our flat costs approximately 1300 euros. This is not a hotel. In the Couva Apartments, where I am staying, there is one cleaning service during the month. There is no towel or linen service, you wash your own. You purchase your own toilet paper, paper towels, toiletries, laundry soap, etc. While we knew we would be staying in a flat, we were unaware of the lack of typical American amenities. Additionally, keys work a bit different, laundry takes about 4-hours per load, bedding is different, and much more. Prior to arriving, it would be helpful for patients to understand what they are getting into. What may be typical in Germany, may not be the same in America, Philippines, or Egypt. It will be worth while for the clinic to continue to generate a list of helpful tidbits to share with patients prior to traveling. Equally, upon arrival to have a tour of the living facility and a concrete number the patients can call when trouble may arise. For example, we were unable to access our building when the front door lock failed, building manager not answering his phone. Ironically, it was during a "how to in Germany" video I was making. Curtis and I were fortunate to have another occupant of the building advise us of a side door entry. Later that day, the building posted a sign noting the lock was broke. Or when we blew a fuse in our flat and had to figure out where the fuse box was to flip the switch back on. It really is about the little things, but these add up to big things. Remember, most that travel to Infusio in Germany have a terminal or chronic illnesses - we are not operating at a 100% we require an extra little bit of care even outside the clinic. I am fortunate that my husband is traveling alongside me, but that is not the case for all patients; some have been here for weeks without a companion. I understand how it is to navigate life during health. I too understand how it is to navigate life during illness - we must be sensitive the needs of those who do not have full health.

As I mentioned earlier, Infusio is taking note of patient struggles and rapidly moving to make adjustments along the way. They are an amazing group of individuals who provide a compassionate, loving, and healing environment to walk into each day. While at the clinic, most of the patients I met have been touched by cancer - we are all seeking treatment to extend our lives while bringing comfort, healing, and peace to our bodies and souls. Our bodies may be weakened by the cancer that infiltrates - but our spirit is strong. We are a tough bunch. A resilient people. We crave health. We are filled with hope. Making the best of each moment, that is how we roll as a people.


There are many high points this week, the most stand out high point is that Curtis is with me in Germany. Although I travel to the clinic with other patients, he is waiting for me each day as I return. I cannot imagine being here without him - I need to fall into his arms each day. He takes care of me. Comforts me during my emotional and physical pain. He runs errands for me. Get's me food. Walks with me. I am very fortunate to have such a devoted husband. Other highlights, I made it through my first week despite challenges that came in varying sizes and shapes. My veins held, allowing for infusions and my treatments at the clinic were lovingly delivered. I have been able to navigate this cultural adjustment to add supports while adjusting my environment to support health and healing.

I am proud of myself! I am so far outside my comfort zone and yet I am learning and growing each day. Although I may stumble a bit, I find my footing, adorn my face with a smile, and keep moving forward. I want all my friends, family, and supporters to know that I draw strength from each of you to continue to move forward filled with hope.

Today, I am hopeful~




February 25, 2016

Thursday: February 25, 2016


I slept very well last night with my new American sheet, extra pillows, clean bedding, and IV free. The large window of the flat slightly cracked with a stationary fan positioned in front circulating the fresh air throughout the flat. Awe, it was divine. I awoke to a blue sky with the sun shining brightly upon the ice kissed rooftops. I knew, today was going to be a day I fancied.

Two patients and myself waited outside our apartment building for our driver Marc, with Infusio - our treatment clinic. He was a bit late due to unforeseen traffic. The ladies and I chatted about the important things such as grey hair, our flats, and my fuzzy face. Annette and Violetta are the two other patients staying in the same building as I. Annette has been a hairdresser for over 30 years, she had given Violetta a haircut last evening - it looked quite lovely. We stood outside a bit chilled but basking in the sun, Annette made mention of my facial fuzz and let me know she would show me how to do threading to remove the unwanted facial fuzz. Enough of the fuzzy face - hopefully.

Treatment started late today at 10:00 am so I was able to sleep in a bit - it felt fantastic. Scheduled today was three infusions, homopathic shot (delivered through the IV), Thymus shot in the behind, and a body work treatment. Upon arriving, I knew there was a new IV to be inserted, in hindsight, I could have taken a Xanax and morphine prior to the IV insertion; I was pretty anxious about getting the IV. Nadine, the IV queen prepared my arm for the needle with a hot water glove to warm to area and it went into my tiny vein, without a problem. However, as I looked down, there was blood going up the tubing; I was alarmed. What I did not realize, this was the Ozone therapy where they remove my blood, infuse it with ozone and then reinsert the infused blood back into my body. My blood was coming out extremely slow and we were not sure if enough would come out to make the treatment successful. Fortunately, there was just enough blood gathered to successfully complete the infusion process. The patient beside me was having the same treatment but his veins provided generous blood nearly immediately! I have vein envy. My small veins are a bit concerning, I need to be able to have an IV inserted twice weekly in order to have the infusions - I do not want to have to go to the hospital to have a central line installed. Please pray that my veins will be plump and receiving of the IVs when needed.

I was able to meet Dr. Battiade in person today, he and I spoke of successful outcomes for other patients with TNBC. One in particular presented with TNBC- the cancer had traveled to her bones too - she is still living five years post treatment with Infusio. This information provided a bit more of a hopeful boost. Today went by very fast, before I knew it, the time was 2:30 pm and I was ready to return to my flat for the day.

Upon returning, Curtis and I went for a little walk, had a bite to eat, and purchased a few flowers for the flat. I just love that we can walk a half block and have access to wonderful local boutiques, organic market, eateries, and flower shops. Now I have mini daffodils and fragrant Hyacinths adorning my living space. Life is good. It is about the little things.

 

I can't believe I have nearly completed one week of treatment already! I am counting on the remainder of the time to continue to fly by quickly so I can return home. I miss my son Jackson, my puppy Junior, familiar surroundings, and my friends and family. I am looking forward to resting for the remainder of the evening. Keep sending those prayers, healing thoughts, and positive energy my direction. 

Today, I am hopeful~

February 24, 2016

Wednesday: February 24, 2016

Video of the day: https://youtu.be/DjCgPqhzFxI



Last night I slept the best ever since arriving in Germany. I did however, suffer extreme night sweats requiring me to change my clothes, flip pillows over, and turn over the duvet cover. The clinic provided transportation to and from the clinic, so no taxi stories to share this time. The good news is that tonight I am IV free however; the IV saga did not go as planned.  About halfway into my infusions today, I could tell my vein was so over being used as a transportation system for outside fluids. I have been dreaming of having the IV out for a night so the clinic nurse and I compromised and I had a small IV inserted into the back of my left hand, just for the day. Tomorrow we shall search for a new and hopefully plumper vein, in my left arm, to use for Thursday and Friday's infusions. I am starting to feel as though my body needs to start resting more. I often fall asleep for 15-20 minutes at least once during my treatment sessions. The shots in the backside turn out to be no big deal, really - especially compared to IV insertion.


I spoke with the facility MD today regarding my prognosis and there are not a lot of answers other than better than the 6-months you were given in the US. I will take every day of healthy quality life I can get. Each individual that learns I have a terminal 6-month diagnosis, just does not get it "you look so good and vibrant". I remain steadfast that this treatment will allow my body to come back into balance and become healthy again. I too understand that long-term, meaning 6 months out, in my world, is too far to project. I must simply focus on today and live each day as though it were my last. But you know, I believe this is the approach all could choose to live.

I was filled with joy to receive a text from Curtis today, with an accompanying photograph announcing he had found and purchased an American fitted sheet and a twin top sheet for my side of the bed - German's apparently do not use top sheets, so this is a great find. He too purchased a robe for me to wear around our flat. Creature comforts are coming forward and are so needed. With our new sheets and current weirdo bedding in hand, we headed to the basement of the building to do a load of laundry. Laundry in Germany is NOT easy! It is long and wrinkly. The wash cycle lasted nearly two hours as did the drying process - 4 hours to do one load of laundry. The dryers are called "steam dryers" they are said to be eco and bring on the wrinkles friendly!! No joke - crazy wrinkles. I will place two loads in the washer prior to leaving for the clinic tomorrow, I fear I shall return to a wrinkled mess. I chose to sort out a few pieces I typically wash on delicate and hang to dry, I am going to give the local dry cleaner a try at this small load, if for nothing else, to acquire some additional hangers - we only have been provided about 7.

I am pretty pooped and ready to lay down and enjoy my new bedding, relax, and sleep IV port free for the night! Yippee.

Today, I am hopeful~


February 23, 2016

Tuesday: February 23, 2016

Today was my second day of treatment. I awoke early again with lots on my mind; today I was in a much better space. I was eager to get to the clinic; I was scheduled to ride a pre-ordered taxi with another patient at 8:15 am. A little after 8:00 I saw the taxi waiting so I headed down only to find the taxi was gone. I decided to catch another taxi. Mind you, this is only the second time I have taken a taxi. I jumped in the front seat, gave the driver the address, and presented a credit card voucher provided by the clinic. The taxi driver drove about a half block, started speaking aggressively in German, from what I gathered the driver would not accept the voucher so I told him I would just pay. He took 5 euros from me and began driving as he muttered in German, clearly pissed off. Next thing I know, we have gone about 4 blocks and we are sitting in front of the Weston Hotel. He then ordered me out of the taxi. I looked at him and said "really, you no take me?" (purposefully leaving out extra words) He was serious! He kicked me out of the taxi and drove off. There I stood in front of the Weston Hotel, it was lightly snowing; there I stood looking around confused while trying not to burst into tears. I approached a cab sitting out front, I held up the card asking "you take" the taxi driver barked "no". I entered the hotel, approaching a smiling German face asking English? She said, "of course"! I explained what happened as I held back my tears, the manager then joined the conversation. The manager called for another taxi and explained that some drivers will not take vouchers. I arrived to the clinic visibly shaken as I recount my morning taxi troubles. Thankfully I was greeted with understanding and compassion.

My IV site was flushed and it was in good working order and not as tender as the day before so my first infusion was attached. As I settled in I began talking with another American at the clinic, she is in the last week of her month long treatment. It was good to speak, hear and be understood while speaking 100% English with someone other than Curtis. The clinic brings all the patients a glass of fresh juiced vegetables, nettle tea, and crystal infused water. For lunch, they serve bone broth soup that contains a bit of chicken and fresh herbs. All of my infusions went smoothly and we decided to leave the current IV site in for Wednesdays infusions. IV sites must be changed every 2-3 days and to preserve my veins I am thankful the current one is tolerable for another day.

My anxiety flared easily today. It was ironic, I found myself teaching Ayurvedic and energetic anxiety calming techniques to other patients. During this, the MD asked me, because I am a therapist,  if I was familiar with "tapping" techniques. I expressed that I was. It was in that moment of teaching, with the gentle nudge of the MD, that I realized I needed to be using these techniques for myself! It was quite hilarious that I was teaching but failing to apply. Sometimes we need to be reminded to heed our own shared knowledge. My daily shot in the backside went fine, it actually hurt a lot less than an IV placement.

On the taxi ride back to my flat, the friendly smiling driver spoke in understandable English. By the way, I sat in the back seat this time! The driver spoke of "this free America is no true - you here at clinic with lots of American's...is this freedom? No, I not think!" I enjoyed his expressed perspective, how could I not agree - here I am in Germany accessing cancer treatment that I am bared from having in the USA despite years of successful treatment outcomes. I departed the taxi with a "chow" - Germans sign off with "cheers" or "chow". I am expanding my German verbiage a bit. I too am using Google Translator to talk to Germans, this is helpful.

Tonight, after taking a hot soak, I noticed a developing rash from the tape that holds down the IV overnight- where it was removed this morning. I brought some Benedryl to Germany so I took a dose and it looks as though the tapeline rash is subsiding.

I am in good spirits and looking forward to purchasing American bedding this weekend! Please continue sending prayers, positive energy, and healing thoughts my direction. I love that I have so much support and encouragement.

Rebel With A Cause
The Nielsen family has started an aftercare fundraising event where each $10 donation gets your name entered into a drawing for a beautiful quilt made by Lisa Nielsen.


Ways to Donate:


Preferred way to Donate by Mail: 
Christina Garrett
PO Box 192
Philomath, Oregon 97370



Selco Credit Union Direct Deposit:
"Team Christina"

Today, I am hopeful

Monday: February 22, 2016



My first day of treatment lasted longer than expected and I returned home to my flat exhausted, cranky, defeated, and emotionally raw. Below is what I posted on FB - I was physically and emotionally unable to blog last night. I am leaving yesterday as it is. 

Minor emotional meltdown tonight. In short, I'm uncomfortable! I have an IV in my arm that is a small vein, causing pain if I move wrong and the infusions had to be slow dripped today due to pain/pressure - baby vein problems. 

Night sweats.
Hot sweats.
Weirdo German bedding.
No fan to circulate air. 

I could go on, but it all comes back to, I'm uncomfortable. So, after a long over due cry and a foot rub from Curtis, we made a plan. We reworked some things in the flat, plan to purchase some American bedding and find a fan. As for the IV, after tomorrow's infusions I will have it removed and find a new vein Wednesday. The IV's can only stay in for 2-3 days then have to relocate anyway. Mitigating my discomfort one baby step at a time.

Oh and the icing on the cake, I learned I get a shot in the behind every day for two weeks then every other day after that. Still teary but good; heading to bed. Send prayers, positive energy, and healing thoughts my direction.

Today, I am hopeful~

February 21, 2016

Sunday February 21, 2016

I was able to FaceTime with Jackson and Junior for a bit last night, that was nice. Our little puppy Junior was very confused by the entire event! We fell asleep around 12:00 last night and did not awake until 10:30 am. Still catching up on missed sleep and adjusting to the time change. I am feeling a great deal of excitement mixed with anxiety for the first day of my treatment to start Monday. I have a good feeling about this treatment and am hopeful that I will continue to have increased energy rather than feeling ill again.

Video of the day: https://youtu.be/WOGphiRSMKw

Sharing several photos taken from our roof top flat and along our walk to the center of town.



 


This was taken in a doorway to a business located along the cobblestone walkway. The area we are staying in has a dense population - housing is located above all storefronts. Although a bit windy today, the weather was warmer than it has been, around 54 degrees. There were many individuals out and about walking around. I was delighted to hear an English speaking family walking behind us today. The dad made a remark to his wife about someone being inebriated; the young child 5 or 6 years old asked what that meant - the dad replied when you drink too much or use drugs. While it may strike you as a mundane conversation - nothing special, to me it was refreshing to understand the mutterings that were occurring in my surroundings. I know I have spoke of the German people that we have encountered thus far as presenting as repressed and unfriendly. Another observation is that the number of smokers is incredibly high. There are discarded cigarettes all over the ground - it just smells like cigarette smoke nearly everywhere you go. I mean smoke if you may, but discard your cigarettes somewhere other than the beautiful cobblestone walkway.

Many know that I do not fancy being in large groups, tight spaces, or underground. Well, today I took the first step toward taking the underground transportation. Curtis and I jumped on the escalator to the underground train. However, we did not see a train but we did find an underground city. There were restaurants and shops. We only went about one city block underground and that was enough for me. Apparently the train is down another level underground - holy yikes. I have lots of time to continue to try new things and move outside my comfort zone.

Please send unlimited prayers, healing thoughts, and positive energy as I delve into this last chance breast cancer treatment. I hope everyone feels as though they are right here with me in Germany between photographs, videos, and my writings - I need you all and your support in order to continue walking this journey with grace.

Today, I am hopeful~

February 20, 2016

Saturday, February 20, 2016: First full day in Frankfurt

When we first arrived to our apartment, I used white sage to sage the entire space in an effort to clear negative energy, this apparently was only phase one of the clearing.  Late last night we were very tired from our travels, we decided to settle down early and we fell asleep around 9:30 pm. However, we both awoke around 11:30 pm and both of us thought it was morning – we were shocked to learn we had only slept a couple hours! I was recounting some odd dreams I was having, the setting was not in America, not sure if it was Germany, but all the dreams played out in a countryside setting and we spoke with accents of some sort. The dreams were disturbing – I found myself trying to protect children from brutality at every turn.  When I awoke, I grabbed the white sage and re-saged the apartment.  These dreams make me wonder about area we are staying, what the history of this building and the surrounding area may be – was I experiencing events of past days? I decided to shifted my mind to Corvallis and how my kids were doing; I exchanged a couple texts with them, learning all is well back in Corvallis. We were able to go back to sleep after taking a sleep aid – we are making efforts to get on German time, they are 9 hours ahead of pacific standard time. I awoke again around 6:00 am and texted with the kids again and went back to sleep. Later, I thought I heard someone knocking loudly on our door, but I continued to sleep and then a short-time later checked the time, it was 10:10 am. Excitedly, I woke Curtis and told him we had to get-up if we want to successfully get on German time. We slowly made our way to the shower and readied ourselves for the day. We emerged from our dwelling after making my first German “How to in Germany” videos. The video took two takes – I really cracked myself up doing the videos. 

How to in Germany Video Series:
Video #1 *take one https://youtu.be/iQZ8xraLlWw
Video #1 *take two https://youtu.be/t44hgNNK0GY

We then made our way over to the market. What stood out to this American, the cashiers sit at checkout, they do not stand! During our visit we stumbled around using our Google Translate app, it was clear we were foreigners. Thus far, the German people have not been a friendly people – they keep their heads down and focused on whatever they are doing, no time for excuse me, a smile, or an offer of assistance. Nevertheless, we find ourselves asking lots of questions - both parties trying to fill the language barrier. Curtis and I were both spent from that little adventure to the market but we pressed on to find something to eat. Close to our dwelling is a Bistro – thinking sandwiches and deli items. There was a menu posted outside the restaurant, in German. We enter and were greeted by a friendly young man, as he spoke German, I immediately began speaking English and was met with English. Yippee. English and a smile. The waiter presented menus, in German of course. I asked for an English menu, they did not have any however (some restaurants have English menus), straight-away, he offered to help. He announced that we were at an Italian restaurant – not what we were expecting but that was okay. I asked about Salmon and he described a salmon dish that sounded delicious; Curtis was given guidance too and chose a caramel tortellini stuffed with salmon. The food was delicious – my goodness I have turned into a foodie over the years.















PC – pre cancer diagnosis, I did not much fancy food and could take it or leave, except for chocolate! However, after my first chemotherapy infusion in 2011, I started loving food. If you read my blog you already know this story: I thought I wrote about it however, a quick glance at some early entries and I did not locate the beginning stages of my love for food. If I remember it correctly, it was several days after my second chemotherapy. Our house in Texas was nearly all packed and ready to move back to Oregon. Curtis and I were lying in bed watching Hell’s Kitchen, the contestants were cooking a salmon dish and I told Curtis I just had to have some blackened salmon along with some chips and salsa. He drove to a restaurant and order just that! While he was away, I drug my fatigued body out of bed, set-up the ironing board on the lowest setting –as my table, and sat in front of it waiting for my food to be delivered. When the food arrived, I strategically set out all my food in front of me and ate every single piece of food – it tasted so wonderful! Curtis was lying in bed watching me eat like he had never seen me eat before; he appeared a bit frightened by the site of me shoveling food feverishly into my mouth. This my friends was the beginning of me loving to eat flavorful delicious food.

Enough about food! We walked back to our apartment to drop-off the groceries and my leftovers then we headed back out in search of an umbrella, it is raining and chilly here. We too were determined to find the nearest Starbucks – this would give us a sense of familiarity. We did not find an umbrella but we did successfully locate Starbucks – it is located in the center of town and only about a 15-20 minute walk. Quick side note, German Starbucks do not accept the IPhone Starbucks payment app but did accept Visa as payment. We lucked out and avoided major downpours. There were two parks along the route and a Chinese Garden; it is supposed to be sunny by Wednesday this week so we will explore more when the weather turns. We made one last attempt to find an allusive umbrella but were unsuccessful we did however; purchase a bouquet of white tulips for the flat. During checkout, I handed the cashier my Visa – the cashier shook her head no and rattled off some German, the gentleman behind us said “welcome to Germany, credit cards are always tough for some reason Germans don’t like Visa…cheers!” 

We returned to our flat after being away for about 4-5 hours in total. When we stopped walking, I realized I had not taken a pain pill in I believe 24hrs, so I took one, followed by a hot soak – I love hot soaks. After relaxing a bit, I cut some vegetables to make a fresh vegetable broth; it will cook down for three hours. Well, there you have it, our first full day in Germany was quite successful. Cheers~

Teaser: Sunday’s “How to” video #2 will be entitled How take a shower in Germany.

Today, I am hopeful~


February 19, 2016

We have arrived in Germany~

Okay so there was a slight moment of panic once boarding the international flight, but not for the reason you may think. I was trying to get my barrings and looking at all the snappy adjustments on the seat. I decided to “try it out” the seat went back and my body started sliding downward as a foot rest appeared, it was a strange type of carnival ride. The other two anxiety provoking situations – the flight attendants waited until the plane was in motion to close the overhead bins; I was overly concerned about them being closed, why, I have no idea, and the last was that my personal item bag with my medications and other goodies was in the overhead bin. Curtis remedied the later as soon as the crew allowed movement within the cabin. The good news is that by the end of the flight, I had mastered all the seat settings.

 The 7-hour layover in Vegas turned out to be just fine and went by quickly, before we knew it, we were boarding the plane bound for Germany. So, as it turns out, I actually have the ability to travel on a 10+ hour flight without my anxiety lifting me out of my chair. Admittedly, this ability to travel may be an isolated event due to being in premium business class with lay down seats, fluffy white pillows, snugly blankets, headphones, free movies, a window seat, hot towel prior to dining, my husband dutifully beside me, free beverages, and LOTS of delicious food.   What was grossly uncomfortable was the language barrier! It was quite funny; I am wearing my mask, so all anyone sees is my eyes – the blank stare of these green eyes when the German rolls off the tongues of the flight attendants. Quickly, they learn that I am English speaking; Curtis on the other hand learned how to say “I don’t speak German” my mouth is still trying to master those sounds!


The amount of food the Condor Airline fed the passengers was crazy! In hind sight, photos would have been even better than a photo of the menu – I will try to remedy this on my flight home. They kept bringing food, rolls, and drinks; when looking at the menu you get a plate with ALL the appetizers, one main course, cheese plate, and desert. Then there are the croissants, breads, and, rolls they continue to try to temp you with. When it came to a beverage, I asked for ginger ale, I was told they do not have that but they do have bitter lemon. In my mind, I was thinking this beverage would be close to ginger ale…it was not! After over-stuffing myself with food, I took some medication and went to sleep. I awoke to the smell of breakfast about six hours later – I chose not to indulge in breakfast, I was still stuffed from dinner. 

Before we knew it, we were landing in Frankfurt, Germany and heading to baggage claim, we were briefly stopped to show our passports, the not so friendly man asked me if I was Arabian, I was a bit puzzled and said no. He then snapped, well I need to see your face – his weird way of asking me to remove my face mask. Now we wait at baggage claim, I was getting concerned that our bags had been forgotten, but alas, they appeared, the last bags to drop on the roundabout. After collecting all our luggage, we connected with our driver who was holding a sign with my name on it.

We drove from the airport to our apartment, the driver noting that Germany is an “ugly city”! He spoke pretty good English, which was a welcome change of pace. He helped us get our bags into our apartment, that is on the top floor, provide rapid instructions on how to use the keys – which is interesting how locks work here, and then he was off. What a relief to find that our apartment was not the one with the large photographs of people on the walls – that would have been too odd. I began to unpack all the bags we traveled with and got us settled in. We were hungry and thought we would take to the streets to find something to eat. Here is the thing, we can’t read a damn thing – it’s all in German – even the prepared food displayed in windows left me unsettled! I was hungry, tired, and cold – it’s really cold over here. It is pretty uncomfortable to not know and understand the language! We ended up going to a place called something Pizza – a word we knew. We sat and watched this older gentleman hand make the most delicious fresh pizza; we asked for it to go. When we arrived back at our apartment, I decided I needed to take a hot soak. If you are wondering, yes, I was eating my pizza while I was soaking in the tub- it felt divine. When I came out, I had my towel wrapped around me. I was standing at the windows enjoying the amazing colors of the sunset when I hear a voice yell out “take it off”! LOL oh boy, the surprise that awaits this young man, under the towel, I am confident he is not prepared to see. I closed the blinds.


Curtis and I are now lying in bed, watching a spot of TV and talking about tomorrow as we plan a  visit to a small local fresh garden market we happened on earlier tonight. I too have my eye on some fresh flowers for the apartment. Still not sure what breakfast, lunch, or dinner will look like tomorrow, but we will have the energy to figure it out a bit more. Until next time.

Today, I am hopeful




February 18, 2016

Portland to Vegas

Morning came entirely too early; when the alarm went off at 3:25 am I was thinking how in the heck am I going to be able to "do this" whole travel thing. Typically, I do not get out of bend until around 9:00-9:30 am. Nevertheless, I grumbled a bit and got out of bed and into the shower. All the bags were packed and now loaded in the car - it was time to leave. I gave Jackson a squeeze and told him I loved him and we were off to the airport. Upon arrival, things went remarkably smooth. You see typically going through security is quite the event due to my opt out status; I choose not to be exposed to radiation from the body scanner machine so instead I get the pat down. Usually, I am forced to stand in a separate location, off to the side, from the other passengers, awaiting a female TSA patdown specialist. It always reminds me of back in elementary school when the nurse did head lice checks - if you were thought to have head lice, you were made to sit on a metal chair, away from but still in site of all your classmates. Thankfully I never had lice but I always felt the student became a spectacle. Well today, my ticket noted that I was TSA Prechecked! Why? How? Not sure the answers to these questions but what it did mean is that my shoes could stay on, computer remain in my bag and best of all - no need for a TSA patdown, straight through the metal detector like the good old days.

Now, I am a morning person by nature and can find my spunk even in the worst of times, Curtis is not a morning person, not at all. So after getting through security we headed to Starbucks so he could get his coffee and for me - hot water to make some tea. After Curtis consumed his caffeinated beverage, he was a bit more prepared to take on his day of travel. Even more so after he had a bit of time to close his eyes and rest on the flight from Portland to Vegas - just enough time to refuel. 

During the flight, I sat next to a nice woman who works for the Doc Martin company. She was traveling to Vegas for a convention and then on to New York. She mentioned recently moving from California to Portland. She was very kind - I never did get her name. During the flight she was helping me locate an airport lounge that we could rest at during our 7hr layover. After deplaning, she walked us through the airport to the club; she even offered to pay for a day pass for us. We then learned that our Condor flight plans made this particular club complimentary for Curtis and I. The woman was definitely my Portland to Vegas Angel - she was so kind. She gave me a loving squeeze and with a twinkle in her eye, she wished me well. After Curtis and I got settled I asked him to try and find her so I could get her name, but she disappeared into the sea of travelers. Here are a few photos taken from the airplane.
 


It is only 11:30 right now - so about 5 more hours to wait until our flight begins to board for Germany. So for now, I am just chill'n in the lounge and thinking about what I am going to eat for lunch! LOL I am already feeling a bit impatient more so because I am so ready to get settled in Germany and begin treatment.

Please keep sending those prayers and positive healing energy my direction. I have a really good feeling that my health is going to return and I will beat the odds! Terminal, 6-months to live...I think they have the wrong girl.



Today, I am hopeful~

February 15, 2016

Ready. Set. Go!

February 14th, Curtis and I celebrated 12 years together, in the same space we were married - Cape Perpetua in Yachats, Oregon. It was a lovely day, just perfect as usual. Each year, Curtis and I visit the rock shelter and renew our love and devotion for each other. There is no fancy ceremony, it is an unspoken renewal of our love and commitment to our marital relationship. This is a remarkable day that I look forward to annually.



This is the view from Cape Perpetua, it is the highest point along the Oregon Coast. No matter how many times we visit, the view is forever stunning and brings back special memories for us.



As I write this entry, I am filled with excitement for the next season of my life. After planning for many months to travel to Germany, it is all coming together quite nicely. My bedroom includes four different packing vessels - 1 large suitcase, 1 small suitcase, 1 carry-on suitcase, and 1"personal item bag". I am 95% packed and ready to embark on this international adventure as I seek full and complete healing of my body. I am more filled with hope then I can ever remember.  I feel at peace, surrounded by love, and know that I am prepared for this adventure. There is absolutely zero room for doubt, negativity, or nay sayers. I believe that I will find the healing that will bring my body into balance while removing all disease. I am determined to enjoy each moment of international travel, treatment, time with my husband, adventures in Germany, peaceful healing moments, and immersing myself in all things healing.

Many of you have been with me during this journey, so don't be surprised that I am bringing you along with me to Germany. I will be documenting my travels and experiences through photos, videos, and writings, I don't want anyone to miss a moment of excitement along the way. I will not be posting updates on FB - I will only be posting on my blog so this is where all the magic is happening!

A request: I am calling on all my universal healers, peaceful healing thoughts, and prayer warriors to come together asking for complete healing of my body - the collective conscious is for my body to heal and find balance. I ask that each moment you think of me, to send a prayer or healing thought into the universe. I am counting on all of you to lift me up with your healing prayers and thoughts.




Upon my return, there will be significant aftercare expenses; if you feel compelled to financially support my aftercare, you can donate three ways:


Preferred way to Donate by Mail:
Christina Garrett
PO Box 192
Philomath, Oregon 97370

Selco Credit Union Direct Deposit: "Team Christina"


Today, I am hopeful~
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February 11, 2016

WE DID IT!

Video of the day: February 11, 2016 

We totally did it! We raised $38,000 for cancer treatment and travel expenses to go to Germany. Many thought it was impossible, but I always believed it would happen. Many have offered “this is a miracle” and I tend to agree – the outpouring of support, love, and care cannot be measured as is has been full-on since my health declined last summer. Thank you to each one of you that has supported and continues to support my journey. I feel wrapped in love each day when I awake – life is good. 

So here I sit, exactly one week prior to my departure, anxiously waiting for the next step to regain my health. I have a good feeling about this opportunity to regain my health. I too am acutely aware that I was given 6-months to live December 2015. Trust and believe, I plan on offloading this diagnosis and coming back healthier than ever. I encourage everyone to continue to share my story and to continue donating. There will be substantial aftercare costs on the horizon.

I am filled with gratitude that so many have shown up for me during this difficult time – you really do find out who your real friends are when you are facing chronic or terminal illness. I have the most amazing group of friends and loving family members. I could not walk this journey without all of you by my side. Whenever I walk around, I feel as though I have my celebrity entourage with me always. I am blessed. I know that there are many praying and sending healing thoughts for my body to find balance and be healed; I want encourage healing prayers and thoughts to be sent to me daily. You are all in this journey together beside me, and I love you for this.

While in Germany, I plan to share the day’s events as often as possible through videos and writing. Thank you for believing in me and sharing a piece of your heart.


Today I am hopeful~

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