Update: Thursday, Nov. 28, 2002
How thankful I am this year. For so many things. For life, and the chance to be with my little family another holiday season. For how well I feel. For still no pain and no physical evidence of disease progression. For my family. For the future I see. For God's love and for his healing. For his love shining through so many and filling my soul. For friends. For the chance to make a difference. For blessings upon blessings. For being home again. For seeing God's hand over and over again, softening this journey, showing me that he is with me every moment of this "exile in Babylon". For his word. For prayer, and for so many of you willing to lift my name in prayer over and over again. For beauty. For all of the good in the world. For how fear and hate melt before the power of love. May Love surround you, fill you, lift you up and heal you today and every day.
I am still doing the Vit C IV every day (almost) and am feeling good overall. The last time I wrote, my markers had "plateaued". But then, the next day, the hospital markers were even better they had dropped significantly!! To the 40s! I didn't write about it because I wanted to see what would happen the next time. Well, they went back up again. My oncologist was out of town, so we didn't redo them to see if they were accurate. I have another Herceptin/Zometa treatment next Weds., and we will do markers again then. They will also decide what scans we will do before my next Dr. Bougnoux appointment on Dec. 18. He's the one who mentioned possibly more chemo if there wasn't positive improvements both physically and with the markers. Basically, my breast looks pretty much the same as it did in July, if not a little better. But he wants it to look a lot better. For me, what really matters is that I feel so good and have no pain. It is amazing to me that I have used no pain medicine since early March! This is the longest stretch of no disease progression so far. And I keep feeling that, should we do more scans, they will show only healing!! This is also my fervent prayer.
I want to thank everyone that is making my continuing the Vit C treatment possible. My traditional treatments alone (the Herceptin, Zometa and hormone blockers), while certainly providing some protection, were not enough to stop disease progression, as we saw last April, May and June. It is only since doing the high dose Vit C and immune enhancement protocol that we have seen NO disease progression! Even if it has not brought my markers to normal (which we are not really sure of), it is giving me the edge over this cancer. And I feel so good most of the time! Thank you so much for allowing me to carry on.
My dear dear friend, Linda (Wilkey) Truschke, flew over here just to be with me for five days. We were together as students at Pepperdine and she shared Paris with me and 3 other friends in the late 80s (at the "Happy Hut"). It was so very good to spend time with Wink. Very healing. And I am so thankful for her. Aurora took to her like a house on fire, and her hugs and kisses helped ease the pain of Linda's being away from her own little ones. Thank you, Michael, Justin and Eric for sharing Linda with me.
We've been blessed with quite a few friends visiting since I last wrote. As you could see from the photos, we had a wonderful time with Richard and Marie Andrzejewski and their three girls; then Fabrice came for a couple of days and then my "old" classmate from the Sorbonne, Benedicte Morin, came with her little family. The last time we were together was on Aurora's first birthday in a park in Paris! It is so so good to hang out with friends. We gain so much from each visit. Lots of love and laughter. Thank you all for being with us.
May the feasting today be yummy and joyful. Big kisses from me to you!!
Update: Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2002
Update: Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2002
The best news of the last two weeks was that my tumor markers are no longer going up like they were! One of them even went down a few points. That feels really good. Especially since Dr. Bougnoux, my oncologist in Tours, said that he wants us to think about more chemotherapy if the markers continue to rise and the breast didn't show marked improvement by the next time I see him, which will be Dec. 18. He also had me do an ultrasound with contrast of the liver, just in case something was happening there. That test showed nothing to worry about whew! The liver does show evidence of the chemotherapy I've received and the drugs I'm having now. But it's not worrisome. I had three radiologists in the room for the scan, two were in training for using the contrast. One of them was the guy who read my August CT scan, Jean-Philippe Metais, a really nice young doctor who has since been very helpful. It's nice to have friendly faces around.
It seems like I end up going to Tours for one reason or another almost every week. Nathalie continues to be so supportive and helpful for all of these visits, allowing Dewey to take care of Aurora at home. The next trip is on the 31st for an echocardiogram to make sure my heart is holding up ok with the Herceptin (which is cardio-toxic). My next tumor markers and Herceptin / Zometa treatment is scheduled for November 13. Meanwhile, I continue to do my Vit C IV s daily. I have enough supply to last until mid-November. Then I will take stock again and decide whether to continue with them or not. So far, they have proven very effective in reducing the cancer burden and making me feel good overall. I just pray that they will do even more than that that they will bring those markers right down to normal. In case you're wondering, they are tracking two markers: CEA, which is a general cancer marker, "normal" range being 0 3. It was up at 32 when I arrived in California last December and was at its lowest last spring at 12. However, it was back up at 23 when I began the Vit C and went down to 18 by July 23rd. My other marker is a breast cancer one called CA 15-3 and it's normal range is either 0 32 or 0 25. Mine was at 74 when I was diagnosed in March 2001. It was up at 145 when I got to LA last December; got down as low as 54 in the Spring before going back up to 67 in June. It was down to 47 on July 23rd. Both of those markers were slowly climbing again ever since my septic shock episode, till they were: CEA @ 61 and CA 15-3 @ 77 (hence the concern). Now they are stable and dropping. Remember that there is a 20% margin of error and labs differ one from the other it is not an exact science. Nothing about cancer is. The bottom line is I am feeling good, I have no pain and I am held in God's gentle healing hands. You are all praying for me. I am full of hope. I am happy to be alive today and surrounded by so much love. Thank you.
And it was a gorgeous fall day today, after several days of rain and cold. Aurora and I spent some time tending to the garden while Dewey chopped wood. We were able to have the doors and windows open again and are thankful for such beautiful weather. Aurora is on holiday from school until November 4th. It's a time of visiting friends, vendanges, walnuts and chestnuts, squash stews and the last of the tomatoes and courgettes. We are still slowly preparing the house for the winter, for a warm room for Dewey to paint in. We are loving being here.
May Love fill your hearts to overflowing!
I am sitting here rejoicing. I am alive and living blessing upon blessing.
Twelve years ago this Sunday, Dewey and I, and many friends and family,
gathered on a mountaintop to celebrate our love for each other. Twelve
beautiful years! So many experiences so much. But most of all, a profound
and enduring love. I am so thankful.
And I am laughing at how wonderful it is to be alive and waking up with Dewey and Aurora each morning. Getting Aurora ready for school, picking her up at noon. She always rushes out and points with such excitement, "There's my maman!! Look!" And my heart just melts. She's started a trend and now many of the children rush out with shouts of "Maman!" I love it. (And so do the other mamans I am sure; the smiles.)
And I am so thankful for the energy I have and how good I feel. The other afternoon Dewey and I donned work clothes (and Aurora joined in) and plastered a wall in our bathroom. We had fun. And it felt so good to do something that had been waiting so long for us to do. It's looking beautiful.
And we did a favorite thing last Monday, we went to the Foire (Fair) in Lencloitre nearby. It's held the first Monday of every month. It's existed since the 12th century and sometime in the 1500s it was decided to have it every first Monday! It has a great atmosphere, with everything imaginable for sale from live animals to clothes, to the latest gadget to new wine and all kinds of food. I love just walking around and soaking in the medieval nature of the event. For a few dollars (euros) I bought baby leeks, shallots and garlic and planted them in my garden. I love my garden!!
Dewey never ceases to amaze me. We've had car troubles since our return. But when we took it in to be repaired last week, they didn't do a proper job, so Dewey decided to have a look. He's now a mechanic to add to all his other talents! He fixed it!!
Simona arrives tomorrow with another batch of Vit C, thanks to many of you (THANK YOU SO MUCH!) and to two lovely women from Pepperdine who have carried it over with them from Malibu to Heidelberg. I decided that it is really working as I feel so good and as my breast is visibly better! This was the first thing Hayette, the intern in Tours who examined me the last two times, said when she saw it. It was that noticeable! For some strange reason, despite how positive all my physical symptoms are, my tumor markers are still climbing. But I keep hearing Dr. Eley's words of caution in putting too much store in them. I still have zero cancer pain (AMEN!) and only have good progress. Let us stay in that healing mode. Continue to pray with me that this will continue and increase. May God's blessings and love rain down on you. I love you.
I wish I could see you and kiss you all. Your continued prayers hold me
up, give me strength. I feel covered in love, protected by your constant
support. I wish I could say, "I am cancer-free!" but though I cannot say
that yet, I can tell you that I feel really good lately. I have energy and
strength. I have no pain at all. The tumors in my skin remain unchanged.
I am able to do my Vit C infusions every day in four hours, giving me time
to do other things in the day! I often get to take Aurora to school and
pick her up. She really likes going now. I'm able to work in my garden,
preparing it for winter crops - brassicas and lettuces for juicing. It
continues to produce lots of zucchini, chard, tomatoes, lettuces and beans.
The weather has been gorgeous the past 2 weeks. We are happy to be in our
And to share it with friends! Dewey's mum and dad are here now. They have been busy doing some building work in preparation for the winter. Eric, his wife Veronique and Fabrice came down last week. Fabrice gave a coat of fresh paint to the bottom doors and windows! I managed to get off all of the bad ivy growing on one of our stone entrance pillars. This was especially rewarding for me as this kind of destructive ivy reminds me of the cancer in my body - it is so invasive and tenacious, quick to get 'stuck in there' and out of control, difficult to get rid of completely. Eradicating it from that pillar, each root that I pulled off, was so satisfying. A victory that I feel we are paralleling in my body. Now just to be as successful with the ivy on the other buildings!
We are praying for lower tumor markers on October 1st, my next Herceptin / Zometa treatment in Tours. I will have done the Vit C 6 days a week for the 3 weeks and that should make a difference. Speaking of Zometa, PPP (my insurance company) told me today that the next level up decided that they would not cover me for that drug, nor the Arimidex as they are "on-going treatment" and as "there is no determined end-point"· They have agreed to cover me until the French government will pick up the tab at the end of October. Apparently, I am the first international patient they have had who has needed these drugs for cancer! Normally, cancer patients with PPP are in Britain where the National Health covers such treatments. Once again, I have managed to fall outside of what is considered "normal". Needless to say, we are going up another level! It's hard for me to really think about treatment after October, especially as we do hope to still be here in France, where I can get the drugs on the French system. But I have learned that nothing is for sure and future plans often need to be modified and can even change drastically. The good news is that, for the moment, I can receive all of the treatments I need. Let's take this one day at a time.
May God's love flow over you and through you till you are saturated and only love remains!
Thank you for the prayers you offered for my port surgury and for the insurance. The pediatric size port went in apparently easily and no hematoma formed that first night while I was in the hospital. I did get one a few days later, but it has nearly cleared up. The port works great! My infusions are back to 4 hours and it feels like I have so much more time in the day now. We are putting in a 7-day needle and taking it out on Saturday so that I have one day off per week. I was so relieved yesterday that I did 3 hours in the garden and more unpacking and wore myself out by 6 pm!
I am sitting at my desk upstairs, watching beautiful baking-powder biscuit clouds roll slowly by - the landscape out my window is magical. I could look at it forever. Aurora had her 5th day of school and it was not only the first one without tears, but where she returned my "au revoir" and blew me kisses as I left· She is so tired after school due to all of the concentrating on figuring out the language, the darling. She sleeps well lately.
Dewey is gearing up to begin painting again, at least a few hours a day. His studio is ready. He finally has a bit of time. Let us see what his beautiful mind comes up with!
It was lovely being with Ken and Joyce Shumard and their employees while they were in the Loire Valley. He's an exceptional man (we all knew that), and also an exceptional boss! It was a pleasure to help out with their trip and a delight to be a part of their Loire Valley experience. They all helped bring over my Vit C supplies for this month. Thank you all so much!!!
I met with Dr. Bougnoux at the Tours hospital last week and was very impressed with him. He is a prof. and an oncologist and was anxious to meet me. I believe we can work together. In case not, I am also meeting with the oncologist at the private clinic where I had the port put in next week. In any case, things are sorting themselves out. I also have a friend who is an "assistante sociale" who is helping me with the paperwork and possibilities for help here in France.
This is key, as the insurance company (PPP) has given me a sort of extension on their coverage of Zometa through October. This is because we believe that after that, I should be covered under the French health service for that drug. Meanwhile, we will continue to fight for PPP to cover all of these essential treatments and I would ask for your continued prayers to that end. (This is a full-time job!)
I have my regular treatment of Herceptin and Zometa tomorrow in Tours. We will also do bloodwork and I will let you know how it all looks when I find out.
Due to the help of several friends, we now have a car that works!! We are so thankful. That's a whole story in itself. We are constantly amazed at how things DO work out in time. And we are thankful for the patience and calmness during the waiting. Thank you all for "waiting" with us. You are so beautiful and precious to us, to me. May your days be filled with laughter and beauty.
Debbie just called at 7:15 p.m. EST to let us know that she will have surgery to insert a "port" Wed. morning at 8:30 a.m. France time (2:30 a.m. EST) and has requested that we pray for the success of the surgery. She will be spending 24 hours in the hospital (and is sad about that because she will miss Aurora's first day of school). But she is very thankful that they were able to schedule the surgery so quickly. Thank you so much for your prayers!
Greetings from a mother so happy to be back home! Our friends from
England, Brian and Donna and their boys, came for the weekend and Brian
took Dewey to get me from the hospital and then returned to Tours to do the
shopping. It was great to see them, despite how worn out I was from the
infection and time in the hospital. The following Tuesday I had the first
nurse, Mireille, come to our house to administer the Vit C IV via a needle
in my vein. It was harsh, took 3 "blown" veins before the 4th one worked.
OUCH. And it took 7 hours to infuse! The next 2 days went much better,
with the 3rd day taking only 5 ¸ hours. I also met Anne, my other nurse.
They are both lovely ladies, very open and very caring.
After 3 IVs, I went back to the hospital in Tours for my 3-week Herceptin / Zometa treatment. The vein they used there was bruised for days afterward. And for the first time since I began the Herceptin, I had a reaction. I seem to be so much more sensitive to drugs these days. (I'm now allergic to iodine, latex and a penicillin-family antibiotic!). It just makes it that much more difficult to do routine stuff for me.
They also did bloodwork and the great news is that my white counts are at 5,700!!! All on their own. J The not very good news though is my tumor markers went up again. However, I did not have the Vit C for 8 days and my body was busy fighting the infection too. I believe that the next markers will reflect the return to the Vit C and better white counts. Please pray for this to happen.
This past week has been difficult as the IVs (on the days I can do them) take from 5 ¸ to 8 hours to infuse. As I have a butterfly needle in my vein (usually in my hand), I am stuck sitting down for the whole time. Most days the needle goes in on the first try, but today it took four sticks! More bruises and less chance of getting a "good" vein the next time
I was supposed to get a port (a minor operation to put a small round chamber and catheter just under the skin below my collarbone) put in at the hospital on Sep. 3rd. This is because my veins just aren't holding up anymore and to replace the PICC line I had put in in Arizona. It can stay in for several years unless I get another infection or a blood clot. It means no more needles again! I am so ready to have it and it was hard enough knowing it would take several weeks of waiting. But the hospital forgot to write my name for that day and the appointment was given to someone else! At first I was so upset, but this has led to my finding a doctor in a private clinic who does these every day and who particularly likes Americans! He is squeezing me in and will do the surgury on Weds or Friday!!! I meet with him on Tuesday. I see God's hand once again. Another prayer request: my insurance company's medical team has stated that my Zometa and Arimidex only offer "temporary relief" of symptoms and therefore they will not cover these drugs after August 31st. However, Flora, my contact person there, has advised me to get letters from my doctors stating that these are active treatments for my cancer, etc. and believes that we can turn around this decision. A lot is happening, constantly. We are all well overall. Dewey is slowly clearing out his studio in order to begin painting. Aurora is very attached to those plastic pink Barbie shoes and princess tiara. She manages to navigate the uneven floor tiles and steps with amazing grace. She starts school down in the village on Thursday! Four days a week from 9 - 12. My mother's heart doesn't know how to handle the idea of that much time away She is excited about it though and will be in a class of 29 3 year-olds! It will be initially frustrating for her when she asks for something in English and no one will understand her. But her French will become "parfait".
We are so enjoying being with our friends here. Nathalie comes over every week and really helps out a lot. She is truly an angel. Vince and Kate and Angela came over from London for a few days too. We are slowly seeing everyone and it warms my heart. But I miss my loved ones in the States! Your messages and calls mean so much to me. Thank you for surrounding me with love and prayers. Thank you for carrying me through the scary times. Thank you for supporting me in my care, for making things happen. You are so beautiful. May you be blessed continually and may you feel the blessings. I love you.
i'm in a hospital in Tours because of a bad gut bacterial infection that sent me into septic shock 45 minutes after my scan yesterday. oh mon dieu! it was very scary and happened so fast. luckily we were still at the hospital when it happened and i got admitted to the ER within 15 minutes of its onset.
- the next day -
it's now weds morning. can't believe i innocently left our house at noon on monday (and dewey and aurora, a friend, nathalie, came and got me as our car isn't yet working)... tours is an hour from our house. i've seen aurora once and will see her in an hour, and dewey twice. this is so hard.
they've found 2 germs in my blood but have to separate them now to find out who they are exactly. i had a bad allergic reaction to the first antibiotic which involved emergency stuff (again) but handled the second one fine. now they are trying a third one too. i need two to kill this infection. on top of everything, my PICC line has a leak and is no longer viable. so i'm most likely having a port put in on monday and can hopefully resume the VIT C drips then. i hate not doing them as they appear to be working - even the physical appearance of my breast is improving in the last week!!
Praise God with me again - my CT scan showed clear organs and healing bones!! I haven't had such good news since this time last year after my chemo & Aredia. Only this time it is clear that the Vit. C therapy is "responsible" (by the grace of God) for the positive changes in my body. Over the last few days we have also noticed the beginnings of positive change in the right breast - it seems that the last tumors are getting smaller and the skin is beginning to clear. I hope the doctors here will be willing to do another tumor marker test to see if that also shows more improvement. My white counts were up today to 3.5 (for those of you who know what that means), which is a positive sign. A message from Debbie...Now that the crisis has calmed down, I can see all the ways that God's hand has been on me throughout. There are many "mini miracles" as Nathalie says, so evident in these past few days. Nathalie has been an angel of light, taking care of all of us during this time. I wish you all could know her.
Dewey has to take the computer home in order to send this to Fritz. He will write more about everything. Thank you for your love and prayers. They are being answered in very concrete ways. I love you all! Sweet Aurora is singing the bear "nasemames" of life. It's been wonderful spending a couple of hours with my loves. I hope to go home on Friday· more on all of this later.
Gros bisous! Debbie
From Dewey Debbie may come home friday or saturday. they are willing to put a port in her chest, but not for a month, because of the infection, but as debbie is keen on restarting her therapy asap,she may persuade them to put in a picline on monday? tuesday is herceptin&Aridia day again. I will see debbie again tommorrow, maybe have more news. Thanks to my mother, Gloria Franklin, for all the new videos, which keep Aurora happy. Right now, irts robin hood!
Debbie is in the hospital in Tours. It seems that Debbie went into whats called "septic shock". you can look that up in a book. They have her on 2 antibiotics and she may be in the hospital for a while, we don't know. I will be going over there later to bring food & stuff. Apparently the food there is pretty bad...surprise.
I should find out more later.
Please pray for Debbie. She was admitted to the hospital today because of an unidentified infection. Thank you.
Quick update....Debbie's fever broke last night, normal temperature, she's feeling good today. Nathalie has taken her to the hospital while Aurora and I play.
Well, just a little recap to fill in any gaps...as you know, we drove from Pheonix back to Atlanta, with a 'quick' detour to florida. It was Debbie's mom and dads 40th wedding anniversary, and debbie felt the need to say "Happy Anniversary" on the actual date, so we arrived with 15 monutes left to spare! Two days in Florida, then on to Atlanta. A week of packing and doctors visits. That week is still a bit hazy, But i remember leaving an awefull mess at Tami & Fritz house, which i still feel bad about. Then a temper tantrum at the airport because they wouldnt let me bring my Hurdy Gurdy on board. I had to leave it in the U.S.
We had an easy Flight, and a good friend, Eric Hamburger met us at the airport and helped us with bags, all 7 of them. and to our rentacar, thanks to Angela Yates for that, it saved us.
When we arrived home, Howard was waiting for us with a clean house, and dinner in the oven! What a guy.
Since then it has been pretty quiet. Debbie on her i.v. every day, cleaning up, organising. The 7 suitcases are still in the great hall, we havnt finished even unpacking yet. And o yes, the first trip to the hospital. We now hold the record of having seen the best oncologist in the world, (Bill Eley), and the worst..., shalnt mention names... in the space of one week. Everything medical has been a nightmare so far. Debbie will hopefully have a c.t. scan tommorrow. our French friend will take her (Nathalie Velia) firstly to try to help smooth things over, and also because my car is broken, and the garage doesnt consider it an emergency.
Debbie has been doing well, Her breast is looking markedly better today! but the paast 2 daays she has been very tired, with headaches... and spent most of the time in bed. This evening, we checked her temp, which is 101.4 not good with the low white counts. we will moniter it all night, and hopefully it vwill be o.k. till the hospital at 1.30 tommorrow, ... Aurora is loving it here, i hope the novelty lasts. She found an old baby carraige i used to push her in, and insists on riding it to go see the cows every evening. Our neighbors have been great, but are very busy with the wheat harvest lately.
the skies and the sunflowers are beautifull this year. today, some friends popped down from paris. Rose Mohsen, her daughter Rosemary, her son Manu. And Ria and her son Alexandre Cumming, 2 wonderfull people who i love very much. We prayed and broke bread together. You know, its only since ive arrived home that i can clearly look back on the year, and cringe about some of the ways i have coped. I have felt like many different people. Like Jean val Jean sometimes, taking care of aurora. Like Job at times... of course, with the difference that he didnt deserve it. Most recently like the Count of monte Cristo, for different reasons. I was once respected, and spent my time doing the things i was good at.....Painting....and not much else really. But then i found my days bieng filled with the nessecity to do the things im mostly bad at...Driving...taking care of aurora...bieng patient and waiting places..not painting...bieng a good house guest...and it made me feel small. So i suppose i acted small. I had always felt in my life that i knew myself pretty well, but now i need to spend some time on that....when i get the chance. Now i am home, i feel a little larger, like Mr. Darcy, on his own estate.
But i do greatly miss Amy&Max Ellzey. Rose says Hi! Well its time to go check temperatures now, so must go, and dont worry, the emergency room is only 20 minutes away, and the car can make it, it just has a big hole in a long metal thing that sticks out of the side of the motor, and once again, thank you all who have helped us so much recently Please think and pray for Debbie tommorrow, that the Administrative stuff will be easier, that the scan will bring good news, that she may get to see a doctor, (Thankfully the last one is now on vacation) that she will get a blood test autherised, and that her white counts are up. That she can persuade them to give her a nupogen shot, which she greatly needs and that the fever may be nothing serious!
Those things will do for the moment!
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Greetings with hugs and kisses to all of you! We are home. It's beautiful
here. There are hayrolls and sunflowers, greens and yellows, wildflowers
and corn in the fields all around. We came home to a clean courtyard and
back yard and 2 wonderful vegetable gardens (potagers), thanks to so many
friends, neighbors and Denise and her children who came over in May to make
this happen. AMAZING. We are eating from our organic garden - zucchini,
chard, sorrel, lettuces and herbs so far, with much more in the making!!
Howard had the inside cleaned up, everything open, a meal on the stove and
good things in the firdge when we arrived. Angela rented us a car from the
airport for the week. So many people helping out in so many ways. Thank
And thank all of you who donated airmiles!! In just a few short days we had collected enough for the 3 of us to get home on a direct flight through Delta SkyWish. As tired as we were from the travelling and packing and treatments, the trip was very smooth and you all made it happen. Thank you so much.
I haven't had the chance to thank all of you who have donated to the North Atlanta fund to help pay for my recent alternative treatment through Arizona. You are all angels. Thank you for stepping in, once again, and bringing me bhope and the chance to do a treatment that is so positive. For once, the protocol is not knocking down my immune system or hurting other organs in the process, but rather is lending support everywhere while killing cancer cells. And best of all, my recent tumor markers showed further improvement! They are still going down.
The treatment is a daily IV of high dose, beet-derived Vit. C. It takes from 4 - 5 hours. The rest of the protocol involves various supplements several times a day, special detox stuff, a daily coffee enema (to help rid the liver of toxins), and a topical oil for the breast inflammation. It is time-consuming, but each thing I do brings a sense of satisfaction and hope. I've been on this protocol since late June and there has been no further evidence of disease progression (hooray!) and no cancer pain. I have a CT scan with bone windows scheduled for Monday the 5th. That will show just what's been happening since my PET scan in April. I pray that it mirrors how good I'm feeling physically.
My concern is that my white counts have been falling. This is due to the radiation of the pelvis. It takes time to recover from that. It's been very difficult dealing with the French medical system. It operates so differently from the US. I will explain further in my next update as this one is getting very long.
How I've longed to communicate with you, to thank you for your prayers and messages and support. I am carried by your love. I am so blessed. I have so much I want to share with you. Know that I value your friendship and your amazing love. May God bless you richly. May this summer bring much refreshment and joy.
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We left L.A. on monday, and the family we came to love. Max and Amy Ellzey have been the most wonderfull everything. What can i say about our 6 month stay with them? we became one family, never for one second did we feel in the way. even though there were many ups and downs for both parties. Amy became pregnant with twins, then lost them 3 months later. They have had financial difficulties, and through all that, they live, and enjoy their life. and bring up their 3 boys, charlton, william, and bradford.....Aurora calls them, "my boys".
Max and Amy are living Saints, in Culver city, California. I thank them, and Love them. and wish them all the blessings God has in store for them. We are happy with the results of 6 months of treatment there, there is no way of knowing, but the stubborn tumor that is left, may possibly be dead. we now needed a systemic therapy, for the 15 ish bone tumors, and whats left on the breast.
Then we arrived in Phoenix, monday night, where i opened the door, and then closed it again....Im not going out there!, i exclaimed to myself in disbelief, as my door handle burned my hand. It was 115 degrees here yesterday, need i say more, If you have never been here, there are no words. The first settlers stopped here because their horse died. The family we are staying with, we have never met before, but they have made us feel at home, and have been the perfect hosts, having provided us with everything we needed. They are an older couple, that is, older than Debbie and i...and immediately Aurora started calling marylin "Grandma". Marylin has had her own fight with cancer, and is doing very well! Today Grandma took care of Aurora while we went to the hospital for Debbie to get a pic-line put in. It is like a chest port, but onl;y lasts a couple months. Hopefully all the time she will need it, for infusions etc. The couples names are Fred and Marylin. they are the parents of lora, the wife of Jimmy Fox. Jimmy fox is one of the children of Ken and Jean Fox, who are missionaries in Thailand. They were there when Debbies parents were missionaries, and so Debbie, Jimmy, and all the other siblings spent many years together in Bangkok. When we called them about the need to be in Phoenix for a while, we were instantly given the choice of houses to stay in....all with swimming pools of course!
Aurora has swam at least once a day since we arrived. and is improving daily, you have to say woof woof, then put your head underwater! Yesterday i got out of the water because it was too cold...Jimmy had something to say about that, as i had been griping about the heat since i arrived,and the water was 89 degrees! we may spend 4th july with jimmy and lora tommorrow, I'd Debbie isnt too tired. weve got alot of packing to do, again. they live out in the desert, near the suspicion mountains, have a great pool, and always good food. 3 kids, shannon, josh & Nikki, and also 3 dogs, all bigger than i am.
Debbie has had her therapy everyday since we arrived, with the needle in her arm, she has not been able to swim. the infusion needs 4 hours daily, plus all the other stuff she needs to take. There is no way of knowing how well this is working, except that she is feeling really good, and we will have blood tests with tumor markers on friday morning. there will be no further scans until we arrive in france somewhere around the 15th july. we still need to be there by then for our insurance coverage to continue. but we will be taking this therapy with us, to continue back at home. While it is expensive, it is very promising, and nessecary for her to try art this time. We thank you all who have helped, and are helping to pay for this thing.
the response has been great, and touching.
We will be leaving here friday afternoon, after Debbies infusion, and driving East to Atlanta to return a loaned car to another saint we know, to see Debbie's family one more time and to pack up and fly home to france. all for now
i need to unpack my coat in case i need it when we cross the border. dewey
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Caption: Debbie Franklin holds her 3-year-old daughter, Aurora, as she says goodbye Tuesday before taking a flight from LAX to Arizona.
PHOTOGRAPHER: FRANCINE ORR / Los Angeles Times Credit: TIMES STAFF WRITER
Click Here for the Full Story (Note: It's a budgetary story regarding the LA Airport budget and security)
As you may have read on Debbie's updates, things are not going well at the moment. They had to stop the treatment here, as it is doing Debbie too much damage, the blood counts are too low, and the tumor markers have recently taken an upward turn. One problem is that after six months of radiation, her body has become resistant to it.
But as the cancer is still there, we needed to find another type of therapy to continue with immediately. Debbie has found a new therapy which has been very promising for other people she has talked to, who have the same diagnosis as her. In a nutshell, it involves high dose vitamin c, derived from red beets in Germany, given to her intraveniously over a six hour period, daily, and on top of that, a barrel load of supplements and immune enhancers.
The normal duration of the intravenious drip therapy is between 3-6 weeks. They have never needed to give it for more than 6 weeks before. But after that, the high dose vitamin c is taken orally. And the other supplements continue.
They have designed a protocol for a three month therapy program for Debbie, and when the prices are broken down, comes to 5,000 dollars per month, or a total of 15,000 dollars. If continued supplements are needed after that, the price should be significantly less. It is an "Alternative therapy" so our health insurance will not cover it. Were looking for any help, loans etc...
The Therapy center and clinic are in Phoenix Arizona. We flew Debbie there today, to begin the treatment. She will fly back on Friday, then we will pack the car, and all drive to Phoenix on Monday.
We hope that we will need only 2 weeks in Phoenix, where Debbie will learn how to administer the various treatments, and hopefully be on our way back to France around the same time as we had intended, as our insurance will expire in the U.S. by mid July. The sad thing for Debbie is that she will miss her parent's 40th wedding festivities in Florida. But we have decided that this therapy is the one that she needs at this time, and we pray for its effectiveness.
My mind is in a whirlwind and I need to tell you all what is happening. But I wanted to tell you about how great it was to have so many friends gather at Kris and Gary's to celebrate my 38th birthday, to hug everyone one more time, to see some friends from so long ago and others who came from far away. Thank you Diane, Ron, DJ, Amy, Phyllis, Kris and Gary for all of your work. It was grand! Thank you all for making it happen by being there, and for all of you who gave towards our fund so generously. It looks like we need those funds even more urgently. Everything had been going so well, but the roller coaster has taken a downward spin and I am spinning. After a week of radiating my pelvis to prevent any breaks, my white blood counts have gone way down and we've had to scale the treatments back. And then I got tumor markers back and, for the first time since I've been out here, they have all shot up. The blood was drawn the day we began radiating the pelvis, so it doesn't reflect that. Instead, it means the cancer is on the move in the most aggressive way since I've been out here. I need your prayers so much.
Fortunately, I've been hearing about and researching an alternative treatment based in Phoenix that has worked beautifully for 3 women that I know personally. And I had the phone consult with the biochemist who created the protocol the day I got the news about the blood counts and the tumor markers. We need to go out there for 3 weeks to start on the protocol and do the high-dose Vitamin C infusions and then I can carry on on my own.
We have decided to leave here early (next Tuesday) and to forgo our plans for seeing friends and being with my family for my parents' 40th anniversary in Florida. I need to focus again. Hard as it is to leave here early, to miss such a special event with my family, to leave friends and plans behind, my healing begs full attention.
I am writing this to ask for your prayers for the protocol to work the healing it has in Polly (all her bone mets and breast tumors are gone), and for my immune system to rebuild quickly. I can do this knowing you are there beside me, beside us. Thank you so much.
I love you all, Debbie
Debbies birthday party went very well, lots of friends there. Shes going to tell you about it soon.The next day we drove up to Table Mountain, where we were married in 1990, the pictures follow. We will leave here in a couple of weeks, back to Atlanta, via Phoenix, where we will be visiting another clinic, for a new therapy, one we can hopefully take home with us. We will spend 2 weeks in Atlanta before going home to France.
More news soon
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