Chapter 10 – I Speak Life

Lost touch with my soul, I had nowhere to turn, I had nowhere to go, Lost sight of my dream, thought it would be the end of me, I…I thought I’d thought I never make it through, I had no hope to hold on to, I thought I would break. I didn’t know my own strength, and I crashed down, and I tumbled, but I did not crumble. I got through all the pain, I didn’t know my own strength. Survived my darkest hour, my faith kept me alive. I picked myself back uphold my head up high I was not built to break I didn’t know my own strength. Found hope in my heart, I found the light of life, My way out of the dark found all that I need here inside of me, I thought I’d never find my way, I thought I’d never lift that weight, I thought I would break. There were so many times I wondered how I’d get through the night. Thought took all I could take.

10/8/09 –  Our sister Yolanda and Ben along with Yolly our niece and our nephew Alan came by to visit. Lisa and Gilbert along with their two daughters, Gaby and Lauren came by to have a “DOMINOES” battle. We were playing dominoes until 10:00 p.m. and yes Ruth was there playing and beating everyone…… She still has the touch……

10/11/09 – Ruth and Mary decided to go the Sheridan Hill Church “Spanish service” and to their surprise, there was a Latin festival going on.   After the sermon, the Pastor invited everyone to go to the Fellowship Hall. They had food from every country including Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Ecuador, Santo Domingo and much more… The Mariachi Band also performed other songs including Ruth and Noemi’s,  tongue twisting Spanish song “A Cristo Le Voy”.  All I can say is that it was a great ending to a great weekend.  Now we are getting ready for next week, where Ruth will have her 3rd dosage of chemotherapy.  I hate that she has to stay there for a week.

10/14/09 – Today, we found out that our Mother is hospitalized with fluid in her lungs.  She is expected to be at the hospital for a day or two.

10/15/09 – “Light the Night” Walk was great even though the weather was horrible. It was pouring all day, however, we had a great turn out.  We had a totaling of 24 people. The banner was held by Nicole and Natalie which are two of Ruthie’s nieces. Thank you so much for those who came out to support us, for those who have given donations, and for those that signed the Banner. People have been calling for Ruthie’s number and we appreciate all those calls she continues to get from her friends and family.

                  

10/16/09 – It was a bad day for Ruth at the hospital.  They had to remove the PICC line since she developed a blood clot on her left arm.  Ruth is trying hard not to break down and I know that she is holding everything in.  I am sure the feeling is like we move 2 steps forward and 10 steps back.  It’s just getting harder.  All we can do is continue to trust in God.

10/18/09 – Ruth is being discharged today.  HOORAY!!!!! When Ruth got home, she went straight to bed.  Mary had appointments set up all week for Ruth which she wasn’t too happy…but oh well…we have to do what we have to do.

10/20/09 – Since Ruth’s transplant was coming up soon, we needed medical clearance and her mouth and teeth were no exceptions.  Mary and Ruth had swollen faces by the time this day was over.  This was also a day that was somewhat scary for Mary.  Ruth woke up claiming that she was taking a leap of faith and decided that she was no longer taking her medications.  You have to understand that every time she takes her medicine, she gets sick.  I guess she was tired of the constant vomiting. We don’t blame her, we would be tired of it too.  Every night she goes to bed hungry because she is afraid to eat and then dispose of it in seconds.

10/21/09 – We visited with Ruth’s Doctor which we really love her.  Actually, the staff at the University of Miami Sylvester Cancer Center are great and very attentive.  Ruth had labs done this morning and the results were GREAT!  Dr. Pereria said that her levels were falling in range where she needed to be.  We mention to the Doctor about the meds getting her sick and Dr. Pereira made some changes.  Ruth was very happy about this change.

10/22/09 – Considering how the week was going for us, Thursday was a terrific day.  We started out by going to the Christian bookstore to purchase a Spanish CDs.  After listening to these CDs, it took us back to when we were growing up in church singing Coritos and songs from the Himnario De Gloria.  While we were listening to the music, a lady came by and tapped Ruth on the shoulder and told her, Jesus is the healer, He is the healer, He is the healer and walked away.  When we looked back she was gone.  By this evening after Abbey arrived from work, we played both CDs and had church…what a blessing…we were singing, crying,  dancing, and having a good old time.  Mary and Abbey’s friends, Lillian and her husband Dave came by and brought us dinner for this night, extra food, and goodies.  It was great to see them and we had a great time talking.

10/23/09 – Mary & Abbey’s boys decided to come by to visit with their Titi Ruth.  We all started to talk about God, His Son Jesus, and His coming.  By the time we finished, it was 2:00 am.  We realized how important it is to continuously read the Bible and stay in touch with God and His prophecies.

10/24/09 – Ruth and Mary woke up early in the morning to go grocery shopping so Ruth can make her Sofrito. She then decided to made pork chops in sauce with bananas, plantains, corn, carrots and I am not sure what else.  She also cooked shrimp to fill the tostones and made white rice.  The meal was so good that we stuffed ourselves.  By that evening she was exhausted that she went straight to bed and did not wake up until Sunday morning.  Saturday afternoon, friends from NorthStar Community Church in Wilton Manors, FL (Teresa) came by and brought us bottled water and other items.  This was very sweet gesture and we thanked her.

10/25/09 – Sunday morning, Mary had a special song to sing during the English service “In the Presence of Jehovah”. Ruth decided to cook chicken breast with linguine and made her own garlic bread.  She continues to amaze me and the boys are loving her cooking. Allowing Ruth to cook, keeps her moving and is therapeutic.

10/26/09 – Ruth has continuously been cooking which is therapy for her.  She has not lost her touch because the food is delicious.  She’s walking a lot and doing her exercise.  She has gained 8 lbs and the way she has been eating, it would not surprise us if she has gained more. She will have labs done to make sure her levels are where they need to be.  We will find out the plan of care for the next couple of weeks and before her transplant.  Many have been asking how they can donate for her “Bone Marrow (stem cell) transplant”.  You can go directly to a Red Cross in your area, your doctor, or even a lab and tell them that you want to donate to a recipient at the University of Miami Sylvester Cancer Center.  Your donation will go to the national bank for testing. The more people that can do this the greater the chance. Unfortunately, so far, none of her siblings are a match and the process can take up to 3 months.  If you can donate, please do so as it may help Ruth or perhaps someone else.

10/29/09 – We went to her Doctor’s office for her weekly check-up.  Everything looks great.  Levels are great.  Unfortunately, we received the news that our brother Sam was not a match. Once again, she is developing a rash throughout her body so they put her on antibiotics for a couple of weeks.  They are also testing her blood and other factors to determine which chemotherapy she will have in the next coming weeks until the transplant donor is found.

10/31/09 – It’s Halloween and we are off to Port St. Lucie to be with family and friends.  Below are some of the birthday pictures. We laughed so hard and since November 2nd was Ruth’s birthday, we decided to sing Happy Birthday and cut her a cake.  She was so surprised.  I know that she was happy and sad because she would have wished her NY family was with her.  I am sure God will grant us an occasion for all of us to be together.

                                        

Alan, Yolly and Anissa, thanks for letting us use your home for this gathering. We love you guys very much. Jeannie, John, Justice, & Cyrina, you guys just keep growing taller and handsome. Cyrina you are beautiful! Alan, you can cook some serious BBQ. The food was delicious. Thanks for cooking all the food for us. Lillian & Dave, Ralph & Eunice, thank you for driving to Port St. Lucie for our gathering. We had so much fun with everyone. Not bad for the first time playing with mad Dominio Puerto Rican players. Ralph, you owe us a hand. Rafael, vamos haber! Vistes los retratos en el Libro de Cara (Facebook)? Rafael, cuando te vea en Orlando, tengo muchas palabras domingueras para decirte! Abuela Eunice, tu te ves muy joven para tener diez Nietos. Go Girl!!!!!!

                                                    

                                                                         

It’s November 7th “Light The Night Walk” and Ruth just could not wait for the evening to walk with her family and friends. We all departed together from Abbey and Mary’s house to downtown Fort Lauderdale for the Light the Night Walk.  Mary registered everyone and received some t-shirt vouchers and tickets for balloons and food.  Yolly raised over $300.00 and Lisa raised over $150.00.  They both received t-shirts of Light the Night.  We also received over 15 red balloons.  The evening was beautiful.  You can see the pictures on the Leukemia Walk page. Lillian & Dave thanks for the food you brought us.

              

Monday, November 9th starts the extensive chemotherapy for Ruth.  She will have three kinds of chemo.  We ask that everyone pray this week because it is going to be a long week for us. She has gained over 10lbs weighs 136.  She is a little tired, which is expected….but that’s it. PRAISE GOD!

November 12th we headed to our 9:30 am chemotherapy appointment.  Not knowing what was going to happen, the devil apparently was angry that Ruth was doing so good.  He wanted to make a statement, but he must have forgotten that there were hundreds of people praying to our Heavenly Father that day.  Ruth’s counts were great but her heart rate was very low and therefore the center could not administer the chemotherapy. They called the ambulance and transported her to Boca Community Hospital for evaluation.  After much poking to draw blood and then not eating all afternoon, having tests done, the Cardiologist came to see Ruth.  He said that she looked fine and wasn’t sure what was going on.  He asked Ruth to walk around the hallway while he monitored her heart rate.  The rate was over 80, however, when she sat down it decreased again to the 50’s.  He said that she was fine and was discharged that night.

By the time Ruth, Mary & Abbey arrived home, they were exhausted.  Their niece Jeannie and her friend came by to check on Ruth as well. It’s ironic that our sister Noemi, woke up that morning praying for Ruth.  She didn’t know why she could not stop praying and thinking about Ruth.  Unbeknown to her, we were going through this heart rate situation.  Ruth’s heart rate had never been that low (38) and her blood pressure was 148 over some crazy number.   Her pressure had never ever been that high. Whatever the devil was trying to do, just did not work.  Ruth was discharged that night and has been fine since.  Her two chemo treatments were canceled and will most likely resume next week.

November 16, 2009, is our Mother’s 82nd Birthday.  We called her this morning to wish her a blessed day.  This evening, our friends Rev. Clay and Dee Brasington visited us.  They brought us a card from our Sunday School Class and prayed for Ruth and the family.  We love you Clay and Dee and thank you for your continued prayers and support.  You mean so much to our family. You both will always have a special place in our hearts. We received a beautiful card with a generous gift and there was a special note that read:

Dear Ruth, The Lord promises: “I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place.  For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. We are praying that the Great Physician will do His good, pleasing and perfect will in your life.  Love, Meg & Mike Ketcherside.

We want to thank the Sheridan Hills Choir for their beautiful card and generous gift.

November 17, 2009, our visit at the cancer center was good.  Ruth had one chemo treatment and everything is looking good. She decided that she was in a mood for ham and spaghetti (mom’s way), a chocolate cake which she promised Abbey and a pineapple cake for Mary.  Well guess who will be in the kitchen today…can’t wait…I’m tasting it already!

We just love when our Brother Sam and Nephew Toni, known as Big Tone from California call us every weekend…..Look at them……They are just so fine and single.

November has been a crazy month for Ruth.  Her Doctors have put her on a precise chemotherapy regimen for the next 22 days. Today, November 18 is her 10th day.  Aside from her regular chemotherapy, University of Miami Sylvester Cancer Center is getting her ready for the transplant which they are anticipating it will be done sometime in December 2009.  This week, they started on steroids again.  In appreciation for those that joined my sister Noemi and her children at the Light The Night Leukemia Walk, Ruth mailed a box of thank you gifts to be distributed amongst those that participated.  Once again, thank you to all those that took time from their schedule to walk with us at the New York and Florida Leukemia Walks.

Today, November 26th is Thanksgiving Day.  Happy Thanksgiving to all.  Ruth and her family spent Thanksgiving at our Sister Yolanda and Benny’s home.  The Port St. Lucie Clang was there.  Yolanda and Ben cooked an incredible meal. We had turkey which Ben cooked on the grill, ham, rice with pigeon peas, green bananas with gizzards, plantains with bacon, (mofongo), sweet potato, sesame potato, and much more…and lots of desserts.

We received exciting news about Ruth’s Transplant and Donor.  The University of Miami found a donor. The only information they can give us is that this individual is a female, young, and lives in the United States.  Ruth will be admitted Friday, December 11th.  She needs to be hospitalized a week prior to the transplant.  Therefore, we are looking at the week of Christmas for the transplant.  What a Christmas Gift! Only God can plan it this way.  He is giving her a precious gift of life.  Ruth’s older daughter, Jozilyn, arrived this week and they are both excited to see each other…words can’t express the joy.  Below are pictures of Ruth’s Physicians, Dr. Pereira (Dr. P), Ms. Peggy (Transplant Coordinator), Michelle Zapp (Nurse Practitioner) and some of Ruth’s nurses. We can’t forget Dr. Rivera, you can’t mess with his “Baby Ruth”.

      

Today, December 2nd, Ruth received a visitor, Pastor Bob Reeder of NorthStar Community Church.  He brought the family a turkey, stuffing, and all other items to go along with a turkey meal.  Bob also gave Abbey a generous gift Bob specifically told Abbey to take the girls out, (Mary, Ruth, & Jozilyn).  The next day, Abbey took us out to eat.

Friday, December 4th, is a sad day as we took Jozilyn to the Fort Lauderdale Airport.  She was departing at 5:30 to return back to New York. We can’t wait to see her again in April when she will be traveling.

Saturday, December 5th, as you know we are getting closer to that BIG DAY for Ruth and we are very nervous.  I just can’t imagine what Ruth is feeling as the days get closer for her transplant. Ruth helped her sister Mary decorate the house for Christmas since Ruth will be spending her Christmas holiday in the hospital.  Quite an emotional day for us.

The week of December 6th, Ruth was to be admitted to the Hospital for the transplant (stem cell) preparation.  We believe that GOD has been in control and watching over Ruth throughout this process.  At Ruth’ appointment on December 10th, it was discovered that the donor was medically deferred.  They could not disclose the details which caused the transplant to be postponed until the Sylvester Cancer Center receives a new donor.

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