Chapter 12 – God Is Smiling On You

January 21st – Day “0”  This is Ruth’s rebirth. At 10:17 pm is the first infusion of the donated stem cells.  Mary and Abbey are in the room with Ms. Claire, Ruth’s nurse who infused the cells.  As it was happening, Mary called the family and videotaped it. As we were listening to Christian music, you could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit in the room. There were hundreds of family and friends praying since day one of this process. Our sister Noemi from New York started a prayer chain and hundreds joined via our emails and Facebook.  You can read many of the comments in the “Inner Healing” post. Amazingly, Ruth won’t forget this date either, as it is Dad’s birth date backward (January 12). I found out today that Ruth received about 8m of donor stem cells.  There is another 8m frozen for backup if anything were to go wrong. We will now be counting in the positive numbers. January 22 is day +1, January 23 is +2 and so on.  In the medical field, this is how they count their days. Ruth is still receiving lots of preventive medicine including chemo. Thank God she finished her TBI (total body irradiation).

This is the FaceBook Message: All those prayer warriors, we need you now more than ever. Ruth is in so much pain, she feels her feet are literally on fire…… burning up…..this is caused by the meds….. it hurts so bad she can’t contain her screaming…… I am praying in her room while I need you all to pray…. and we have our cousin Papo praying via our cell phone speaker…. please pray…

Message from Mary Rivera:Ruth’s Transplant is happening as I write this note.The Lord has granted a rebirth at 10:17 pm this evening.Will go into the night and possibly Friday morning.Thank you for your prayers. January 21st at 10:55 pm

They just started the second bag of her transplant. Thank you again for your continued prayers…We love you all.  January 21 at 11:07pm

January 22nd – Day “+1” at 12:44 am the doctors came in and explained what happened yesterday.  Due to the medications and radiation, it caused ATG Rabbit.  Yes, Rabbit serum which is used in conjunction with other immunosuppressive agents. Did you know that they even have “horse” serum as well?  Crazy stuff…

This is a video of Ruth after the transplant and a couple of hours later around 2:00 a.m. she decided she wanted to go on the computer.  She was on for about 15 minutes.

                                   

January 23rd – Day “+2”, Ruth received visitors.  Our Port St. Lucie family came by to visit with Ruth.   Also our family, Pete, Carole, Lisa & Gilbert shortly showed up thereafter.

January 26th and 27th – Day “+5 and +6”, she woke up feeling good, washed up, still not eating, but drinking fluids, when all of a sudden she felt a “burning” sensation around her legs, mainly on the bottom of her feet.  She felt as if she was walking on coal.  It was so bad that you could hear her screams from outside her room.  The nurses and doctors came in and began to pump her with pain medicine. Mary tried to make her comfortable by placing cold towels around her forehead and arms. Nothing was working.  Mary called Noemi which then she called our Facebook Prayer Warriors to begin praying immediately.  We reached our cousin Papo who began to pay in Spanish, claiming the Blood of Jesus Christ over Ruth’s body.  Within 15/20 minutes she awoke feeling good, washed up, even walked from one end of the room to the bathroom.  By the time she returned to her bed, she was again in pain, not as bad as before.  We all talked about this “rabbit” thing. Ruth’s feet, look like rabbit feet and she is even hopping like a rabbit.  We also laughed as our sister Noemi wanted to know if Ruth’s two front teeth were growing like rabbit’s teeth.  I can say that Ruth is not making rabbit noises yet (lol).

                                           

Dr. Pereria, Ruth’s main doctor came to see how Ruth was doing and began to explain what has been going on in Ruth’s body. The Chief Staff was present and help us to understand about the symptoms that Ruth was having. He also put an order for a medication pump whereby Ruth, when needed, can medicate herself every 15 minutes with pain medicine.  Today, January 27th – Day “+6”, they had to give Ruth platelets and a blood transfusion.  They also gave a chemo push as well.  January 28th – Day “+7”, was a better morning as doctors came in to say that her levels are good, however, her platelets are low and at around 3:00 pm they transfused one bag of blood. One of Ruth’s Nurses, Nestor, has been great with Ruth and even buzzed her hair since it is now falling out.  Above all, she is still in good spirits.

        

The family has decided to do a special page about ‘Stem Cell Transplant’ so that everyone reading her site can understand how it works, the risk involved, and understand the pre and post-transplant process.  If you know of anyone that has cancer or going through a transplant or any kind of sickness, tell them to read Ruth’s website.  We don’t claim to be experts but only a caring family with a lot of friends who continue praying for us.  We are learning about medicine, how our body works, how to deal and work with a relative with cancer, how life’s outlook changes, sacrifices that are made, and how love continues to grow in the midst of circumstances.  We continue to believe and Trust in God that EVERYTHING is under His control. We need to have Faith and Believe that our Lord Jesus Christ who has never left our side, continues to extend His hand.  We just have to grab it and follow Him.

The Transplant is OVER!!! We had everyone praying at the time of the transplant and could you believe ONLY GOD can make this happen. Praise Him, Praise Him, Praise Him.

This is a prayer her Niece Yolanda Ruiz prayed:

“Dear Lord,
You know Titi Ruthie so much better than I do.
You know her sickness and the
burden she carries. You also know
her heart. Lord, I ask you to be
with her now, working in her life.
Let your will be done in her life.
Lord, I pray for my Titi because your Word
says I should pray for her healing.
I believe you hear this earnest
prayer from my heart and that
it is powerful because of your
promise. I have faith in you to
heal my Titi, but I also trust in the
plan you have for her life.
Lord, I don’t always understand your ways,
and why she has to suffer, but I trust you.
I ask that you look with mercy and grace
towards her. Nourish her spirit and
soul in this time of suffering and
comfort her with your presence. Let Titi Ruthie
know you are there with her through this”

January 28th – Day “+7” through February 6th “+16”, continues to be long days.  Ruth’s counts have been up and down.  She had 3 blood transfusions and several bags of platelets.  She is in negative numbers for her white cell count.  Doctors believe that next week, they should begin to see her white cell counts go up. February 1st was her last day of chemo for this round.  The family is still concern about her left leg swelling and the red spots which seem as if she may have had a radiation burn. The doctors claim that this is part of the AVG side effect.  However, some of the Doctors say that it’s the first they’ve seen it this way.  The family is doing their own research to get to the bottom of why this is still lingering since the day after Ruth’s last radiation. Overall, Ruth is in great spirits.  I know that many continue to text her and wish her well. Please continue to pray and text her as it helps her to keep her focus and stay strong.

Every morning around 9:00 am the doctors come to check on Ruth.  They are surprised that she is doing so well.  They continue to monitor her with the medications, the preventative medicines, and of course constant checking on her legs and feet. I thank God that the burning sensation is almost gone.  She is walking better and able to move throughout her room.  It’s been two days since she last self-pumped pain medicine.  She is signing on to her computer more regularly but for a short period.  She is reading her messages little by little and they continue to touch her.

Abbey, Mary’s husband comes by every night to play a mean game of dominos.  Ruth and Mary will not give up until they beat his bottom big time.  The scores have been crazy,  Abbey 376, Ruth 251, Mary 117; Abbey 258, Ruth 188, Mary 83; Abbey 357, Ruth 289, Mary 69.  Ruth and Mary during the day have been playing rummy 500.  And of course, Ruth has kicked some butt.  Scores:  Ruth 520 to Mary 355; Ruth 410 to Mary 500 (Oh forgot to mention, Mary did win one hand).  We’ve been having lots of laughs and fun playing these games.

February 8th – Day “+18”, the Doctors said that Ruth’s counts are looking good.  Her white blood count is now at 0.6.  They said that they were expecting her levels to go up early last week but everyone is different and they are excited that her levels are now going up.  Her white blood count should be anywhere from 6 to 11.  On Day +10, her counts were 5.2.  On day +22 her platelets are low and her WBC is 7.7. On day +23 her counts are down to 5.7 and platelets are low as well.

February 14th – Day “+24”, Andrew and Chantal came by with a musical stuff animal, unfortunately, the beautiful yellow roses could not be brought into her room.  They took a picture of them and sent it to Ruth’s phone.   Happy Valentine’s Day to all!

Yolanda, Yolly, Alan, Anissa, Jeannie, and Cyrina came by to see Ruth.  The girls made Valentine cards for their Titi Ruthie and Alan brought Ruthie a cute Teddy Bear with embedded hearts all over.

February 16th, our sister Yolanda from Port St. Lucie will be spending several nights with Ruth, while Mary begins to thoroughly clean and sanitize the home before Ruth arrives.  While Yolanda was taking care of Ruth, Mary was cleaning, cleaning, cleaning, and cleaning.  The house is as clean or cleaner than when we first moved in.  Every item was removed, cleaned and put back. Air ducts cleaned, rugs professionally cleaned and steamed, and all the walls in the entire house wiped down. This project took over 3 days to complete. We are waiting for our Baby Ruth to come home soon.

It was definitely a help that Yolanda came down during this time because Ruth is not having good days. Her eating is like baby portions.  She is very tired and still with minimal complications.  Her counts are going up and down but most importantly her “WBC” white blood count are going up.  The cells are waking up and trying to find their way around Ruth’s body.  We are praying that she doesn’t get GVHD (Graft versus Host Disease).  This is when the donor’s cells begin to attack what is left of Ruth’s cells including tissue cells.  We thank God that all Ruth’s test were negative, including the cultures they took several days ago.  Everything so far is all negative.  Ruth just needs to eat, walk and get strong again so they can release her.

February 19th – Day “+29”, Yolanda is going back home and Mary will stay with her throughout the weekend and probably until Ruth is released to go home.  Earlier today, one of Ruth’s test came back positive.  She has a slight bacterial infection which has caused some complications.  All visitors will now have to wear gloves and a yellow gown. They also changed her antibiotic because the one she was taking caused an allergic reaction to her skin.

February 20th – Day “+30”, Ruth is doing much better, still not eating but out of bed walking and watching TV.  She is also listening to her Spanish Christian music she loves on her MP3. Andrew and Chantal came by to see Ruth and cheer her up.  They brought her a dancing stuff animal that plays the music Lolipop, Lolipop……She loved it. February 21st is also Andrew’s 24th Birthday.  Happy Birthday!!!!!!

February 23rd – Day “+33”, Ruth was released in the afternoon.  We were so excited to have her FINALLY home.  Mary was running around getting all her medications.  Some pharmacies did not carry or had to special order some of her medicines.  We even had to wait at the hospital for a special delivery from a small local pharmacy.  As soon as she got home, she went to bed. Had a rough night.  The next morning she wanted Mary to cook french toast.  Unfortunately, she could only eat a few bites since it was not settling well.  Ruth was not feeling good at all on Wednesday.  We were afraid that she was going to dehydrate because she was not eating or drinking but continuously throwing up.  That evening, Mary called her Sister Noemi and they prayed over Ruth, read scripture to her and was on the phone for over an hour.  Our cousin Papo called as well and prayed over Ruth.  By the evening Mary had to call the Emergency Physician on call who prescribed nausea and vomiting medicine as well as pain medicine since Ruth was having abdominal pain.  At 2:30 in the morning, Mary was out picking up the medicine.  Mary stood up almost all night watching over Ruth.  The next morning, Ruth had labs at 9:00 am and Dr. P’s appointment at 10:00 am. By the time she saw the Doctor, they rushed and put her on I.V. and called the ambulance to take her back to the BMT unit.

We are now at Jackson Memorial BMT unit and Ruth is feeling much better.  Doctors are expecting her to stay for a few days until they can figure out why she is throwing up so much.  They think it could be a touch of GVHD (Graph vs. Host Disease).  This is when the donor cells are waking up and trying to attack her remaining cells.  Quite dangerous and Doctors have to watch her closely for this type of activity. They took Ruth to have an MRI done. They are also checking her GI tract. They are putting her on 24-hour anti-nausea meds.  So far it’s working and she was able to eat white rice with corn. The next day she was able to eat yellow rice with baked chicken. Mary brought her some fruits, watermelon with cantaloupe. Ruth couldn’t wait to have some.

The BMT Nurses were sadden to see her back so soon but happy to see her. They all have given Ruth excellent care. They will be recognized and acknowledged by the family for their dedication to excellence and hard work. We were able to take some pics of some of them.  Some are mentioned throughout chapter 12 and 13 including the inner healing page.

These are prayers and comments:

Father, we come to you in the name of Jesus Christ Your Son, and we present Ruthie to you. We come against any opposing spirit that tries to excerpt itself against your plans and purpose for her life in the name of Jesus. Father we cancel, we sever, we veto, any ill spoken word against her right now in the name of Jesus! We come against the spirit of sabotage in the name of Jesus! We decree and declare healing right now in the name of Jesus, Father let your will be done concerning her life. We summon angels to excel in strength to fight on her behalf in the name of Jesus according to your Word! Father when Jesus died on the cross You said in your Word, that by His stripes we were healed! That means that it is done in the Name of Jesus. You know the end from the beginning, and You made a way for Ruthie’s healing, so Father we decree and declare the manifestation of what You already did!! Have your way now, in the name of Jesus. You said that if 2 or more agree and touch anything it shall that it shall be done. Father in the name of Jesus, lose Ruthie’s healing from your heavenly throne right now in the Name of JESUS, and we in agreement bind on earth any opposing spirit or word that goes contrary to Your Word. You wrote it, you spoke it, You have made it manifest, so we come with assurance Lord, because of the way you’ve provided.  Father,  we come before your throne and we decree and declare what you have already decreed and declared from even before founding this earth. In the name of Jesus we establish healing for Ruthie in the name of the Father, we come to you in the name of Jesus Christ Your Son, and we present Ruthie to you, Jesus!!! Father, we thank you for your grace, your love, your faithfulness. Thank you Father, that Ruthie is feeling your presence right now in the name of Jesus!! Father, we seal this right now. As we pray let her feel your presence, your peace in the name of Jesus. Father, through the BLOOD OF JESUS that is still effective today, by the power of Your Holy Spirit!! AMEN!!!!  God Bless You!!  Your sis, Rosie

Janette Agostini – I will definitely keep her in my prayers..”In Jesus name all is going to be fine she came this far because God has a purpose with her…”

Rosalind Reyes – “GOD IS TOO GOOD, GIRL….I AM SOOOO THANKFUL TO HEAR THE GOOD NEWS. MAY GOD KEEP HELPING HER THROUGH CAUSE SHE HAS A BIG TESTIMONY IN HER HANDS THAT MANY NEED TO HEAR, GOD BLESS.”

Aimee Muniz – “AWESOME!

Lisa Quiles – “AWESOME….God is amazing and that is soo great to hear.”

Noemi Colon – “Fantastic news! TY Jesus!”

Melinda DeMaio – “Oh that’s awesome!!!!!!  YAY!!!!”

Mirely Valentin – “me alegro que ya se siente mejor y que va para su casa”

Linda Mason – “I’m so happy!”

Nina Marie – “awww *hugs* she’s a fighter&hearts

February 4th, is “World Cancer Day”. We want to thank those that have been with us from the beginning of this journey and to those that have joined in this journey. To those who have joined the A.L.L. PH+ Cause whether it’s been through Facebook or any other way, we want to let you know that we have a total of 1,164 members.

Today, February 24th (day+34), Ruthie is home and is trying to eat.  Unfortunately, she can’t hold down any food.  By midnight, Mary had to call the BMT Emergency Unit and they prescribed other medications for saw her, she immediately put Ruthie on I.V. and then called the EMT from Jackson Memorial Hospital to pick her up and transport her back to the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit.  She was admitted that morning.  Her blood levels began to decrease and eventually they had to give her blood products to bring her levels up.

On March 3rd, (day +41), Ruth was discharged to go home with over 13 prescribed medications.  During her stay at the hospital, she was put on a low bacteria diet and she now has symptoms of GVHD (Graft vs. Host) which means that her donor cells are waking up but they are attacking her remaining cells in her body. The doctors say that this is good because it will help to develop her immune system.  Nevertheless, GVHD is also very dangerous and the side effects to this disease are very intense.  rashes throughout her body, vomiting, loss of appetite, skin changes, gastrointestinal tract infection, liver injury, and other organ system impairments. You can now see the family concern with Ruthie’s medical condition.  Aside from all of this, not only does it affect her physically, it also effects her emotionally and mentally.  In conversation with Ruthie, she really feels that she is fighting for her life.  Please continue to pray for Ruth and the family as they begin to experience the critical 100 days of post transplant. It is also making it very difficult for Ruth to take so many medicines.  These medicines are SO important because they help to control the mentioned side effects.

On a good note, the Doctors are pleased that her White Blood Count and other Levels continue to rise.  From this point on, Ruthie will have at least 2 appointments per week to check her levels and make sure
that she doesn’t need any additional infusion of blood products.

Friday, March 5th (Day +43), she was seen at home by a Registered Nurse and an Infusion Nurse.  These nurses will see Ruthie every Monday, Wednesday and Friday to check her vitals, temperature, and administer IV and Magnesium.  Ruthie will also see the Physical Therapist on a weekly basis.

On Saturday, March 6th, Ruthie had a lab appointment and found that her levels were good with the exception that she needed some platelets.  To our surprise, when we arrived at 4:00 p.m. from being at the center at 8:00 a.m., our friend Lillian was arriving at home as well with dinner that she brought to us.

Ruth had the opportunity to speak with Rene Gonzalez, a Professional Christian Gospel Singer from Puerto Rico.  Check out his video….

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