FLIGHT TO FLORIDA
September 5, 2009
“Lord, you continue to show me Who I Am”.
September 5, 2009, flight to Florida could not have been any better. Our sister Mary worked very closely with Jet Blue with checking in the medical equipment, i.e. walker, wheelchair, bathtub chair, etc. Overall, it was a great flight. Within 15 minutes Abbey picked us up and we arrived at the house shortly thereafter. Ruth had a great day on Saturday. Praise God! Ruth even went grocery shopping with Mary and Abbey. We don’t have a picture, but you should have seen Ruth driving the Publix wheelchair cart. I thought she was going to knock down the aisle items as she was turning sharply and quickly around the corners. We could not stop laughing. Actually, she was having a good time. She did feel a little old, but it was all OK.
9/6/09 – Sunday morning, Ruth and Mary started preparing the food for their Sunday Brunch. Ruth started making, cod fish fritters (Bacalaitos), we even decided to go Mexican style……steak, chicken fajitas, meat patties (Empanadas), salad, fruit, and I can’t remember what else. All we know it was a lot of food and by 1:00 p.m. friends and family started arriving. Our family, Yolanda, Yolly, Anissa, Jeannie, Cyrina, John, Justice, Andrew, Justin, Jolien, Ben Jr, Antonio, Lisa, Gilbert, Lauren, Gabriella, Michelle and of course, Abbey & Mary. She also had friends, Rev. Clay and Dee Brasington, Bernita Blanton, Lillian & Dave Cucuzza, Jan Moore, and Sue Ellen. Everyone was so excited to see Ruth. There were friends that she didn’t even know she had and many were constantly praying for her. They were some friends that could not make it, but they did meet Ruth several days later.
9/8/09 – It was Mary’s day back at the office and of course, she took Ruth with her. Ruth was also helping her and putting papers in order. This week is also production week for Revelation Ministries. Mary is the Executive VP of this theater production group. This is a Christian non-profit theater group that performs in churches, prisons, and other types of venues. They share the Gospel of Jesus Christ in form of music and drama. Check them out on YouTube (Revelation Videos) or on their website www.revelationministries.com. They have a new production called “Devil or Angel?” which premieres September 11 & 12 in a theater located in downtown Fort Lauderdale. Ruth had an opportunity to go with Mary to the theater during their final rehearsals prior to show-time.
9/9/09 – It was Ruth’s first visit with Dr. Pereira of the University of Miami Sylvester Cancer Center. Dr. Pereira was very much aware of Ruth’s condition and health history. We were quite impressed with how much she knew. The consultation was with 2 additional Doctors. Once they met Ruth, they could not believe that this is the same person they read about in all the reports that were sent to them from Ruth’s New York doctors. It seemed to us that when we entered the room, they were amazed to see Ruth walking and smiling. Their faces just lit up when they saw her. It brought smiles to their faces and the Doctor could not comprehend that it was Ruth in front of them. WOW! This made us feel so good because we all know that Ruth is a walking miracle and only GOD in His infinite did this. Nobody else!!! They ran some blood tests and this consultation lasted about 4 hours.
9/10/09 – Ruth had an appointment for an MRI at the University of Miami in Deerfield. If you can believe this, Ruth said this was the best experience she had during an MRI. They gave her headsets with music playing during this procedure. They even allowed her sister Mary to be in the same room with her. Overall, she had a good experience during this procedure and everyone at the Cancer Center was so nice and Ruth said they truly cater to cancer patients.
9/11/09 – Ruth went to see Mary’s show and she said it was great. The next day, Saturday, Mary became Ruth’s Physical Therapist. She forced Ruth to do her leg exercises which Ruth did great. Ruth’s niece Yolly, Alan, and Anissa picked her up in the afternoon and took her around town. They took her to see Pete and Carole, Alan’s parents and then to the World’s Largest Outlet Mall – Sawgrass Mills Outlet. It took them 4 hours to see 3/4 of this mall. Could you believe that Ruth walked 4 hours with one rest stop only? They took her to the Cheesecake Factory to eat and came home with a huge piece of cheesecake which she refused to share with anyone and really ate it all. By the next morning, she could not move, her thighs and legs just hurt. But that did not stop her. Sunday morning she was up and ready to go to Church. We went to the church that Mary and Abbey attended, Sheridan Hills in Hollywood, FL. This Church has several services in different languages. Ruth and Mary decided to go to the Spanish service while Abbey was playing drums at the English service. By the time we all got home, we were exhausted and we all took a nap.
9/14/09 – How time goes so quickly. Ruth has been in Florida for a week. Unfortunately, we do have to take it at a slower pace. She had to stop and complained of a slight headache. I forgot to mention that last night, Ruth cooked for the family. She made Fettuccine in garlic sauce and chicken breast. We stuffed ourselves. It was delicious!!!! Ruth has not lost her touch when it comes to cooking. Ruth feels like she is coming down with a cold of some sort.
9/15/09 – Ruth woke up not feeling well. Mary is staying with her today. Mary called her mom to find out how to cook Spanish oatmeal. Mary decided to try to cook it like our Mom. Well, she tried. That is all we can say. No one ate it. I guess that says it all.
09/16/09 – This is Ruth’s second visit with her doctor. We were scared to see the Doctor because this is the visit that they were going to give us their second opinion about Ruth’s treatment and the transplant. Dr. Perieira came in and began to go over everything with us. Ruth’s Philadelphia chromosome is a dangerous cell that when it begins to produce again, it makes matters worse. Therefore, the Doctor’s recommended that Ruth gets a stronger dose of chemotherapy. There will be a total of 6 dosages given in a 12 week period. When it is given, it will take 4 hours to travel throughout her body. She will be admitted to the hospital for this treatment and will stay there about 5 days. They will monitor her closely as this chemo is so strong it can cause damage to other organs. During her stay, they will administer other medications that will eventually flush this chemo out. The doctor recommended starting this process on Monday the 21st.
09/18/09 – Ruth is feeling good. She decided to go out and do a little grocery shopping. She was in the mood for fried shrimp. Wow! she cooked about 3 lbs of shrimp with french fries, fried chicken, and corn on the cob. Mary’s older son Andrew even told his mom that she needs to get with the program and cook like his Titi. Justin and Andrew had a feast…… This week, Ruth developed a head cold and wasn’t feeling too good. She rested the weekend and decided to stay home on Sunday with the boys.
09/20/09 – We decided to have a family day just hanging out. Ruth and Mary were packing Ruth’s bag for her hospital admission for Monday.
09/21/09 – We arrived at Sylvester Cancer Center at 10:30 a.m. We didn’t get to her room until 2:00 p.m. We were so hungry because we didn’t even have a chance to eat lunch. Finally, they took us to her room. There was another cancer patient on the other bed, a young girl name Rosa. Her sister had just arrived from Santo Domingo to stay with her. The nurses began to prepare Ruth and welcomed her to her room.
9/23/09 – “Light the Night” Banner on behalf of our sister Ruthie was hand delivered to Noemi from their Sponsor Merari Castro. The walk is scheduled for Oct 15th @7pm. We will be walking across the Brooklyn Bridge.
09/24/09 – The doctors are amazed that Ruth did so well with the new chemo treatment. No side effects to talk about. Today, she is feeling somewhat tired and hoping to bring her home but unfortunately, she was not feeling well. She said something was going on with her body. As a precaution, the doctor decided to leave her until Friday. She wasn’t happy but better safe than sorry.
09/25/09 – Ruth woke up ready to go home. The doctors arrived and told her that she wasn’t going home because the chemo levels were higher than expected and needed to come down. Mary comforted Ruth and told her that she would stay overnight with her at the hospital.
09/27/09 – Today is Sunday and Mary is scheduled to sing at a concert. Ruth went to the 7:00 p.m. concert and she said it was great. Lots of music. She really enjoyed it. Meanwhile, in Brooklyn, Noemi set a table at the church for everyone to sign the banner and if they want to donate to Ruth’s cause. They had a good turn-out. People were arriving at Calvary Church on Suydam Street to sign the banner.
09/28/09 – Today is Monday and we are on our way to the University of Miami Sylvester Cancer Center for her second chemotherapy treatment. Ruth’s niece Jeannie also came by to spend time with Ruth. The preparation for this chemo is extensive. They have to check all her levels before they administer the chemo. It wasn’t until 10:00 p.m. that her levels were right and then they administered the chemo.
10/4/09 – This week was not a good week for Ruth while at the hospital. Unfortunately, the doctors decided to keep her for a few more days. By Saturday morning it still wasn’t looking good. Her white blood count was low due to the chemo.
10/5/09 – Sunday morning her levels were going up. They decided to send her home with more medication. Due to the chemotherapy, she has a lack of appetite. Throughout the bone marrow transplant, doctors are preparing Ruth and the family for an allogeneic stem cell transplant to be performed in mid-November. This process is long and a dangerous one.
The transplant process begins with mailing kits to the siblings. Each family member will need to visit with their doctor and provide blood samples that will be shipped to the cancer center for testing. The donor will need to fly to Florida once there is a match. The donor will then be admitted to a facility 2 weeks max. The first 100 days is critical for Ruth. Should Ruth have any visitors they must have a flu shot otherwise they cannot see her. Additionally, no children will be permitted to see her due to Ruth’s low immune system. Ruth’s recuperation period can be from 6 months to a year after the 100 days. Ruth saw her home RN and Physical Therapist. They are both very nice and I know that they will take care of our sister. Jennifer, the PT is small in stature but tough. She walked with Ruth around the house. Also, Mary learned today how to clean Ruth’s PICC line. The PT informed us that Ruth still has a left side deficiency and she will work with Ruth on this. We trust that God has everything under control. All we can ask of you is that you continue to pray for Ruth and the family. Meanwhile, back in Brooklyn, New York, we had our 2nd Signup Banner Day with another good turn-out.
We trust that God has everything under control. All we can ask of you is that you continue to pray for Ruth and the family. Meanwhile, back in Brooklyn, New York, we had our 2nd Signup Banner Day with another good turn-out. Donations continued to come in. We are expecting many to come out and walk with us. Hope to see you there.
10/06/09 – This day started out somewhat funny. It was all about Mary, she tried to make some Spanish oatmeal. If you recall, she previously tried but we had to throw it away. Today, it didn’t turn out so bad as Ruth said. It was still missing a little bit of milk, sugar, and butter, but overall it was good. It didn’t turn out the way our Mom makes it but she’s done it for over 100 years (lol). This morning Ruth’s homecare RN, Leslie watched as Mary clean Ruth’s PICC line.
During the evening, Ruth and Mary decided to watch some videos on YouTube and came across a video of Yadira Coradin, a good friend of the family. As we were watching the video, we noticed Ruth on the video. We both could not believe what we saw. Below is the video.