Monday, September 26, 2011

Forks over Knives

Alberto told me he wanted to watch the film "Forks over Knives" with me so when we come back from the Oncologist clinic we watch it in Netflix. The film is about the investigation of several scientist, researches and surgeons and about the effect of nutrition on your health. I think I am still amazed about the things they were saying, even if I have already heard some of them before.

They went through History and the correlation on the years in different countries of the increase of cancer, diabetes and heart disease with the increase of dairy and meat and processed food in the diet. They walk through several studies done in China, US and other countries on this correlation and in all studies the relation is too strong to be ignored. They also discuss in detail several cancer and diabetes and other disease patient how the complete change of diet has changed his health completely.

One of the things my doctor told me and I think I have mentioned here before is that during my chemo treatment and during the next 5 years I have to avoid read meat completely and limited other meats and avoid Milk and milk related foods as much as possible. On this film they tell you exactly the same that people should reduce these food intake to a level of around 5% of your daily intake vs the current 20% on any American person.

If you have got a chance please watch this film, it might make you think twice about your daily food.

Taxol - 1st round

Here we are again at my less favorite places to be....the Oncologist clinic. My appointment was later than usual and will last around 4 to 5 hours so brought lunch with me as will be here for a while. First last night I had to take 5 pills of steroids before going to bed, that pills did not let me sleep much so I am a bit tired today. This morning at 6 am I had to take another 5 of the same pills. All these pills are given as Taxol could cause a really severe allergic reaction and these tablets suppose to avoid that reaction.'

Went to lab for blood work at 9:30, when I saw the results I could see words of "high" and "low" in same of the lines, like indicators that something was wrong. When I saw Dr Chen she confirmed that everything is fine that the ones high were a reaction from this morning medication, and the ones low could be also a reaction and even if they were not she is not concerned about it. The ones she want to see at the right levels are white and red cells as well as platelets and some others but every thing is fine. After this process I am going to become and expert on medical terms for sure....I have also lost 3 pounds which she is OK about, in the past normally people will put around 15 to 20 pounds during chemo, that was a combination of eating to help nausea and steroids. Now nausea medication is better and also I am really conscious on what I eat plus I do regular exercise of walking or Yoga so the mix of all of them are helping me getting in better shape and lose some pounds at the same time.

She has given me great news of what I can do and what to expect from Taxol. I can be more social as my immune system does not get so affected, still need to avoid sick people. I can start eating raw food like salads as far as they are super washed, really excited about it as I missing some really nice salads that Alberto prepares. She expects that I will get a fever and flu symptoms this week, fever could go up to 102 and last for 5 days but she said I should treat it like a flu with ibuprofen this time. Coming back tomorrow for my immune system shot and next week for my flu vaccination.

When I arrive to the chemo room I only had one chair free in the semi-private room, however as it was my first Taxol session and the nurses will not let me stay there as they wanted me in the main room to be monitored of any possible reaction. So they gave me all the premedications (anti-nausea, benadryl) on the back room and when they started Taxol they move me to the front room. They started really slow and every five minutes they increased it slowly, it was a long 3 hours with it and it gives your leg cramps which was really uncomfortable. I felt really sorry for another person who was in the room who even with nausea medication she was really sick and they could not give her anything else to control it. There was also a few young people in the room, no that I am happy for other people to be sick, just kind of helps you to think you are not by yourself.

We left the place around 3 pm and the nurse told me that I might have fever today but the normal will be for my worst day to be this Wednesday when fever will probably start and the aching of the muscle and bones. The fact that the injection they give you tomorrow does also make your bones hurt does not help, BUT in general people complain less about Taxol so looking forward to be much better than the bad days with AC. Also the fact that I might get some hair back is exciting....

OK....5 sessions down, ONLY 3 to go!!!, is counting back status and can't wait for this to be finished!. I will start Herceptin after Taxol for a year every 3 week but the doctor says it is much easier and no much side effects, just the thought of being in that room every 3 weeks for a year makes me sick but hopefully will be easier...

Sunday, September 25, 2011


Yesterday our friends Marcela and Monica arranged a beautiful babyshower for Miriam, it was nice to spend the afternoon with such a nice group. There were a few people from south Spain that I do personally think have got a really nice way of telling stories and making you laugh so I did laugh a lot all afternoon. Marcela and Monica did a fantastic job from decorating, to the party favors to everything you can imagine, Marcela is our party planner and if anyone needs one please let me know and I will give you her details as she is fantastic.

Each person was in charge of preparing something nice to eat so we ate Spanish omelette, empanadas, croquetas that my mom had left in the freezer, cheese and many other appetizers that were really nice....Ana also did Sangria that everyone said it was delicious but I did not drink, even if the doctor said that I can have a drink here and there I have taken the position of not drinking any alcohol if I can avoid it.

I think Miriam had a great time and liked all the presents, it will be her 3rd child but her other kids are older so she will have to remember to hold a new born again but I am sure the mummy instint will come really fast as soon as that baby is here. The rule was that everyone had to wear blue for the party but some people forgot, we only told Ana off but she looked so great with the pink dress that we let her go.

I have been trying to get photos from different events I go so my family and my friends in Spain can see that I am not looking that bad and I am looking great. Want to share some of these photos here and will try to make it a norm going forward.

Today we went to mass the three of us and then spent afternoon with good friends. Need to get ready for tomorrow but for some reason I am stress and a bit anxious. Before I go to bed tonight need to take 5 pills of steroids and tomorrow at 6 am another 5 as tomorrow is my first session of Taxol and could give you an alergic reaction, the pills suppose to avoid it but I might not be able to sleep tonight. Will let you know all about it tomorrow...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Do not want anyone to cry for me please

My parents left last Friday, they missed their connection flight in Frankfurt and waited 6 long hours for the next flight to Bilbao. But they were ok, I guess all those years of my mom working in Switzerland does help when she has to use her Italian or German reminders to communicate in a desperate situation.

When they arrived in the town this weekend my mom says that it takes her 1 hour to go to the bank or to arrive to the walking distance grocery store and that is because everyone stops her to ask her about me. She was saying that some of them do cry when they see her and they say I am sorry your daughter has got Cancer. OK.........I do really appreciate that people are concerned about me, I promise that I am complete overwhealmed about the amont of people who care about my health, the amount of people who are praying for me. Also, I am the first one who gets emotional sometimes and have a good cry when I need it, but I am determinate to combat and win this battle and that kind of reaction makes me feel like if people are taking this as a dead sentence. I am not dying and not expecting to do so for many years, do want to see my son grow and see his graduations, his soccer games and his wedding. I am definitely taking this Cancer as a wake up call in my life to take care of myself and to enjoy my family and my life as much as I can. So I am asking everyone to believe with me that I am going to be OK and walk through this process with me with the same believe, if you do not believe it I am sorry but I do not want you with me on this journey.

Alberto says so many times that I put a brave face to everyone, I am showing the brave Mila to everyone but people do not see my low moments, my good cry in front of the mirror or the days I can't move from bed. Well, I think everyone is entitle to have their bad moments but I think my bad ones are much less than the good ones and that is all thanks to all my closest friends and family who are next to me. Just believe with me and I will be fine...Love you all!.


I have had a few great days of doing things with amazing friends and would like to share it with everyone. Last Saturday Marcela and Alberto were really nice to take Ethan with them for a playdate which it was really appreciated as I was still feeling quite tired. Alberto and I went for a walk and lay down to watch a film. For some reason last week it took me longer than expected to recover but sometimes we react to what they tell us, the doctor told me that I was going to be more tired than before last week and I guess I was, but not sure how much it was my mind being prepared to be more tired than previous sessions. We went to pick Ethan up and we end up staying outside their house with them and their neighbors for over an hour. I felt much better when I come back home, I am a true believer that a good friend company for 30 minutes is much better than any medicine any doctor can give you. And there is a handful group of them that are giving me so much energy and support that are helping much more than they can imagine.

On Sunday we went to Lorraine's for dinner, it is becoming a very regular dinner and I am starting to feel like if I am going to my sister's for Sunday dinner. I think I have said so many times this but I can't say them enough as how appreciated I am of all her support.

Monday I went to Santana Row for lunch with my Spanish group and the way it got arrange is so typical of us Spanish. Monica and Miriam get together once a month for lunch, they communicated through facebook that they were planning to get together and 7 of us just auto invited to join them. Great lunch and I meant to do a photo of all of us but at the end complete forgot to do it.... Tuesday, lunch at Marcela's, thanks again my dear friend!. Damaris made our favorites flauta's and I eat all the white flour that should eat for the week, the lunch was delicious. Both days I went home early afternoon and lay down in the sofa as I do get tired, plus the hot weather has been hard as well. And I will be cooking every day practising with my "must food", I did brown rice with vegetables for dinner yesterday and Broccoli casserole today and both were delicious....

Now today I decided to join a Yoga studio with Monica, I wanted to do it for some time but my left arm was not strong enough. But today we were so ready, we were there at 9 am for a Vinyasa class that we thought we could perfectly do it....even when the instructor asked us if we had done Yoga before and I answered her of course we have done it telling her we know what we were doing. Well, it was very obvious after 10 minutes that the class was well too advanced for us but we were determinate to stay there for the 75 minutes. I can't remember last time I have sweat so much, Monica was saying that she was sweating more than when she goes running. There was one point during the class that both of us were so dizzy and feeling like we should leave the room as we were just not ready for the flow of postures and movements that these people were doing. But we were there until the end, we did the OHMMMMMMMM and we left the place like if someone had just hit our full body. BUT we will be back tomorrow for a "Gentle Yoga" class and hoping it will be better, we saw Pregnant women coming in to the next class which was the gentle so if we can't do it tomorrow we are in serious unfit situation and we might just have to join the meditation class only....

Oh forgot....Lorraine arrange cinema with a few friends last night and we went to see "The Help", great film that you should see. Based on the 1960 civil rights time when black people will work in white people houses as maids, their lives and how they manage to publish a book about their experiences. I thought it was a great film, thanks girls for coming out!.

Looking forward to Miriam's babyshower this Saturday, I feel is going to be a big party.....

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Identity Theft

Identity theft, really?, really?, yes!!!, I can't believe it. I have been in bed since Tuesday evening, was super tired and was really uncomfortable in the sofa so has been sleeping and trying to pass the time.......BUT this morning 7:30 am a nice lady called from Capital One account saying that wanted to confirm that I wanted to open a bank account in Miami. Thank God she did as because of her call we look at the credit bureau and saw that they also tried to open account with Chase, with T-Mobile and with Sprint. They were not lucky with any of them but they were lucky with General Electric money credit card, I did not have an idea GE offers credit cards!!. They manage to open a $500 credit card which hopefully will be closed soon....

So Alberto and I spent most of today changing bank accounts, putting victim alerts everywhere, calling police....but I think we got it all shorted. Now....I am exhausted and going to bed early!

Alberto said that he recently has read in some article that people who have been diagnosed with some illness are targeted for identity theft so after Jeff advice I called the hospital, the health insurance and the disability insurance as all that three people have got the information use for these theft which were name, social and date of birth.

Keep your eyes open and if you can register with a credit alert, Wellsfargo offer one for $12 a month or similar and seems to be reasonable.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


I have had my parents with me for two months and I am not going to talk about the fact that they are leaving this Friday as I will get all upset. What I want to say is that my mom has been cooking nonstop for 2 months and specially done really nice desserts that all my friends have loved.

So I have started a new tab on my blog where you can see recipes from my mom from now and eventually from me as I am expecting to experiment with food.

Go to the top of my page and see a new tab called recipes. Hope you enjoy it

Monday, September 12, 2011

4th and last AC chemo

10 am and here I am connected again to this chemo port for my last AC treatment, same faces around, today the place is really quiet so will get along and write something here. Just had a chat with Dr Chen who gave me some good and bad news, the good news is that I am doing great and my blood draw results shows that I am doing fantastic, she also did a physical exam which it was also great. The bad news is that AC treatment exhaustion are accumulative and normally the last one is the most difficult one, so she expects me to have a real hard time this week, I am hoping the thought of knowing I am not going to have it again might help me go through it. My strategy is going to be Tylenol PM and try to sleep as much as I can......

We talk about my next 4 rounds of Taxol, starting in two weeks. Nausea is not an issue there and you get flu symptoms which for some people are not too good and in some people are like a normal flu, hoping I am on the last group. You have got a risk of having some allergic reaction so they prescript you with steroids and some other pills that will not let you sleep for a few days....So will have to go to my Tylenol PM friend or something similar to let me sleep but we will cross that line in two weeks.....

Now coming back to this past week which was fantastic but I did not stop!. On Wed I went in the morning to a meeting at the Dioceses of San Jose for Layette, I have been helping Saint Chris on this program for two years and could not say no this year. I started helping them when after so many miscarriages I realized could not have another child so thought helping other moms will be a good idea. Layette is an initiative where around twenty parishes in San Jose collect new born clothes, blankets and cribs and distribute them to public nurses so they can give them to moms that really need it. At the meeting we discover that requests for Layettes have gone down and baased on current Economy do not think is because people are less poor. The real problem is that public nurses have been cut dramatically so there are much less nurses to follow up poor families. We discussed ways of getting these clothes to these people through hospitals that accept medical so hope we can reach more people this year. If anyone wants to donate any new born clothes please let me know, I will go and pick them up from anywhere.

On Thursday we had our morning walk with Monica and Marcela but this time Gema and Neus also join us. After last minute talks we decided to get together after the walk to prepare lunch and have the lunch at my house. I did a paella that was delicious and we had lunch Monica, Marcela, Gema, Upe, Rosario, Damaris, Jackie, my mom and myself. We had a great time and we ate a lot....I love this group to pieces, they are so alive and so positive that they are fantastic. Sorry for all the others who were working and could not make lunch, I guess this was a lunch for the ones who are not as busy as the others...

On Friday we met all the Spanish moms at the park as every Friday and I was super happy to make it this time so I could see some of them that have not seen for some time. We normally meet twice a week, on Monday some of the moms volunteer to teach the kids Spanish, we rent a preschool and divide the children in different levels and ages so the small ones learn songs, the middle ones learn letters and the older ones read and write. On Friday we meet for a playdate at the park and during winter months we do some in doors activities like painting, jumping, ice skating or others. Then once a month we try to do family activities so the husbands can also join us, really nice group!.

Now I had my cooking weekend, party after party but had so much fun!. On Saturday we spend the morning cooking with my mom getting ready for the party at Marcela's house, it was my parents farewell party and I made the condition that we were bringing the food as Marcela always feed us as well as putting the house. We had a great time, had the fire on when it was dark and we left her house quite late but we had an amazing relaxing time. My parents come alive in her house as in mine they are bored and on other places they do not speak the language so they are really quiet, here they tell jokes and do not stop talking!.

On Sunday I had Lorraine and Joan's families for dinner in my house, I did Tarka Dall which is my favorite Indian food and have to say that is fantastic. I found the recipe on Internet and will post it here some time in case anyone wants to try. I also did some chicken with a sauce that I invented myself with onion, garlic, spices, tomatoes and mil and it was also really nice. I prepared two different rices and we had a great dinner. I should had done something healthier as almost everyone who was coming was on a diet so hope have not damaged the diet much...Lorraine was complaining today but she loves the lentils so it would had been impossible for her to stay away from them. This Thursday we are the 3 of us getting together for my weekly Cellular response that Joan does on my, I do really feel that it helps getting my energy back quicker and it is so relaxing that I do look forward to have it every week.

Now the last and the best is that Ethan had his first soccer game on Saturday, he was named the player of the game!!!, he scored 8 goals!!!!, problem was that he scored 4 for his team and 4 for the other team as he was so focus on scoring that he did not care what side!. This is the photo just before the game started, I think he loved it and he will not complain much when he goes to practise this Thursday.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I am recharged!!

Last week was a hard week for me, Wednesday and Thursday it was hard after the 3rd chemo and even if I am doing fantastically great that low days put you down a bit. This time the symptoms were quite similar reference nausea but I felt Wed and Thursday the exhaustion was much higher than before, I slept as much as I could and hoped that will pass soon. It is amazing, on Friday you wake as a new person, you are not back to normal but you feel some energy is coming back and your appetite is returning so you start feeling stronger, after Friday things just look better each day.

Fiona arrived on Friday evening from the UK and we had a great weekend!, she did not cry when she saw me because she was in shock of how great I look and she even said a few times that I look much younger without hair. Also I think the mix of not having hair touching my face all the time and the healthy eating are giving me a skin that I have not had for many years... We spent the full weekend talking and arranging the world, we went for a walk each morning and each evening and we talk as little as we could about Cancer. I keep thinking that have got no idea how I am going to pay her back for everything she is doing for me.

Sunday we had the photoshoot and a great evening with Maite and Upe. Monday was my first day going to a place with more people than my family or my neighbors and we went to Half Moon Bay to have lunch at the Ritz Hotel. We had a great lunch and a walk along the seaside of the hotel and after we come back in the afternoon Alberto and I went to Lorraine's for a drink. Today I was excited to take Ethan to school and I will be taking him every day which might sounds stupid for some people but I am super happy of being able to go with him. I met with Monica and Marcela for our morning walk and hoping to set up a weekly routine of regular walks.

I have got lots of great things to do this week, have managed to keep my week as busy as I can but allowing some time for resting and napping as well. I just feel really happy and recharged so looking forward to enjoying the coming days.

Good Luck Marta

The other day Upe called me and told me that a girl from Spain who works with her had been diagnosed with Breast Cancer and if she could give her my contact details. I told her that of course as when I was diagnosed the first person I called was Cheryl Sole who I knew had gone through it, it helped me a lot for her to walk me through what was going to happen to me and what was the process like.

I met Marta today and she is a lovely girl close to my age and amazingly has been diagnosed with the same type of cancers like me, has already had the surgery and is going to have the same treatment as me. She is treated at Stanford and I am treated at Goodsam but it was really nice to know that the protocol is the same, the things they have explained to us are the same and the outcome expected from our treatment is the same. It kind of gives you peace of mind as you always have got something that makes you wonder if what they are doing to you is the best treatment and if anywhere else they will do differently.

She is having her first AC chemo treatment tomorrow and I wish her the best of luck, it will be much better than what she expects as we normally set our minds for the worst but I hope she can have a few hours sleep tonight.

Photoshoot by Maite Pons

If you are on my facebook account you have already seen these photos, but if you are not I have to post here my two favorite ones. It is not a surprise to say that even if all the photos are amazing, my favorite ones are the ones with my boys, the one on the front page of these blog with Alberto and Ethan and the ones here with Ethan.

Everything started some weeks ago when our talented Maite Pons that has been doing amazing photos of anything she can find around her said that we should do a photoshoot of this time in my life so I will look at it in the future with a smile in my face instead of with sad feeling. Maite has been doing photos of things you and me can't see that is going to look amazing on a photo, from crayons to flowers. We got together in my house this past Sunday, Maite , Upe and Fiona. We had a laugh as I am not a model in nature and some of the things Maite wanted to do were out of my comfort zone. We prepared different clothes, different scarfs and Fiona bought me 3 different hats to use as well which I love!. We even did photos with the wig that I have not shown in facebook or here because every time I look at them I feel that it is not me and I am looking at some other person. It does not mean that the wig photos are not nice, I think they are really nice, it is just a weird feeling of me thinking I am looking at someone else.

The results are fantastic and I can't stop looking at some of the photos, my sister and my aunts in Spain are the happiest people on earth as they can now put a new portrait of us. My mom is excited to have all the photos on a CD for her to print everything in Spain when they leave next week.

So thanks very much Maite for all the pictures, the patience and the time you spent with us. And thanks to Upe, Maite and Fiona for making me laugh so much all Sunday evening.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Viva la Virgen De Nieva

I am from small town in south Pamplona (Spain) called Peralta, I lived there the most wonderful moments in my life and have friends for ever. I left Spain 15 years ago but I do come back to the town once or twice a year if I can as my parents, my sister and all my mom's family live in the town.

This week the town is getting ready for that festival to celebrate Virgin Nieva, which starts on Saturday. You have to keep in mind that in Spain we celebrate anything and any Saint but this festival is special. It last 10 days of heavy eating, drinking, dancing and lack of sleep. Last time I was there about 6 or 7 years ago I was dead after two nights, my body could not tolerate that level of happiness....

For the past 6 years my friends have made a tradition which is to call me this Saturday night when they are having dinner and have had a few drinks to remind me what I am missing for not being there. This week I think that call might be a bit emotional, I wish I could be there with them or even better I wish they could be closer to me. However they have been really close to me, they call me, e-mail me and request a bi-weekly personal update, if I start my good week without sending that message I am told off.

I want to put a few photos here of that festival from many years ago that will remind many of us so many good memories, and I want to say: " Viva la Virgen de Nieva". Check if you can find me on two of them, the middle one I am not on it but it is such a nice photo of them that have to share....