Fundraising Countdown

The support and fundraising that has happened on my behalf has touched my heart and has made alternative cancer treatment a possibility for me. Donations continue to be my primary funding for healthy food, supplements, living expenses and medical bills. If you feel moved to give to my Health and Wellness Fund, please follow the Paypal "Donate" button below. To avoid Paypal's 3% fee, checks or cash can be sent to Zachariah Walker, 1003 Chipeta Ave, Grand Junction, CO 81501. Blessings!


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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

No Apparent Side Effects

It is Tuesday morning and tomorrow marks two weeks since I've been at Angeles Hospital in Tijuana.  There is a bittersweetness to this timing as Larkin and I will be leaving tomorrow.  It has been a phenomenal experience here.  However, I am certainly ready to get out, despite how comfortable, accommodating and nurturing it is, it still is a hospital.  As I have calculated, I have spent 42 of the last 64 days of my life living and being treated in a hospital setting.  I have dialogued many experiences and the side-effects of treatments, particularly the traditional chemotherapy aftermath.  Though, honestly I have spared many of the graphic details and have some pictures that might make the weak-hearted queazy.  There are a number of things I have learned along the way, I guess you could call them secondary side-effects, that I've felt worthy of noting before they are distant afterthoughts.

One cool thing that could likely earn me some money making bets at a party is my ability to accurately predict how much pee I am holding in my bladder.  I have become very tuned-in to my ins and outs.  While in the hospital they measure your intake (food and liquids) and your output.  As I explain it to the enfermeras here, "mi numero uno y mi numero dos."  That feels a little more adult that "mi poo-poo y mi pee-pee."  I have taped a nice chart next to the toilet to document my daily dos (or do-dos, I guess you could say).  One amazing discovery is the body's ability to maximize the volume of the bladder while laying down.  I have been amazed at my ability to fill a urinal in the middle of the night.  My record so far is 1400cc, that's 1 and 1/3 Nalgene bottles! (Ha, that reminds me of my flight here and a near emergency over St. George that Christopher does NOT have documented on his iPhone).  In comparison, my standing rate averages around 500cc.  My mother has noted how she has noticed some striking Haussler characteristics that are more evident with my lack of facial and head hair, but my bladder must certainly come from the Walker side.  Just ask any of the Haussler spouses on a road trip!  (Ma, I'm not gonna get in trouble for that one, am I?)

In an abstract way I have also learned to drink from my jugular vein.  This, of course, first requires the installation of special equipment, in my case a Hickman port.  The trick then is learning how to run the machine that hooks up to the port.  There's nothing like the incessant beeping coming from the IV pole to motivate a quick study.  It's kinda like riding a bike too, I learned when I was young and it comes back quick.  During one of my stays at St. Mary's the nurses were excited about the new pumps that quickly made the old ones obsolete.  About three days into it I was training new nurses who were coming on shift for the first time.  I could only stand to watch them scratch their heads for so long.  The funny thing is, while there I always felt like I was undertaking a covert operation.  Adding an extra 50mLs to empty my IV so I didn't have to wait around chained to my pole waiting for a nurse to show up.  My heart would race a bit, what if I get caught!?  I kinda liked it... yes, searching for excitement!  It was a whole new challenge once I got to Mexico.  The pumps are in Spanish using abbreviated word that are far out of my range of vocabulary.  The first time the beeping started I stared at the pump in awe, what a rush!  Using deductive reasoning I eliminated half of the buttons as possibilities.  Some of the others had picture icons.  Stopping the beep temporarily was easy, but that wasn't good enough.  Another button and the screen changed, uh oh, a moment of panic...  My buzz was quickly killed when a kind nurse came in and showed me how to do it.  WHAT!  I have permission?  On to figuring out the Tequila drip...

As I mentioned in my last Blog, it has been such a relief to receive therapy that is not fear-ridden.  I have experienced some night sweats and headaches from the cell therapy, and of course four injections into my groin wasn't fun, but a walk in the park compared to chemo.  The first injection was the worst by far.  Naturally, the true test will be results.  While there might be indicators in a periphery blood test or smear, there is no way to really know what is happening with the cancer process until undergoing another bone marrow biopsy.  I will be adding more dots to the star cluster of scars on my iliac crest.  However, indications from my CBC blood tests look very positive.  My white blood cell count is now higher than it's been since the start of this ordeal!  The healthy range of WBC is between 5 and 10 K/mm^3 (I believe that's 'thousand per cubic mm of blood').  My first reading back in February was a 2.0, a "critically" low value.  I have climbed the past two weeks from a 1.1 upon arrival to a current 2.8.  As Dr. Garcia said, when I come back in 2 months I'll be eating tacos from street side vendors with no problem.  I am way more inspired by the notion of no longer wearing a mask in public, neurotically sanitizing my hands, and ingesting a daily regimen of antibiotics.  I know a lot of my loved ones were really nervous about the notion of me coming to Tijuana for healthcare.  I really hope the following video dispels any concerns around these worries.

First Take (bloopers)


Dr Christopher Lepisto said...

You are a freak. And an awesome one at that.

Looking forward to seeing you again soon. Safe travels and enjoy the beach time!!!

A hug for Larkina,


Anonymous said...

I'm glad to see the cranium transplant was a success, I'm sure Mr. Fudd is appreciative of your willingness to donate. You're a real inspiration. Good luck finding a hat that fits.

john walker said...

I see acting as a career choice in the future.

Love, Dad