Thursday, August 10, 2017

Keep Calm and Colorado

The 1st two weeks in Colorado have just flown by! It is absolutely gorgeous here with all the mountain views at every turn (we may decide not to come back to MD ;o). Our flight out was an interesting adventure because our layover in Denver was delayed 5 hours. We spent a lot of our time in the airport trying to keep a 5 year old happy and entertained. She did great considering and we colored, played several games of Go Fish, watched movies and walked around. We were all a little tired by the time we arrived in Durango but we still explored the town a little that night and stopped for dinner.

Treatments started on the 24th of July. I started with hydro therapy and nutritional IV infusion. Hydro therapy is a Chinese medicine technique which is a series of rotating hot and cold towels applied to the chest/abdomen and back. This technique is used for promoting overall health and immune system strength. It is also used to help open up the blood vessels for better mistletoe results. The cold towel is quite invigorating and shocking. I can’t seem to get used to the cold towel and always do a little squeal when that part comes. The nutritional IV was to help give me a good base of vitamins, minerals and amino acids from the flight and change in altitude. Speaking of altitude, we all transitioned well to the higher elevation with no major issues. Each week I have a few days of hydro therapy and then a few days of acupuncture. I have mistletoe every day Mon-Fri.

During week 1 I had great energy and we ended up doing a lot of car rides around exploring the country side and we did some mountain climbing (in the car). The sites and views are just amazing and the pictures just don’t do them justice. We love CO and the food here has been so yummy. There are a lot of local grass-fed meats served with local produce and a lot has been organic, which we love and appreciate.

Mistletoe treatments started on Tuesday, our second day here. We started with 100mg and by the end of week 1 we were up to 300 mg, as we gradually increased the dose. Mistletoe can cause a reaction of itching and/or hives. The hives started at my injection sites form where I was doing the injections at home for the last few months. During the 1st week they were not too bad and typically would subside a few hours after the infusion was done. I had some blood work done a couple days into week 1, which showed my blood counts were pretty low. Not necessarily surprising since I was in my second week of my 21 day cycle of chemo. My oncologist decided I should stop this cycle of chemo so my counts could rebound (I have yet to complete a full cycle of chemo without stopping early).

During the second week, the mistletoe reaction was a little more than the Dr. really wanted, so we stayed at 400 mg. In addition to the reactions, my back pain started spiking Sunday night (the start of week 2) and continued into Tuesday night. It was the typical level 10 pain and we were worried we would need to make a trip to the ER; however, we were able to get the pain somewhat under control until it subsided. That second week started out rough and then on Thursday they added vitamin C to my infusion. The combination of Mistletoe and vitamin C was quite potent for me. When I left I had rashes up my arms and on my thighs and was itchy everywhere. I also ran a low grade fever and was snuggled in bed all afternoon and evening that day. Friday’s infusion was just the 400 mg of mistletoe and I felt totally fine after that treatment, which confirmed the vitamin C was causing more of the reaction. More recently we have had some IV issues getting a line started. Because I had my lymph nodes removed back in 2012 as part of my initial diagnosis, we are limited to using my left arm for IV’s, blood work, and blood pressure. Friday of the 2nd week it took 5 tries/sticks to find a vein that would work (totally no fun at all).  Once I am back home I will need to look into getting a port put back in because access going forward is going to be a challenge. 

Even though I had a few rough days, overall I have been able to get out and explore with everyone. Charlotte totally loves it here and tolerates some of our long exploring car rides really well. We have been able to do way more than I ever imagined and it helps that a lot of our adventures we can do in the car, stopping to take pictures as we see the sites. We attempted one hike on foot but didn’t get far before we turned around because I was tired. My niece Sydney flew out for weeks 2-3, which has been so awesome. We love spending time with Sydney and Charlotte loves having someone to play with. They have such a cute little bond. It has been really helpful for us to have Sydney here. Taking Charlotte to treatments every day during the 1st week was great, but she was getting tired of going. It’s been really nice for the girls to do fun things while I am in treatments. Steve typically works during treatments, so it’s been great for him to have that time and not need to entertain Charlotte.

I feel so blessed to be able to travel to Colorado for these 3 weeks. The atmosphere here is so chill and relaxed. Everyone is so friendly and they seem to just enjoy life living in Colorado. It is so different than being back home in MD. This trip has been truly wonderful for us as a family. We have been able to spend a lot of time together and really have quality time that we don’t seem to have an abundance of at home. It’s been a really great bonding time for us!!

Here are just a few of our favorite pictures of our trip so far!!

Day 1 (excited to get started)

James Farm, Durango (amazing view & food)

James Farm, Durango

Coal Bank Pass - Elevation 10,640

Coal Bank Pass - Elevation 10,640

Coal Bank Pass - Elevation 10,640

Pinkerton Hot Springs, Durango

View driving up Purgatory


Low counts means mask

Driving to Silverton 

We found this waterfall on our drive to Silverton

Chasing waterfalls

Wildflowers at Coal Bank Pass 
Wildflowers at Coal Bank Pass 

Four Corners (where Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado & Utah met)

Stage Coach Ride in Durango

Town of Telluride

Waterfall outside the town of Telluride

No comments:

Post a Comment