In this chemo cycle the etoposide reduction has been remarkable in terms of recovery: just after a couple or three days I was already feeling much better. People that have seen my face have also noticed and have let me know that. The most notable and remaining side effect is the loss of sensitivity on the fingertips, but this is peanuts…
However, on Monday February 20, day 96, I was told that this week I wouldn’t be able to start the fourth cycle: my levels of neutrophils -white cops with a golden star on the chest- were at 915 units/uL, while the threshold to have the chemo is set at 1000 units/uL. I hadn’t had a fever, but this wasn’t certainly enough 😥
Anyway, I keep drinking multi-fruit and vegetable juices -thanks to my parents-in-law for the cold press juicer 🙂 -, eating cucumbers every day and taking the relaxing salt baths. We have the room where we will sleep at my parents’ apartment almost ready, and little by little order is prevailing. Just imagine for a while what it is to arrive into an already full apartment, but you are coming with all your Swiss life stuff… We have rented a box room which is so full up… and we don’t even know what’s inside since there are also things distributed between my granny’s and my parents-in-law’s apartments. My motorbike is still in Switzerland, as well as many other things, spread out in different cities: Neuchâtel, Cressier, Cugy… ‘Lol. Nonetheless, the effort that my parents are doing is already giving some results 🙂 Thank you, dad & mom!
Your messages of affection, prayers, positive vibes, and my willingness to recover -together with those of all the people that love me and appreciate me- are also taking effect, so don’t stop sending them to me!
A request for hope
I’m gonna start by asking 3 minutes of your time to sign the following request: we want a box for cancer research in income tax filing documents (in Spanish)! If you are reading these lines from any country, you can also sign!
We need 1 million signatures, but there are about 300.000 left. Please, sign this request and share it in your social networks: this is the only way to achieve that number of signatures.
A special day
February 15, day 91, wasn’t a day like any other: it was the ICCD (International Childhood Cancer Day). So here I’d like to thank all the people that made a donation to Alba Pérez’s foundation against childhood cancer. I know that this time we’ve gone through international borders: The Netherlands, Germany… Thanks a lot, Andreu and Gerard! I’m a little bit insistent, but I know that lots of people would like to collaborate but haven’t done it yet. I don’t know the reasons, but please: DO IT!
- This is the solidary IBAN account number for donations:
The foundation is already tying up loose ends for having a foster apartment next to the hospital, so that parents of child suffering from cancer from outside of Barcelona area can stay somewhere during the child’s treatment. As soon as it becomes official, it will be great news. I can put myself on these parents’ shoes, since in Switzerland we had to travel 70 km by train to go from Neuchâtel to Lausanne, where the hospital was. Had I chosen to continue my treatment there, it would surely have been very tough for me and for Nathália both psychologically and economically. There, this kind of aid doesn’t exist… if you get ill you simply pay at the register. It’s still pending my post about some of my invoices from Swiss healthcare, so that we Spaniards do not complain about our social security system…
Anyway, changing the subject, not longtime ago I got an e-mail that made me quite sad. It was the Swiss Red Cross, from its regional transfusion service. The last time I got a call from them to donate blood, I recall that I was on my way to Lausanne, in my father’s car, in order to make the preliminary tests to the first biopsy. Then I told them that it was going to be impossible for me to donate on those days, since I was having all different kind of tests. Later, once I was diagnosed, I notified them my illness.
In the e-mail I was talking about, they thank me for my four donations -taking into account our trip to Brazil in December 2015 and that on summer 2016 I remade my tattoo, I couldn’t donate that much-, but they also mention that the Swiss law obliges them to refuse to my “precious collaboration” as a donor. Literally:
The nature of your illness constitutes a definite contraindication to blood donation, even after complete healing.
In other words: I have been banned for life to donate blood. This is something that hurts me, I won’t deny it, due to my involvement in this activity. I won’t be capable to do it, but nothing will stop me from asking you to do it. There’s been the case of a friend who has worn a sleeping mask to avoid seeing the needle. A big thanks to Andrea and Bernat and to all those who have already done it! Be brave!
I was on a trail walk with friends close to Granollers when we stopped to chug some water from the bottles we had. When I raised my mouth to start pouring it, Nathália told me that I had a pair of black spots in two teeth, at the inner side. You may think: what a silliness this guy is telling, but just have in mind that I’ve never had a single caries… it was tough for me. Once in my parents-in-law’s apartment, Nathália found her hygienist tools and the “scratch and win” revealed that… it was nothing to worry about! The little stains disappeared quickly. I’ve taken so much care of my mouth that I this novelty was making me feel suspicious. Since I started the treatment, I must rinse my mouth with baking soda right after brushing my teeth, because the chemo attacks mucosae and can cause aphthae -mouth ulcers- that can be later a source of infection.
Luckily for me, the chemo respected my teeth! False alarm.
On Wednesday February 8, day 84, the doorbell rang at around 8 p.m., while I was getting ready to take a salt bath. My friend Gololo came in followed by… Rui! Rui – a.k.a. Ninja- is a Portuguese friend from the Erasmus in Sweden, whom I didn’t met since 2010. He took advantage of a business trip to Barcelona to visit me. Thanks a lot for that good moment, Ninja!
One week later, on Wednesday 15, day 91, the second part of the OPT team -my lab in Switzerland- showed up at my parents’ place. Nico, Johana, Marcel, and Irène arrived in Barcelona the previous evening and we passed a big part of the day together. Taking advantage that it was a lovely sunny and warm day, we had a tasty meal -galician soup- at a terrace not too far and I also showed them L’Hospitalet downtown (which isn’t Barcelona).
That fateful Monday 20, in the afternoon and this time -only this one- forewarned, my former colleagues from the OPTO group at ICFO came to visit me: my former boss Valerio, Pedro, Marc, Carlos, Miquel, and Vahagn. We had a great time talking about my illness, the foundation, science -we talked about graphene, of course xD-, and about the good old times. Thanks for coming, mates!
I’d also like to thank my friends (Mike, Miriam, Pablo, Cris, Edu, Iris, Marina, Gololo, Arturo, Youi, Gem), my brother-, sister-, and parents-in-law for the good moments we have had this last weekend 🙂