Susan WonderStone's Blog

The Oven
March 30, 2009, 3:27 pm
Filed under: alternative treatments, health, Hyperthermia

I was talking to one of the doctors about going back to the hospital in a couple of months.  “The Oven” is one of the treatments I get in the hospital in Mexico.

Full body hyperthermia. Cancer falls apart at high temperatures. What if you could heat the body without cooking the brain. As long as the cancer isn’t in the head or brain, doesn’t it make sense? The first time I got in “the oven”, it was different than anything I had ever done, but so were all the other treatments they were putting me through. It almost looked like a tanning bed, the kind that has the mattress on the bottom and the lights on the top. They explained that your body gets so hot that they have to put an iv in to keep you from getting dehydrated. They had me put on a hospital gown, which I think was mostly so they didn’t have to see me naked than anything else. It was a hassle getting clothes on and off over the iv. I climbed in, laying on my back. Dr Munoz brought the top down, again very similar to a tanning bed, except that the top started at my neck. My head would be sticking out during the treatment. He then attached a thick vinyl curtain around all the sides. Probably because my arms were stuck inside, (my left arm had the iv, and my right arm donned a blood pressure cuff) my face and head immediately started itching. I was told I would be in there an hour. The idea was to get my core temperature up to 106*, while monitoring my blood pressure, heart rate, EKG and oxygen saturation. If at any time, vitals shift too far, the session is over. The blood pressure monitor automatically checks every 15 minutes. I think I would fall asleep at about 13 minutes, just in time for the cuff to start inflating and wake me up. Usually the doctor, but sometimes a nurse would come in to check and document all the numbers and offer me water. Next time I go, I’ll hang a camelback from the iv pole, so I can drink from it without getting a lot of air from the straw and choking. At the other end, trying to stay hydrated with the iv and drinking water every 15 minutes, filled up my bladder. At one point, Dr Munoz said “Well – just pee then”. It just seemed wrong, trying to pee the bed. I couldn’t do it. I thought if I could just go a little, and not completely empty my holding tank, I could hold out and finish the treatment. I tried, but nothing happened. I don’t remember ever getting in trouble for wetting the bed, but there must be something pretty strong that was preventing me from even a little purposeful dribble.
After an hour, my oral temperature was 102. There was a fan blowing on my head, which helped dry some of the sweat, but also dried out my eyes and contacts. The doctor would dry my face with a towel every time he came in, but would wipe softly and gently pat it dry. It almost made it itch more. Remember…my arms are stuck inside. I can’t do anything about the balls of sweat dripping in my eyes, in my ears and rolling down my face, tickling all the way. I told him to use more pressure. “Wipe it like I’m your kid with dried enchilada sauce on my face.” It wasn’t much longer, I could handle it. Moving my legs a little, I realized I was almost swimming. No wonder he told me to go ahead and pee. No one would ever know.
The plan was to treat the lump in my head with other treatments, but if we could attack the bad guys in my liver and lymphatic system, I would have a stronger army to launch their attack in my head.
My 3rd time in the oven, I drank a lot the day before, but not the morning of. I asked if I could get in soon after my iv was started. It would probably be my last time, so I wanted to stay in as long as possible. I brought a familiar cd, so I could have a better idea of how long I had been in, based on the song that was playing. Everything was like the other times until about 90 minutes. My oral temperature was 104*. Dr Munoz asked me if I was ready to get out. I told him I was ok. My other vitals were fine, so he agreed to let me stay in. Within about a minute of him leaving, I started crying. Borderline hysterical, I noticed Clyde and Talon in the room. Were they really there? Their presence re-assured me that everything was going to be ok. Still crying, the round stool moved, as if someone pushed it out of the way. Bonnie was now licking the tears, sweat and snot off my face, like she did when both Clyde and Talon had died. It was so real. How could my three dead dogs be with me in a clinic in downtown Tijuana? My crying slowed down, nearly stopping. I felt a peacefulness that had been missing from my life. I really felt like I was going to be ok. I saw the three Rottweilers, felt their presence, but was aware enough to think I was hallucinating and might be in trouble. I told Bonnie to go get Dr Munoz. He showed up a few seconds later. My temperature was still 104* and all other numbers were ok. Since it appeared I was ok, I told him I would shoot for 2 hours. As he started to shut the door, I told him to leave it open. I told him how I had sent Bonnie out to get him and that she hadn’t come back yet. He asked “Who’s Bonnie?” I told him that she was my dog and that she and the others had come to comfort me at the funeral we had been having for the cancer since the last time he checked on me. Instead of shutting the door or leaving the room with the door open so Bonnie could come back in, he quickly made his u-turn, turned the oven off and started unhooking the thick vinyl curtain. I told him I wanted to get my temperature to 106*. He said my rectal and core temperature was probably there. I declined with a sarcastic “NO” when he asked if I wanted him to check it for sure. After he unhooked everything, I felt like I was climbing out of a shallow kids pool in the now heavy, fully saturated gown, in the middle of a Texas summer. He told me he would get a nurse to help me change. After he left, I realized how bad I had to pee. I got the gown off and hung it from the iv pole. Trying not to slip in the puddle, I dried off enough to get dressed. My new goal was to make it to the bathroom without making another puddle. I bent over to put my underwear on. Halfway up, I noticed the iv tubing looked different. There was about 3 feet of blood in it. I started to panic. The fluid was supposed to be going in, not my blood going out. I rolled the pole to the door, now hysterically crying again, underwear twisted up on one side and still below my butt on the other, nothing else covered.  
     I often teased Dr Munoz about being naked, because it made him blush, and made me laugh. He saw me standing there in my puddle of emotions and rushed in to help.
The rest of the story will be in my book.
Love, gratitude and blessings

A matter of perspective
March 23, 2009, 6:20 am
Filed under: Inspiration

We got up at the same time as a school day.  My only day to sleep in, since tomorrow is a school day.  We loaded Lugnut and the dog crate, to take him to the airport.  His dad really misses him, hopefully more than we already do.  Just before it was time for them to take him back, Lugnut started crying.  I looked over and  Cameron had a six inch snot hanging off his face.  Then the domino hit me.   When the female employee saw me, it hit her.  We were all making puddles.   We told him good-bye one last time.  I told him again where he was going, and to take care of his dad.  After stopping for a short mood enhancing shopping trip, we made the nearly silent hour long journey home.  Keta didn’t even get out of  her box to greet us when we came in.  I think she’s mad at me, not knowing it wasn’t my decision.  Oh yeah, she is a dog, who knows what she knows/thinks or even cares?  The light was flashing on the answering machine.  Since I get very few phone calls anymore, I was excited to hear the message.  I didn’t recognize the voice at first.  Then I did.  It was a friend from the hospital in Mexico, who had found my card and was calling to tell me his wife had died.  She and I were being treated for cancer.  Here we were, upset the dog who had been living with us for 9 months, was moving to another state to be with his dad.  Even though we had gotten attached, he wasn’t ours.   He’s healthy, he’ll be happy, and he’s alive.  Back to the phone message.  My friend is not coming back.  She’s not on a trip.   But also, she’s no longer suffering.   Celebrate life.  Celebrate every day!  I have so much to be thankful for!  Thank you, God!

Love, gratitude and blessings


March 22, 2009, 4:12 am
Filed under: Uncategorized
Lugnut and Keta

Lugnut and Keta

They love each other!  Lugnut has lived with us since June of last year.  His dad is ready for him, so we’re taking him to the airport in the morning for his journey to Florida.  We will all miss him, but especially Keta.  I don’t know what all they do while I’m at work, but there are always things re-arranged, knocked over and missing.  I know he will miss us too.  He seems to enjoy Keta cleaning the inside of his lips after meals.  He has gotten used to our routines and has fun with the games we play.  We love you and will miss you Lugnut!  Happy, healthy life in Florida.  Hope you like the climate changes.

Love, gratitude and blessings

Susan, Cameron and Keta