Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Chicago, The Block Center - Let the Veggies Begin!

From Rosa:  *Do NOT miss the secret, very weird, yummy recipe at the end

Tina and I are back from Chicago and the Block Cancer Center.  We were able to take this trip because of your donations. Thank you, thank you!!  For those who made this possible I want you to know it has made a world of difference and it all went really, really well.  

The Block Center is sunny and open and welcoming.  The staff is excellent -  experienced and positive. They had all clearly read Tina’s medical records ( now that's unusual!) so she didn’t have to re-tell the story except for whatever was important to her. The entire projection was forward.

The staff explained that whatever statistics we had received or researched were for traditional medical care only and that this was a “clean slate” because with the use of integrative methods those stats were not relevant.  They all had stories about how the odds have been beaten. And, they were very clear that the way to beat this was adherence to the plan – with allowances to get there.

Tina had 18 vials of blood taken to determine where her body is in relation to its ability to get in the game and do what it knows best to heal. The array of supplements she was given to begin the program will change with the results of the tests, and IV vitamins will be added to help the program move more quickly.

In another week the lab results will be in and the program will be tweaked. She will return in August for labs again. For now: no animal protein, sugar or dairy – some fish is allowed, and eating small meal/snacks 4 to 6 times a day. It was discussed that she will “cheat” once in a while, but getting back on the program is the game until it is just normal routine. Hell, we should all be doing it, and I am doing the diet myself in solidarity. Not a big jump for me, but sizable for Tina and she is doing great.

Food is medicine, as they say.

Weirdest new food "trick"?  A chocolate pudding* that has a base of avocado!!!?? 

So, here we are. Movement is forward.  This morning I am off to pick up a box of organic, locally grown produce from Rawfully Organic - a great co-op.  Gabe, the elder of her two sons and prone to eating healthy, is taking up the concepts and pitching in at home. We have been running a test kitchen in their apartment, trying out new recipes. Tina says her craving for white sugar has been much less than she expected. 

We are inspired and re-assured by the support from the Block Cancer Center and grateful  for the friends and family who made the trip possible. Thanks to you all!


*Bonus Recipie

Chovocado Pudding
Serves 2

1/4 avocado
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Peel and quarter an avocado (store remainder to use soon)
  2. put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth
  3. serve and enjoy!

Tina and Buck (the dog): One Tail's Happy Ending

Cancer complicates a lot of things, including family pets and the ability to care for them. Tina has two cats, Mooch and Rascal, and used to have a dog named Buck.

You might have read Lisa Gray's story in the Houston Chronicle about Tina and the search for a home for Buck. Lisa did a brilliant job of capturing Tina's spirit, Buck's plight, and the dire situation. It was the most commented on and read story on the Houston Chronicle site for several days.(Tina and Buck were even trending on Twitter) and the story was picked up by Business Week (!)

And for those of you who missed the follow up of the many many people who offered to take Buck into their homes, Tina chose a young man whose family nominated him and Lisa Gray (again) tells the story beautifully.

Tina took Buck to meet Brett.  Tina, Buck, and her boyfriend Larry took off early in the morning from Houston and met Brett mid-day in Kerrville at the rolling green park next to the river in the center of town. Buck greeted Brett with enthusiasm, a friendly stranger in a wide open space after a long ride. The humans also greeted each other and an agreement was reached- if things did not work out, even in the long run, we can always find Buck another home- no pressure if the reality was not a fit. Tina filled in Brett on Buck's ways. Brett was fully engaged as he played with Buck and they got to know each other. Then Brett took the end of Buck's leash and started off on a walk down the riverside trail. Buck looked back once at Tina, seemingly relaxed, and then confidently turned to be led on that walk with his new owner.

A month later, it looks like Buck and Brett are a good fit. Tina and Brett have exchanged a few text updates. She likes the way Brett relays the things that are truly important when you put someone you love in the care of strangers. Most of all, Buck has found a good loving home and lots of room to run and play.

The worries of how to care for Buck are receding, leaving room to care for other things that need attention, like healing. Tina's small apartment weirdly seems a little smaller without him.

The family would like to extend a special thanks to EVERYONE who made this possible:  Lisa Gray, James Neilson, and the Houston Chronicle, Kristy Felker, Brett Felker (and his entire family), the MANY AMAZING people who offered Buck a home, and everyone who believes every dog deserves a loving home that passed the story along. Thank you!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Tina, My Sister, Has Brain Cancer

This is my sister, Tina (Van Deusen) Borja (40 something years ago).

In 2010 she fought off a nasty bout of very aggressive breast cancer. Several surgeries, chemo, more chemo, radiation, reconstruction, and two years later we thought she had it beat.

February 14th, 2012 the doctors found four tumors in her brain and everything changed. Again. And some things stayed the same, they just became ever so much more important (and time sensitive).

This blog is where we work to keep Tina's dreams alive while she eradicates these tumors and beats the odds. This is Tina now, with her sons Gabe and Jack (17 & 15) volunteering at the MS 150 2012. (Btw, Gabe, on the right, is making a face for the camera. They all hate having their pics taken.)

Tina's dreams are simple: to have the space to dream and heal , to have the space and time to create memories with her sons, to have the space to be with friends and family. You can help us make these wishes come true.

                       You will need Tina's email to donate:  helptinaborja@live.com (catchy, huh?) Thanks!

There are all sorts of ideas/events/plans to give Tina the space she is asking for. You can keep up with these efforts by subscribing to our blog updates or checking the Calendar page regularly. Please subscribe to receive blog posts (in the upper right hand column) and share this with your friends. We will keep you posted as things progress! You can follow Tina in her own words at The Caring Bridge as well (search tinaborja- all one word).

We are asking for donations to this cause, in whatever way you can.