Daily Archives: January 16, 2016

Safe and Sound

All back safe and sound with my cousin in the UK. I forgot how homey it was and I enjoy our visits in the evening in front of the fire. That’s the best part.    

 

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Languages

This morning I could not find an empty table in the lovely breakfast room. I asked a lone gentleman around my age if I could use a chair at the same table. Small talk is not part of Latvian culture (which is perfect for me) so I was expecting to eat quietly and quickly and leave. 

The gentleman, however did speak to me. Finally asking if it was English that I spoke. When I said yes he asked which country and seemed intrigued when I said Canada. He commented that I was a long way from home. (If he only knew). 

It turned out that he was a Norwegian whose English was pretty good, holidaying with some friends who were sleeping in. He was very polite and respectful so we had a brief conversation. 

In discussing the exchange rate between Canadian dollars and Euros (which is not good, by the way) he told me that the Norwegian economy was suffering much like Alberta from loss of jobs in the oil industry. Small world. 

What impresses me most about all the people I have met is the amount of languages they speak. At least three for the Latvians I have met:Latvian, Russian, and English. The Norwegian obviously spoke two for sure.  

I think I would feel bad, compared to them, if I hadn’t been trying to learn at least one other language. I’m not fluent in anything other than English but it isn’t the only language I love. 

Welsh, Cree, French, German, I even studied a little Latin. Maybe I could add a few more words that just Paldies (thank you) in the Latvian language. 

The Treatment

I know you are curious about the treatment I have come to Latvia for so I’ll explain.

 As you know, in Canada we (cancer patients) are given 3 options: surgery, chemo, and radiation (affectionately know to cancer patients as cut, poison, burn). The first option was not offered me because of the location of my cancer. The last two are things that in themselves are cancer causing. There has been basically not much of a change in those for the last 40 years (???  Ask why not. You might be appalled at the answer). 

As I understand it, it was dicovered that people, a person that had cancer who contracted rabies was miraculously cured of cancer. This started the wheels turning in Latvia and a brilliant lady Dr ‘habil med’ (look this term up) Aina Muceniece started the process of developing the treatment I have come over a whole ocean for.

 In the 40 years in which no progress was made in NorthAmerica other than earlier detection so the nightmarish treatments could begin even sooner (and I might add skew the 5 year survival statistics) this treatment has passed all the necessary clinical trials and is now available by prescription here in Latvia. Note: This was during a turbulent time and the collapse of the Soviet Union I’m sure must have caused delays and difficulties for the research team.  

The side effects from this are a slight fever which I have already experienced and I can tell you is much preferred over the side effects of conventional cancer treatments. 

Here I have had a CT, thorough blood work, met with an oncologist, immunologist, and nutritionist over a 4 day period (all very low stress) and had 3 intramuscular injections. 

The treatment itself, for the next three months, will consist of the same type of injection once per week.  At the end of that time I will be reassessed through blood tests sent to Latvia and my treatment plan will be reworked. It will not be more shots per week but may be less. 

I have a very good prognosis because of my decision to avoid chemo and radiation till I could try this. Thus I am basically healthy ( except I have cancer), I have already improved my lifestyle signicantly, I came early enough, and because of the type of cancer I have. 

Many people do not start searching for anything like this until all conventional options have proved unable to help and come with stage IV cancers and they may not have sufficient time for this type of treatment to work. It is not an aggressive therapy and works more slowly over time. 

I will write more about it as time passes and let you know how it goes. So far I am very impressed with everything that has been done for me, with the medical community here, and of course this beautiful city that has captured my heart.