Archive | October, 2011

Back from Nogales

9 Oct

We’re back!  We made the trip in less than 24 hours for our first round of LIT.  We need to have our second treatment in 3-5 weeks.  The treatment itself is not a big deal.  I got two injections which took less than 5 minutes.  The overhead was another story.  Crossing the US/Mexico border, visiting a random border town in Mexico, meeting all new faces may of whom spoke only broken English, definitely edgy and out there.

Here is a step-by-step of how it all went down:

1. We waited in Arizona for the van at the McDonalds at the scheduled time (11 AM).  (I skipped the whole fast food thing as I had an AMAZING breakfast at our hotel before we left.  I am still thinking about those waffles.  Mr. Star was fasting, but he never eats breakfast anyway so he wasn’t bothered)

2. We met Cesar our driver.  He was our guide for the day and picked us up in a Honda Odyssey.  He was a few minutes late so we were a bit nervous.  That particular location has zero cell service which didn’t help.  Mr. Star used GoogleTalk via the internet roaming to call the clinic and confirm he was coming which was reassuring.

3. We drove across the border through the gates.  We got some glances by the security but noone stopped us.  Apparently Mexico doesn’t check passports or IDs for people coming in.  The border itself is a fence over 30 feet high with rough terrain on both sides.

4.  We drove through the town of Nogales to the clinic.  When you enter you definitely feel like you’ve left the US and are now in a much lower income country as the roads are suddenly much crappier and the phone and electrical wiring is exposed and appears to be hung everywhere.  There is a lot of foot traffic and brightly painted cement buildings closed together with signs in Spanish.

5. We arrived at the clinic which is one of many offices that share the building. Cesar our guide walked us up through the lobby to the clinic on the second floor and we waited in the waiting room looking at the many photos of babies on the wall.

They smiled at us and told us to wait.  It seemed like we were the only non-Mexicans there and everyone was speaking Spanish.  We waited a good thirty minutes before the receptionist asked us to come back.  In the meantime I burned through their magazine collection including old issues of National Geographic and an issue of the local paper (in Spanish) including an ad for the clinic.

6. We meet Dr. Quiroga who asks us if we speak Spanish.  He is relieved when Mr. Star pipes up fluently, but then I let him know that I only speak a little.    In my attempt to practice my Spanish I answered some of his questions in Spanish, but it was weird.  It felt really odd to be turning a conversation about miscarriages into a Spanish lesson.  Fortunately it was just a screening and he got all the information he needed from our paperwork.

7. Mr. Star did his blood draw in the room next door which went smoothly.  He chatted away with the nurse in Spanish (lucky because she doesn’t speak English) and then we were done.  They took the blood and started the cleansing process to make the injections which takes about an hour.  It looks like the blood vials just get processed in the giant machine that was in the same room.

8.  Our driver, Cesar picked us up right afterwards and drove us to lunch across town.  He took us to a really nice restaurant called “La Roca” that had white table cloths and waiters in white jackets and bow ties.  It was a bit out of the way for walking so I was grateful he drove us there.

 There was even an old guy taking polaroids you could by, as if you were eating there to celebrate a special occasion.  I couldn’t resist the cheesiness so we got one.  The food was great and it almost felt like we were on vacation.

9.  Right at the end of the hour and after lunch Cesar picked us up and whisked us back to the clinic where I had the injections.  The needles with the cells were very small and the injections just went below the skin.  It was weird but not too painful.  Still, I was SO relieved it was over as I had really worked myself up about it.  The last visit for the injections was so quick Cesar just waited out front in the car and he was ready to take us back right away.

10.  We made our final cross back to the US sitting in the van watching the carnival atmosphere.  People were walking up and down the line of cars selling popsicles, music CDs and statues of the virgin Mary.  I wish I got a photo of the last one because it looked really funny.  When we got to the border the US agent asked what we were doing in Mexico.  Cesar said we were at “the clinic”.  I wondered if he knew what that meant.  He asked us then if we worked with “an agency”.  Mr. Star and I looked at each other not sure what he meant.  We answered “yes” and the agent seemed satisfied and moved us along very politely.

That was pretty much it.  We spent the rest of the day just killing time before our flight geocaching, site seeing at the national park and taking funny photos of cheesy road sign animal art.  I will let you all know how it goes.  Ultimately time will tell if this adventure amounted to anything more than a bizarre experience.

Tumacácori National Historical Park

Random Rooster Road Sign

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Buen Viaje!

6 Oct

We leave tomorrow night for immunology treatment number one of LIT in Mexico. I am a little nervous about the whole process.  I am most nervous I will forget something important and then for some reason we get there and they can’t do the procedure.  When I get there I am sure I will get nervous about  everything else, like being poked with needle and traveling across the US/Mexico border with a flight to catch.

One of the fun parts of this is that we will get picked up in a van at the McDonald’s in Arizona near the Mexican border.   Awesome!  There’s nothing weird or sketchy about that, right?    The funny part is Mr. Star is not allowed to eat any greasy food prior to giving his “donation”.  So he will have to resist while we wait for the van.  Meanwhile I can go crazy if I want, go figure…

Here’s a photo of the pickup van..

Actually they sent us a long list of do’s and don’ts:

Instructions before receiving LIT:

  • Do not take any antihistamines (for both of you)
  • Do not drink alcohol. (for both of you)
  • Do not eat greasy food the day before (only for the donor)
  • Fast 5 hours before donating (only juice and water are allowed) (only for the donor)
  • Do not take any herbal treatments or herbal tea (for both of you)
  • Do not take any medicine to avoid flight sickness (for both of you)
  • Do not use any nasal spray. (for both of you)

After LIT you won’t be able to:

  • Work out in an exercise where you have to move your arms while you have the LIT reaction.
  • Be under the sun for 3 days after LIT.
  • Swim in the pool for 3 days after LIT or while you have the LIT reaction.
  • Take antihistamines flu medicines, nasal spray, herbal remedies, tea (for 3 weeks during LIT treatment)
  • Drink alcohol (one glass only is allowed).
  • Do not apply any lotion, cream, soap nor hydrocortisone on the LIT area. (while you have LIT reaction).

Here’s where we will be.

According to their site the clinic is the creme building.

Fingers crossed it all turns out ok and maybe even works!

Sidenote: Now that I am immersing myself in all things immunology I also borrowed some reading for the trip.   It is the well known book that I managed to not read until now called “Is Your Body Baby Friendly” (http://babyfriendlybook.com/).

Since I always knew that the answer to that question was a resounding “NO!” I never bothered to read it, skeptical of the whole immunology thing (esp. since my doctor didn’t support it).  Now that I am buying into it I figure it is about time to understand the science and rationale behind these treatments.  It is fascinating and focuses heavily on repeat loss and situations like mine.  Has anyone else read it?

Abducted Baby

6 Oct

As if becoming a new parent isn’t hard enough (esp. for us in the IF and RPL community) now we we have one more fear: abduction     This story just breaks my heart.

What kind of person steals a baby?!  According to the story, the profile for an abductor of an infant is usually an “emotionally disturbed woman who lost a child or wants a child for some reason”.  Unfortunately that description sounds a little too familiar.  I hope the baby returns home safely soon and the abductor finds the help she clearly needs.