Saturday, April 28, 2012

Hi there. This is Alex, Ada's niece. Ada is still on a regular floor at Memorial Sloan-Kettering. She will remain in the hospital through her next round of chemo, early next week, to monitor her reaction to the drugs.

Ada is not up for taking visitors right now, but has been getting every card, phone message, and email that you have sent and she really appreciates those. It is helpful to know she is not walking this path alone.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Hi there, it's Gloria.  Ada is out of ICU and in a regular floor at Memorial Sloan-Kettering (MSK).  After a few rough days, things are truly improving.  Her infection is under control and her white blood cell count is almost back to normal (the drop in white blood cell count is also a by product of the chemotherapy).  They had to drain liquid from her left lung since she was having problem breathing (she originally had liquid in her right lung).  After that was done, she is off oxygen and her breathing is much improved.  She still has a fair amount of liquid in her body which they are slowly trying to get out.  It is a balance since they cannot drain it too fast (through diuretics) or her blood pressure drops.

The goal is to have everything continue to improve, so that she can get back her ability to walk and function while also controlling the pain that is part of this disease.  She is scheduled for her next chemotherapy treatment next week.  We have talked to her doctors and they will be making a number of adjustments given how she reacted to the first treatment, so that, we do not repeat this cycle. Please say a special prayer for their wisdom in making the adjustments!

To all of you that have left messages, said prayers, sent cards, we are reading them and sharing everything with her.  We are truly grateful to each and every one of you.  Although she is not responding to messages yet, she is absolutely getting them.  We appreciate all that you do and ask for your continued prayers.  This is going to be a long road for her and she will need all the support that she can get.

A couple of nieces, Ali Mari and Cristina, have been with her while the sisters traded out.  My sister Tere will be with her starting later today and through next week.  We have learned that in the hospital, it is really critical that she have someone there and so we are making sure that this happens.

We have had a number of people ask where to send cards.  You can send them to her home address, we take them to her on a daily basis.

So, another day on El Camino...we keep walking.

Saturday, April 21, 2012


Hi friends, it is Gloria again and although Ada is still in the ICU at Sloan-Kettering, I have much better news to share with you.

They have been able to successfully fight her infection with antibiotics and her white cell count is up today for the first time.  Her infection was a byproduct of her first chemotherapy treatment. Although not unusual, it is serious and we are all very happy that she is working her way through it.

She is sitting up in a chair, having her first solid food for a while and should be transferred back to a regular room at Sloan-Kettering later today. She will still need to stay in the hospital for the next few days but she is back in a healing mode.

Although her spirits are improving as she feels better, she is still not up to talking to people or receiving visitors.  We are reading to her emails and comments from the blog and those continue to help her.  We hope in the next couple of days she will start listening to her phone messages.  We don't think that she will be up to responding for a few days but I did want to let you know that she is getting to hear what you have been sending to her.

Our sister Mari and our niece Alicia Maria are with her and keeping her company through this time.  So, she is not alone and also supported by the many prayers that we have been hearing about from her friends and family.

Thanks to all of you that are sharing the news with your communities, sending emails and voice-mails and praying.  It is wonderful to hear about and Ada and her whole family truly appreciate it.

So today, she will keep going and take a few more steps towards healing on El Camino...that is the best news!

Until next time...

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Tuesday night, April 18th

Hi, its Gloria, the family has asked me to share with all of you, that Ada is in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Sloan-Kettering.

She was re-admitted to Sloan-Kettering yesterday because of having some reactions to her chemotherapy.  She has an infection throughout her body right now and they are treating her to help her overcome this issue.

I know that this was not Ada's plan for this week but I also know that she is a strong woman and pray that she will be able to deal with this adversity with the same spirit with which she has always lived.

Both of my sisters, Mari and Gracie are with her and she is also accompanied by our nephew Evelio.

We ask for your prayers for Ada,  she and the rest of us continue to believe that they make a big difference.

We know that many of you have called and also left emails, she is not able to respond to any of those at this time, hopefully, she will do so soon.

At this time, she cannot have visitors at the hospital.

Hopefully, most of this will change over the next few days and we will make an effort to keep all of you in the loop.

Until next time...

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Dear family and friends,

After a very good first day following the first chemo, night before last, yesterday, and last night have been not that good: body pain and constipation.  I just called the Dr. and he increased the pain medication and doubled the remedy for constipation... so I am looking forward to some relief this afternoon and a better night sleep.
My sister Gracie came in from Rochester yesterday and will be with me this week.  Javi went back to Miami after filling the freezer with three different kinds of soups and a couple of delicious Cuban dishes.  I have been eating pretty well...
I have been reading the emails many of you have sent me for which I am so grateful!!  I feel enveloped by your love, concern... and believe me, I am energized by your prayers and good wishes.  I beg you to continue to walk with me this pilgrimage to health...  Un abrazo -- two for each you send me!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Dear family and friends :  Last night I came back home after 16 nights sleeping in hospitals.  It was a beautiful spring night and I felt like indeed I had started my pilgrimage to healing!  Of course being accompanied by two of my pilgrimage companions, Javi and Gloria, increased the memories of our pilgrimage to Compostela which the three of us (plus Alex, AJ, and Andy) successfully completed on July 11, 2007.  We walked for 35 days covering 500 miles, and I know they and all of your will help me succeed in this new pilgrimage to full health.  I am immensely grateful to each and everyone of you!  Please, stay with me, walk with me, pray with me and for me.
Yesterday I had the first session of chemo and I have had no side effects today, except perhaps a little bit light-headed a couple of times a day.  I have not felt today any different to how I felt before.  Good news indeed! I was able to take care of myself: shower, wash my hair, blow dry it (it will begin to fall off soon!) and get dressed -- except putting on socks and shoes for which I need help.
The Visiting Nurse came by and the good thing about it is that she listened to my lungs and they are clear.  The Dr. has also scheduled me to go get a chest x-ray next Wed. to keep on top of this.
Gloria left after being with me for 10 days for which I am immensely grateful.  I have had Javi as a wonderful companion all day.  He had cooked Cuban food for me and I enjoyed a great lunch and supper.
It was a beautiful spring day here so in the early afternoon we went outside and stood in the sun for a long while looking at the comings and goings in the streets below (I live on a hill)...  I had planned a little bit too ambitious walk but had to cut it short.  Later we went back out and sat on the stoop outside the main door of he building for a while and then walked the longer walk I had planned to do earlier.
I draw on your love and care constantly and thank you for the many messages and cards you continue to send me.  I hope that Javi's post about how to leave a response to the blog helps those of you who have wanted to do so and did not know how to be able to do so. 
Good night and blessed be!
Hello everyone, before Tia Ada gets into her own update today I wanted to write up some quick directions so that everyone can comment on the blog if they feel so inclined. If you would like to comment on a post you simply need to scroll to the very end of that post and click on the comments link. This will take you to a page where you can see all the comments that have been posted and at the end of that list you will be provided with a text box in which you can post your own thoughts. Simply type what you would like to appear and push publish to make your comments appear. I hope this is helpful!


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Thursday (the day we go home, yea!)

Well, Ada and I are hanging out while she gets her first chemotherapy treatment.  After much discussion, the attending decided that she might as well stay one more day and have her first treatment on an inpatient basis, so here we are.

Yesterday, they removed the drainage tube from her lung.They checked that today and the lungs look good.

She is still expecting to get her diagnosis regarding the primary site of the cancer, either tomorrow or Monday but we are glad that the chemo has started, that means the healing has started and that is a very good thing.

Her spirits are better, she participated in a Look Good, Feel Better workshop about using makeup when she loses her hair, eyebrows and eyelashes, and got told to stop talking in class 4 times by the teacher, some things never change...

We are expecting the next few days to be a little rough but hopefully by next week, she will start to get her energy back.

I am heading back to Chicago tomorrow, so this is probably my last blog entry.  My sister Gracie is coming in next and we have already set her up to continue to blog, although I hope that Ada herself will start blogging by next week.

To all of you that have reached out and called, thanks and keep it coming, it is the best medicine for her.

Until the next time...

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Hi there, Ada and I are sitting here waiting for yet another test!!

THE PRIMARY SITE OF HER CANCER IS STILL UNKNOWN.  Ada asked me to write that all in caps, since she has gotten a few more emails that indicate that people believe that we do have a confirmed diagnosis and unfortunately, that is not true at this point.

Ok, what do we do know.  After some not so fun prep and procedures, it looks like her GI tract is clear and that is not the primary site.  So, they are still leaning towards ovarian cancer but it is not absolutely sure.

Today, she will have a biopsy, which should give them some cells to confirm the diagnosis.  She will also have another chest Xray and if her lungs look clear, they will then pull the tube that is presently draining her right lung.

The biopsy results are not immediate, so it is most likely that Ada will go home tomorrow and then hear from her doctor early next week with the confirmed diagnosis.  Once that is know, they will start her on the chemotherapy treatments that are the first step in her healing process.

Her spirits have been up and down but she is hanging tough.  The waiting is rough and the procedures are not fun, so it is hard to keep positive all the time but every day is another step.

She is checking emails and messages and they do help a lot.  Thanks to all that have already sent some and keep them coming.

Until next time...

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Hi, I'm sitting here with Ada and we thought we would fill you in on what is going on.

Most importantly, Ada first wants to thank again, the many people that have called and left messages.  She is trying to answer them and will continue to do so, it just might take a little while.

Thanks also for the cards, they are lovely and we are using them to decorate the bulletin board in her room.  They are definitely adding life to a sterile hospital room!

She is working her way through the hundreds of emails.  She is reading each one although she may not be able to answer every one of them, there are a lot.  But again, thanks for sending them, she reads and enjoys them.

In reading through the emails, she found some medical information that is incorrect, she wanted me to share with you, the best information we have at this time.

She has been diagnosed with Adenocarcinoma.  The doctors at MSK are still working through determining the primary site of the cancer although the most likely candidate is ovarian cancer.

On Monday, she will be undergoing the last three tests needed to determine the primary site.  Only after that is known will they be able to establish the medical treatment protocol.

Monday and Tuesday are going to be very intense days for Ada and she asks that you pray to give the doctors discernment and her strength to get through those two days.

We are hoping that with a diagnosis and the first course of treatment behind her, Ada will be released from MSK by next Thursday.  We know that there is a portion of her treatment that will be done on an outpatient basis and are preparing for that.

Her spirits are doing a bit better.  The waiting is hard but we are spending time, visiting, talking, she is  also reading her emails and on the phone.  This afternoon, we are both looking forward to a Cello and Piano Julliard recital on the 15th floor. We have secured our wheel chair and we'll be in the first row.

That is it for today from Gloria & Ada...

Friday, April 6, 2012

First Post

Hi everyone!

My name is Alex, Ada Maria's niece, and I'm writing this first post to explain how this blog works and what will be going on here.  In the future Ada Maria will be writing.  The purpose of this blog is to journal Ada Maria's progress as she works towards healing.

If you want to receive an email when Ada Maria writes and publishes an entry you need to enter you email into the box on the upper right of this blog where it says "Follow by email" and hit submit.  Every day at a particular time, the blogging platform will check to see if there is a new entry and send out an email.  So you will receive an email in the evening regardless of  when the entry was posted.  If you use some type of feed reader there are buttons to subscribe on the right as well.  Comments are turned on and available for use.

Hi Again,

This is Gloria, I am Ada's youngest sister and Alex's mom.  Although we hope that Ada will be doing her own blogging in the future, right now, she is not quite up to it.  So, you'll probably hear from a number of us that are choosing to spend time with her, here in New York as she embarks on her newest journey.  Ada is presently at Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) and although they are still working towards a final diagnosis and a number of tests are not complete, it seems highly probable that she has ovarian cancer.

This journey started with Ada experiencing difficulty breathing which got worse over the last month.  When she went and checked in with her doctor, they did a CT scan and discovered that she had a significant amount of fluid in her right lung.  She was hospitalized and as they treated that, they started the testing to figure out what was causing this issue.  After more tests that you can possibly imagine, we arrived at today.

This will be a challenging journey for Ada, physically, emotionally and mentally and she is working through the first steps.  The last couple of days, as she starts to understand what are the possible treatments and what she can expect, she is starting to feel a little more like herself.  There will be good and bad days, but every day is another step on El Camino.

Ada wants to thank all the many people that have reached out, called, left messages, visited and prayed (in all denominations and languages).  We know that this is making a difference!

One last thought, we are not quite sure how often we will be posting, so, sometimes it will be a couple times a week, sometimes less often.

Until the next time...