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January 2008 Archives

January 8, 2008


An update from Mexico...

We arrived yesterday in Tijuana, Mexico to visit my parents. They are both doing well. Dad's CT scan showed that the cancer had not grown since the initial CT scan, so we are thankful for that. His treatments here have been very tolerable--the worst side effect being a little bit of "yuck" feeling for the first week as his body was "detoxified". Now he is feeling fine--in fact I had to hurry to keep up with him on our walk to the beach. He is definitely the healthiest patient they have in this hospital right now. We have met many of the patients and their companions and are starting to get that "family feel" too. The staff is friendly and helpful, though they are on Mexico time which requires a bit of patience! Dad is keeping busy with reading, computer work, treatments, walks, even attending some meetings at home via telephone! Mom also keeps busy with much of the same, but has already put her skills to good use by organizing the puzzle and book cupboard.

We headed across the border early this am in order to get my Chinese visa for our upcoming trip to China. Taxi, walk, trolley, taxi, trolley, walk, taxi....something like that. Oh yeah, and you don't just get in the taxi. First you say, "Will you take me to Oasis of Hope Hospital for $10?" Otherwise you are going to have to barter at the end of the ride.

Sorry, the jet lag is catching up with me, so that is all for now. I hope to post some pictures in the next couple of days.

January 9, 2008

A few pics

As promised, here are some pictures of Mexico...

Here is the front door of the Oasis of Hope Hospital. The temperature has been pretty mild, but a coat feels good.

This is a view of Mom and Dad's room.


Here's part of the view from their room. The whole side is a window. Notice the fence on the hill that is the Mexico border. Mom and Dad have seen people talking through the fence! There are helicopters that are constantly flying back and forth to look for crossers. We can see the sky scrapers of San Diego from the beach--it looks like a totally different world compared to what we see in Mexico.


From the other side of the hospital we can see the huge bullring where they have bull fights in the summer.

Here's the hotel where Akihiro and I are staying--the Hacienda del Mar.

Here's a view of the sunset last night.

Today we attended a presentation by Dr. Contreras, the head of this hospital. It was very good to hear their philosophy and aim spoken from a sincere Christian viewpoint. Here are a few items that stood out:

--The Oasis of Hope's aim is not the tumor, but to achieve the best quality of life for the longest time possible.

--Strive to be a cancer victor versus a cancer victim. He spoke of some people who can be cured of cancer, yet they still live in fear that it will return (still a victim of cancer). He spoke of allowing God to lead life rather than cancer. Fears don't go away, but fear is manageable with God's help.

--There are other miracles in cancer besides healing--most importantly spiritual healing.

January 12, 2008

We're back in Japan--at least for 3 full days!

We are thankful to be back in Japan safely and feel much better after a long night's rest. I've got everything unpacked and laundry hanging all over our house (between the laundry and the suitcases which seem to be ever-present, I've got quite the deco!)
Now, a little recap on the previous days...We crossed the border again on Wednesday night. We were going to brave the Mexico taxis again so that we would not have to risk the 3 hour crossing by car. Apparently, though, crossing by foot can sometimes take just as long. We were blessed in that regard as we got right through, but the rest of the situation did not go the smoothest.
After Mom’s remark that it seemed weird to be standing on a street corner in Tijuana, hailing a cab, we got into this cab, thinking that the driver understood our traditional statement…”will you take us to the border for $10?” Well, he let us in and then started asking us if we knew Spanish. He was a little bit of a strange bird, speaking some of both languages--"holes" he said, referring to why he was swerving a bit. He said he knew San Diego..”ah, beautiful place” so I was reassured, but just for a moment. I next noticed that his low fuel light was on and that the gauge was below the E! Oh great! Well, Akihiro suggested I tell him. He grunted and pointed to the gas station we were coming up to. (I didn’t know that a taxi would ever have to stop on a 15 minute run to get gas…but again, this is Tijuana.) He filled his tank up only 1/3 of the way and we headed off again. Our relief was only short lived as our driver started making comments like he didn’t know how to get to the border. Oh great! Well, these comments were conveniently made around a big line of other taxis. Akihiro thought he was being honest and gave him the $10 for the 7 minute (plus gas stop) ride and said we’d find another way. I got the feeling we were being taken! But, because we didn’t have time or the language ability to argue, we tried to get another one. The next driver who our first driver hollered at said he didn’t know either (with a bit of a grin). Argghhh! Well, just then another lady pulled up in a taxi. We thought she looked like she might be a little kinder. This time we started with “Do you speak English?” She said a little. “Do you know where the San Diego border is?” Keep in mind, it is probably about 7 minutes away! She said yes. Akihiro tried to get her to do it for $5, but she said $6. I told him "just get in!” We were in a rush because we needed to get to North San Diego by 6PM to get my Visa and Passport, otherwise we couldn’t fly out the next am! Well, the dear lady got us there and we ran across the border (past the signs that say "no shopping carts allowed" and past a woman and her 2 small girls with 4 super size black garbage bags filled with tin cans that they had apparently picked up in Mexico. We then hopped on the trolley--followed by the lady trying to balance her 4 massive garbage bags in the back of the train. We arrived at our stop and waited for the rental car lady to come. Thankfully she was pretty efficient once she finally picked us up. We hopped in our Pontiac sports car and headed to the Travel Agency. We called them on our way and thankfully, they said that someone would be available to give us our passport at the office until 7PM. Thank the Lord! We got to the agency about 10 minutes past 6 and got the stuff. How do I spell RELIEF?!!!! I know the Lord would give the needed grace, but I'm glad He called me to Tokyo versus Tijuana!
One other interesting occurance...my brother John had an interesting experience in the Oasis of Hope shuttle van coming from the SD airport. A mother and her daughter from NY were asking him questions about why he was going to OOH. After listening awhile she said, "You are Ito News! You are Ito News!" She had googled Oasis of Hope and since I had mentioned that in the blog, it came up. The internet sure makes for a small world!

January 20, 2008

Back from China!

Ni how! That's something like "hello" (with a very butchered up spelling, I am sure!) in Chinese!

We had a great trip to visit our friends, Li and Chi in Beijing! We had three full days to spend and thoroughly enjoyed them--fellowship, food, and fun! Click on the link below (or you may need to copy it to your browser) and you should be routed to the Walgreens photo site to see some pictures of our trip!


January 22, 2008

Dad update

Fortunately, Dad still has no symptoms and his energy level is normal. He did have a MRI recently which showed just a little growth in the two very small tumors in the back of his brain. They need to be removed by Gamma Knife and that is now scheduled as an out patient procedure on Feb. 11 in Peoria. The doctors have said that the symptoms we would see if these tumors grew would be changes in peripheral vision. I guess if he has a brain tumor, it isn’t the worst kind to have.

In March they’ll being going back to Oasis of Hope for 5 days of treatment which will include a CT scan to check on the size of the tumors.

In the meantime, there are supplements, laetrile shots (per Nurse Mom!), and a low dose chemotherapy tablet to take. In addition, Mom is adjusting to preparing the recommended diet. It is similar to an organic vegetarian diet with small amounts of eggs, fish and chicken.

Also note, I put a category out to the side that from now on will hold the updates on Dad. That way you don't have to sort through my other entries!

January 23, 2008

Snow! and a few other pics to catch you up

It was a pleasant surprise to wake up to huge flakes of snow coming down--the first time I have seen so much snow at our home in Hachioji! I laughed at the people carrying umbrellas out in the snow when I drove Akihiro to the station, but later, when I went out, I, too needed an umbrella--it was wet snow and rain! Anyway, I had a wonderful walk--the green manicured bushes with little snow caps are so pretty! Here's one of my neighbor's gardens

And here is the park near our home...

And the neighbor's adorable pansies...

Yesterday I had an interesting experience... The doorbell rang and I ran to answer it. There was a young man at the base of the stairs and he was just staring at me. Finally he said something about futons. I didn't get it and asked him to speak slower. He just kept staring at me. I told him my husband was Japanese and that I would call him and he could explain it to him. Then he repeated it again slower. No, I don't have any old futons that I had called to have picked up. Whew, off the hook. Then he said "Blue eyes--first time!" Apparently he had never seen blue eyes before! Ah, the joys of being a foreigner!

A few other pics to catch you up on...

Here was our New Year's Day food!

During the New Year's holiday we visited Akihiro's grandma's house and he took me to see his elementary school and was amazed that it was still almost the same! He showed me how he walked home and this little itty bitty path he took--and it looks well travelled! Only big enough for my hips to fit through!

Saw this bike rack and thought it was interesting--you do what you have to when you have limited space!

When we were in Hokkaido--the north island--we saw this group of Chinese tourists all lined up in this bicycle train. I think there were at least 20 little carts hooked together!

January 29, 2008

Garbage, girls, green cards, and a prayer request

This morning as I write I am glaring out my window at the big-beaked birds on the wires outside! Akihiro ran back up the stairs this am to inform me that those awful birds had tore open my garbage and strewn it all over the road! Thankfully our little gravel road rarely sees much traffic, so not too many people could see me picking up my garbage! I'll have to put it in the cages around the corner, I guess! (We don't have huge garbage cans here like they do in America! Today is the day to put out burnable garbage in the special blue bag I bought at the grocery store for our neighborhood's trash collection. Today was also the day for PET bottles to be collected. Taking care of our garbage is quite a deal here!)

Yesterday I stopped at the Christian bookstore on my way to meet Akihiro at the American Embassy. I was on the second floor near a big window facing the busy street outside. I was looking at some scripture flip calendars when I noticed these 4 little girls with their little yellow school hats and red leather backpacks standing near the phone booth on the street below. One little girl saw me and started waving and smiling. The rest of the girls followed suit! I waved and smiled back. Periodically they would wave again as I would look up from my shopping. It warmed my heart to see the openness, friendliness, and love of children.

Speaking of American Embassy...Akihiro is applying for his green card so that if he would spend a considerable amount of time in the U.S., he could work and make money. At this point he cannot work in the U.S. So, this requires a ton of paperwork and wading through the legal jargon! You couldn't pay me enough to be a lawyer! Anyway, we had the first of three meetings and it went well. We easily convinced the smiling man on the other side of the glass screen that we had a loving relationship! I did tease Akihiro earlier that perhaps he married me just to get a green card! I know that's not true! If he gets this green card, we will have to go to the U.S. at least once a year to keep it, so that is good news! (Not that we wouldn't make the trip once a year anyway!)

A prayer request was forwarded to me recently....Ellen Cox, a wife and mother of three children has cancer and is having many compications. Please pray for strength, encouragement, peace, and healing. Her personal prayer request demonstrates a wonderful attitude, "that I would be willing to do what the Lord needs me to do."

About January 2008

This page contains all entries posted to Welcome to ITO NEWS in January 2008. They are listed from oldest to newest.

December 2007 is the previous archive.

February 2008 is the next archive.

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