Summer on the Delta

I always think that Jude’s and my positive attitude leads to positive results.  We needed a place to stay that had total “reachability” by phone AND internet.  We put out our need and found a local rancher near Rio Vista that needed a caretaker for his animals while he traveled.  He offered a free place to stay for return to care for his two horses, one dog, three cats and light landscape maintenance duties.  We visited the couple and accepted their position.

This gives Jude and I closer access to Chance and his appointment needs and care.  It is also close to the Sacramento River/San Joaquin River Delta.  This area is called “The Delta” and is one of the best fishing destinations in the United States. It is a thousand mile wilderness complete with countless Blue Heron, Great Egrets, Mink, Beaver, and Sea Lions and River Otters. I clean my camera’s lens and organize my tackle with anticipation.

It is hard to conceptualize that California is in a drought when you live on the Sacramento/San Joaquin River Delta. The River confluence is wide and mighty as it flows into the San Francisco Bay.  It is a beautiful wild wilderness that is separated from the urban sprawl by thousands of miles of levees, sloughs, and side channels. Its irrigation water supports millions of acres of seed corn, alfalfa, wine grapes and strawberries. When all of California is brown and dry, this area is alive and a vibrant emerald green.

Over the next few months, we perform daily feeding of the horses and cats and some light watering of trees and lawns. Of course, when you water, you have to mow but it is a small lawn.  It is actually the very first lawn I have ever mowed.  Also, I am in charge of horse shit, dog and cat shit, but I am blessed for not having to deal with any bull shit!

As soon as the diagnosis was given last fall, Jude set off on a determined effort to research Glioblastoma and what survivors were doing to treat their own specific tumors.  She quickly discovered that if patients strictly follow their Oncologist’s “gold standard” care protocol that feature surgery, Temador chemotherapy and targeted radiation, it is a death sentence!  She finds that long-term survival depends on the patient formulating a supplement regiment that has tumor suppressing properties that can partner with standard care to aid in Glioblastoma cancer survival.

Not only does Jude find direction with regards to the administering of a specific “Drug Cocktail” she find support from medical researchers who have concentrated on brain cancer.  With their support and direction, Jude formulates a supplemental regiment cocktail to aid Chance’s battle with Glioblastoma brain cancer. With unrelenting focus, Jude finds a research- based path and a plan of attack that is not merely grasping at straws but designed by renowned knowledgeable medical individuals who help Jude design that specific cocktail that focuses its aggregate properties towards tumor suppression. There is nothing more intense than a mother’s research to save her child.  I am in awe!

Chemotherapy sucks! That is the only thing that can be said about that standardized cancer treatment.  I have always struggled with the concept that you have to get terribly ill in order to get better.  It just seems illogical.

Chance is one tough individual.  He absorbs the chemotherapy punishment with grace partnered with strength.  At one time, Chance was taking 194 pills a week that was part of the tumor treatment suppression regiment.  It laid him down often but his strength and fitness rises above the chemotherapy sickness and he prevails. Jude now focuses on a cure!

Clinical trials seek that cure.  These trials for cancers are increasing focused on immune therapy. These trials seek the effectiveness when tumor cells receptors accept a virus that is known and recognized by the body’s immune system as invaders.  This recognition by the body then allows the immune system to attack the tumor and destroy the infected cells.  Chance is accepted into UCSF’s TOCA 511 Clinical Trial testing where that immune therapy works against this insidious cancer. It gives us hope and hope is a wonderful thing!

As the days pass into late summer/early fall, we move away from the ranch and settle in a RV resort next to the Mokelumne River. It is a third river system feeding the delta.   We enjoy being closer to the water and now we are blessed with a daily spectacle of countless thousands of Geese, Sandhill Cranes, Hawks, and Blackbirds filling the Pacific Flyway.  The chorus of calls is raucous and loud. The flocking behavior of tens of thousands Brewer’s Blackbirds is just a visually pleasing experience.  I have never seen such a continual massive migration before. The daily migration stage is ever-changing and magnificent.