Our journey in Mexico has begun! We are so proud of our sweet baby…….he literally slept all the way from the security check point at Hartsfield in Atlanta, all the way to the arrival to our apartment where we are staying in Mexico. When you get older, priorities change from going to bars and planning the perfect spring break vacation to making sure your child doesn’t have a public meltdown on an airplane. We managed to wrangle all 3 pieces of luggage, along with our carry on items outside of baggage claim where we were greeted with a “Buckner” name sign and a huge smile. “Welcome Buckner family!” said Uli and Raul, our drivers for the week. The hospital arranged for us to be picked up from the airport and taken back and forth to the hospital all week. They are also available to take us to the store, etc to stock up on groceries, etc. We took a 30 minute drive from the airport to the apartment where all medical patients stay. We have a family room, kitchen and 2 bedrooms with 2 bathrooms. On the counter was a local cell phone that has all relevant phone #’s for the doctor, drivers and other medical personnel pre-loaded into it. There was also a “Welcome Julien!” binder with his itinerary for the week. We spent the rest of the day yesterday getting set up with groceries and unpacking. Once we fell asleep, all 3 of us CRASHED and didn’t wake up until morning.
Procedure Prep Day 1- Monday, September 24th
Today was the official beginning of Julien’s stem cell journey. We arrived at the hospital with our baby in tow. The hospital employees a team of drivers and coordinators that take us to and from appointments and ensure that we have everything we need so that our total focus can be on Julien’s well-being. We were escorted through the waiting room and into Dr. Mancias’ office. She met us with such a warm, beautiful greeting and she loves our sweet baby. She spoke with us for over an hour going over everything and making sure that we didn’t have any questions. She spent time with Julien and told us about the other babies that she has treated over the years as well. Once we finished chatting with Dr. Mancias, she brought us to the lab for his blood draw. This is to ensure that his white blood cell count, platelet count, liver levels, etc are where they should be for Thursday’s procedure. Julien cried a tiny bit during this part but he mostly looked enamored by the 3 Spanish women standing over him speaking to him in Spanish. He was studying their faces and lips so intensely…..I think his first word may “comida” 🙂
Next, Dr. Mancias administered his first shot to start activating his stem cells (this is the same type of medication that leukemia patients receive). He took that like a CHAMP….he “squeaked” briefly but didn’t cry at all this time. This could cause him to feel a little sore/uncomfortable so we have been instructed to give him Tylenol at night and every 6 hours as needed. He didn’t seem phased by it today…..he slept a good bit and sat like a little angel in the restaurant as we had our dinner. Ken held him for a bit and then I sat him upright in my lap. He looked around, smiling at everyone he could see:) We weren’t there long….just long enough to have a nice meal and to give the baby a change of scenery.
Funny side-note: our drivers thought it was funny that we wanted to eat at 6pm. When we got to the restaurant, we realized why that was funny. We were the ONLY people in the restaurant and apparently the more common time to have dinner is between 8-9pm…..LOL.
Tomorrow, one of the doctors will be coming to our apartment to administer the next shot and that will be it for the day. We are so grateful for the amazing staff down here that is taking such good care of us and our sweet boy. It makes such a difference when all your basic “needs” are being met so our focus can be 100% on Julien and his healing.
More to come….
Ken, Patricia, and Julien