Soon we were landing at at the airport in San Diego. The family’s connections were there to pick us up. They were an American couple, a man and his wife, indeed very nice, and welcoming.
We drove many miles thru low sagebrush over rough hilly roads… I had no idea where I was at….or where I was going. To this day I could not tell you where I was. I was just a passenger traveling thru time, worrying about Mom, Dad, Jim and my kids.
Reaching their home I was shown my room, taken out to supper and was told that arrangements had been made to see Dr. Contreras at the clinic in Tijuana Mexico the next day…. I don’t believe I shut my eyes all night….
After we arrived in Tijuana at the clinic, I was led inside to a waiting room, and eventually into a large, beautiful office. Dr. Contreras soon came in, Jan was with me. Introductions were made and in very broken English he ask me questions about my Mother…. After further conversation he then said “You have waited too long, I can not help her”. He then picked up his telephone and spoke to someone else, hung up, wrote the name and telephone number of another doctor on a slip of paper…. He said this man has a new drug, it is a good drug, I think he can help you.
Jan took the paper and we went to another area of the clinic where she picked up another supply of Laetrile for her husband.
Back to the car, our connection’s called the 2nd doctor’s number and we were off on another journey, we were driving to the town of “Tecate”. I remember as we pulled into town there was a guard station with a man in it, he was holding a machine gun… we stopped, a few words were exchanged, directions were given and we went to another clinic, this one not so large or so nice.
I went into this doctor’s office by myself. I repeated the conversation I’d had with the first doctor. This doctor told me his drug could save her… The name of the drug was “Tekirena”. One week’s supply cost the same as the Latril, $500. I excused myself, went back out to the car, and explained the situation. The male connection came back into the office with me, a few words were exchanged in Mexican street language, and we left, headed back to our connection’s house…. Again we stopped at a little restaurant for a bite to eat. I remember the dirt floor, two ladies making tortilla’s by hand, and the best Mexican food I had ever eaten in my life.
Returning to their home, we rested and visited, then about 11:00 p.m. we drove to I know not where… It was a large parking lot full of cars behind a warehouse. We parked and set for a few minutes. Two rows over was a car that flashed his lights twice. Jan gave me a paper sack, I was told to get out and hand it to a man who would hand me a paper sack in return. What I had in my paper sack was the $500.
We met half way, the exchange was made, I went back to our car and slumped over in the back seat…. I was drained of everything….all energy, physically and emotionally. I couldn’t think, I couldn’t move, I could not acknowledge my own presence. Jan took the bag and looked in it and showed me about 10 small viles, plus a piece of paper with dosage instructions written on it. There were two more flashes of the head lights and the other car left. We returned to our connection’s home, and I slept fitfully out of total exhaustion. I was more tired that I’d ever been in my life.
The next morning very early, my orders were to put all of my luggage on the back floor where it was obvious with the “drugs” laying at the bottom of my purse with everything else piled on top of them. I was told to smile like a tourist and act natural… We had no problems crossing the border and the guards did not look twice. Waved on through, I was then taken to the airport…. I was told not to be concerned about the drugs, the airport would probably not even check my purse…and they didn’t. Jan was staying another day so I was dropped off and I was on my own….
Standing in line waiting to board, my heart was beating fast and loud enough I could hear it and wondered if others could. On the plane I was seated beside a little girl about 5 years old. She told me she was going to see her Daddy in Colorado…. As the plane took off she reached over and took hold of my hand. Little did she know that she was giving me as much comfort as she hoped to receive from me…. I kept assuring her “we” would be ok and to just hang on.
Returning to Colorado Springs, Dad was there to pick me up at the airport. He took me to the motel to reorganize. I told he and sis my story – Mom was still hanging in there but she was failing fast…. I visited her that evening for just a while - I was so tired, sleep was no problem.
Dad went back home the next day and I studied the instructions and begin to give Mom her new medicines. Other than the Leucorvorin, I had never given a shot in my life. I had went to the local drugstore that morning and bought some diabetes shot.
The Director of this production was giving me every move, every emotion, guiding me through each step…. Instructing when to be brave, when to let down, when to cry and when to smile for other’s sake….
.The shots were to be given twice a day… x number of cc’s each. We followed the doctors orders… Her door was closed, sis held back the covers, watched the door, and held Mom’s hand while I gave the injections. Finishing, I would go out of her room and just set and shake for about 30 minutes to calm myself down. Her kidney’s had stopped at this point and she was very close to death. 24 hours after the first injections her kidneys started again… Was this reason for more hope?
Again, Dad returned on the weekend, I had given Mom shots for about 3 or 4 days…. The doctor called a meeting with us… Dad, Sis & Myself. He told us, you can not continue with your medicines, that we were all losing ground as each was fighting the other…. He said “It is your choice but I think you should give up, she is not going to make it.” I told Dad I just could not go on and keep injecting her, it was too hard on me….. Dad and Sis agreed, it was time we stopped.
I remember there was a ledge by the window, a huge window wall looking out towards the majestic Pike’s Peak, just to the west of the hospital…. I set on the ledge and stared at the mountains and sobbed…. My heart was hanging bloody and torn outside my body… it would not ease it’s torture on me…. I was totally raw and wished I could go out the window I was setting beside….
Dad spent another day or two – my memory fails me at this time, but after he left Sis and I pretty much moved into the hospital with Mom spending night and day….
Approximately 3 weeks after I had taken her to the hospital, in the late evening of Thursday, September 2nd, 1976 she passed away…We called Dad the minute it was confirmed by the nurse. There are some moments in your life too private to share, but finally she was without pain and at peace.
Sis and I set with her body until the mortuary arrived, we returned to the motel late that night, we couldn’t sleep so we packed, made the three hour drive for home about 2:00 in the morning.
I dropped sis off at her house, went to Dad’s, we set for few moments and cried together then I drove to my house. It was about 6:00 a.m….. I took a shower, got the kids off to school and the day passed. There were phone calls to make, plans to be made, Dad to be looked after, a trip to take her back to Kansas and a long list of painful emotions to deal with… somehow we survived it all. My Dad’s brother got all the necessary permits and flew Mom’s body and Dad back…Old friends met them at the airport along with the mortuary. Sis & family and I and my family took the minister and drove back…. We stayed at Mom’s sister’s house…. Returning home after the services, life resumed, but I couldn’t…. there were the holidays to get through….. Where could I ever find the strength.....
The director yelled “cut” and the curtains came down.