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Hermanos Castillo

 

Abuelo Bartolo aug 24 1886-1981Abuelita Diega 1891-1935

Bartolo Castillo 1886 – 1981, Calfornia

Diega Loredo 1891 – 1935

Married Diega Loredo in 1912

Bartolo and Diega, our grandparents, had 8 children: Gertrudis, Teofilo, Fidel, Bartolo, Gabriel and Norberto. Tragically, they had two  children that died in infancy. Ynasia was 5 months old when she died in 1919 and Cecelio was 3 months old when he died in 1922. Abuela Diega died in 1935, Norwood, Texas, at the age of 44 from pneumonia. Two of the brothers married two sisters. Bartolo married Diega Loredo and Julio married Eustolia Loredo.

 

011 Tio Quirino, Tia Maria, Mom011 Tio Quirino, Tia Maria, Mom

Quirino Castillo 1888 – 1977

Maria Vargas 1890 – 1969

Married Maria Vargas in 1908

At the 1930 census they had 7 children living with them; George, Bartolo, Reymundo, Antonia, Fidel, Pablo and Jesus

 

Julio picture134 Tia Eustolia

Julio Castillo 1894 – 1972, Calfornia

Eustolia Loredo 1891 – 1985, California

Married Eustolia Loredo, 1932

 

Juan pictureRegina

Juan Castillo 1903 – unknown date of death

Regina Sifuentes 1905 – 1997

Married Regina Sifuentes, she was from El Tepozan, Cerritos

At the 1930 census they had 9 children; Rosa, Timotea, Andrea, Desideria,
Ventura, Tereso, Agapito and Santos

 

 

Catarino

Catarino Castillo 1905 – unknown date of death

married Virginia Campian

 

What came to light, by accident, in 2019, was the discovery of two sisters of the brothers that died in infancy. Victoria Castillo was born in 1900 and died at 5 months of age. the other, Maria Lucia Castillo, was born on 1897 and died in 1899. There was a third sister, Candelaria, born in 1893. She married Dámaso Castillo, also from the Rincon, in 1908. After marriage they moved to Allende, Coahuila. In the 1930 census, it shows they had three children; Juan, Petra and Concepción

Hermanas Loredo

Nicolasa Cuevas was the head of the Loredo sisters. She was born 1865 and died 1959 in Southern California. She married our great grandfather, Norberto Loredo,  in 1886, at Villa Iturbide, San Luis Potosí. Iturbide is the same as Villa de Hidalgo, just don’t know what year the name change happened.

The oldest of the sisters, Lorenza, was born September 26, 1887, or 1889 and passed away in 1937, Cameron, Texas. She married Lorenzo Castillo, not related to our clan, in 1904, Villa Iturbide, San Luis Potosí

Abuelita Diega 1891-1935

Diega Loredo was born November 25, 1889 and passed away in 1935 at Waco, Texas. She married Bartolo Castillo on December 31st, 1912, at Villa Iturbide, San Luis Potosí

134 Tia Eustolia

Eustolia Loredo was born on November 9th, 1891 and passed away in 1985 in Southern California. She married Julio Castillo in 1932, Villa Hidalgo, San Luis Potosí

Gabina Loredo (2)

Gabina Loredo was born October 25th, 1893 and passed away in 1983 in Southern California. She married Porfirio Castillo, Lorenzo’s brother, on December 28, 1912, Villa Iturbide, San Luis Potosí

Daría Loredo was born October 25, 1893, in Iturbide, San Luis Potosí. She was a child born to Norberto and Nicolasa that none of us knew about and have been unable to locate a death certificate for her

Guadalupe Loredo was born October 20, 1895 and passed away in 1984 at Rockdale, Texas. She married Aurelio Castillo, again no relation to our clan, in 1920, at Cameron, Texas

Eduarda Loredo, was born October 22, 1895, or October 13, 1895. Same as Daría, this was another child born to Norberto and Nicolasa that we were unaware of and have also been unable to find a death certificate for

Some of the dates are in conflict as are many other records I have come across. Perhaps it was the way record keeping was done in the old days.

 

Family Documentation

During around the time I was going to City of Hope for my stem cell transplant, I knew I was going to have a lot of spare time to work on storing my photos for my website and also to investigate some of our family history. Most of my research success has come from using FamilySearch.org, a site run and maintained by the Mormon church. They do a wonderful job of archiving historical documents, not only from the US, but from México as well. I found documentation on my Mom’s side without too much trouble, but am having difficulty in finding much of anything from my Dad’s side. I will continue to look for some of his story. I did find one relative through 23nMe DNA website whose great grandmother, Eulogia Rios, is related to my Dad although at the time none of us knew how till later on through persistence and mostly luck. She lived in an area of San Luis Potosí, known as Hacienda de Bocas, quite a ways from El Rincón where Mom was from.

I will post the documents I have found in chronological order with a little explanation below each.

Name: Maria Yrenea Vigil Castillo
Gender: Female
Christening Date: 15 Jul 1867
Christening Place: VILLA DE HIDALGO,SAN LUIS POTOSI,MEXICO
Father’s Name: Jose Vigil
Mother’s Name: Cipriana Castillo
Maternal Grandfather’s Name: Jose Maria Castillo
Maternal Grandmother’s Name: Longina Alejos

 

This is a record of baptism for our great grandmother, Bartolo’s Mom, Yrenea Vigil, in 1867 at Villa de Hidalgo

 

Name: Margarito Castillo
Spouse’s Name: Ma. Yrenea Vigil
Event Date: 07 Jan 1885
Event Place: Villa De Hidalgo,San Luis Potosi,Mexico

This is marriage document for our great grandfather, Margarito Castillo, Bartolo’s father. Married in Villa de Hidalgo on 1885. Yrenea was 18 at time of marriage. Margarito’s birth date continues to elude.

 

Gumesindo Perez, cousin of Dad, baptism record in 1892, same year Dad was born. Baptism was in Mexquitic, a long way from Villa de Hidalgo to the south east. His mother, Eulogia Rios, a cousin of Dad, baptized her three children all in this same area of San Luis Potosí, although at different churches.  His record is lower left of ledger

 

1911 Bartolo Castillo jpeg

Grandfather Bartolo was traveling to San Antonio, Texas, at the age of 25, traveling alone at time. Lists his father as Margarito Castillo

Name: Diega Loredo
Arrival Date: 26 Jan 1917
Arrival Port: Laredo
Gender: Female
Race: Mexican
Photograph Included: No
Affiliate Record Identifier: A3379_54-0073

In 1917, great grandmother, Diega Loredo, traveled to Laredo, Texas, to work in fields picking cotton with rest of the family

Name: Gertrudes Castillo
Arrival Date: 26 Jan 1917
Arrival Port: Laredo
Gender: Female
Race: Mexican
Photograph Included: No
Affiliate Record Identifier: A3379_12-5088

Mom, traveling with Abuelo, Abuela and Teofilo in January of 1917. Entered at Laredo probably on the way to work the cotton fields. Mom was 4 years old at this time

 

Name: Maria Cuevas
Event Type: Immigration
Event Date: 1917
Event Date (Original): 1917
Event Place: Laredo, Webb, Texas, United States
Gender: Female
Age: 52
Birth Year (Estimated): 1865
Birth Country: Mex

Great Grandmother, Nicolasa (Mama Gasa) Cuevas, traveling with the family to Texas in 1917. Norberto, Mama Gasa, Bartolo, Diega, Mom and Teofilo were all together on this journey in 1917

 

1917 Teofilo & Bartolo Castillo jpeg

Tío Teofilo was traveling with grandfather Bartolo, in 1917, when he was 1 year old. They were en route to Hillsboro, Texas, probably to work the cotton fields. Abuela Diega was also traveling with them

1917 Teofilo Castillo(2) jpeg

Tío Teofilo’s admission to Laredo, Texas, 1917

Name: Norberto Loredo
Event Type: Immigration
Event Date: 1917
Event Date (Original): 1917
Event Place: Laredo, Webb, Texas, United States
Gender: Male
Age: 67
Birth Year (Estimated): 1850
Birth Country: Mx

Great grandfather, Norberto Loredo, traveling with family to Texas in 1917. Norberto was father in law to Bartolo, so makes sense they were all together to work the fields. He was 67 at this time. Not exactly a young guy for this kind of trip

1917 Norberto Loredo 3 jpeg

Great Grandfather Norberto’s admission to Texas in January of 1917

 

1917 Dad jpeg

Dad traveling to Laredo, Texas, in April of 1917. Traveling alone, lists his last residence as Aguascalientes. Not traveling with our family then as he maybe didn’t know them and Mom was only 4 years old in 1917. The Revolución was still going on, maybe he had already been shot up and was just getting away from the violence. No idea as to why he would be coming from Aguascalientes.

1919 Ynasia Castillo Death Certificate jpeg

In August of 1919, our grandparents lost a child, Ynasia, at the age of 7 months due to acute indigestion. They were living on a farm near Norwood, Texas which is near Waco.

1922 Cesilio Castillo Death Certificate jpeg

Then again in February 1922, our grandparents lost another child, Cecelio, at the age of 3 months due to bronchial pneumonia. They were living on the Steiner Farm in Waco, Texas at this time. Unbelievably tough times for our family back then. Mom was 9 years old at this time but she never mentioned to any of us of her little brother’s passing.

1930 Lara Clan Census jpeg

Found this census taken in 1930 of the rancho, Cerro Grande, where our Tía Juanita’s family was from. The Lara clan can be seen on lines 3-7, 16-21 and 31-39.

Diega Loredo Castillo Death jpeg

Then very unexpectedly, Abuela Diega passed away in May of 1935 from pneumonia while they were living in Waco, Texas, probably living on a farm while working the fields. So now Abuelo is left to care for the brood by himself, but at least Mom is now 22 years of age and guess she picked up all of the slack cooking, cleaning and washing.

1939 Teofilo Castillo jpeg

Just a few years later, Teofilo leaves alone for Waco, Texas in 1939, he being the oldest son now at 23 years of age

Marriage Certificate

The year before, 1938, Mom and Dad are married in Waco. No idea as to when Mom took off with Dad to Texas, but it had to be sometime after the passing of Abuela in 1935. So Mom is gone and Teofilo too, leaving Abuelo to care for Fidel, Bartolo, Gabriel and Norberto by himself

Draft Registration 1942 a

In 1942 Dad had to register for the draft even though WWll was over. Mom and Dad were living on a farm in Valley Mills, TX, just outside of Waco, TX.

Name: María Eulogia Rios
Gender: Mujer
Age: 22
Birth Year: 1868
Registration or Marriage Date: 6 Nov 1890
Registration or Marriage Place: Mexquitic, San Luis Potosí, México
Spouse: Pamposo Perez
Mother: Lazara Rios
Page number: 122
Household Members:
Name
Espiridiona Sanchez
Lazara Rios
Pedro Perez
Pamposo Perez

This is the marriage between Pomposo Perez and Eulogia Rios and how we are related to the Perez from Colton, CA. Lázara Rios is Dad’s Tía and mother of Eulogia. Pedro is Pomposo’s dad and Espiridiona Sanchez is his wife. Most of the Perez and Rios clans has moved to Mexquitic de Carmona where baptisms and marriages took place at the same church, San Miguel Arcángel.

Melquiades Rios Marriage

At upper right is the official recording of the marriage of Melquiades Rios, Dad’s sister, to Santos Caldera in 1909. This is the how we became to be related to the Caldera clan from Chihuahua/Coahuila. They were both 26 at the time and originally he was from the state of Zacatecas and she from San Luis Potosí, but they were married in Nuevo Leon which is close to the TX border

Name: Norberto Loredo
Gender: Hombre
Age: 29
Birth Year: 1857
Registration or Marriage Date: 6 Ene 1886
Registration or Marriage Place: Iturbide, San Luis Potosí, México
Spouse: Nicolasa Cuevas
Father: Eugenio Loredo
Mother: Maria Cecilia Rosales
Page number: 2
Household Members:
Name
MariaCeciliaRosales
Zeferino Cuevas
Maria Nabor Reyes
Norberto Loredo

Marriage of Mama Gasa to Norberto Loredo at Iturbide, 1886. This was the name used before it was changed to Villa de Hidalgo. He was already kind of old at the time, she was 23. His parents are there, Eugenio and Maria Cecelia and her parents as well, Zeferino and Maria Nabor Reyes

Delfino Rios Birth 1885

Record of Delfino’s birth, 1885, Ahualuco, San Luis Potosí

Delfino Marriage 1921

Record of Delfino’s marriage to Eloisa Perez, in 1921, Coahuila

Eulalia Rios 1921

Eulalia Rios Birth

These two documents record the birth of Eulalia Rios, Delfino’s daughter, in 1921.

Delfino Rios Death 1922

Delfino died the following year,1922, from the Spanish Flu which killed millions in the early 1900’s

Our Family Ancestry

I began to research Mom and Dad’s histories around 2017 when I got out of the City of Hope hospital and had a lot of downtime doing a whole lot of nothing. I sort of began my WordPress site and the joined Ancestry around the same time. But I think I joined Heritage, then 23andMe first before realizing they were not very helpful in tracking down history and that is when I joined Ancestry and found them to be quite helpful. I also found Family Search.org as another site in finding about family history. The Mormon church needs to be credited for doing a lot of volunteer work in helping everyone find their ancestors stories and history. The information provided on our families going back about 200 years comes mostly from Ancestry’s computers. As you enter data of someone into the family tree you are building, the computers sniff out the connection to other ancestors and send you a hint of another person and asks if this person might be related. If you accept the hint, the computer automatically puts it into the tree under the specific name of the person you entered. Sometimes there are quite a few hints and you need to go thru each to see if they are related. Often times there is someone with a similar name but from another region. In 2019 members got a ancestry lineage report showing what they thought might be all of your ancestors going back quite a ways. There were a lot of names to go through and sort out who belonged to who. I found that almost everyone listed was an ancestor, I just had to piece together the puzzle to figure our who belonged to who. All of what is listed below is the result of that. I begin with my Mom’s side first with her parents, Bartolo and Diega, and finish up with my Dad’s side of which I found out was quite large and I am still coming up with names here and there.

Bartolo (1888-1981)  and Diega Loredo (1889-1935)

Bartolo’s parents:Margarito Castillo (1857-1927) and Yrenea Vigil (1867-1933)

Margarito and Yrenea’s children: Bartolo, Quirino, Juan, Julio, Catarino, Candelaria, Victoria, Maria

Margarito’s parents:Juan Castillo (1817?) and Feliciana Vigil (1829-1903)

Juan & Felicianas children: Manuel 1850, Margarito 1857, Prajedis 1852, Urbano 1844, Petra 1846, Maxima 1848, Pascual 1841, Franco 1839, Barbara 1837

Yrenea’s parents: Jose Leonides Vigil (1841-) and Cipriana Castillo (1844-1901)

Leonides and Cipriana’s children; Yrenea 1867, Bernabe 1869, Margarito 1871, Paulin 1874, Norberto 1875, Perfecto 1877, Gerarda 1880

Cipriana’s parents: Jose Maria Castillo (1811) Maria Longina Alejos (1819)

Maria Longina Alejos parents: Felipe de Jesus Alejos (1798-1882), Maria Dominga Morales (1801)

Children of Felipe & Maria: Maria Longina (1819), Maria Antonia (1821), Maria Carmen (1823), Jose Pedro (1829)

Felipe de Jesus Alejos parents: Felipe de Jesus Alejos (1773), Margarita Ruis (1773)

Juan Cipriano Ordones (1781), Maria Josefa Sanchez, parents of Marcelo Ordones

Cirilo’s parents: Marcelo Ordones, Maria Feliciana Bargas, married 1809

Marcelo & Feliciana’s children: Jose Agustin, Josefa Maldonado

Leonides Vigil’s parents: Jose Cirilo Vigil (1820), Maria Paulina Ordones (1821)

Cirilo Vigil’s parents: Francisco Vigil (1800), Maria Ysabel Castillo

Diega Loredo’s parents:

Norberto Loredo (1848/1850-1935), Nicolasa Cuevas (1863-1959

Norberto’s parents:

Eugenio Loredo (1818), Casilda Rosales (1823)

Eugenio and Casilda’s children: Benigna (1844), Norberto (1848), Clara (1840) Maria Felix (1855)

Eugenio’s parents: Pablo Loredo, Manuela Ribera

Casilda’s parents: Juan Rosales, Antonia Castilleja

Nicolasa Cuevas parents:

Seferino Cuevas (1837-1917), Maria Nabor Reyes (1835-1917)

Children of Seferino Cuevas and Maria Reyes:

Macedonio (1872), Regino (1872), Placida (1870-1912), Nicolasa (1864-1959),

Teodoro (1865), Francisca (1868-1912), Desideria (1875-1956)

Seferino’s parents: Jose Maria Cuevas, Maria Faustina Dimas

Eugenio Reyes (1813), Pascuala Vasquez (1821-1881) Maria Navor Reyes parents

Jose Luis de Jesus Dimas (1761), Maria Luisa Basquez (1760), parents to Maria Faustina Dimas

Cristobal Dimas (1740), Maria Matiana de la Cruz (1740) parents of Jose Luis Dimas

Joseph Deciderio Trinidad Reyes Mendes (1793-1861), Maria Inocenia Abila (1793), parents to Eugenio Reyes

Jose Ponciana Rosales, Maria San Jose de Abila (1775), parents to Maria Ynocenica Abila

Geronimo Vasquez, (1790), father to Pascuala Vasquez

Ysidro Antonio Reyes (1770), Maria Rosalia Mendes, (1770), parents of Joseph Reyes Mendes 

Dad’s Family:

Espiridiona Rios, (1846/1848-1904), Dad’s Mom

Sostenes Rios (1827-1896) Jesusa Saucedo (1832-1892), Espiridiona’s parents

Sostenes and Jesusa’s children: Espiridiona (1848-1904), Lázara (1849) Juan de la Cruz (1853) Dionicio (1855) Arcadia (1859) Ausnción (1861) Esutacio (1864) Amada (1866)

Jose Sebastian Rios (1808-1896) Sesaria Sustayta (1816) , Sostenes’ parents

Sebastian and Sesaria’s children: Maria Ysidra de la Asención (1817) Maria Christobal (1819) Jose Sostenes (1827)

Elenterio Saucedo, Maria del Jesus Valerio, Jesusa Saucedo’s parents

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Growing Up

It was like growing up in a rural area like you might read about in books. But it was great if you were a kid with lots of places to explore and play in. At one end of our dirt road was a horse owned by the Smith family. He was friendly and easy to pet but always fenced in. Next door lived Don Rafael, who I think lived alone in an old  house. I remember he had a car and would sometimes take us to the doctor. Even though he was ancient at that time he seemed nice but at the same time was a little spooky. I remember our mailboxes for everyone living there, were at the end of street, all on one big piece of lumber. It was kind of fun going to get the mail, so far away from the house. With so much dirt to play there was also a never ending supply of rocks. With us and a  kid friend who lived across the street, David, we used to have rock fights with each other. That was a blast, just kinda stupid now that I can think about it, but it was one way of making the most of nothing. When it rained the water puddled up everywhere, especially at the other end of the road in front of the Hernandez house. Steve, Tom and Paul lived there along with their sister, Lola. We used to go the puddle and pick out the tadpoles swimming around the puddle and bring them home into a hole we filled with water. In the picture at the top there was the palm tree in front of Tío Gabriel’s first house. Sometime after we got a little older we somehow got ahold of a pellet rifle and a BB gun. We used to practice shooting down the pigeons that lived there, then we would eat them. I remember them being pretty tasty. Now only doves are hunted and eaten. With the BB gun we would also shoot the meadowlarks that flew into the weeds across the house, they were good to eat too. Gophers were always around and they were fun to try and gun down. In the empty lot across from the  house, an old Trading Post shack was still there right where Norwalk Blvd is. I remember we used to try and look inside but it was always closed up ever since I can remember. Dirt was always good for playing marbles too and that was something we would do a lot, steelys and perrys and other names for marbles I can’t recall. Not too far away on Norwalk Blvd was our version of Walmart in those days, the Nagashima second hand store. Think that was the only place  Mom and Dad would buy us shoes and clothes. Seems like Mom would buy one pair of jeans for us then constantly patch them up so we could keep using them. And back in those days Taps were used fairly common on shoes to help extend the life of the soles and heels. Dad had one of metal stands you could put the shoe on and nail down the taps and also to repair loose soles. And where the Food 4 Less is now, I barely remember there used to be some sort of giant auction or swap meet where Mom and Dad would take us to buy a chicken or other things for the house. I just remember it seemed really big with lots and lots of things for sale. That was kind of an adventure going there. Then sometime when we all still quite young seems like I recall it burning down to the ground, big giant color of yellow in the sky.

Growing up we had lots and lots of weeds all around us, so guess that is why we used to have mice in our old house. I remember as a kid we could hear them crawling around inside the walls. Scary if you are a kid. There were  horny toads still living in the area and every now and then we would see a weasel. One of the things we used to do as kids was play dead out in the field. It would get the big black buzzards to circle overhead. Now I don’t even think you can find a black buzzard if you looked for one, seems like they are all gone. Just like the Monarch butterflies. Don’t recall at what time of year it was but we would get waves and waves of these beautiful butterflies launch out of the fields. It was a sight to behold for us kids.

One of the lasting memories was when we had to work the fields picking string beans. There used to be a farm near where the 605 freeway is and somewhere by Centralia. Mom would lead us walking there from the house fairly early in the morning on weekends and in the summer when school as out. All of us would follow in a line like a bunch of baby ducks. Sometimes the beans were grown in vines something like 4 or 5 foot high rows that were close to each other. That really sucks when its hot, with no breeze coming in. Our yield for the day would all go into these sacks that could weigh as much as we could carry over our shoulders. They were all piled together and weighed one at a time and tallied for our family. I think our yield would fetch like 2 or 3 cents a pound. It was hard work but sometimes fun. There were other families there from the Gardens; Castillos (Mom’s cousin), Rodriguez (Reynaldo’s family), Guzman, and then the Salcido family from Artesia. There were probably more, just can’t recall all of them. The Tanaka family owned the farm and I remember them being a great family. We used to call the owners Mama and Papa Tanaka. There was one nasty lady that worked for the farm to keep an eye on us, think her name was Mrs. Stevens, kind of like a drill sargeant for the bean fields. The area around the farm was fairly rural and there were cottontail rabbits and pheasants in the area. I do remember Tío Gabriel taking us there on the weekends once in awhile while he shot a pheasant or rabbits in the weeds around the farm. When we weren’t working the Tanaka farm we would walk over to another farm right off Carson near Bloomfield where Forest Lawn is now. Same string beans plus there were also some bush beans that were grown close to the ground. Think they had these at both farms. There was one other farm in the area somewhere along Centralia that was owned by someone that I think we used to call Don Valentín. He grew some squash, tomatillo and some other things. I don’t think all of us went there to work, I can only remember going to work there with Tío Beto to help him pick crops.

Dad had relatives living in Colton. One of them was around his age, Gumercindo Perez. If Dad ever mentioned how he was related I don’t remember. He could have been a cousin or nephew. I barely remember when Dad would drive out to Colton taking the streets all the way since there  weren’t any freeways yet. And I can’t forget Tío Carlos and Tía Maria. I think they either owned or worked at a tortillería. When we would visit them at the shop we could eat up on fresh tortillas. We called them Tío and Tía but I don’t know if they really were my Dad’s Uncle and Aunt.

Some summers we were able to borrow a lawnmower and go around the neighborhood looking for lawns to cut. We did get some jobs as kids and used the money for comic books and candy or gum. In those days the gum came in packs with baseball cards. Always wonder how rich we could all be if my Mom hadn’t tossed our cards in the trash when we were moving into our new house sometime around 1962

Then there were some summer days when we didn’t have to work the fields and we would play baseball like almost all day long at the school down the street. At that time there was a school, Bloomfield, where we went from Kinder to 5th grade right at the end of Ibex. Some of the boys in the neighborhood would get together and we would pick teams. There were the Whisman brothers, Nixon brothers, Mollinedo brothers and a few other boys from the hood. We used to  call our ball field Yankee Stadium and we would use the canal by Horst St. as the home run fence. Nothing but old wood bats in those days and whenever the bat cracked by the handle we would try and put a nail in the cracked part then use tape around it to try and give the bat a little more life.

City of Hope

IMG_0965
Lost hair after 3 weeks in treatment

20170611_104937-1
Hickman Catheter removed

20170505_111650
getting ready for treatment

20170506_115527
Hickman Catheter installed before treatment

Life seems to always be full of surprises, some good, some not so good, but always with a surprise when we least expect it. Might be someone announcing a wedding, or someone just found out they are expecting, moving into a new house, buying a new car, many different types of surprises. The emotions can’t ever be planned, they just overwhelm you with joy, sometimes with sadness, especially those times when someone close to you unexpectedly leaves this world. It doesn’t soften the blow knowing that we are all on this planet for a short time, all we can do is to make the most of it while we are here, living life to the fullest, sharing it with others.

In 2011 I received positive results back from a prostate biopsy that indicated I had cancer of the prostate. At least this was sort of expected. Several years prior my primary doctor had been informing me that my counts had been inching up. Finally after a few years of repeating this warning message to me I asked about when this might lead to something and the doctor explained that eventually when this number arrived at about 9.5 or 10, it usually meant that this would result in a positive for cancer. But, he did let know that the numbers were just that, only an indicator of a problem, and that only a biopsy would reveal the truth. Once I received the news of the positive results I digested this over a few days, unsure of how I should handle the situation. Tacho and Megan had just gotten married in January of 2011 and then shortly thereafter letting us know they were expecting. Then soon after that, Nene let us know she and Edgar were getting married later on in 2011.

With that knowledge I had to keep this to myself figuring if I let anyone know of my situation it would be like taking the wind out of the sails and dampen everyone’s happiness. After consulting with various doctors about treatment I elected to go with a date for treatment that I thought would be safe enough past delivery date for Cruz in November of 2011. Except Cruz wasn’t ready to face the world yet. My procedure date was set for November 5th and his delivery date passed and that really tossed a wrench into plans. So I decided to make up a story about me having something contagious and that prevented me from being present for Cruz’ birth on the same date. It was really sad not being able to be there then not being able to be around Cruz until several months after his birth as I had some radiation in me that might be harmful to a newborn.  I was finally able to see and hold him a few months later and was glad that Mom and baby were healthy.

But then sometime around 2012 I began to notice that my counts had kept dropping and I asked the oncologist that treated me for the prostate cancer if this was normal and he just told me it was probably temporary and would be returning to normal within a year. But after a year the the counts continued to further decline and then I began to experience frequent infections as my immune system began to weaken from the lower counts. My VA doctor kept telling me it was nothing to worry about, my counts weren’t that low and she would keep an eye on me. I had always been a stickler for tracking my lab results on a spreadsheet and the numbers just kept popping out at me as an indicator that something wasn’t right. It wasn’t until 2016 that I finally decided to make an appointment with my kaiser primary and talk to him about my concern over my low counts. He agreed and sent me out for a bunch of labs and referred me to Hematology to review the results. In September of 2016 I met with Oncologist Franco from kaiser and with the initial lab results in front of her she indicated to me that her guess was that I had Multiple Myeloma but couldn’t be sure until she performed a bone marrow biopsy. In October of 2016 the results came back positive for MM.

In a way it was a bit of a relief, because at least now I knew what was causing my counts to keep on dropping, so no more mystery. With this type of illness, the bone marrow either isn’t working at all or is under-performing. The bone marrow is like a factory and it produces white and red cells, besides platelets, hemoglobin and other important things that are crucial to the immune system and the body. My Oncologist at Kaiser, Dr. Franco, felt this was early stage and could be attacked with chemo drug and then if things went well, a stem cell transplant.

After initial chemo treatment for about six months, Dr. Franco thought my body responded well to the chemo and my body was ready for the stem cell transplant. Its not a given to everyone, the doctor has to feel that the patient is healthy enough to tolerate the transplant as it has its own risks that could be fatal with just enough bad luck getting an infection during the procedure. The transplant is in theory like a dead battery in the car getting a jump start from another car to get it work again properly and produce healthy cells. I began my process in May of 2017 and was finally done early part of June 2017. The the hard part began in recovery and remaining away from almost all contact while the body was at zero immunity as the transplant wiped everything out including any vaccinations from the past. Little by little I got out and took short walks in the park in the early morning to help build up oxygen levels since the body went through so much and weakened me quite a bit. Then in August of 2017 the transplant specialist began to prescribe Revlimid, a very expensive, but effective drug, in combating the cancerous cells in the body. It has the potential for a lot of strong side effects, but I was fortunate and only had  few of them, none serious. The main negative side effect was that it has a tendency to lower the immune system even further as it also attacks the good cells while trying to attack the cancerous cells. So life as normal will never be the same as long as there is some risk of infection due to this treatment plan.

Then in May of 2018 Dr. Franco met with me to let me know the bad protein cells had grown a bit over the range they were supposed to be in and decided that she would need to change the medication and go with something fairly new, Darzalex, but proven also to be effective. It is given as an IV and lasts for about 5 to 6 hours once a week, then after a few months is spread out, but that schedule will be determined by the doctor depending how my body responds. So far no real negative side effects from this new therapy,  and it has quite a few that can complicate things, so feel quite lucky again in dodging this bullet.

Life can never be the same again, so there is some adjusting to the new normal that is now my life. My bike riding days in the hills are now a thing of the past, I get pooped just riding a few miles around the city streets, maybe I can go about 5 miles before needing to shut it down. The gym I only see about 2 to 3 times a week and only for about a 1/2 hour workout. At least I can still go out hiking in the hills, except the hills are a lot bigger and steeper now forcing me to use hiking sticks now on the uphill and taking lots of oxygen breaks. But at least I can still hike and get out bow hunting with Tacho and Cruz. As with any health trauma there is going to be a roller coaster of emotions that includes anxiety, some depression, lack of energy, sadness at not being to enjoy some things I used to enjoy doing but no longer can due to the risks of infections. And then there is the risk of Melanoma from over exposure to the sun. So no more working on my tan like I used to. But this is just part of the new normal. Being a part of a myeloma support group helps in finding out success stories and getting encouragement from other members and learning some things to help you ride out the storm. But most recently, meeting on a regular basis with a VA psychologist has helped the most in keeping me grounded and getting me through the roller coaster of emotions. We are going to be working on some programs (cognitive behavioral therapy) so this is all new but I am keeping an open  mind to whatever she recommends for my mental well being to help see me though this with a positive attitude.

In early 2019, my oncolist took me off one medication (revlimid) I was on as it was not longer doing its job. This is a fairly common issue with multiple myeloma. The body seems to reject a drug after a year or two, then another drug needs to be introduced to keep things in check and from spreading. I was advised that they were going to give me a fairly new drug, Pomalyst, to see  how this performed. It is a more  potent drug, and with all these drugs used in chemotherapy/immunotherapy, there are a bunch of possible side effects. But the doctors will always tell you that the benefits outweigh the risk. I began the new treatment in February and it seemed that it was not going to be an issue, I was feeling fine. Then in early March I became quite sick with chills and a  high fever. Turns out that I had pneumonia and had to be admitted to the hospital where I spent about 3 days receiving antibiotics through an IV. While in the hospital the RN told me that my counts were super low due to the new drug I was taking. Once out of the hospital I did some research and found out that with this drug I was supposed to have had lab work done every week, but this didn’t happen. So I was walking around with a super low immune system I didn’t know about and that is how I wound up getting pneumonia, just by being out in the cold weather while watching Cruz play ball in the late afternoon. After speaking with the medical rep from the manufacturer, (Celgene) I found that the dosage could be reduced if agreed upon by the doctor and patient. I had also found that the new drug did have some positive effect in two major areas so I decided that I would give this drug a another try but at half the dosage and with weekly lab work. Hoping this will work and the plan is to start the new treatment at end of May.

But the oncologist refused my request to try the smallest dosage, 1mg, and kept me on the 2mg dosage. Once again the pomalyst took my immune system down into the zero category. I took off time to let my body recover but the office kept pushing me to restart the meds even though it put me a serious health risk.

Once I decided it was safe to begin again, on my own I cut the dosage in half, only taking the med every other day instead of daily. Initially it looked like this might do the trick, cut down on myeloma cells and not put me at risk again. But even at my own dosage the drug nevertheless took my immune system down into the zero range. It was during this time that I finally decided that I needed to switch doctors. Seems my oncologist and her staff were more concerned about me taking the med on a daily basis instead of being concerned about my well being. There were other issues but the high pressure sales pitch convinced me I needed to start over with someone new and at another facility. I first met with my new oncologist, Dr. Nguyen, at Anaheim Hills, in early August. He listened to everything I had to say and was very compassionate. He is willing to be more flexible in finding something that works and to stabilize the counts. At least I feel a lot better about the change, and feeling better is half the battle.

If this drug proves ineffective, there is another similar drug, Kyprolis, that is another option, same family but it may or may not have the same powerful side effect.

But I always keep one thing mind from one of my fellow support group members. When I first joined, he had to let me know that I wouldn’t die from the myeloma, that my demise would be from the drugs. Now I know what he was talking about and serves as a good warning for all future treatment plans

Familia (3)

 

Familia (4)

 

 

Jennifer & Imani Esperanza
Jennifer & Imani Esperanza

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Carlitos FSA graduation, March 2018

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Mama’s 65th Bday

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Mother’s Day 2018, Tlaquepaque

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Aracely and Miranda, Nov. 2018

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Megan, Tacho Caleb 2018

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Miranda, Nene, myself & Tacho at Tacho & Megan’s wedding, Costa Rica 2011

WI Clan
Chloe, Imani, Jennifer, Nicky, Charlie, Bobby, Stephanie, Kevin, Haley, Aubrey, Annie

Cecelia n Me (2)
Cecelia Perez and me, March 2019

Quirino and Juan
Tia Maria, Tio Quirino, Tio Juan, Tia Regina

Grandma Ellen and Megan
Grandma Ellen, Megan, Aug 2019

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John Cissy, Chaug Reilina Aug 2019 Caleb’s Baptism

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Mama and Megan at Nico’s performance, 2020

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Nene, Edgar married by church, March 2020 Miranda, Caleb, Edgar, Nene, Sarah