30 November 2015

It's official ... we have engraftment

 My bags and machines ... 
In the Land of Bone Marrow Transplants, engraftment is the promised land.
It's the time/place/situation when the donor cells all find homes in their new body and start to grow and take root, if you will.
I'm officially there. It's only Day +12.
Happier I could not be.
If you'd like a more medical explanation, here ya go.
Basically, it means cancer's got no hold on me.
Still feel cruddy. That's all part of the process. Things will start looking up and I'll start feeling better as God makes me new.
Selfless donor, I just don't know what to say. XOXOX

26 November 2015

Day Zero ... Transplant Day ... My new birthday

Wednesday, Nov. 18, I awoke to this adorable note on my white board in my hospital room in the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit.
Day Zero is the day given to the day of your transplant. It's the day you get your new cells ... Your new life ... Your new birthday.

Days leading up to transplant count down (-5, -4, -3, -2, -1). Transplant day gets a day all to itself (Day Zero). Each day after Day Zero counts up (+1, +2, +3, +4, +5, +6, +7, +8).

I'm going to try to get this post written and up before I fall back asleep. I've never been more tired in my life.
So, today, Day +8, is actually Thanksgiving Day.
From the little I've been allowed to know about my donor, he probably doesn't give a hoot about
Thanksgiving Day because I've been told he is from Germany.
So, today, on the 50th Thanksgiving of my life, the most thing I am thankful for is you, amazing, selfless, generous donor. You have saved my life. you have given my family a chance at more years with their mommy.
You may not realize what a HUGE thing you have done, but I have. my husband has, my kids have.
I don't know how to adequately say thank you.
I am MOST THANKFUL for you.

17 November 2015

Day -1 ...

Tomorrow is Day Zero. 
I will get my new bone marrow tomorrow. 
I will have a new day to celebrate.
No more cancer anniversary for me. I get a new birthday tomorrow. That's the day worth celebrating. 
The transplant team has destroyed all my bone marrow in preparation for my donor's marrow. 
And it's painful. 
The the chemo is rough. 

I keep playing the song "Great are you Lord," from All Sons and Daughters.
I truly love this song. 
But, it's the chorus at the end that gets me. 

"All the earth will shout
Your praise
Our hearts will cry
Great are you, Lord "

"All the earth will shout
Your praise
Our hearts will cry
Great are you, Lord "
Listen to the Live version below. But you gotta listen to the end. 

16 November 2015

Day -4 and -3 ... the hardest yet

Saturday and Sunday were the toughest days yet.
Finished the 16 doses of the first chemotherapy.  
Started the next chemo Sunday. With awful premeds to protect my bladder. 
Then the chemo.
Then the antigen. 
And I'm so nauseous. 
And diarrhea has joined the party. 
This is so hard.

I can't stop thinking of my donor. 

I need prayers for strength.  Right now. Please, stop what you're doing and cover me with strength?

And did I had the most amazing visitors this weekend. :)

Lindsey, me and Melissa.

Rare picture from my 20-year friendship with Cindy.

These two. Oh, how I love them.

13 November 2015

Day -5 and all I am is weepy

I don't know why I'm weepy.
I miss my family. Weepy. 
It's too late to order breakfast and too early to order lunch. Weepy. 
Every 6 hours of chemo is rough. Weepy.
I just don't feel good. Weepy. 
I just want to go home. Weepy. 

Mike says no way. I'm in it for the long haul. Because the long haul is the cancer-free haul. It's just so, so hard. 
He also says it's ok to be weepy. So I cry and cry and cry. 
Then I get a video like this and from a precious little soul (turn up your volume),  and Jesus wipes my tears.

12 November 2015

Here we go ... Day -6

In preparation for a bone marrow transplant the days count down until you get to Day Zero.
Day Zero is when the donated cells are infused - kinda like getting a bag of blood cells.
Today is day -6. Today I will get a continuation of high dose chemotherapy every 6 hours.
It started yesterday at 10 a.m., then 4 p.m., then 10 p.m. and 4 a.m.
Today is more of the same schedule. Chemo every 6 hours peppered with steroids to save my lungs, anxiety meds to, well, keep me from freaking out. Anti-nausea meds. Etc.
Day -6.
It's gonna be a long road.
But I'm excited to get to Day Zero. November 18.
I wonder what - if - my amazing, selfless, generous donor is thinking about right now.
He is all I can think of. Yes, I don't know much, but I do know my donor is a he. And he lives in Germany.
How cool is that ... my new bone marrow will be coming all the way from Germany.
A volunteer courier will bring it with a special medical passport, bypassing security. What a great job that would be. Flying all over the world bringing life-saving treasure to people you don't even know.
And all this is happening for me.
Maybe that's why I'm so weepy this morning. Thinking of all these moving parts - parts that don't know me - but are doing the amazing FOR me. For my husband. For my children.
How do you begin to thank someone for something like this?
Germany is 6 hours ahead of me. My donor, I've got to come up with a name for him, is maybe finishing up his work day. He's 30. I don't know if he's married. Or if he has kids. I want him to know I have 7 kids. Seven kids who are praying for him and thanking him for saving their mommy's life.
I'm praying, too.
Praying peace, grace and that you will feel God's loving, strong arms around you.

09 November 2015

The ordinary

Woke up this morning and packed a lunch for my 6th grader.
I remember a time when I packed 7 lunches every morning. Seven sandwiches (some peanut butter and jelly, one just jelly, one ham - no cheese, one ham and cheese) all cut into triangles. Seven bags of pretzels. Seven bags of carrots. Seven pieces of string cheese. Seven little notes written with love and tucked behind the napkins.
Every single morning. It was exhausting and I dreaded it.
All my kids are big now. Four in college. Two in high school (they pack their own lunch - if they pack one at all). And one in middle school, 6th grade. I wanted to go have lunch with her at school today.
"Hey! (trying to sound like this will be the funnest thing ever) How about I pick up Chick-fil-A and come have lunch with you today?"
"Uh, no."
"I don't have to stay and eat with you. How about I just drop it off (figuring I'd end up staying anyway)?"
"MOM. NO. I don't want you to."
Ouch. That one stung.
She's getting bigger. She's growing up. It's a good thing. I know this. I just don't like it.
Especially today.
Tomorrow I go to Richmond to be admitted for a life-saving bone marrow transplant. I'll be in the hospital for a month or so. Then I'll need to live "within 30 minutes of the hospital" (their rule, not mine) for 2-4 months, depending on how well I'm doing. It will be months before I will get to bring my daughter lunch at school. Months before I will get to pack her a lunch.
So, when I packed her lunch this morning, I didn't dread it. I cherished it.
Such a simple little thing, an ordinary, everyday thing. Packing a lunch. But it meant the world to me today.
The ordinary is what I will miss the most.