Tell the Bees

Archive for February, 2008

Moving Forward…

February 2008


Following the tests, Carolyn tells me I need a blood transfusion and schedules it for the next day. My h&h (red blood cell) counts are the lowest she’s ever seen them. I should expect to feel more energetic.

We close out the month with the good news that the lymphomic ulcers in my stomach are in remission… opening the door to proceed with the transplant. Logistics with scheduling the harvest of stem cells from my brother at the facility in Boston may delay us… we’re all waiting to hear.

Carolyn – Dr. Inhorn’s wonderful nurse in Oncology at Mercy Hospital – calls to report that that PET scan is clear and Dana Farber wants to move forward quickly with the transplant. However, we need to do several tests first and send the results to the insurance company before they will approve the transplant. So there goes Wednesday. I’ll spend the day at the hospital getting tested and tried. My life suddenly has a narrowing focus.

Still feeling a little dazed and having bouts of indigestion. Is it the ulcers, or just my digressions from the recommended diet? TUMS save me, and pain killers. Despite this distraction I complete the fafsa and successfully submit it. Yea!

Dr. Armand calls. GREAT NEWS! My brother Mark, based in Glen Ellen, California, is a total DNA match! So he can be the donor of stem cells to me. Everyone is ecstatic. Mark is excited and ready to make travel plans, but we can’t make decisions until we get the results of the chemo on the Lymphoma. If it’s gone or almost gone we can proceed without another session of chemo. A PET scan is scheduled for 2/20 and an endoscopy for 2/26. I get the tax info to the accountant.

Chloe leaves for a two week trip to Costa Rica. It’s a school exchange program. Students from Costa Rica will come to Cape Elizabeth in April. 80 degrees and sunny sounds good from this cold and snowy town.

Second round of chemo. Three days of infusions in the hospital with one overnight in the middle to accommodate the 24 hour drip. I come home wasted and sleep for three days. The drugs are taking their toll.

I gathered five close women friends to my side to help me think the transplant question through. They lauded my strength, and acknowledged the breadth and depth of the support I and our family have in this community, and around the country (some international as well.) Did it help me? It strengthened my resolve to move forward with the transplant. Craig agreed. I emailed Dr. Armand and told him “Let’s go!” and that I intend to be in the successful 20%. I talked with Dr. Inhorn. At 92 pounds, I’ve gotten doctor’s orders to “bulk up” in order to be strong enough for the transplant. I gain five pounds. I’m less “bony” and generally feel better. Just sleepy all the time. My drowsy lack of focus poses quite a challenge to my task at hand: organizing our financial information for the accountant to do our 2007 taxes, and then completing the fafsa (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) by the end of the month.

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