Tell the Bees

Hello from Room 59, 6th Floor, Wing 6C — Brigham & Women’s Hospital

My view is exactly the same one I had two years ago, just two floors higher. Huge ventilation pipes no longer dominate; instead I see buildings, all variations on the theme of rectangle, and some sky – blue today. My room is a double room, but I am the only person in it – so I have lots of space. I feel like I should be using the space to exercise, but yesterday I felt drugged all day due to a large dose of antihistamine I got to help with the itching from the shingles. I just laid around, hardly even watching TV. Today I feel better, but not yet inspired to work out.

We arrived Thursday evening. Craig, Chloe and Moriah escorted me to Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Two wings on each of two floors at this hospital are dedicated to bone marrow and stem cell transplant patients. The air is filtered. All guests wear masks and latex gloves. All of my things were wiped down with antiseptic wipes when we arrived. No live plants are allowed, and no cut flowers. We’ve been getting a minor charge out of watching the reactions of hospital staff when they see my two calla lilies – artificial of course. The lilies invariably evoke admonitions against cut flowers, until they realize the flowers are fake!

Today is my final day of chemo treatments. I’m receiving two chemo drugs: Busulfan and Fludarabine, along with “IV fluids” – usually a saline solution with something like Potassium or Dextrose added. Then there are anti nausea drugs, and basic saline solutions to clear lines. As I write I am being hooked up to my second to last bag of chemo. Tonight at 12:30 I’ll get the last one, for a final 3-hour drip. Tomorrow I have the day off – to let the chemo move through and out of my body.

Wednesday is “Day Zero” – the day for the transplant, when I receive the 15 million stem cells donated by my brother Mark. They will be introduced into my body via an IV line, much like a blood transfusion. And then the next chapter begins: how will our stem cells get along? My vision is the two sets of stem cells linking arms and marching through my body singing “Solidarity forever!”


14 Comments so far

  1. natasha April 7th, 2008 12:12 pm

    solidarity forever! what a joyful image of your cells linked arm in arm. of course they will work together.
    well, lina, i always thought you were courageous and gave us all reason for hope, but this week, after getting my own diagnosis of melanoma, i know how courageous you have been.
    just found out that a tiny spot on my face that my dermatologist last year said “that’s nothing”, turns out to be melanoma, so next week will go and get it removed and find out how bad it is (or not).
    sure changes one’s point of view!
    a few more birds, lots of mud, still alot of snow in my yard, no flowers yet in whitefield.
    thinking of you with your fake cala lilies against a boston blue sky.
    much love and cheers for your fighting spirit.

  2. Barbara Solow April 7th, 2008 12:25 pm

    Hey Lina,
    I like the “April Fool’s” joke you’ve been playing with those fake flowers. Thoughts of you have been blooming in my own heart this past week or so. Will be sending lots of love and white light your way on Wednesday! As Lauryn Hill sings, “after winter, must come spring” and “everything is everything.” xxxxx barbara

  3. moie April 7th, 2008 12:39 pm

    Hi Lina,

    Thank goodness the waiting for the transplant is near its end. We’ll all be thinking of you Wednesday, as we do every day.

    Congratulations to Chloe on her college acceptances! That is wonderful news. And of course best wishes to Moriah, the new teenager.

    Thanks for keeping all of us posted.

    Love, Moie

  4. julie olsen April 7th, 2008 12:54 pm

    Hey girl, hang in there, strong. Lina, Although we have never met, you have been in my thoughts since all this began! Congrats to Chloe on her college acceptances, Savannah sure is pretty ,Both schools are wonderful.
    Chloe, Nice to hear that some traditions never die!! It was just more fun doing it than being the parent of the doer!!! Warm wishes for you all!!

  5. Elizabeth April 7th, 2008 3:46 pm

    Hi Lina——–
    Loads of prayers for you…..

  6. harriet barlow April 7th, 2008 3:46 pm

    Hey loved one,

    It’s a relief to be able to “see” you in your room. I”m glad that you are roommate free and hope it remains that way. If not, imagine the ocean between you. Or perhaps you will have the ideal roomie who will give you strength through laughter or blessed silence. Fingers crossed.

    When you return home, it may actually be spring!

    In spirit,


  7. Nancy A. April 7th, 2008 5:52 pm

    Hi Lina – Sending you healing thoughts and vibes!! Spring is coming so new healthy cells are ready to blossom and keep you strong! Let them flourish.
    Saw Helen2 at Mercy about a week ago and left you a note. Made me think your family and friends are with you in all kinds of ways, especially your brother right now. Feel the support.
    When the mud dries, lets go for a walk with my boyfriend Jackson.
    hugs, Nancy

  8. Richard April 7th, 2008 6:58 pm

    Hi Lina!
    Sending warm thoughts of rejuvenation to you. Spring WILL come to the tundra, and stem cells WILL join hands.
    And life will go on.
    Hold tight.
    xo RR

  9. Joyce Read April 7th, 2008 9:43 pm

    Hey girl, hang on to that ball! You never know when you’re going to have to throw it and as always, I’ll be here to catch. Glad this process is nearing it’s completion and that you’ll be headed down to the beach in the not to distant future. You know the drill, my phone rings 24/7 for you.
    Love from Texas,

  10. jean millen April 8th, 2008 1:13 am


    I just spoke with a man in your former room – 2 floors below you- of-course I woke him up, so like me! – and turned him on to your web site. His name is James and he seems lovely. I wish I could be there tomorrow with you all and a minute won’t go by without you in my heart, soul and thoughts. The bees, waves, smoke stacks connect us every second/minute of the day. You are strong, steady and committed to life… what more could anyone ask for!

    Love for Always, Jean

  11. Hannah April 8th, 2008 11:07 am

    Hey, Lina–

    I keep thinking about you at Chloe’s hearing, looking all feisty in your black beret. You’re a fighter–for your babies, for your beliefs, and for your health. I’m so proud of you.


  12. Eileen April 8th, 2008 12:46 pm


    I’ve gone out and cut the sole regally blooming calla lily from my garden and placed it in a vase on my desk, just to remind me of you as you make your way thru this latest quest(and I shuffle thru these papers). Know that I am with you in heart, mind, and spirit, dear friend. I have faith in you and your care. Onward in solidarity. love Eileen

  13. Rita April 8th, 2008 7:08 pm

    Good luck Lina! Lots of love to you, Craig, Chloe & Moriah in this tough time….xo Rita

  14. Susan Baker April 8th, 2008 8:13 pm

    Love to you Lina! You are so much in my thoughts these days and know you are strong when strength is needed, and I suspect that is now! You go girl! xoxo susan

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