Tell the Bees

I Know You, You Know Me. One Thing I Can Tell You is You Got To Be Free. Come Together, Right Now….

Happy Birthday, Lina! Today is the first day of life with my new stem cells from my brother, and therefore new blood made by the merger of my stem cells with his, and therefore – from some perspectives- a new person. It’s kind of wild to think about…my DNA will now be xy, I’ll get his allergies, and who knows what else? I can’t wait to find out. We’re coming together, right now.

The transplant went smoothly yesterday afternoon – no vomiting, no cramps, no convulsions, no problems breathing. So far, I’d say my blood stream is happily accepting these new brothers and looking forward to the work they are going to do battling against cancerous cells. As a refresher, let me explain again the kind of transplant I just went through. It’s called a “mini allo” because it uses a lower dose of chemotherapy, followed by an infusion of disease-fighting stem cells from a donor (my brother) whose white cell antigens closely match mine (allogeneic transplant.) The low initial dose of chemo “stuns” cancerous cells into not growing, while the infusions of donated stem cells then battle against the cancerous cells.

Of course the chemo also wipes out good cells in my body, including my immune system. My blood counts and therewith my immune system will continue to drop for the coming two weeks or so. This means I will pretty much be hibernating in my clean (thanks to all who helped!) house, eating a restricted diet of food that must be cooked by us. While I can’t go out into the public arena, visitors are welcome at our house, or outside if it’s warm enough. You won’t even have to wear a mask or gloves. This will go on for around 90 days. Then we will see how I am doing.

Enough for today. I’m going home this afternoon. I just wanted all of you to know that I am doing really fine, and that I know it is because of all of your support and positive thoughts, images, prayers, hugs, good food, and just plain love. I figure the best way to thank you is to get well and live a long time. I’ll do my best.



15 Comments so far

  1. macdonaldfactor April 10th, 2008 2:01 pm

    Hi Lina,

    It’s Sheryl MacDonald here. I think of you so very often and pester my sister for Lina and family updates constantly. I would like to tell you that you have such a remarkable circle of friends and medical providers that I am confident you will regain your health. You are lucky that your brother and my brother-in-law Mark, is one sturdy guy. I hope you don’t “catch” his allergies, but what a minor trade off for this thing we call life.allergies.

    I haven’t walked in your shoes, but being human, I suspect you don’t want to think about non-Hodgekins Lymphoma all the time, you would like to be just wonderful Lina. That is why I am so grateful to be receiving updates about your kids and Craig and his brilliant, When you feel up to it, it will be an update I will much embrace.

    Love and Peace from all of us in Eugene, Oregon.

    Sheryl, Dave Factor (spouse), Alec (10) and Adam (7).

  2. Betty Carter April 10th, 2008 4:36 pm

    Lina, just read your entry for today (Apr. 10) and do keep on top of all that’s happening by way of Ruth. I was so happy to read that you came through the stem cell transfer so well and my thoughts are with you daily. Can’t get down on my bloody knees but will say prayers for you while on my feet (my very large feet!)—–guess they get heard no matter what position I’m in so will keep ’em coming!
    Betty Boop

  3. Marta Daniels April 10th, 2008 4:52 pm

    “I thank you God for most this amazing day…”

    Dear Lina,

    Reading your post-transplant post to the bees on this beautiful spring day in New England, an ee cummings poem comes immediately to mind–(no no, not the one about “I like my body when it is with your body…”) but another
    one, about spring, and a birthday for new life, called
    “i thank You God for most this amazing day.”

    I think it may convey how positive we all feel in spirit and solidarity with you, as well as give voice to our equally unflagging hope for your future. I know there may be some tough days ahead for you, but let’s mark this unique day and astonishing medical effort we all hope will “grow” a miracle, with a true blessing. In this case, the blessing takes the form of a poem. Slightly abridged, here’s how mr. cummings put it:

    “i thank You God for most this amazing
    day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
    and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
    which is natural which is infinite which is yes

    (…and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
    day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
    great happening illimitably earth)

    how should tasting touching hearing seeing
    breathing any–lifted from the no
    of allnothing–human merely being
    doubt unimaginable You?….”

    Believing in miracles,

    PS: May all those transplanted Mark cells come together with home team Lina right now, and may the team from away win!!!

  4. madeleine adamson April 10th, 2008 5:52 pm

    Thanks for all the updates, especially today’s great turning point. I am moved by your strength and grace. And reminder to make every day matter. with love from Madeleine and John

  5. Anne Bosworth April 10th, 2008 7:11 pm

    Hi Lina,
    We are so glad that today went went well for you and we are thinking of you and wishing you all the best for a quick and safe recovery. Keep it up!……….

    The Bosworth Family

  6. Mary and John April 10th, 2008 7:48 pm

    Your April 10 entry brought us much joy and gratitude. The positive vibe is contagious. We are anxious to hear about your new xy lifestyle. I will call you momentarily at home. xxoo Mary and John

  7. moie April 10th, 2008 8:29 pm

    Hooray, Lina!

    I can’t believe you’re going home already. That is fantastic! One wonderful thing about this site is that i get to hear from so many old friends I haven’t seen in ages, like Madeline and John. What a nice big family you have. Love to everybody at your house and I hope I can get up there to see you all in the not-too-distant future.


  8. Sally White April 11th, 2008 3:07 am

    Go Lina!
    I worried all week as I was finishing up papers about when exactly to send an email to you. And then, of course, I only worried about you. You sound really well. Wishing you the best of journeys home and on with your life. Hooray for you, hooray for Mark, hooray for Chloe and Moriah and Craig.
    All my love,

  9. Antoinette Rode April 11th, 2008 3:24 pm

    Hi Lina

    From across the pond two strangers send you positive vibes, to join the growth surges of spring, for your new cells!

    Karl & Antoinette

  10. Sandy Bechard April 15th, 2008 7:42 am

    Hey Lina,

    I’m so happy to hear that all went well. Stay strong and have faith while the new stem cells figure things out. In the mean time let me know if there is anything I can do. Unfortunatly I am still pretty limited but, I can now put some weight on my leg and I am down to just one crutch. So I have made some progress. I can drive now too. You are always in my prayers and thoughts.

  11. Sebastian and family from Germany April 15th, 2008 3:04 pm

    we just called and could only hear your voice at least from the answering machine. Left a message there, being so pleased to get some good news about the first success of the stem cell transplant so far.
    We would love to bring again fresh coffe and bagels from the scratch bakery in the morning in cape elizabeth as we had done when we last time came from Germany. Being too far away to provide help in the next days, we at least are sending you guardian angels, as they seem to exist and all the best wishes
    Sebastian and family

  12. Stephanie Clifford April 15th, 2008 9:42 pm

    I wanted to ask you about everything tonight, but didn’t get a chance when Meg jumped on the phone. I can’t tell you how often I’ve thought of you during the last few weeks. SO happy to hear everything went well and that you’re home recovering.

  13. Rae Anderson Landesberg April 17th, 2008 11:43 pm

    I haven’t seen you for so long and I’m sorry for that. My remembering is of your wedding at Greenhut, summer solstice gatherings long ago and meeting you and Craig and Chloe at the Farmer’s Market at Deering Oaks. You all are in my thoughts and my heart.  Now I’m farther away than before, in Minnesota, and I thank you for Tell the Bees.

    I miss Maine and the ocean, but from my bedroom window here I can see the Mississippi and the granary where a peregrine falcon is nesting this month – I watch her (her name is Husker) every day on the webcam where she’s keeping her eggs warm in her nest in the granary and wanted to share…peregrines were once almost not here at all not so many years ago and I love that she survived and keeps coming back to Red Wing to give birth to new fledlings.  Perhaps you’d like to watch sometime…somehow her strength and peace and perseverance make me think of you these days as you both give birth to new life…


  14. Christine Gabrielle April 18th, 2008 11:52 am

    Hey Girl!!
    I know that you are snoozing a lot these days…just like those seeds in the earth now getting ready to bloom again 🙂
    I love the site and the spirit you all bring to it. It is truly inspirational.
    Thinking of you tons and sending love & energy your way.
    A big hug to the little mouse,
    Love Christine

  15. Byron Gates Jr August 18th, 2009 11:14 am

    God’s speed dear Lina.

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