I realize I have left you hanging for a very long time. Several people during Christmas time, both at our church and relatives churches, stopped to ask how I was doing and mentioned they knew I hadn't posted any updates for a while. What I didn't expect was for them to remember the exact date I last posted! That, my friends, is accountability and pure love! I even had to read my previous entry to remind myself what I last shared with you. And now here we are, and I have so much to catch you up on!
First, I want to thank the Lord again that I was able to be home with my family for Christmas. I soaked in every minute of it, and loved everything about it. I already love Christmas so much...I get excited about the lights, and the music, and the church plays, and just the celebration of a precious baby that came into the world for ME and YOU! Love it, love it, love it. I loved shopping for the kids...and trying to keep them hidden. Our walk-in closet maybe was breaking some law. Anyway, I am just so thankful to have been here with my family. I also have celebrated another birhtday since I last wrote. Can you believe I'm already 28? I just can't either. (For those who don't know...I'm kidding! I am a young and maybe not always so spry thirty three year old. :)
Do you remember when I last wrote, I told you about my mother's encouraging words of wisdom? She reminded me that God was working out each step of this process. Although I didn't know all of the steps at one time, He would guide me as I needed to go. Well, thus begins the meat of the update today...
Over the last few weeks, I began to long to be able to stay here in Indianapolis for my bone marrow transplant. I couldn't believe I was feeling this way. At one point, Doug and I thought that much of the decision was final. If New York had the "upper hand" in treatment for me, then that is where I would go. I prayed for God to bring us a peace about the decision. I prayed for the strength I would need in being that far away from Caleb, Lauren, and Audrey for so long. I was missing them so much even before I was gone. The thought was beginning to leave an unbelievably empty feeling in my stomach and heart. Little did I know that this was the Lord preparing me. I knew the transplant doctor in New York was reviewing my records, including the results of the most recent PET scan. She presented my case to the transplant team, and soon after I received a call from her.
Perhaps if I was placing my hope in the doctor rather than my Lord, I would have been a bit stunned with her news. Perhaps if my heart hadn't already begun longing and pleading with the Lord to stay here with my family rather than go to New York....I may have been more shaken. But dear friends....God has a way of preparing us for what lies ahead. We do not see it most of the time, and even if we did we wouldn't understand things along they way anyway. He created me....He knows me like no one else....He knew the order of events to take place and where I would be having my transplant long before I did! Wow...I'm glad He's in charge, and I'm not. I have a feeeling I would just mess things up!
So, the transplant doctor was very kind and informed me that they did not feel it would benefit me to come to New York. Perhaps a month before this particular day I would have responded in my mind with a "WHAT?!" On this day, however, I responded in my mind and heart with a "WHOOHOOO!" As the conversation continued and she explained they did not have a suitable protocol nor felt proceeding with a transplant there would be any more beneficial to me than being here in Indy....peace flooded my heart. I had prayed for us to know for certain where I should go, and our answer had come. I did not take this news as another rug pulled out from under me, but rather a huge cozy blanket of clarity put around me. Thank you, Jesus.
After waiting a few weeks for my counts to recover, Doug and I had an appointment with my Indy doctor last Monday. We both left the appointment feeling good and peaceful about everything. I also began some of my work-up testing that day, such as lots and lots of lab work, an EKG and a chest x-ray. I returned Wednesday for an ECHO and pulminary function test. The purpose of all of these tests is to determine that my body is strong enough to endure the transplant and everything that goes with it. I have an allogenic (donor) BMT class tomorrow, and then radiation simulation on Friday. I fear the days are passing too quickly. The planned day of admission is one week from today, Monday, the 18th. I know the first week is very high dose chemo and radiation. I don't have the calendar right in front of me, but I will definitely let you know the actual date of the cord blood transplant. The process itself will be relatively quick. What will take an unknown number of days and weeks is the engraftment process. They are literally trying to replace my immune system with a new one. It is a waiting game to see how quickly these new stem cells will find their place and thrive. So, it could be as few as four weeks, or it could be more.
I want to share some specific ways that you can be praying. First, I'm scared and nervous. Please pray for the Lord to give me more peace than ever before....and strength. Pray for my husband. When he is not working or visiting me, he will be the parent they rely on for all of their mommy and daddy needs. He will be carrying so much on his shoulders. He needs God's strength to pour over him every day. Pray for my cousin Kristen who will be caring for them. This is a huge responsibility for her...pray for strength, patience, and peace for all of us. Of course, pray for my little loves, Caleb (6), Lauren (4), and Audrey (2). Their little lives will no doubt be impacted by this whole process, and not having their mommy at home for so long. PLEASE pray that their lives would be full of so much joy and happiness in spite of what is going on with me right now. Also, I will be learning tomorrow in the allogenic BMT class, if children are able to visit. I am so scared to ask that question, because I may get an answer I cannot swallow. The reason I am uncertain, is because of so many restrictions during the flu season. Pray, pray, pray that they will be allowed to visit.
Prayer requests as far as the physical aspect of the tranplant....pray the chemo and radiation work as effectively as possible. Pray that the stem cells will engraft as quickly as possible. Pray that the yucky side effects such as mouth sores will be kept away once again during the transplant time. This miracle of no mouth sores happened once, and I know it can happen again! Please pray protection from any other infections that could incur during my time there that would slow down the process of healing. I just want the Lord's presence to penetrate that hospital room from the moment I walk into that room to the moment I walk out. If I have ever needed prayer warriors my sweet friends, it is now!
I do hope to be on the computer for updates as much as possible while I'm in the hospital. If I am not feeling up to it, I am sure one of my sisters will keep you posted on everything. I am so thankful to know I have all of you praying for me. I need you right now, and I need my Jesus! This is a scary time, yet I really believe He is going to work in my life like never before....He already is at work. I just pray that His love will shine through me every day....both the really dark ones and the bright!
I love you,