Tuesday, March 29, 2011

We can rebuild him...

Greetings and salutations from (finally!) sunny California! I have some more good news to share with you. We have some dates set for some big events coming soon. First, Sarah, the kids and I will be flying back to southwest Michigan on the 8th of April and will be staying until the 17th. Certainly not as long as we'd like but maybe longer than some are willing to put up with us... (that was a joke, yer stuck with me for a VERY long time!) The weekend of the 9-10th we'll be busy with a family thang but I am thinking of hosting some sort of a gathering on the 16th so EVERYONE that wants to can stop by for a visit. This will make it easier for us as we won't have to try to fit time with everyone into a short schedule and no one will get left out that wants to stop by and say hi. I am still working on the details but stay tuned and I'll keep you updated. If you have any suggestions as to where I might hold such a gathering please email me and I'll add it to the list and look into it. Anybody working at American Axle that can get me a good price on the Union Hall, or perhaps the Eagles or A place In Time downtown? Tak to me folks and lets make this happen! I want to see you ALL, family, friends both long standing and new, SCA folks... ALL of ya! Can anyone get us a hog and roast it? I'm honestly open to just about anything (not TOO extravagant or expensive) so throw your ideas out there and let me chew on them.

Now onto the nitty-gritty stuff. We have been in contact with the Seattle folks and the date is set for April 27th to begin final testing and the preparatory regimen for the BMT (Bone Marrow Transplant). This will give us a week after we get back home to finalize our plans and get our house in order for others to take over the day-to-day operations of TrayCorp. Sarah's Mom will be staying with the kids at the house and her Dad will be relieving her as needed (we'll work that schedule out a bit later) and we have a new foster home for Seargent Ichabod Pepper (the cat) and even people to check in on the dogs and take them out of the house to get some exercise and give Grammy a break. Sarah and I cannot fully express in words how much all this support means to us, there just aren't words to do our gratitude justice... We're not suite sure how things will work in Seattle as far as logistics with the apartment (laundry, grocery shopping etc.) but the people we are dealing with there are consummate professionals and as I'm fond of saying: “This ain't their first rodeo.” This is what they do for a living and as I have been told on numerous occasions, this is THE best place in the WORLD to have the BMT. I trust that they will guide us through every step of the process and I trust that the folks we have taking care of things here are top notch too. We have been truly blessed to have you all in our lives and we are SUPREMELY grateful for all that you have done and will continue to do for us.

The astute among you may have noticed that I did not mention Ireland... well that's because it's simply not happening, at least not now! I WILL go there, someday but as God has shown me there are simply more important things to tend to right now. This was hard for me to take as it has been a lifelong dream but once I was able to really think about it I realized that it's not a dream lost, just a dream on hold until I am in better health. Who knows, maybe I'll HIKE Ireland... the whole damn island!!! (it's mine ya know!!!) -wink-

I've been giving something else an awful lot of thought lately too, the life giving generosity of my donor. I can stop wondering who it is... is it a man, woman, American or perhaps from another country? Will they want to communicate with me or even agree to meet with me after? I guess I always had it in my head that I would be able to at least say thank you... but I wonder. Perhaps they are very reserved and don't want that. How do you think you'd feel if you were the donor or even the recipient? I'd love to hear your thoughts... Leave a comment or email me.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The day the Earth shook, and then stopped

On Friday last the island of Japan experienced a devastating earthquake, and the earth shook violently. Many people lost their lives, catastrophic damage was done and it’s far from over for those people. My heart goes out to them… But for me, Friday meant something else entirely. It was perhaps THE single most spectacularly awesome day OF MY LIFE! And here’s why… (I strongly encourage you to grab a box of tissue and make SURE you’re sitting down, I’ll wait…)

As I was about to pull out of the drive on my way to see Leo, my infusion nurse, I received a phone call from Dr. Kao. She needed to talk to me and I told her that conveniently I would be there in about an hour. Shortly after I arrived and the infusion of pamidronate (a medication for my bones to counter the osteoporosis) she came in with her nurse. They stood on either side of me and Dr. Kao started to make some small talk but it felt somehow awkward, I would soon find out why. Next she told me that she had some news, they found a match… “WHAT?!” She repeated, “They found a match…” And then it happened, the world stopped turning and I’m quite rather certain that somehow ALL the oxygen was sucked out of the room because I couldn’t breathe. I literally burst into tears. All this waiting, thinking that as time went on the chances were less and less that a suitable donor would be found and then BAM! Seemingly out of the clear blue sky like a bolt of lightning there it was… a match…

Now many of you may recall that I had decided to put the transplant on the proverbial “back burner” until it was absolutely necessary and that’s true. The risks involved are staggering. Imagine sitting at a poker table with the Grim Reaper and your hand looks good but he has led you to believe that he has an unbeatable hand. Your ONLY option is to go all in, it’s all or nothing… It’s kinda like that. I win, I get a new lease on life. He wins, game over… Plain and simple. SO I needed to give her my answer by Tuesday and let me tell you, that was the loooooongest weekend EVER! And neither Sarah nor myself got much sleep. But in all honesty I guess I made up my mind pretty early on. I decided that if God was generous enough to gift me the gift of life not once but TWICE, what fool WOULDN’T take it?!?

I know that some of you who are very close to me have known since Friday that a match had been found. I apologize to the rest of you for taking so long to write but as you might imagine, I have had a lot to deal with over the weekend. Besides, better late then never, right? So where do we go from here? Well, I have to have some blood tests drawn in Livermore and perhaps some other tests in Palo Alto. They have to contact the donor and confirm that they want to proceed with their donation and if all goes well sometime in mid-May Sarah and I will be driving to Seattle to begin the prep work, final testing and chemo/radiation with the transplant to take place in early June. We are still going to Ireland for our twentieth anniversary and will make a trip back home (for me) to Michigan sometime in mid to late April. That’s what I know as of right now… and as usual I’ll keep you apprised of any new developments. The posts will more than likely come more frequently as things develop.

I cannot begin to thank you all enough for all your prayers and positive/healing energy but PLEASE, don’t stop now. In the weeks and months to come I’m going to need you all more than ever. This is by NO stretch of the imagination going to be fun or easy and I can’t begin to tell you how scared I am…

I love you all very dearly and I miss some of you an awful lot. Hopefully I’ll see you soon. Until then, be excellent to one another and keep praying…

Love, Tracy.