One year ago Mom, Dad and I sat down in Dr. Smith’s office and heard the most frightening news any family can hear. The world was suddenly a grim and unfamiliar place and we began to live in a state of constant stress, even as Mom began her fight against CMML.
Today is 66 days past the bone marrow transplant, and once more Mom was in Dr. Smith’s office…but his demeanor was much different than last year. Today, he was very, very happy. The latest bone marrow biopsy shows that my marrow now makes up 75% of Mom’s marrow.
I am so proud of my bone marrow–I thought it had what it takes!
Mom is doing really well. She was released from IPOP and has been home for a week. She still has to go to Hopkins twice a week to be checked. Her white cells are bouncing around in the 2000-3000 something range, her neutrophils are in the NORMAL range! and she hasn’t needed a transfusion of platelets in a week. She is starting to eat well, she is resting, and she is doing what Dr. Smith has charged her with now– getting her strength back. She still needs to be very careful of infection. She has to avoid crowds– but he gave her permission to eat what she wants– that’s huge, right? Especially for someone who existed on Ensure and tomato soup for 2 months. My son is a little nervous around her– he misses her hair and her smile (she has had to wear the mask around him) and he’s asked me when “the old Grammy is coming back”. She’s here! We tell him– but he’s skeptical. I think he’ll see a greater change in the next month or so. And someday, maybe he’ll read these entries and he’ll understand everything he’s been through.
As Dr. Smith put it today, Mom has gotten over the 1st big hurdle. She is cancer free, and she is accepting my marrow. As time goes on she still has to be wary of graft v. host disease, and of infection. But he started a sentence with “In 10 years…” and I have no idea how that ends because my mind is frozen on how much better that sounds than, “would you like to make it to Christmas 2012?”
We have been given such a gift. I can scarcely wrap my mind and heart around it. I am thankful for the brilliant doctors at Hopkins. I am grateful for my Dad’s perfect care of my Mom; for my Mom’s incredible strength of will through the darkest days of this process’; my husband’s unwavering care of me as I navigated the mental and physical challenges of this crazy time. I am sending out my love and thanks to all our friends and family for their amazing support. How many hundreds of prayers have been said for our family?
On this road, we never traveled alone.
I am not sure how to come down off the constant vigilance. I think it will take a while to relax, to stop waiting for the next bad thing– but I think that is normal. In the meantime, it’s an Alfred Tennyson type of night– and maybe in whatever personal journey you are taking, these words will inspire you as they always have me and my Mom:
From “Ulysses”, which first appeared in Morte D’Arthur, and Other Idyls
“Come, my friends,
‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew
Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”