What'd you get for 54 days on the east coast after earth-shattering news that your cancer has, yet again, relapsed and your plans for a cure must be postponed? You cash in 23 days in the hospital (for Dan), 23 days on the O'Connell's couch (for me), 8 days of chemo, 3 biopsies, and 2 nights in a Georgetown hotel monitoring precarious temperatures fearing infection (Even with no immune system Dan managed to fend off an infection, my hero. We actually enjoyed somewhat of a vacation complete with room service and movies!) When not partaking in the aforementioned activities, we spent countless days and nights with family and friends, lifting our spirits, eating right, laughing, crying, WAITING, and making plans to get back to where we started.
So, here we are, back where we started. Since March and the first relapse, we've been planning for Sunday. We knew Dan needed a transplant, that there would be chemo, biopsies, risks of infection and ultimately, re-location for treatment. We didn't know there would be another relapse with subsequent chemo, biopsies, infections, and a move back in with our parents. However, all of that brought us to today. It brought us to this remission, this final remission, and a chance to hear that word "cure". Dan gained back every pound of the 15 he lost, he looks great, he feels great, and he's more ready than ever to handle the beating he's about to take. We're completely and utterly traumatized by our last experience in Seattle, but are entering this with restored strength and renewed hope.
We're flying out Sunday, the 30th from Harrisburg and land in Seattle just in time for some Sunday evening football (luckily the Eagles are the night game). We'll settle into the temporary housing until our first appointment on Tuesday, October 2nd. We'll get our work-up schedule with various tests, classes, meetings, a biopsy, and spinal tap leading to the tentative transplant date - October 23rd. I think once we have good results of the biopsy out there we'll finally relax a little, knowing that the transplant is officially a go. Until then we'll be holding our breaths in fear that the cancer will come back. As much as we'd like the transplant to be tomorrow, we understand that the process is complex and we are trusting the experts to take care of the timing. All we can take care of is Dan, making sure he goes into the transplant as strong, healthy, and mentally prepared as possible. So that's what I do.
We are on the waiting list for the permanent housing and will send out that address as soon as we have it. We are sure to be lonely and anxious the first several weeks, so we'd love to hear from all of you. We love hearing "normal" things and catching up on the happenings from home, so please send notes our way! For now it's best to send things to Patty Lyons at 527 Fairway Drive, Camp Hill, PA 17011. She'll send our mail to our temporary address so as not to anger the postal service with a 4th address change in 2 months.
Signing off for the last time in PA. Looking forward to writing the next post from Seattle!