Friday, September 28, 2012

Back Where We Started

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! 


  1. Hope you guys feel the love and support sending you on your way to success!

  2. Hello Danny,
    I don't know if you remember me. I'm your Aunt Ann's old friend from way back in high school. I can picture you as a little boy! She has been in your corner all through the journey. I have been praying for a perfect outcome, of course, a successful transplant. Feel the hope and support coming your way! You have a lovely family. Thanks for the post.

  3. Can't wait to see you guys tonight for a pizza party send off!

  4. Hanna, Florence Nightingale, was a pioneer and was and is still revered as a top caring individual for many many ill people, you are the Florence Nightingale in Dan's life, when not in Dr's care or hospital you are the one who has taken the charge of keeping him strong, both spiritually and mentally . I am very hopeful and very positive that this journey back to Seattle will prove to be wrtten as the chapter where the healing is complete and the improved life of Dan and Hanna begins.
    God Bless you both,
    Love you
    Uncle Pat

  5. Hi again, still that girl from college who was often in the same room with you on a bi- or tri-weekly basis but never got to know you that well and whom you may not be able to pick out of a crowd. I feel privileged to follow your progress despite that fact, and I hope you feel supported in some small way rather than intruded upon. I will be sharing this post with my dear young friend Allison, who is in remission from non-Hodgkins lymphoma. She is a prayer-warrior in her own right, so I pass along your news to her. Please remember her, though you don't know her. Her blog is at for you or anyone reading this who may be interested. Coincidentally, Mark 7:37, "He has done all things well" has been a favorite, familiar passage of mine, surely evoking Isaiah 3:10-15, "All will be well for those who are godly," and more dramatically echoed in God's words spoken to Julian of Norwich, "All will be well, and all will be well and all manner of thing will be well." Good name. All will be well. Sounds like things are falling into place, however slowly. We entreat Our Lady of Lourdes to keep the cancer away while you await your transplant. Did you know you can quite literally email Our Lady of Lourdes? Petitions are placed at the grotto. Handwritten letters are placed there and subsequently burned after 24 hours - the power of this prayer has to do with the dependence on all the acts of faith involved - the petitioner and those who care for the intentions. I'm not sure if the discs with emails are rewritten or wiped clean and thrown away or buried as the graphic depicted when you click on "Where are the petitions going?" doesn't give that information! Anyway, it's cool and effective. It helped me with a chronic illness tremendously. I think I'm rambling now. God bless you infinitely!