Thursday, September 13, 2012

Strength Restored, Hope Renewed

We're teaming up on this post from our usual spot on 2 Bles at Georgetown with some chemo and fluids dripping from my pump.  A lot has been going on since our last entry, but finally we can share that ALL is well and there is good news all around.  My last visit in the hospital was cut short after the doctors confirmed I didn't actually have an infection, so I went home just in time for my brother-in-law, Tyson's wedding to his beautiful bride, Christy.  The whole fever thing was a result of chemo and neutropenia (the low white blood cell count and compromised immune system) and my body working extra hard to get back to normal.

We've been doing a lot of waiting these days - for results, for phone calls, for plans.  Last time we wrote, there were two biopsies and a whole lot of anxiety between us and a phone call to Seattle docs to get back on the transplant schedule.  The first remission results came from a teary-eyed doctor Broome to us, our moms, nurse-turned-friend, Dawn and friend-turned-doctor, Jimmy. There wasn't a dry eye in the room as we shared hugs to celebrate.  I can't even describe the relief and sense of hope that resulted. We suddenly had appetites and enjoyed a dinner together on campus.  Coincidentally (I believe), my fever broke and I was discharged the next day.  I tried to convince Dr. Broome and Jimmy it was a stress-induced fever, but they politely disagreed.   We came back to DC on Tuesday for a follow-up biopsy to see how my marrow was producing cells and make sure it learned a thing or two from the most recent chemo sesh.  Everything continued to look great so we got in touch with Fred Hutch in Seattle to get the ball rolling once again.  They contacted my donor and set up a tentative schedule, which will include some more tests, another biopsy, spinal tap and radiation.  More information TBD, so stay tuned!  The tentative transplant date is October 18th and we couldn't be more excited.

The highlight of going home earlier than expected was going to Tyson and Christy's wedding. It was amazing and inspiring to spend the day with family and friends and to celebrate a beautiful sacrament.  It meant so much to be there and had as much positive effect as any bag of chemo.  I thank Tyson and Christy for pulling some last minute strings to get me to the reception.  Our parents have been so accommodating letting us stay in their homes during this transition.  I hit the golf course with my father-in-law Bob, even convincing him to ride in a cart (amazing what the cancer card can get you).  We had a great time, though I am pretty sure I doubled his score.  I gained some weight back, likely thanks to my mother-in-law Wanda's exquisite shrimp scampi and other restaurant quality entrees, as well as an outing to Friendly's with my mom, Patty and her continuous smorgasbord of snacks.  We have also been spending lots of quality time with our siblings and niece and nephews.

Looking back it almost seems like our 'setback' has been a blessing because it provided us with all of these memories and rejuvenating times with our families.  I wouldn't trade being at Tyson's wedding, holding the youngins in our family, being the first 'non-parent' to meet Faith Mariel O'Connell, watching Hanna's friendship grow with the hospitable O'Connell clan, and feeling the constant love, support, and prayers from far and wide.  It inspires us and strengthens us.

I am finishing up some "chemo lite" that ends tomorrow and should hold me over until the transplant in October.  We'll spend the next few weeks getting my strength up and making plans to re-locate once again.  We're on the waiting list for housing and are expecting phone calls and schedules from our transplant team at the Hutch.  The thought of moving again is overwhelming, but we're so ready for this change and, ultimately, a cure.  We are looking forward to taking big steps, always knowing that ...

ALL Will Be Well

"Faith and hope lead us to love and in the end all will be love"
--Julian of Norwich


  1. This post made my day :-)

    Nicki (Dawn's sis)

    1. Thanks Nicki! Dawn is amazing and such a huge part of us staying positive and hopeful. From what she says, her entire family is the same way! Thanks for reading the blog and sending love and support our really means so much! And if we need to enlist your potty mouth, we'll know where to find you :)

  2. this is awesome news! Rhea from Fairway Dr.

  3. Hooray for you Dan and Hanna! We miss Hanna so much at Island Creek but know she is just where she needs to be--being right there to celebrate these great moments. Thanks for the fabulous news!
    Patti from preschool

  4. Had to share all this with the group at Church last Sunday. Keep the faith always. Amazing how the "setback" brought happiness to so many. Your presence at the wedding was a blessing. Thanks for sharing you life and love and struggles.

  5. This is wonderful news!! Good news sure does travel fast among the 2 Bles nurses! Elise and I are both down in NC now, attending grad school at UNC, but be assured that we are always keeping up with your blog and hoping for all the best for you! Sending many prayers and thoughts your way, and much love to you and Hanna!