Good morning from our new, temporary home. It's Friday afternoon on the east coast and our family and friends back home are probably gearing up for a beautiful fall weekend. We are also looking forward to a break from appointments and a free weekend to sight-see and take advantage of the rain drought in the Pacific Northwest. Dan and I have yet to feel a drop in this "rainy" city and are beginning to believe its dreary weather reputation is nothing more than a ruse!
We have been here almost two weeks and we apologize for the lack of posts. Our first week here was a rush of appointments, intimidating doctor consults, and deja vu as we followed the exact same schedule as our July visit. They really have the system down to a science - we are back on the yellow team with the same set of nurses, social worker, nutritionist, etc. as our first visit. The doctors rotate each month and aren't associated with a team color, but the other team members remain with you for the duration of your stay. Dan had a million tests/procedures to make sure he's fit enough to handle the transplant, including a lung function test, a heart test, a dental appointment, spinal tap, various blood tests and even a psychological exam. The most nerve-racking and important test in our first week was the final bone marrow biopsy to confirm remission. Our doctor let us know in less than 24 hours that results were good, making Dan officially a transplant patient. We felt a weight lifted from our shoulders because we had made it past the block that was consuming our thoughts since the August relapse. Until hearing those words, we didn't know if we'd ever have the chance at a transplant, and we know that so many people don't. Needless to say, we were more than relieved and overjoyed to be given the opportunity. Our deja vu is over as we enter uncharted territory.
My grad school roommate and dear friend, Lisa and her husband Ryan visited us this week. They are a huge blessing and great company, support, fun, and provided a nice distraction while we wait and wait (and wait) for the transplant. Some of the highlights included sight-seeing at Alki beach, a ferry ride, and a second wedding anniversary dinner celebration for a beautiful couple. Lisa and Ryan rented a car and were able to help us move from the temporary housing to our permanent apartment when we got the call on Monday. We can't help but think this is God's way of walking at our side. The timing could not have been more perfect, and we are blessed to have such wonderful people to call friends. Thanks, Larsons!
The tentative transplant date is October 29th with chemo and radiation (conditioning) beginning sometime around the 23rd. It is undecided if Dan will be admitted for the conditioning or not. He will definitely begin his hospital stay for the transplant and is expected to be there for 3-4 weeks. After that, he'll have almost daily visits to the clinic for the next 70 days or so. More info on that to come. The transplant, of course, brings with it a new set of fears and the risks are overwhelming. We know we are in the best hands with experts who can give Dan a cure.
We took some classes this week to educate us about what to expect, how to keep things clean for severely immuno-suppressed patients, how and what to offer patients with a variety of nutritional needs, and how to emotionally support a post-transplant person. While we are scared and anxious, we felt comforted and strengthened by the room full of people that are in our shoes. It's easy to feel like you're the only one sometimes and that you're alone in your struggles. When I looked around at the different people from all over the country, going through exactly what I'm going through, I realized that I'm not alone. We aren't alone. There were spouses, siblings, and parents with their children learning how to take care of their "patient" - they're loved one. Everyone in that room so desperately wants what I want, a cure for their Dan. I feel up to the challenge and will do whatever I can to help my patient get through this.
Keep the love coming to our new address:
525 Minor Avenue North, Apt. 101
Seattle, Washington 98109