Monday, December 10, 2012

Day 42 - Some New Marrow's Debut

I am making my official return to the blog after a couple months away and out of commission in the hospital feeling pretty crummy.  So glad Hanna very beautifully kept everybody posted on the happenings out here in Seattle.  The last 10 days have seen nothing but great progress as I continue to eat better (thanks mostly to Hanna cooking some amazing meals), exercise more and feel better overall.  It is such a wonderful blessing to be in our own Seattle apartment which we have home-ified and Christmas-ified quite festively.  It makes for a better environment to strengthen and become myself more and more everyday. 

Last week we received the good news that the first biopsy showed good results and was negative for leukemia!  We sighed in relief and have a chance now to put those thoughts/fears aside for a few weeks.  The results of my spinal tap were also negative, a wonderful word to keep hearing.  So basically, our full-time job is to manage my pill regimen (more difficult than it sounds) and continue to get stronger.  The gut GVHD is completely cleared up and we continue to monitor and treat a GVHD rash with steroid cream and prednisone.  I've had a series of skin biopsies to diagnose it, increased the prednisone to treat it, and consulted with GVHD specialists who watch closely to keep the outbreak as mild as possible.  Our team assures us that most patients develop GVHD and we can expect it to wax and wane throughout my recovery.  The prednisone works wonders on the rash but is not without adverse side effects.  The balancing act continues between managing the GVHD and medication side effects, but, all in all, I'm doing really well.    

Hanna and I have been enjoying Seattle as much as possible, despite the pretty constant mist - guess that's the Pacific Northwest for ya.  The market and downtown areas are decorated for Christmas which makes everything significantly more jolly.  The Seattle Cancer Care Alliance continues to impress us with their staff, efficiency, and care for their patients and families.  They had a Christmas party for all of the patients on Saturday with hot chocolate, cookies, Santa, a string quartet performing the classics, and a gift for each patient and caregiver.  It was a really nice event that put smiles on many faces, including our own (see below).

Never too old for a picture with Santa - we spared his lap, though
The highlight of this week is my mom's arrival.  She is flying in on Wednesday and staying with us until Sunday.  We are excited to spend my birthday with her, show her the clinic, see some of Seattle, and just spend some nice down time.  We're really looking forward to some good mom hugs, too. 

The next few weeks will be an Advent season like we have never had before, but something about it feels so appropriate and comforting.  This is a time of waiting and preparing for the birth of Christ.  We did our fair share of waiting and preparing for my own new birth with my new cells.  So this time of anticipation and hope has taken on all new meaning this season.  My next bone marrow biopsy is scheduled for day 56 which happens to fall on Christmas day.  They will probably move it by a day or two but there is something inspiring about sharing our own personal moment of anticipation and hope with the culmination of hope that is Christmas day.  This will be a very special Christmas for Hanna and me, as well as all of our amazing friends and family who have supported us, lifted us, and joined us in such an amazing way.  We are so lucky to have so many who have walked every step along with us.  This Advent and Christmas will be one to cherish, one that will change our forever, and one that is inspiring us to know, without doubt, that

ALL Will be Well

"It is the beautiful task of Advent to awaken in all of us memories of goodness and thus to open doors of hope."


  1. So good to hear from you!! You're in our thoughts and prayers. Matt & Kristen

  2. Love the Santa GREAT to read your words and see those amazing smiling faces :) xoxo

  3. Dan, You look great! And, of course, Hanna is as beautiful as ever. Merry, merry Christmas. Patti Alf

  4. Good stuff, Dan-O! So glad to see you are back to blog-updating status! Have a great time with your mom, that's fantastic that she is coming out! All the best to you both, love the Lavangas of Gilbertsville.

  5. Hoping you get all the things you asked Santa for! Merry Christmas - we'll miss you guys.

  6. Sharing your Seattle mist with us, huh Dan? (i.e., I am getting a little misty over here... ;) )

    Seriously, the Advent parallels are striking and beautiful, as are you two - and SO HAPPY for all the good news!

    The Pattersons on the East Coast love you lots!

  7. Hi guys!!! Ahhh....the mist. Don't carry an umbrella - everyone will know you are from out of town. I made that mistake - buy a good coat with a hood! :)
    I am so happy to hear and see you are feeling better. The bone marrow biopsy on Christmas day - ironic, huh? Your story gives true meaning to Christmas. I miss you guys and I look forward to seeing you both when you return. I hope your mom is enjoying Seattle. It's a great place!
    You both are an inspiration to me!
    Sending lots of love and prayers,

  8. I'm so glad Hanna sent me your blog months ago! I just came upon it again and I am so glad to hear you are doing well. In a time when this world needs it more than ever, you are both a beacon of hope and light. Know my prayers are with you - I'm so glad to have met you (even if it was via FaceTime!) Sending prayers, Rose

  9. Fantastic to read this! I've just got a big silly smile on my face, and I'm picking up the phone to call nurse Dawn right now to make sure that she sees this. :-)))) Merry Christmas and many blessing for the new year!