Friday, January 25, 2013

Day 87 - Cancer-Free

When we envisioned days 80+ in Seattle, we didn't anticipate a few trips to the hospital, a lingering fever soaring over 103 degrees, or a week on the couch sleeping all day. Our trip with Evan started out as planned with Mcdonald's Mcrib eating, some Netflix watching, and Seattle touring. It all came to a halting stop when I woke up with some chills and a pretty high fever. All three of us gathered ourselves at 2am and headed to the hospital where we checked back in to 8NE at the U Dub. They took some blood cultures to look for a source of an infection, gave me a dose of antibiotics and sent us home to monitor my fever for the rest of the day. We got a few hours of sleep hoping the fever would resolve, but, it spiked again the next afternoon so I got myself a hospital admission so the docs could more closely follow my symptoms. To my dismay, I'd joined the ranks of the more than 60% of post-transplant patients who end up admitted to the hospital. After three days watching the game show network and daytime court tv, the fever resolved and they sent me home, never having discovered a cause for the fever (which is also very common). Fortunately, my discharge was just in time to have one more really good day with Evan before he headed back east. It ended up being a pretty great time for him to visit because I knew Hanna was in the hands of her big bro instead of hours at my bedside while I sleep and home alone in an empty apartment.

The next big milestone was the the routine day 80 biopsy. This was particularly significant because we knew a "negative" result for leukemia was our ticket back home to Dr. Broome's care at Georgetown and an end to this Seattle chapter of our story. More than anything, it would mean that the cancer was still 'away' and we could take some more baby steps back to normalcy. I had the biopsy in the morning and was immediately transferred to the triage room for further evaluation with another temperature spike. At that point, we were so over the back and forth with a fever that could not be explained. We finally got home and began an agonizing 24 hours of suspense trying to be normal and waiting for the results while monitoring my temperature for another spike. We went through the motions of eating dinner, swallowing pills, taking my temperature, and watching The Newsroom and possibly Teen Mom 2 (I'm going to claim that the fever blinded my judgement on that one).

Wednesday morning, Day 85, we got the call that the biopsy was clear of leukemia and I was cancer-free!!!! Hanna and I immediately started crying, hugging, and dancing....and I may have told the doctor I loved him. This was the news we knew lead to two tickets home in a couple weeks. This was the news that means the new cells are taking over and doing their cellular thing (that's technical medical jargon there, sorry for being so scientific). Once the dancing stopped, we spent the rest of the day smiling at each other and thinking beyond Seattle for the first time. We know that this is nowhere near the end of this journey. There will still be several years of frequent doctor visits and more scary bone marrow biopsies. But, it does mark the end of the Seattle chapter which has been equal parts exhausting, wonderful, scary, and hopeful. We close this chapter with stronger love, deeper faith, and a brand new outlook on life.

I know I have said it a million times but I just know that this would not have been so successful without the love of my life by my side through it all. Hanna has been the loving wife, selfless caregiver, and friend by my side to laugh, cry, or just hold. This week, more than any, I needed her and she was there every second. I am so blessed to walk this journey with Hanna and to know that we will continue to walk our journey for many, many years to come. We have been reflecting and talking about all the memories, good and bad, that we have made here in Seattle. We have also been talking about the people and things that we are so excited to see when we get back to the east coast. We haven't seen our Alexandria apartment in over six months and miss the comforts of our real home. We are truly counting down the days and can't wait to make this transition. Thanks to all for the constant and continued love, support, and help us to know, without doubt, that....

ALL Will Be Well

"Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't Lose"

"In the Evening of Life, We Will Be Judged on Love Alone"

Toasting to cancer-free!


  1. Happy tears here. Love you guys.

  2. Hey Dan! I have only met you for a few days in Spain many years ago, but following your blog (through Colin) makes me feel like we've been friends for a long time. I cannot say in words how I feel when reading your lines. I'm so happy to hear that things are well and without knowing your wife, I have to say that she is an amazing person.
    I'll have a toast on you two here in good old Austria! May the rest of your life stay cancer-free!

    1. Congratulations once again, couple!!!

      It has been so frustrating, amazing and exciting to follow all your steps towards this happy end... that the only thing I can say is that you deserve it!!! ¡¡¡Bravo!!!

      Take care all of you... things have changed a bit since we all met in Pamplona... :D But we can meet again ;)

      Have a nice day!!!

  3. Such amazing news!! I'm so happy for and in awe of you both

  4. Go cells - do your cellular thing!!! :)


    Praise the Lord -

    ALL is well

  5. I too and so happy for you both as a friend of your Mom and Dad's...I'm sure your Dad is smiling down from heaven and his Irish eyes are twinkling!

  6. Oh the tears of Joy from the Wallace household.

  7. WONDERFUL NEWS! I think of you two often! Lots of love from North Carolina!

  8. Laughed till we cried... never doubted it but still, so glad. Lots of love.