|My sister Jill with husband Mark, Michigan's Upper Peninsula, summer 2011|
Evenin', everyone.....there is a lot to report and a lot of answered prayer to be thankful for today. I'll get to that, but first, I did make two trips to the airport on Saturday, one to drop Renee off for her week of home leave, and one to pick up my sister Jill, who is acting caregiver which made it possible for Renee to have the week off. Jill loves to cook, and she is deep into the role of servant this week (actually it's probably easier here for her than at home, where she has 4 sons and a husband to cook for).
So Jill and I are having a great time, and Renee is also having a super time at home, having been reunited with Shiloh, Lorna, and Brodie, plus Kenyon and Rachel (she'll be home this coming weekend), and of course her family and friends. I'm a little jealous!
Jill is having a birthday tomorrow and we're going to drive out to Galveston to celebrate - hoping to have a seafood dinner somewhere near the gulf.
On the medical front, you may remember that I was discharged from the hospital last Monday, so it has been 9 days now without fever, which is really good. I did have one brief low grade fever of 100.2 but that is below the threshold for calling the doc or going to the hospital. Thankfully, it dissipated quickly and didn't come back. More importantly, the lymphoma portion of my 30 day re-staging was completed and Dr. Hosing declared me to be in a complete remission(!) Wow - really GREAT news. I still have a small (1.6 cm by 2.3 cm) - and getting smaller - remnant of the tumor I had, but just as was the case prior to the transplant, it is not active, so it's considered in remission. The last step in the restaging process is a bone marrow biopsy, which I had today - the result of that test will tell us if there is any remaining leukemia in my marrow, and if so, how much. I've been told that it often takes 100 days for all the leukemia to be eradicated, so a zero cancer result is not terribly likely for this test. I'll report when I have results.
Secondly, a blood test that looks at stem cell DNA showed that I am 100% engrafted, meaning all my productive stem cells are the ones that Laure donated - my "old" stem cells have exited stage left. This indicates a highly successful transplant and a fast transition to the donor cells. This is an explicit answer to many prayers, including the night of our prayer meeting back home (Nov. 27th), where we prayed that the Lord would grant us a perfect transition from my cells to Laure's. How awesome is our God!!
Continuing with the good news, my counts have been increasing all week - my white count is at a post-transplant high of 6200; my platelets are also at a post transplant high of 115,000, and my hemoglobin is at 11.4, again, a post-transplant high. Additionally, I have felt better and stronger the last 2 days that I have at any time since before the transplant.
Finally, I asked Dr. Hosing when I might be going home, assuming that I maintain my current course and speed (i.e., no fevers, no GVHD), and she said she is prepared to release me at the 60 day mark, subject to those stipulations. That's in less than 20 days!! I don't want to get my hopes up, but that is something to pray for.
One of my new friends from the Presbyterian Church here (she's the chaplain to the Texas Medical Center) has asked me to visit a young man (17 yrs old) at MD Anderson who has lung cancer and just had a large portion of his lung removed. I would really appreciate your prayers on this. I am very anxious about it, but I know that one of the purposes of suffering is to prepare a person to minister to others who suffer. I pray that I can somehow serve this young man and in so doing, bring honor and glory to my Father in Heaven.
Well, that's a lot of news, a lot of good news, and a lot of answered prayers - I cannot thank you enough for praying for us and caring for us through this ordeal. I simply could not have asked for more than the blessings that have been granted. No one knows what twists and turns the road ahead will reveal, so we just ask for our daily bread and trust in Him, while being grateful for all the grace and a mercy He has shown. With love - Dan, Renee, and Jill