Here’s what happened. I didn’t feel great around the 4th of July and shuffled off for an afternoon nap in the upstairs bedroom with the vaulted ceilings and views of the pasture in what we often call “Camp Mama.” Fast forward, late July hot as blazes in our great State and my skin is hot and itchy and sloughs off in shallow sheets of itself. I am puffy and there is some pain.

In the weeks that followed, I ended up in the ER and then in the hospital on three separate occasions. I saw a lot of friendly and familiar faces. I spent the night in Intensive Care which was different from the bone marrow zone. In ICU, the nurse has two rooms he/she is responsible for and their desk sits just behind a row of windows looking into the two rooms where we patients lay on a bed. There is no bathroom, a commode is brought around when you need to go.

After spending one night in Intensive Care I moved up to the bone marrow floor. I was recognized by many friendly faces some of whose names I remembered. Some not. Everyone was calm and efficient. One day my veins were not cooperating and after six “pokes” I was still not connected to the bag of goods waiting to fill my tank. I think I may have cried as we waited for another IV nurse (people who specialize in IV installation). She swept into the room with a shock of deep silver hair crowning her vivid eyes nodded down to me and said “I remember you.” And I remembered her. You could tell from the way she nestled the needle right into place without me feeling a single thing that she knows what she’s doing. When someone with a full well of experience comes into a room crowded by one patient and several caregivers and makes it all better, it shows that she knows, she knows what she’s doing. As the door closes after her, the Nurse Kelly with a whisper y throat and a raised head nods as she says “She’s (huff and puff) been here for like thirty years!” Next time I’m up on the hill in need of an IV, I know who to mention.

That said, it looks like they have found a good donor who is almost (but not quite) a perfect match. She is mismatched by one “DQ” which is the same mismatch I had with my first donor. The new donor is 22. Younger is not imperative but it is helpful. A 22 year old immune system, I’ll take it! There’s a chance I will be able to have the transplant outpatient (which means going home every night) but if I do have to stay on the 16th floor it has been remodeled these last few years and the food is sooooo much better and I know more than before what to expect. Glass half full.

While in the hospital for fevers they put me through a CT scan which is where you remove your bra unless it’s wireless and lay on the table and they pass you through a hole in a big machine and the woman in the machine says “Hold your breath” as you slide under and then when it is done she says “now breathe.” Here is a paragraph from the report none of which I really understand.

“Findings:
Right lower lobe resection line is noted. Tiny parenchymal nodularity is noted again within the right upper lobe, right middle lobe and right lower lobe which is not significantly changed since the prior study. Subsegmental atelectasis persists in the left lung base as well the right lung base. The lungs are otherwise clear. There has been overall decrease in size of axillary, mediastinal and cervical adenopathy.”

The spell check is telling me several of those words are spelled wrong, what does it know. When Dr. Meyers gave me the news she had a smile on her face so, I’m going with that. The plan is, to keep doing the treatment I’ve been doing to help lower the number of CLL cells in my body. Two more sessions will see us through October. In November Mom and I are going to spend some time in Paris. She gave me this trip as a Christmas present back when we weren’t thinking about transplants. The Doctor says we can go so we’re going. And then, if it all lines up, I’ll have a new immune system installed early in 2011.

More than one person has looked at this as good news! Mom is hoping we go to Paris, have some wine, walk by the river, listen to the French speaking people and that when we get home the Leukemia will be gone. If not, we’re as ready as we’ll ever be and looking forward to surviving.

If, in reading this, you feel too sad or bummed out please, stop reading! I am not trying to dwell on the dour matters and sometimes I don’t want to include the facts of the situation in case it will overwhelm someone. Then I say “Good God” and go on jotting down all these this’s and that’s.

Written 8/31/2010

Amelia After All Photos 053

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