Thursday, April 24, 2008

Day 1

I have had this window up for an hour, waiting to want to write, but I think this whole process overwhelms me enough that finding words, particularly condensed words, seems like an unbearable process. And, honestly, more of a plain dull process than a painful & emotionally wrenching one. Perhaps that I've talked it into dullness, more likely that living it is so intense that writing it again seems to be decided overkill. I hope I change my mind because I know I'll regret not having my own record, but for now....oh man was I excited to check my e-mail and see that my champion of a mother, Donna, just wrote a sweet e-mail to my extended family that can cover yesterday in the interim. And this photo: Marian sleeping through the oh-so-understated-drama. You can see the stem cell bag, sideways, between the clear IV bag on the right and the brown-covered-against-light-damaged cyclosporin on the left.

Dear Family,

Yesterday was transplant day and I know many of you are anxious for a report. Things went very well. Audrey went in at 1:00 pm for the bone marrow harvest. They gave her general anesthetic and went in with big tough needles into her hip bones to extract the marrow. They got about 250 ml of great marrow. The doctor said that it was especially rich and that Audrey's bones were especially tough. Sweet Audrey was so brave. She did great. Today she is still a little pale and her hips hurt, but she is not complaining. Because the girls have different blood types, (everything else was a perfect match) they had to "wash" the red blood cells out, leaving about 70 ml of bone marrow. They brought it in a little bag to Marian's room and hooked it up to the IV at about 10:00 pm. It was cool to watch that precious pink liquid drip into Marian's veins with the promise of so much goodness. Marian slept through the procedure. They give them tylenol and benedryl as preventitives and those just relaxed her into slumber. It only took about 45 minutes to drip in, and even though it didn't seem like a big "to do" it was quite thrilling to watch. The whole thing was tolerated very well. Today, Marian was feeling a little tired, but mostly great. The doctors said it takes about 2 weeks for the bone marrow to graft in and start producing. This is a crucial time to keep Marian from infection as her blood cell counts are way down to accept the bone marrow, so they aren't able to fight infection as well. They told us that Marian would probably experience some ups and downs with how she felt and as she waits for the new bone marrow to start producing. I guess side effects are varied and different for each child. Marian has the benefit of having a perfect match sibling donor and also of having realitively healthy marrow to begin with. Some things that can occur are loss of hair and mouth sores and digestive problems, but they have things to help. I was very impressed with all the hospital staff-- doctors, nurses, physical therapists, teacher, recess lady, cleaning people, everyone was so thorough and dedicated to doing everything right. Valerie and Nathan are champions. They are so patient and good with their girls. So, we are thrilled that transplant day went so well and are praying for everything to go just right with these next few weeks. Thanks for your prayers and concern. We felt the support and love and it really helps. Love, Mom/Donna

Hope she doesn't mind. I want to add this detail: the processed marrow looked just like raspberry lemonade.


kathi d said...

God is surely watching over your sweet and brave family! So happy that the first reports are good. We are thinking about you every day, but certainly understand how after living it 24 hours a day you can't get in the mood to write it all out. Just a quick "hi" is plenty for me. Thank you, and thank you Mom/Grandma!

sallyavena said...

I couldn't sleep so decided to check for an update. I'm so glad everything is going smoothly so far. Sweet prayers are being said on behalf of the girls in our house. I hope Audrey recovers well and Marian's body takes to the new marrow. You guys are really troopers and wonderful examples. Hang in there!

Snippety Gibbet said...

Bless your Mother's heart for writing all that. I know that you must be drained, Valerie. I'm glad to hear that things are progressing the way they should be.

nyjlm said...

We are thinking of all of you and sending you love.

Courtney said...

I'm so glad that everything is going well.

What do you call a scared dinosaur?

A nervous Rex!

Misplaced Country Girl said...

Sending you prayers. She looks like a little angel.

natasha said...

i am so glad that everything went well. seriously, your, that is amazing that such a young girl could be so brave and generous with her goo:)

i may just be forced to send along something for everyone. hmmm. how bout some icecream? nah.


Meg said...

You are in the Embody's prayers as well. Your family are such great examples to ours.