Hello all, you are on this list because in some way you have loved and supported me or my family during this time and it means the world to us.
I will try to send out updates as they come, for anyone who has texted me and I haven’t gotten back to you… I’m sorry. I think this will be easier for large announcements, so no one gets missed, but feel free to still text me because I am trapped in a hospital room ;).
For anyone who kind of knows my journey thus far you can skip this section but wanted to review because I think everyone has different knowledge as to how I got here. At school this past semester I was having strange symptoms including random bruises, fatigue, and freezing cold all the time. Over Thanksgiving break when I was home from college, I went to the doctor and found out all my blood counts were low. So, I went to see an oncologist the Friday after Thanksgiving and from there I needed a bone marrow biopsy which took place the following Monday. It was revealed with those results I was at less than 5% cellularity in my bone marrow but with no signs of cancerous cells. I was diagnosed with Aplastic Anemia- simply put, bone marrow failure. I found some good information here if you want to read more https://www.aamds.org/diseases/aplastic-anemia. This is an unpreventable and rare disease, with the best long-term results for someone young and otherwise healthy to have a bone marrow transplant. So, Sam, my brother who is just 18 offered to be tested, it was a 1 in 4 chance he would be a full match. A week later we received the call that he was indeed a full match! I could not believe it, and still struggle with the fact I am putting my little brother through this. Ever since this news it has been a fast track to transplant. I was admitted to the hospital December 30th (or day -6) and chemo started the day after (day -5). The point of the chemo is to kill off my remaining immune system so that Sam’s transplant can grow and become my new bone marrow. My last treatment of chemo was January 3rd (I needed four chemo sessions). The largest risk of this treatment is graft versus host disease where the transplant cells could recognize that it is in a foreign territory and start to attack my body; which is why I will be staying in the hospital for about a month and then monitored closely from the clinic for 100 days post-transplant.
During this past week, I have received chemo and ATG which have been taxing on my body. Something I wasn't prepared for, but grateful to be on the other side now.
My transplant day was yesterday, January 5th (day 0). Sam's procedure went well and he's now recovering at home. His surgery was similar to my bone marrow biopsies but he was under anesthesia longer and more was removed from his marrow with two small incisions to his lower back. When I received the transplant later that day, the marrow entered through my port and dripped in like a blood transfusion.
I can’t express my gratitude enough and have at many times been overwhelmed with the way I have been shown love. The prayers have been felt. I have been relatively calm during this journey thus far. Don Graffam read Psalm 62 at my prayer session at church before coming to the hospital and verse 5-8 reads “Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.” Any other passages that have encouraged you through a tough time, please send them to me. I would love to read them. I’m so grateful to know my identity isn’t in my schoolwork, relationships, my hair or my illness but it is in Jesus Christ. I’m so thankful to have truly learned that during my college years and believe that the Lord is with me, and I shall not fear.
All of you have asked ways to help… and that is so kind. My mom and I are considering something like a go fund me, but meals aren't an issue right now with being in the hospital. There will be more of an update on this in the future.
Prayer Requests: For a quick healing and recovery from transplant with minor complications and for good sleep at night!
Feel free to forward on to anyone I missed.