Thursday, November 13, 2008

Woohoo! Home Again and New News from UCLA

That was the quickest stay at Cottage I've ever had - only 3 days! I'm home now and feel tired naturally. The chemo is a wollop to the system which I especially notice in the stomach right away. The premeds they give to help with nausea and to make the chemo work better is a steroid and that causes my cheeks to swell, sweaty and oily skin and hair and a bit of insomnia. But overall, it went really well.

I have new memories of precious servants at the hospital...please pray for my nurse's aide (God knows her name) who lost her 16 year old daughter in a tragic car accident two months ago. She and her family - husband and 3 other younger children - are all terribly heartbroken as you can imagine. Pray for their strength, their healing and their relationship with God and each other.

I also met Lolita, a dear woman of God who came to visit me as a stranger and left as a friend. She is there to meet anyone who needs someone to talk to or pray with, as she is an assistant Chaplain. I loved hearing about Lolita's passion for the Lord Jesus and her devotion to serving Him. She shared some exciting stories of God's favor in her church's ministry.

I reconnected with Hangama which was a pleasure. She's from Afghanistan and would like to go back some day to bring healthcare education to women and children, but not until it's more stable. Hangama brought intellectual stimulation to me as she's a very smart lady and loves to share her thoughts on the world and religion. Even though we disagree on many issues, she is gracious to listen to me as well, and we respect each other all the more.

After I got home from the hospital I got lots of hugs and kisses from my boys and we played a rousing game of Hearts to celebrate. After lunch, I accompanied my mom and Glen to my chiropractor's office so she could get her kinks out that she's lived with since her first triathlon last May. On the way home, I had them drive by the ocean to show off a little more Santa Barbara to Glen. We got out and took some photos of the amazing Pelican landing and watched a little bit of the skateboarders' craziness at Skater's Point, our local skaterboarding ramp park that sits across the bike path from the ocean. Here's a photo of me taking picture of those birds:

Ok, now for the great NEWS! Enough of this sightseeing and reminiscing stuff, right?!

UCLA called today and let me know...after a preliminary search of the bone marrow registry, there were 16 potential matches! 16! The woman in charge of my case says she's very experienced and that this is a VERY hopeful. She is just giving me a very premature phone call because she wants to keep me informed which was nice. She said there are about 5 potential matches from cord blood which is ideal. These are very preliminary. They don't even have data back on what size the doses are that these cord blood donations are...the size has to be right for my body size. However, she mentioned that they could increase the cells by growing them in the lab before injecting them into me. The preliminary search is just the first step. The donors have to be notified (if found), then more testing done on them before we find the perfect match. But with that many potentials, the likelihood is very high that this will happen sooner than later. She said that there are times when she does a preliminary search and there are no preliminary matches that come up. So 16 and 5 were high numbers to her and very encouraging news to us!

So now we get started on my own testing for my stem cell transplant. I need to go to UCLA next week for a full day to take blood tests, EKG, chest x-ray, pulmonary tests (breathing into a tube for measuring lung capacity) and maybe more that I've forgotten. So, perhaps a spend-the-night is in order from our L.A. friends - we shall see!

Thank you for your offers to stay with you when we're in Los Angeles by the way (you know who you are)! I found out today that the Tiverton House (UCLA's guest hotel for patients and their families) is where they want Mike and I to stay for 2 weeks after the transplant, when I'm an outpatient. Originally, I had thought they wanted Mike to stay there during the whole time I was in the hospital. Nope. He is allowed to stay in my room overnight in the hospital. But I imagine that sometimes he'd rather spend the night at a friend's house and commute to UCLA at the off-peak traffic times. We did that last time we were there and it only took 15 minutes to get to without traffic. Not sure how it will play out right now, but we're trying to look at all of our options.

Platelet and red blood donation in the L.A. area can be earmarked for me during that time and they do a good job organizing that once I'm there. We'll let you know more details when we get them.

Enjoy your weekend! And keep praying for the very perfect match! And we will continue to trust God when He promised me in Psalm 41, "Blessed is he who has regard for the weak; the LORD delivers him in times of trouble. The LORD will protect him and preserve his life; he will bless him in the land and not surrender him to the desire of his foes. The LORD will sustain him on his sickbed and restore him from his bed of illness." For those of you new to my blog, this is the verse the Lord gave me after I heard that I might have a relapse of leukemia and I prayed to Him for help. It's also the promise that has given my kids such a peace about this whole experience. Praise God!


Terri Lynn said...

OH Krista, OH HOW WONDERFUL HOW MARVELOUS IS THE HEART OF JESUS FOR YOU ... My heart rejoices in all the ways that you are being cared for through this difficult, challenging journey..

Love, TL

Natalie said...

What day are you coming?