You read that right! It all happened quite quick, to be honest. Let me catch you up…
When last I wrote, I had just had another bone marrow biopsy, and I shared some difficult financial woes. First I’ll address the finances. After that post, I set up a “donate” link with our PayPal account, and shared it with a few friends and family who were helping coordinate the flow of information. I felt weird posting a donate button on the blog post, but ended up passing around a URL that made it easy for people to donate. I don’t know if there’s any difference. Whateva.
“Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!” (Luke 12:24, ESV)
The Lord provides. Through the generous help of many, the gap in our income was provided. I cannot brag enough about our God! We have been cared for, in more than just financial ways, every step of the way. The Lord provides.
Next I want to hit on that bone marrow biopsy. Have I told you how much those procedures suck? Well, they do! As I mentioned before, this one didn’t hurt nearly as much during, but it sure did take a long time. Well, the result of that was it got infected. And oh boy was it painful! If you didn’t know, leukemia and the chemo-to-beat-it-down is all about the immune system. Well, it’s really about the blood, but that’s all tied together. After my chemo, my immune system was shot. So, when what would have been a 4 day infection, maybe with some antibiotics, for you, was a horribly painful inflammation that is still not healed! And today marks the 2nd week since the procedure! I’ve been on 3 different antibiotics, and they’ve all done their job well, it just takes a very long time for me to bounce back. The pain is gone now, and most of the inflammation too. But the puncture from the procedure still hasn’t closed. Yuck, I know.
So, how did I get home? Well last week, exactly a week ago today, we woke up to see that my famous numbers had bounced back quite a lot. The magical thresholds had been surpassed! It was awesome, because we knew that meant that we’d be going home soon. But when my attending doctor came through with the team for their morning rounds, he said, “I think we’ll send you home today.” We were stunned! Other than the infection, we were excited! I was still in some pain, and I was a little worried about it. I knew they’d give me all the right meds, but I was a bit worried about the comfort.
We started packing up, and made the call to my sister to come get us! Our kids were with my in-laws in NorCal, and weren’t expected back home until the next day. (That ended up being a perfect situation. It allowed us to get home and get a little settled, before the great awesomeness of our 4 kids returned to overwhelm us like an Exodus-sized plague.) The ride home was a bit rough for me, first the drive from UCLA to Camarillo. A break at my parents’ home. Then the rest of the way home to the Central Coast. We made it and were so relieved to just sleep in our own bed. It was somewhat surreal for us for those first couple days. Honestly, I don’t know if it actually settled in that I had leukemia, in those 25 days at UCLA.
I am still somewhat at the beginning of this journey with leukemia. Being home is a rest from my time in the hospital. But I will return, probably several times over the next few months. That second bone marrow biopsy’s results were obviously great news for us. The “blast cells” were diminished, if not entirely gone. Which is what lead to the eventual rise in my “numbers”. This Friday I’m back down to UCLA to the leukemia out-patient clinic where I’m blessed to have yet another bone marrow biopsy. (I’ll continue to have those for quite a while.) This biopsy will define my path for the next few months. We’re holding out great hope that I’ll continue to show no more blast cells, and be labeled with the ever-desirable remission. Even with that label, I’ll still be scheduled for more chemotherapy. They call it consolidation chemotherapy. I call it, for good measure.
I desperately want to share with you all how this journey has affected me, especially emotionally and spiritually. This post is long, so I’ll write another one later today or tomorrow, covering what I believe is some of the most important aspects of this journey.