Transplant Day plus 79

Written at American Cancer Society’s, Hope Lodge, Boston, Wednesday August 29th 2012.

Morning by morning new mercies we see, all we have needed your hand has provided, Great is your faithfulness Lord unto us! Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised!

No time to read my whole update?Then just fast track to the end to read prayer requests and praises…

How quickly the weeks seem to pass as our routine of 4 days in Glens Falls, 2 travel days and one day in Boston continues.

This past weekend was relatively quiet. On Sunday we enjoyed a visit from our friends Grant and Mandy and little Daniel. They will be moving soon to Norfolk, Virginia as Grant has been assigned to the Naval Base there. Noel and Grant talked about trying to put Noel’s boat in the water and go for a sail before the end of the summer. Amy, the Nurse Practitioner said today that it would be OK, once Noel’s platelet count comes up. Noel must not intentionally swim in the lake water!! Bishop Dan and his wife Carol also came after the morning service at St Mary’s to bring us the blessing of the Reserved Sacrament. It was good to spent time chatting and catching up on news.

On Monday, Noel had an appointment at Glens Falls Hospital – a review with his hematologist to keep her up to speed with his progress. We ran into friends from St Mary’s, Tom and Rosemary, while waiting to see the doctor as they were also waiting to see Tom’s doctor. It was good to catch up with them. We then popped into the main part of the hospital to briefly visit with Ron, our daughter-in-law’s father. He was admitted last Friday with very low oxygen levels. Thankfully he was released today but has to undergo a sleep study as they think his problem was related to sleep apnea. We thank God he is feeling better.

Then on Monday afternoon Noel and I, Toby, Charlotte and Lucy all went to Lake George for the girls to play on the beach and in the lake… just after we arrived it began to rain and we had to take shelter except for Lucy who loved running about in the rain! The rain stopped but before we even set foot on the beach it was closed by the lifeguard. There must have been a thunderstorm warning although there was no thunder or lightening. Charlotte was very disappointed but she was a good girl and we headed to the small play park and the girls played for a while. Before we left for home we enjoyed ice creams, except for Noel who can not have ice cream except when served at home. Click here to see photos.

Today’s appointment at Dana Farber was interesting… Firstly we found out the results of the blood tests taken 2 weeks ago to determine the ratio of DNA in Noel’s blood. This showed that 86% of the DNA belongs to the donor and 14% to Noel! A month ago it was 87% and 13%. This will be closely watched to make sure the numbers rise in Noel’s favor. One day it will be back to 100% Noel.

The results of today’s blood tests we’re also interesting… Red cells were 3.06 this week, which reflects the boost from the 2 units of red cells Noel received last week. We need the number to increase without receiving an infusion as this will show the bone marrow is making good red cells. The white cells were 1.6 today and 1.8 last week so although a fraction down there is not much change but as with the red cells, we do need to see higher numbers. The surprise today was the platelets. For some unknown reason they have dropped from being at 41 last week to being 18 today. Amy said she is not worried but Noel must be careful not to have any bleeding; no skateboarding she said!!!! And if he does for any reason start to bleed we must call her and also seek local medical help. If next week the number has dropped below 10, he will need a transfusion of platelets. We need to see this number rise, as normally platelets should be over 155. But as I said, Amy is not unduly worried and will see Noel again next week. He, this week feels about the same as last so not much change to report on how he is.

We did have an interesting conversation between ourselves and Amy about what we now see were signs of the bone marrow not working correctly for some time before Noel was diagnosed with this type of cancer (we are no longer saying he has it. Amy said he is in remission and recovering). Looking back over about 8 years… we now know certain things were signs but of course we only know that in hindsight and not all people who have these physical signs have this or any other cancer… But Noel had been slowly losing weight not doing anything different. He was actually pleased to be slimmer, but this slow continuous loss with no change in life style is apparently an indication of something being wrong. Then there was that itching for over 3 years which I have talked about before; and latterly the swollen spleen and the anemia. But we decided that since the disease was slow growing and there was no drug or other type of treatment for it, we are glad that it was not diagnosed until April last year as 14 months was quite long enough to cope with it before the transplant. We are so grateful that Noel remained pain free and in reasonably good health as some people suffer greatly as the disease develops. We are grateful that he was offered the transplant, that a donor was found and that Noel is doing well. We can say the Lord has provided all we have needed and we are grateful.

It’s the unofficial ‘official’ end of summer next Monday… This must have been the fastest summer ever… Charlotte, age 5, becomes a Kindergartner next week, riding on a big yellow school bus. One friend from preschool will already be on the bus when Charlotte is picked up, so she is pleased about that. However, she is a little unsure of the unknown, but then who of us is not? She will not have any of her preschool friends in her class, as the little girl who will ride the bus with her is in a different one and all her other friends are in different school districts. Our granddaughter Evelyn, age 4, in England, starts her first year in Primary School but, unlike Charlotte, will walk to school and will have many friends from her preschool in her class. Next year they will both be First Graders. Lucy, age 2, will go one morning to preschool and her cousin William, also age 2, over in England, will be going 2 mornings to the same preschool where Sarah, his mummy, is going to be teaching this year.

During the past 3 months I have tried to keep in contact with everyone. I know I have not done so, as we have folk telling us they did not know what was going on. But I hope that this journal has in some way given you, who read it, a sense of what our lives are like on this journey we are on and that we are grateful for you all. Because we are. Thank you!

Prayer requests this week are:

  • For rising blood levels, red and white cells and especially platelets.
  • For energy levels to improve and energy to be sustained for longer.
  • For Noel’s digestive system to continue to improve.
  • For safety as we travel…

Praises for this week:

  • For the continuing ability to pay all the medical bills.
  • For family and friends who care about us.
  • For progress, although slow, on the road to being healthy and remaining cancer free.
  • For it being well with our souls and for the joy and peace that comes from the Lord.

Thank you for taking the time to read this update… Please do stay in touch with us… By signing the CaringBridge guest book and/or by email to both. Please copy emails to us both as I check my email much more frequently than Noel does.

Thank you for you support and love, God Bless you!