Happy New Year everyone! Just got back in town. Lots to catch up on.
Healthwise, I'm doing okay. The GVH is back under control but still a bit shakey. My hair continues to grow in. (I actually have bangs now!) In a few weeks, I'll be celebrating a Birthday I thought I would never see. So thankful. It's been a long hard road but to be home and alive at 18 months post-transplant is not a bad place to be. I don't think you can get anymore extreme experiences: to be completely alone, locked away in a hospital room one year and then dancing in the middle of Times Square the next. What a blessed journey this has been! I hope everyone's New Year is going off to a good start. :)
This month sees the release of a new book by Jamie Reno; a staff writer at Newsweek and a Lymphoma survivor. In an effort to reach out to the newly diagnosed and to shed light on the patient perspective, Jamie interviewed 50 Lymphoma survivors ranging from CEOs to homemakers, doctors and soldiers, rock stars and PHDs. I'm story #15.
The survivors and stories in "Hope Begins in the Dark" are truly inspiring. The fact that they can all be found in one place is an incredible achievement and is a remarkable gift for all of us. The book was forged from survivors' own words in hopes of connecting those who have made it through the cancer journey to those who are just beginning their first steps. For anyone affected by Lymphoma, it is a must read.
Jamie secured a grant whereby he can give free copies of the book to
hospitals, support groups, patients, doctors and advocates. If you know anyone who you feel would benefit from this wonderful program, please feel free to forward the website.
Any proceeds from the book goes towards finding a cure.
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I received this e-mail recently and wanted to share. This comes from a man who has been through so much himself and yet found the courage to see past his own problems and help another human being:
Hello and Happy New Year!
As many of you may already know, I have been determined to be a donor match for a 10 year old boy with a life threatening illness. I entered the bone marrow registry less than a year ago through a drive being held by at the church of one of my drum students here in Simi
Valley. The drive was held to find a match for a women in their congregation who unfortunately passed away before one could be found.
In mid-November, I was contacted by the National Marrow Donor Program as a possible match along with 3 others for this boy. After further testing, it was determined that I was a match for all six antigens and was asked to give either bone marrow or stem cells. As it turns out I will be giving stem cells which in the case of the young boy are more beneficial. I am honored with this opportunity and take the responsibility very seriously.
The donation is scheduled for January 8th. On Friday 1/4/08, I will
begin daily injections of Filgristan, a drug to increase my stem cell
production. I will have only minor discomfort during this time and
expect to be able to continue to work. At the same time the boy will
begin receiving massive doses of chemotherapy which he will likely not survive should I become unable to donate for reasons such as becoming ill etc. This is a risk his family has decided to take considering the severity of his condition.
The donor/collection will take place at UCLA Medical Center. I will
have have blood taken from one arm and cycled through a machine that will extract my stem cells then cycle my blood back through my other arm. This will take only 6 to 8 hours and leave me a little tired, however, ready for work the next day.
I ask that each of you pray for my health leading up the donation and more importantly the health of the young boy leading up to and especially following the stem cell donation. His recovery period will be approximately 1 year. I hope it is Gods will to save the young life of this boy. I was told by the National Marrow Donor organization that the odds for him finding a match were similar to the odds of winning the lottery.
Please visit the National Marrow Donor site at marrow.org to find a donor event. It takes a few short minutes to become part of their registry, just a swab from your cheek. There are over 60,000 people at any given week in the U.S. waiting for a donor match and anyone can make a difference in someone else's life.
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Continue the Love.....