05-29-12 Random Thoughts

Yesterday Wade and I were beginning to plan a trip around our anniversary in July.  I looked at Wade and said, “Last year you took me to Luby’s near the MD Anderson Cancer Center and I ate a few bites, politely threw up in my napkin, and we left!”  This reflection made us both laugh hard!  We had gone there hoping I could eat jello or mac and cheese or pudding or something!!!  At the time, it wasn’t very funny because I was so sick (2 months post stem cell transplant), but we can now laugh!  Time does heal a lot of wounds.  This made me start thinking about some random stuff:

Reflect, pay attention

Laugh

Write a letter

Embrace diversity

Be kind

Be for real

Listen to music

Create traditions

Don’t honk (unless you love Jesus!)

Cook

Sit down to eat

Read widely, go to the library

Smile at strangers

Judge not

Vote

Eat more veggies

Wear sunscreen

Give a damn

Pay it forward

Listen

Ride a bike

Wash your hands

Have hope…hope for the best

Give love

 

Holly

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05-24-2012 Happy First Birthday!

Wow, what an emotional day today has been!  First of I have received some beautiful cards, gifts, comments and calls that have just made my day!  It has truly been an amazing journey.  I am so thankful for all of my doctors, nurses, support people, and friends at MD Anderson and Harrington Cancer Center that have lovingly cared for me.  And for my family and friends who were there every step of the way.  I just can’t describe the feeling of having another opportunity for a normal, healthy life!  I remember so well the day I was told that without a transplant I would probably have 6 months to a year left. And here I am one year out!!!!!  Thank you to my donor!  The amazing 20 year old  young man who so unselfishly gave his stem cells to give me another chance.  Oh how I love him!

This is what a stem cell transplant looks like.  I am posting a picture of the bag that I received one year ago.  I was a very sick person that day, but joyously happy.

Bob and Camille Beville, very dear people from Hereford, came by my room and donned the robes, masks etc. to see me the day of my transplant.  Bob was there for a check up…he had been treated at MD Anderson a few years ago for bile duct cancer and was pronounced CURED that day!  That was so encouraging to me!

Just a few more pictures that encourage me to keep walking on this journey, even when it gets difficult.  My grandchildren are awesome!  I missed out with them last summer, this summer we are going to make up for it!

I just got an email from Glo, my mother-in-law.  She said not everybody gets to celebrate 2 birthdays a year!  I love that!  Here are some of the gifts I have received.

From Julie Butler who is also a stem cell transplant survivor, and her mom Charla

From Lucy Richardson, my friend who publishes my posts on MD Anderson’s Cancerwise blog

Beautiful card-how did he find such an appropriate card?!, iPod touch, and cool wooden charm from my husband, Wade

In honor of Robin Gibbs who lost his battle with cancer this week, I downloaded “Bee Gees Number Ones” and have been listening to it today….I love it. It brings back lots of memories!   Hope everyone has a safe, fun, Memorial Day weekend!

Holly

05-23-12 My Beautiful Mother

Mamie Lou Welch

Born 9-15-1927

Died 5-18-2012

Oh how I love her and miss her –  my awesome, loving, beautiful, wonderful Mother

Thanks so much to all of you who left those kind, meaningful, helpful, supportive comments to me about Mother’s passing.  You will never know how much I appreciate it and what it means to me!  You are all awesome, and I love you!

Tomorrow is my 1st stem cell transplant birthday!  I am going to muster up some happiness just like my Mama would want me to, and celebrate my new life!  I am going to celebrate my donor, too, with so much love and thankfulness because he saved my life!  I will be writing a blog post soon about my donor and the whole process.  Hopefully, Wade and I will host a marrow drive for the Be The Match Registry as soon as we can put it together….I can’t think of a better way to celebrate my new birthday!

Holly

05-18-12 Dr. Chitra Hosing and Erin Frazier, P.A.

*I’m finally getting back to the blog…I started this blog a few days ago, and decided to take a few minutes to finish it.  I started it with good news, but am ending with sadness*.

It has been a whirlwind, but thanks for being loyal followers!  In fact a couple of weeks ago my counter registered over 20,000 hits!  That made me so happy!  I totally appreciate all of the hits, comments, interest, and concern.

Last week Wade and I went to Houston for my appointment with Dr. Hosing.  As usual, I looked forward to my appointment, hoping for good news and getting to see my Doctor and P. A. again.  My appointment went very well…liver function was improved, I can start getting my childhood immunizations as soon as I am off Coumadin, and I don’t need to return for 3 months!  GVHD is still in my gums and I will treat it with mouthwash they prescribed for me.  At the next appointment in 3 months I will maybe be able to start weaning off of my sirolimus  if I have no problems with GVHD.  This is great news!  Another exciting thing was that I signed forms to be sent to my donor to find out if he wishes to remain anonymous or would agree to meet me!  My first transplant birthday is next week, May 24.  What a milestone!

I always feel like I am going back home when I make these treks to the stem cell transplant department at MD Anderson Cance Center.  I feel like I am in the best care possible…I have so much love and respect for my Doctor, Dr. Hosing, my PA Erin, and my nurse Kelli, whom I forgot to take a photo of.  I will try to remember next time!  These are amazing women who truly care!  Dr. Hosing has gotten me safely through some pretty rough times.  And sweet Erin is always available to help when issues crop up along the way.  Top photo is me with Dr. Hosing, bottom photo is me with Erin (and my new head of hair!)  I am so thankful for these ladies and love them dearly.  They truly are a blessing to me!

A lot of events have happened along the way since this appointment 9 days ago.  Here is a brief rundown.  I  will blog more about specifics later.

5/10 – flew to Dallas

5/11- Wade had a day long preventative diagnostic physical at the Cooper Clinic in Dallas in honor of his recent 50th birthday.  They found his 3rd Castleman’s tumor in his chest, a rare usually benign tumor.  Most Doctor’s have to go look this one up!  His brother also had one, and his daughter, Shelby, has had one.

5/13 – A Happy Mother’s Day…back in Hereford

5/14 –  Appointment with Dr. Ravipati in Amarillo and then plans to start cycle 9 of vidaza chemotherapy.  I had a mild sore throat that morning and a lower white blood count, so Dr. Ravipati ordered a neupogen shot for that day and the next and postponed chemo until next week.  I couldn’t understand this sore throat and delay.

5/15 – back to Amarillo for another neupogen shot. This morning I got a call from my sister, Jan, that my mother’s health was deteriorating rapidly.  She has been on home hospice care for 3 weeks.  I then realized it was another “timing” issue, possibly like the one I described in my Colby Blog.  I now understood that my mild sore throat that went away quickly had freed up my week to be in Tyler.

5/16 – flew to Tyler to be with my family and my Mama.  We remain by her bedside.  We have shared so many wonderful memories…and lots of tears.

5/18 – my plans are to fly home tomorrow.  Please pray for my family and especially my sweet Daddy who is so very sad.  He has been with my mama since they were 7th graders.  They have been together for over 73 years and are a huge inspiration to all who knew them.

I will blog again when I can.

Holly

5/18/2012 – 12:30 pm – My Mama is now in the arms of Jesus.  She was the very best Mom and I love her so very by much.  We will all miss her.  She was a beautiful, gracious, loving example and influence to many.

“In this life we cannot do great things.  We can only do small things with great love.”      Mother Teresa