Coincidence…or Godwink

co-in-ci-dence noun

A striking occurrence of two or more events at one time apparently by mere chance

synonyms: accident, chance, serendipity, fortuity, happenstance, fate

A few weeks ago Wade and I were in Houston for my 6 month checkup at MD Anderson Cancer Center.  I am a stem cell transplant survivor about to celebrate my 4 year transplant birthday.  It was my 22nd bone marrow aspiration and biopsy…yes, that’s right…22!  All went well with my appointments. My awesome doctor, Dr. Chitra Hosing, gave me a big hug and told me she wished all of her patients were doing as well as I am!  I am still in remission!  After finishing up at the hospital, we headed over to the Galleria to have dinner at The Oceanaire and then a nightcap at Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse next door.  After a wonderful meal at The Oceanaire, we sidled up to the bar at Del Frisco’s.  The gentleman sitting next to me was alone, so Wade and I struck up a conversation with him.  He was in town on business, and when he mentioned he was from Philadelphia, I told him that my stem cell donor, Robert, is from Pennsylvania and was a student at UPenn at the time he entered the Bone Marrow Registry and ultimately donated his stem cells to me. Coincidentally, (or not), Gene is a good friend of Andy Talley, the head football coach at Villanova.   From his website, talleybonemarrow.org:  “The main goal of our foundation  is to add donors to the Be The Match Registry®.  Coach Talley has had a relationship with Be The Match® for many years. Together, through the initiative “Get in the Game”, they have organized many opportunities to join the Be The Match Registry across college campuses nationwide. As an extension of its mission, the ATBMF is committed to supporting Be The Match in its endeavors.”  My donor, Robert, has told me that his coach at UPenn, Al Bagnoli, encouraged his team to join the registry.  Coach Bagnoli was influenced to do so by his good friend, Coach Talley.  A year after Robert joined the registry, he was chosen as a perfect match to be my donor.  At 19 years old, Robert saved my life! Getting to visit with Gene was very special to me.  What a great man! 

Was this a mere chance sitting next to Gene from Philly, Coach Talley’s good friend? in Houston?

  A couple of weeks later, Wade took me to Santa Fe, NM to celebrate my 60th birthday, although I feel my stem cell transplant birthday is the one to truly celebrate.  We went to Pasqual’s for breakfast and sat at the big community table.  Two young ladies from Washington DC sat down next to us, Sanam and Amber.  Sanam told me she is working on traveling to each of the 50 states.  This vacation was New Mexico!  They were so much fun to visit with.  They told us of many interesting places they had visited in the Santa Fe area.  I’ve been going to Santa Fe for a long, long time and I learned about places and things I had never heard of!  This was their last day. They were catching a flight in the afternoon back to DC.  When I mentioned to Sanam that I am a stem cell transplant survivor, I learned something truly remarkable about her…she was nominated to compete for Woman of the Year for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in 2011!  She was one of twenty Washingtonians nominated to compete for the honor.  She raised a lot of money for this organization!  I felt a special connection to Sanam.  She is a beautiful and amazing woman, inside and out.  She was actually working on this campaign while I was in the hospital getting my transplant!  This truly touched me!

Was sitting next to Sanam and Amber in Santa Fe a mere chance or coincidence?

  Wade, Holly, Sanam, and Amber

Just saying and truly believing, getting to connect with these two, Gene and Sanam, far away from all of our homes was not a coincidence!  It was a Godwink!  And for that I am truly thankful!

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18 thoughts on “Coincidence…or Godwink

  1. mikie bishop says:

    Great experiences and so encouraging! Thanks so much for remembering Susan while you were in Houston. She received encouraging news so we are very blessed. Love you guys, Mikie & Dwayne

  2. Gail says:

    Thank you for keeping your blog going. I ran upon it a year and a half ago when I was diagnosed with MDS and searching the internet to find out additional information on Dr.Garcia Manero, who ended up being my Leukemia doctor as well. Your right…he is awesome!

    I just celebrated my one year birthday in April and you have been my hope and inspiration. Things are still looking good for me as well… so here’s to another 4 years for both of us!!
    P.S. I totally believe in those “Godwinks” because I’ve experienced too many of them myself. Gail

    • hollyeasley says:

      Happy 1 Year Birthday! I’m so glad you are doing well! Yay for us survivors! I got to see Dr. G-M last week and hug his neck. He is very dear to me!

  3. Congratulations on your fourth birthday! You continue to be an inspiration for me and my husband, Steve, who is now 2 years and 7 months post-transplant. He’s doing well — some GVHD of the skin — but overall, feeling fantastic. He began ECP treatments at Moffitt Cancer Center in April, and we are hopeful we will continue to see results on his skin. It was so nice to see another great post in your blog! Blessings to you and yours! Laura

  4. Becky says:

    Sweet Holly, Thanks for sharing your good news and blessings with us. I am so grateful you are doing well! And I am grateful that God has “coincidently” allowed me to know you as a friend 🙂

  5. judymurrah says:

    Just love your encouragement through your smile and healthy demeanor alone. Finished with first Dacogen treatment orally a week ago. Numbers way down so all day at MDA for transfusions yesterday. Each time the nurse hangs up one of those bags I bless and thank the persons whose blood and platelets I’m receiving. I have no idea what’s ahead for me with MDS, but it’s encouraging to read about brave people like you who have also had Dr. Garcia-Manero as their physician. Blessings to you for continued love of life.

    • hollyeasley says:

      Thank you, Judy, for your kínd words! You have been in my thoughts and prayers. It’s comforting to know that you are in the BEST hands! Wish I was there to hug your neck. I’m hoping and praying that healthier days are coming your way. Hang in there!

  6. Tessa Spanjersberg says:

    Me and some peers, over in The Netherlands, are working on research into chemotherapy and especially the experiences of patients that had to stay in an isolation room in the hospital because of treatment. We want to help make the experience better, even if it’s just a little. Your blog compelled us because you were so open and honest about what was going on and your emotions while showing your strong spirit. We admire the fight and are happy you have recovered!

    Could you answer a few quick questions that could help us to help future patients?

    Survey: http://goo.gl/forms/7MYRrLhiAW

    I hope to hear from you soon!

  7. Stem Cell transplant is the possible treatment for cancer patients if their Bone Marrow fails to work. India is the best place where arrangements for bone marrow transplant or other cancer treatments are easy through best agency “India Health Tour”. So contact quickly if you need and get affordable treatment for cancer and bone marrow transplant.

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  8. mdsgunlugu says:

    Are you still there?

  9. Pamela Thompson says:

    Yay, yay !! That’s terific.I am going to have a Stem Cell Transplant any minute. You know how it works. I so SCARED. IM on http://www.GoFund Me . Did some have to be with you for a complete 90 days after you got out of Hospital.???

  10. judymurrah says:

    Going into Stem Cell replacement on May 5. Still under care of Dr. GGM until I move to Methodist Hospital. Humana won’t pay for insurance for SCR so have to make the move. Very apprehensive.
    Judy Murrah

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