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taken 8/4/07

Courtney and her kids

Courtney and her kids
taken 8/4/07

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

T minus 8 days and counting to BMT

Officially it’s now 8 days before the bone marrow transplant (BMT). The BMT phase really began yesterday. Courtney went to have the PICC line removed from her arm and a new central line (Neostar) placed in her chest. It’s almost identical to the Hickman Catheter that she had during the first round of chemotherapy, except that it’s the right side of her chest and has three lumens (lines or tubes protruding from her chest). The worst part, besides the post-surgery pain, was the fact that a 45 minute procedure had us at the hospital for almost the entire day. We left the house at 9:00 AM, arrived at 9:30; they took her to surgery at 12:30; brought her back at 1:15; and let us leave at 3:00. Kind of a waste of a full day, especially when it’s supposed to be your last day at home before being admitted to the hospital for five weeks. Oh well, at least she had a private room with a TV to wait in, and the procedure went very smooth.

Today was check-in day. They wanted her to arrive by 9:00 AM for admission to the hospital. Unfortunately we had to stop by the BMT clinic (five minutes from the hospital) to sign some consent forms. Courtney had accidentally dated all the forms with 2008 the other day. Legally they needed them to be correct before they would move forward with the transplant. It was an honest mistake that you can blame on “chemobrain” (an actual known condition and not a name that I call Courtney these days – I promise) or blame on nervousness as Courtney was signing papers that say she consents to procedures that could cause adverse effects including death. I think that’s enough to make anyone forget what year it is.

So we arrived at 9:30, thinking that we had just thrown off the 5 week schedule, since they were somewhat adamant that we arrive at 9:00. However, upon checking in and getting comfortable, Courtney mostly hung out and enjoyed time with her sister, Tracy. They didn’t even hook her up to her IV until after 10:00 PM. So, by my estimation, we were more than 12 hours early. Another day that could have been spent at home.

The hardest part of the day was having to say good-bye to Tracy’s children, Alex and Paige. It’s been so much fun having them around. We don’t get to see the much since they’ve been in Italy, so it was really nice getting to spend time with them. Since Tracy will begin receiving her medication in a couple of days, Alex and Paige were escorted by their Aunt Maureen to her home in Pittsburgh. She flew in yesterday just to be able to fly back with them! While it was hard seeing them go with tears in their eyes, it’s so comforting knowing that Tracy’s kids will be well taken care of, or in Maureen’s words, “spoiled rotten” for the next couple of weeks. They deserve to be catered to while their mom is here helping save Courtney’s life. Once again, the love and support from family and friends has been amazing and continues to be so. Thank you, Maureen. It was very nice to finally meet you.

We continue to be amazed at the blessings this trial has brought to our family. While it’s a crummy way to bring them about, it’s given us the opportunity to meet some wonderful people – the staff at the hospitals and clinics have been awesome; it’s given us time to spend with family we wouldn’t normally have had – it’s hard traveling with kids overseas, or anywhere for that matter; it’s helped us to reconnect with old friends and it’s been so much fun catching up with some of them. While at first all of these were silver linings in a very dark cloud (borrowing from an old cliché), they’ve helped to brighten our lives, reducing the cancer to little wisps of clouds that cast the occasional shadow.

One of the hardest parts of moving forward with the transplant is sending Courtney towards something that we know will make her feel worse than she does today. It’s like turning around and heading back into a storm that you just drove out of. Courtney’s been doing so well, with each day literally getting better. You just don’t want to see that trend reversed in any way. Yet, we know that we have to do this to give her the best chance for a cure. And were fortunate to be able to do this now and get it over with, without having to drag it out for months or even years. This time next week we’ll be able to say that Courtney is done with chemotherapy…forever. And that will be the biggest blessing of all.


Anonymous said...

December 12th is Poinsettia Day, (well that is what my calendar is telling me in my office); that blooms every year at this time for a special reason. Courtney this is your time to Bloom again. When I was driving home from work a bald eagle flew above the snow and the trees in the moonlight; to me that is a sign of strength and bravery and I said an extra prayer for your family.
Take care and God Bless
Rhonda, WI.

comical5 said...

Thanks for the update! We are continuing to pray for your family, especially Courtney and Tracy. We are so touched by what Tracy is doing to help save Courtney's life. We want her to know that she is an amazing person for the sacrfices she is making.

Emily R said...

WOW!!! i am excited that an end is so near. we are all praying that it will go well! we will add tracy and her family to our prayers as well. what a wonderful sacrifice! i love that you guys are so positive! 2008 comes from courtney knowing she will be cancer free then... ;) cant wait!!

Amber said...

Hey girly! I've been thinking about you all day. I'm so nervous for you. I remember the 24 hrs I had to think about going through what you're headed for and it still scares me. You're so brave and strong! I can't wait to see you next weekend! I love your guts!
ps Happy B-day to Todd yesterday!

- The Foster Family said...

Our thoughts and prayers are with you, as always.

Amy said...

Keeping you close to my heart during this time....thanks for keeping us updated. Prayers sent your way!!!

Kristy said...

Thanks for the update, and you're right -- the BMT may feel like a step backwards, but it's a huge step forward. We are counting down with you every day in our prayers.

hacampbell said...

We hope everything goes smoothly with the transplant. Thank heaven for family, and good doctors, and a church family--the triple threat to cancer!! Be a patient patient. And let's all do one nice thing extra this week and dedicate it in our mind to Courtney. Maybe after we do, we could share it here.


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