June 17, 2012

The Yo-Yo Man, or...

"The heart of man plans his way,
but the Lord establishes his steps."
Prov 16:9 (ESV)

My husband was asked recently if he felt like the Yo-Yo Man.

On our last trip to NIH, one of the doctor's on Michele's team asked Jeff if he would be willing to come back one more time for one more donation -- this time he would donate granulocytes, a type of white blood cell that would be helpful to Michele post-transplant while stem cells begin their work.

NIH contacted us to schedule not one donation, but two. We scheduled the trip, the rescheduled it based on the needs of both our family and NIH. We planned to leave on Saturday, June 9, and return on the following Saturday. Then, on Thursday afternoon, one of the team doctors called to let Jeff know that, based on the progress of the patients ahead of Michele in the protocol, they didn't anticipate needing his granulocytes after all. The next day, June 8, about 4:00, that same doctor called back to say things had changed. Michele had been spiking fevers, and they were concerned that she may need the granulocytes, after all. This was only Day 3 post-transplant. Thankfully, Cecilia (Jeff's other sister) was with us when we got the call, and she immediately mobilized to make it possible for Jeff and I to leave on Sunday.

We drove all day on Sunday (well, we did have about an hour's pit stop at Reynolds Plantation to accommodate an impromtu kidney stone), arriving at the Fisher House that night. Mom had some very welcome homemade soup waiting for us.

Jeff went to his check-in appointment at NIH on Monday morning and completed all the medical history paperwork, only to be told that Michele had improved so much over the weekend that his granulocytes would probably not be needed after all. But, just in case, stick around for a few days.

Michele's condition was kind of up and down, also like a yo-yo, over the next couple of days. Her cells had not yet "declared" (they were not yet measurable), and the team would not feel comfortable until they could see her count steadily climbing. By Thursday, the counts were obviously climbing and, while she was having some fever and skin issues, her body was finally fighting back. By Friday, the counts had climbed significantly.

When we stopped by to visit and say good-bye on Friday, Michele was just heading out for a walk. We decided to tag along with her and her IV pole (which we affectionately call the Christmas tree).

First stop was the coffee shop downstairs to pick up her current favorite drink: Lipton Diet Green Tea.

Then we decided to make a lap around the courtyard. Michele was so happy to go outside, remove her mask, and inhale some fresh air!

Then it was back through the lobby to the elevators...

And upstairs to meet Mom and Dad in the room.

And on Saturday, the Yo-Yo Man (aka Stem Cell Stud) and I returned home.

Please continue to pray for Michele as the doctor's monitor her progress. We're all hopeful that she'll be able to move back to the Fisher House by the end of the month. You can follow Michele on her CaringBridge page.

1 comment:

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