Collection Of My Soon To Be Stem Cells
After numerous discussions with my Transplant Dr. we decided to use Brayden as my donor. Again, he was a 50% match so we will use his donated stem cells as well as a matched set of stem cells from an umbilical cord (i.e. cord blood). My Dr.’s aren’t able to give me specific details about where my donated cord blood came from but they did say it was from a mom here in the United States. I am so thankful mom’s from all over the world opt to donate the stem cells from their umbilical cords after delivering their beautiful babies. Such a simple decision can forever change someone’s life later down the road – so for all of you having babies… DONATE YOUR UMBILICAL CORDS. It can save someone’s life who may need a stem cell transplant later down the road… just like a mom somewhere in the US is saving my life.
Braydo’s stem cells were collected on Monday, September 21, 2020. For five days prior to collection date, he had to give himself three shots a day in his stomach. The shots caused his bone marrow to create an excess amount of stem cells for collection. He said the shots hurt… but also I had to do two shots a day for 14 days when I did the egg retrieval process so I told him to suck it up buttercup. The day of collection, he had a mini hospital room to himself. He was able to order food from the kitchen whenever he wanted but the kicker was he couldn’t move either of his arms. Both arms had large IV needles in them. One arm had the big machine in the room sucking out his blood, the big machine would separate the stem cells from the rest of the blood, and the other arm had all the excess “stuff” pushed back into his body. So where does that leave me? I fed baby Braydo his food while he sat back in his bed watching TV like a King. It’s like he’s saving my life or something? At the end of the day, they needed to collect 8.7 million stem cells. Brayden was able to donate 12 million stem cells. It’s like he’s a Blick or something… over achiever to the core.
In all honesty, I am completely in awe and beyond thankful that both Braydo and the random Mom in the US (who donated her umbilical cord) did what they did. Because of them I get a second shot at life. My brother especially. I am forever thankful for his selflessness. He flew home from college in a days notice, without batting an eye, to donate his stem cells for me. He has missed basketball and classes in order to donate. I am forever thankful baby Braydo is not only my brother but the person he is today. He’s the most caring, giving and empathetic person I’ve ever met. So, to Brayden and the mom somewhere in the United States… THANK YOU. Times a million, thank you!! I love you both so much.
Where My Head’s At Pre Hospital Stay
There’s been a month of build up preparing for my transplant hospital stay. How do you prepare to spend yet another month in the hospital? How do you cope with knowing you won’t be able to see your mom during this time while she remains in hospice BUT now with a broken hip? How do you cope with knowing this month will be physically harder on your body than the previous month spent in the hospital? If any of you have any ideas – send them my way.
As the day’s have crept forward I have become increasingly more anxious. I have spent most of my days this month at home doing work ups at the hospital in preparation for transplant which only adds to my anxiety. From checking my lungs, to full body scans to talking about my feelings with a psychiatrist (wouldn’t you all like to be a fly on the wall for those sessions HAHAHAHA). I’m not sure why all of the appointments added to my anxiety. My best guess is it showed me how big of a deal this transplant thing is, which I wasn’t entirely aware of the magnitude of this initially. Most appointments I was read all the risks of transplant over and over again which isn’t easy on your mental health as a 26 year old trying to just get through this and back to living her best life.
With all the said I am overall doing okay. Honestly. I’ll have my days where I cry my eyes out and am freaking out about life as a whole but I’d say more days were spent enjoying my time out of the hospital. And honestly, due to all the crazy in the world right now who isn’t occasionally crying their eyes out and freakin’? I’ve reminded myself this is just a season in life. It’s not forever. Once this difficult season is over a beautiful life lies ahead. I’ve spent my time going on daily walks with Aaron, Bentley and Maddie (see pic below of the cuties)…
…to cooking bangin’ dinners, to journaling, to reading, spending time in prayer and spending time re-watching the entire Grey’s Anatomy series. Yes you heard that right. I have started the ENTIRE Grey’s Anatomy series from numero uno. You could claim I have become the ultimate “chiller.” For those of you who know me, chilling isn’t the easiest thing for me to do. BUT I have had to chill. My body is still in recovery mode and I’m tired and my entire body is sore. Literally always sore.
So in conclusion. I’m okay. I’m as okay as anyone would be in my situation. But trying my hardest to remain positive, trust God’s timing of everything and let go of things I can’t control. This next month the only thing I’ll be able to control is my attitude, determination to get better and mental strength to push through. Everything physical having to do with my body is entirely out of my control. So I’ve told myself to stop worrying about it. The nurses and Dr.’s went to school to help save my life and this stem cell transplant is them doing their job… no matter how physically difficult this gets. It’s not forever and there will be an end to all this crazy. So I have to enjoy the little victories and keep my head up.
I’ll see you guys on the flip side with a whole new set of stem cells. Miss you guys tons!