Those who have been following me here or on Twitter know that my mother was diagnosed with Acute Leukemia in July. It's been a wild ride for us. She is currently back at Mayo Clinic undergoing all the preparation for a bone marrow transplant. She goes back into the hospital on Thursday to start another round of chemotherapy as part of the actual bone marrow transplant on October 9th. We are hoping that the bone marrow transplant and her recovery is our big miracle. However, I can't help but be astounded when I look at all the miracles that have already occurred.
- Miracle 1: She became ill in February when we were still in Kansas City. The doctors there did not identify the leukemia. It is a miracle for us because if they had identified the leukemia and started treatment I would not have taken the job here in Minneapolis and brought her close to Mayo Clinic.
- Miracle 2: When she became ill in July, she went to a clinic as we had not yet found regular doctors yet. The doctor she saw ran her blood counts and immediately sent her to the hospital for a blood transfusion. The doctor was well accomplished; a former chief of staff that now sits on the board of directors for the medical center. It turns out that the doctor she saw was just filling in that day and does not normally see patients in the location she visited.
- Miracle 3: The hospital she was sent to was a little scary for me. It was a hospital further out in the country versus downtown Minneapolis. Being unfamiliar with the hospitals here, I almost turned around in the car to take her into a hospital in the city. (I did call the nurse on the way to try to change hospitals). The miracle is that they did diagnose the leukemia and called for her to be transferred to Mayo Clinic. I keep thinking that if I had taken her to a hospital in downtown Minneapolis, they may not have transferred her to Mayo and instead keep her at a cancer center close by.
- Miracle 4: The fact that she is at Mayo Clinic, one of the best hospitals in the nation, is a miracle in itself. This is the real reason why we ended up moving to Minneapolis. The fact that I love my job is a bonus.
- Miracle 5: Her brother is a perfect match for her bone marrow transplant. This transplant will save her life. Without it her chance of survival is 15%.
- Miracle 6: The leukemia is caused by the radiation treatment from stage 3 cervical cancer five years ago. It doesn't happen very often, but, it did happen to us. While getting the leukemia is a big bummer. The miracle is that we had just passed the five year mark from the first cancer. This is significant because the hospital board will not approve a bone marrow transplant if the patient has had evidence of cancer within the last five years. If she was going to get leukemia this is the right time because she is still young enough to handle the intense treatment and just out of the time where she would not qualify for the transplant.
- As you could imagine, financing hospital stays and involved procedures is not a fun ordeal. Her insurance plan is a fairly expensive personal policy that covers only hospital stays. Many of the doctor visits and expenses were not covered by her insurance. We were able to get her approved for Medicaid given the extreme nature of her illness. This is a HUGE miracle given the stress that the financial side of illness causes.
- Miracle 7: Not only were we able to get the Medicaid, but, they fast tracked her bone marrow transplant approval. This meant that she was able to skip the second round of chemotherapy and go directly to the bone marrow transplant.
There is still a long road ahead of us. After the bone marrow transplant, she will remain at the Gift of Life Transplant House for the next 100 days to ensure that the transplant takes and that her immune system recovers. The actual process is amazing. If this is successful, she will have a new immune system. The funny thing is that she will have to get all her immunizations over again, just like a newborn baby. Her blood DNA will also be changed. Her skin and hair DNA will be her own, but her blood DNA will be that of her brothers from the new blood cells that are created by the transplant.
We've appreciated all the prayers and well wishes. Please keep them coming. This is the touchy part of the process. I'm sure that I will have a few more miracles to add to my list. I hoping for a nice even 10 with the last miracle being that she is cured!