Friday, July 18, 2008

Caroline Update

Update on Caroline from her mom, Carmen:

Day +1

Those beautiful, life-giving cells started to go in at 6:05pm and finished at about 10:35pm. The nurse said, "Now she has a second birthday to celebrate!" Just before the cells arrived at our room, Jeff was saying that to bring in the cells they should do what they used to do at Farell's restaurant/ice cream parlor when we were kids and it was someone's birthday. The servers would come running through the restaurant with all sorts of noise making devices and carrying a giant tub of ice cream. Oddly, right at 6pm the fire alarm started to go off and we joked that it was because the cells were about to be hung. There were two bags of cells and it once again struck me how generous the donor was to give of himself so unselfishly. They premedicated Caroline with all sorts of meds to avoid an allergic reaction or rejection and she handled the process extremely well. The benadryl they gave her put her to sleep within ten minutes and she continued asleep the whole time. Jeff and I sat by her watching for anything and everything. She did wake up around 10pm and she said she felt a little "funny," but she really couldn't describe what she was experiencing. Her blood pressure went up for a couple of hours, but by midnight was making a significant descent.

Once the second bag was placed, I started to pray the rosary and was so brightened by the idea that it was the day for the Luminous Mysteries. The first luminous mystery relates to Jesus' baptism and how we are reborn through Christ. I know that this refers to a spiritual rebirth, but in many ways Caroline's bone marrow transplant is also a rebirth, a combination of the spiritual and physical. The donor's generous spirit is what Christ wants between all of us and it is that spirit that has allowed Caroline a chance for physical well-being.

Everyone's prayers, love and support are such a constant reminder of God's love for us. Thank you for your continued prayers for Caroline. We now wait for 2-3 weeks until the cells engraft and pray for no more leukemia and controllable graft-versus-host-disease (GVHD). May it be God's will that Caroline live a long and healthy life to serve Him.

We continue our prayers for Caroline's body to take the cells well, that every single leukemia cell is history, and for no or mild GVHD. I admire this wonderful family's love for each other, others, and God. Their faith, hope, and positive attitude are truly inspirational, gifts from God during this difficult time. We send you all much love and many prayers, Carmen, Jeff, and family! (And we popped an envelope into the mail for Caroline yesterday.)

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