Day 33 ... Moving Toward 100

Calmness is the rarest quality in human life. It is the poise of a great nature in harmony with itself and its ideals.Welhelm Jordan

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Sept. 24 -- Hard to believe, but today is day 33 toward the "First 100" following my stem cell transplant (SCT) at City of Hope. Happy to report that each day brings continuous, steady improvement and my key indicators (blood tests and physical exams) and all point to great success and healing in progress.

Each new day also brings a little more stamina as I make slow progress toward full recovery. I will remain in relative "home" confinement until we reach day 100 on November 30 when many of my restrictions will be relaxed, but the doctors tell me that it could be February before I will be cleared to return to work, assuming no setbacks along the way.

During my last visit (Friday) to City of Hope, my doctors were very pleased with my progress, including the healing of my first evidence of GVHD (graft versus host disease) which suddenly appeared last weekend in facial rash and swelling, but that is now well under control. The doctors say that the GVHD may appear again, but can be controlled with medications. Strangely, they also say that some GVHD is a good sign.

As I shared before, our donor is 24 and was found through an international database. He lives outside the USA (probably Europe). While several other potential donors were identified in the more than 450 initial "matches," this primary donor was undoubtedly the best choice since all 6 of the primary DNA makers were a match and 3 of the 4 secondary markers were compatible. We continue to be amazed by the science of stem cell transplants. Not only do I now have the blood type (O+) of my donor and his immune system, but the doctors say that my DNA will be his DNA, not a surprising switch since he was a closer match to my former DNA than my own brothers. Is that mind-boggling?

We appreciate all the prayers, messages, thoughts, and visits during this recovery period. If you would like to stop by the home, give us a call to schedule your visit (909)944-2728.

From MyJournal comments, you would conclude that we now have undying gratitude for the caregivers at City of Hope, and I can't sing their praises enough. But let me rush to also give credit to my best caregiver, Dee Dee. She is my love and lifesaver and has endured while continuing to cope with a myriad of new responsibilities. She is the best. Most marriages go through trials and periods of some stress, but a life-threatening illness and recovery from same is a test for any relationship. I am most blessed to have her at my side and have been for over 36 years.

Today, I also want to extend my best thoughts and well wishes to all of the team at Foothill Presbyterian Hospital who are holding a grand opening ceremony for the new Arthur & Sarah Ludwick Emergency Care Pavilion in Glendora this evening. For so many, this project has been the key focus of a 5-year philanthropic and development effort that raised $14.4 million, by far the largest sum ever contributed to FPH since its opening in 1973. It is also a remarkable development considering the well-publicized economic and operational problems for so many Southern California hospitals and emergency rooms. Congratulations FPH!

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