Saturday, April 28, 2012


I belong to one of the most amazing email groups--CONRECO.  Some of the smartest, politically savvy individuals on the Internet. They're also some of the most generous, patriotic people you'd ever want to know.

Back on April 10, I put out a notice that I'd be making a slight change to my blog site: the inclusion of "gaming" and "my health" as topics of discussion.  Many know that I'm waiting for a bone marrow transplant for CML--a rare form of Leukemia--and the notice prompted many to wish me luck and to include me in their daily prayers.  Powerful support group, and most appreciated.

One of the members (won't mention a name since I don't have permission at this time) told me of someone who's a 10 year Leukemia survivor and wanted to know if I'd like to talk with her.  My answer was in the affirmative, of course. 

Well, this morning a call came in from one Rhonda Kokot.  She had AML, a very deadly version of what I have, CML.  10 years ago treatment options were few, and what drugs were available, according to Rhonda, were ineffective, so transplant was the course of action. Rhonda went thru chemo, radiation and the transplant with flying colors.  It wasn't easy, but she made it.

When she called this morning, she was on the road traveling to a race... a half-marathon race in which she's a participant!  God love her.  

During the call, Rhonda took me thru the bone marrow transplant process from beginning to end, answering any and all questions I had lurking in the recesses of my fertile imagination.  I know doctors prefer not to scare you, so they tend to "soften" the language when describing certain medical procedures, especially ones that could end in a 21 gun salute, followed by the folding of Old Glory and sounding of TAPS. 

A half-marathon!  You know that's 13 plus miles, right?  Bless her heart. 

Since I'll be in the hospital for a month, maybe longer, Rhonda took the time to advise me on how to make the stay more comfortable, more home-like. Some items never occurred to me, some did.  Long ago I learned to bring my own clothes.  The hospital gown is simply unacceptable, as anyone who's been in the hospital knows. People close to me know my feelings about the person who invented that wonderful garment.

Our conversation was most productive and cleared up several things I was nervous about.  However, I do realize each person reacts to these transplants in different ways--according to research studies, most are devoid of the horror stories you hear about.  There will be some bumps in the road, I know this, and they'll be dealt with as they arise.  Rhonda had a few nasty items hit her too, but nothing her medical team couldn't handle. And today, medical teams can handle a great deal of trouble.   

I can't thank Rhonda Kokot enough for taking time out of her day--her weekend--to talk me down off the ledge. And to the CONRECO member who set up this meeting.  Blessings to you as well.  


Now on to the phone call I've been waiting for. You're probably thinking I was waiting for Rhonda Kokot's call.  Well, it was one of the calls I was waiting on, but not "the" phone call.

Last Thursday, one of my medical team members phoned me.  Christine's message was straightforward: that my donor still had a few routine tests to go thru but at this time they were able to "green light" my transplant. I must say, those words brought back the feelings of anxiety that only a first static line jump can create in the pit of your stomach. Some of you will understand what I'm talking about.

So, my orders are as follows:  The University of California Cancer Center will be expecting me May 4th for admission.  Chemo will begin soon after one medical procedure is complete--the installation of a chest catheter, not sure of the technical name.

On May 10th, my donor's bone marrow will arrive at Sacramento International, then transported to the cancer center. Soon after arrival, the bone marrow will begin flowing into my veins.

As a reminder, I will have a laptop and video at my bedside so I can document this process the best I can.  On those days when I'm not feeling well enough, Andrea Shea King will transcribe by phone to my blog anything of note.

That's it for now.  Updates will follow in the days to come. Blessings to all of you who've prayed for me.  Don't stop now!  


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