Wednesday, July 18, 2012

4th 5K

Every July 4th our boys start the holiday by running in our towns Freedom Fest 5k run! That is Collin in the orange shirt. Somehow I lost the picture of Austin at the start of the race.

 Austin didn't feel very good on race morning, but still ran a pretty good race.
 Collin ran an awesome race!
 He actually beat Austin!

 Austin came in about 30 sec behind Austin!
 Collin won his age group! He was 12th overall out of about 400 runners!
Austin was 8th in his age group, and 17th overall!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


 Our last night of vacation we opted for a sunset dolphin cruise. After a great last day on the beach we headed back to the Harbor Walk to board the Sea Blaster!

 The winds had picked up in the afternoon, and when we lest the bay the water was a little rough! Paige was not so sure about being on a boat that was being tossed around! Because of the rough water we were worried that we wouldn't get to see any dolphins!
 We were wrong!
 We saw several different groups of dolphins swimming! They were really cool to watch!

 My happy, wind blown family! We had an amazing vacation!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Good eats

One of the best things about vacation is all the great places you get to eat! When else do you eat out 5 nights in one week.

 Destin has a lot of great places to eat! We mostly ate at touristy places. The food was really good, but the prices pretty high! Note for next year, budget more money for food!The Crab Trap was right across the street from the house we stayed in. We ate there Sunday night. Graffiti's was the one local place we ate at. It was a cool pizza place. The walls were covered with art that local artist had done. All of the art was for sale.

 McGuire's is a cool place that has $1 bills all over the walls, ceiling, everywhere! They have great steaks!
 Harry T's is at the Harbor Walk and so is the Crazy Lobster. Of the 2 I would recommend Harry T's!

Destin 2012

Last week we spent our family vacation in Destin Florida with two other families.

We had a great time! Six adults and six kids!

I didn't really pack clothes for us to do pictures, but I think these turned out pretty good!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Step III (really long post!)

                            This is the part of the whole process where things kinda go crazy!
 The original plan was for me to be a peripheral blood stem cell donor (PBSC). This type of donation is done through a process called apheresis. It's kind of like donating platelets. They place needles in both arms, draw blood out, run it through a machine, pull out what they need, and put back what they don't need. In order to donate this way you have to take shots of filgrastim for 5 days before your donation. The shots are used to up your blood counts for donation. (this is the same medicine they give cancer patients to raise their blood counts for treatment). The shots can make your bones ache and make you feel like you have the flu.I was really not looking forward to these shots, but wasn't to worried.
                                 Friday June 1st- The day of my first shot!
We had arranged for me to be able to have all of my shots at Dr. White's office. The first one would be given by Lacey Dr. White's nurse then the others would be given by Dr. Barton over the weekend. I arrived at the office at 8 for my first shot! Lacey had everything ready. I had to answer questions about how I am feeling, she took my pulse and BP, then she gave me the shot. It didn't hurt to bad, the medicine did sting a little going in. For this first shot I had to stay for about 20 min to make sure I didn't have an allergic reaction. Nothing happened and I was allowed to leave.
Looking back now I really didn't feel to good that morning! I just thought I was nervous, and tired (I didn't sleep to good the night before). As the day went on I felt really tired and had a headache. About 5:30 a huge wave of nausea hit me! I remember it! I was sitting out on the front porch watching it rain! I told Gary Don I was going to go in and lay down, I barely made it in, before the first vomiting hit! O.k. this had me worried! This is a symptom that I was supposed to call my coordinator about! So I made the first call! She was shocked to hear I was vomiting! At this point I had only been sick once, she told me to rest and text her if I was sick again. For the next hour I had it coming from both ends pretty much constantly. After several text back and forth everyone is thinking I must have a stomach bug or food poisoning. No one has ever had this kind of reaction after the first shot! After a long night I head back to the Dr. for shot number 2, and instructions for the nurse to call my donor coordinator before the shot is given. Did I mention at this point I am still vomiting! My mom came over to take me to the Dr, Because Gary Don and Austin had left for Little Rock for the State Trap Competition. When Dr. Barton saw me he was very uncertain about giving me the shot. After several calls between Dr Barton, the donor coordinator, and the medical director for be a match, it was determined that I would not have shot number 2! I left there with a prescription for phenagrin and hopes to return on Sunday to resume the shots!
    Side bar- at this point the person who is to receive my donation is taking high doses of chemotherapy, and if I am unable to donate they will likely die. Knowing this did not help my stress level!
I went home took a pill and went to sleep! I was feeling a little better by Saturday night, ate very little soup, and a couple of crackers, all of which stayed down. I slept pretty good, and woke up feeling o.k.  After everyone else left for church I thought I was feeling good enough to attempt Sunday school. I showered, got around, ate a piece of dry toast and drank ice water. I made it to class, sat about 5 min and realized I had way over done it! Left and came back home! Tried to take another phenagrin pill, couldn't keep it down. Gary Don came home from church and took me to the clinic again. Dr. Barton took one look at me and said no way he would give me the filgrastim shot! Instead he gave me a phenagrin shot! Liquid fire right in my bum!!! This shot really hurt! Came home went back to bed!
Later in the evening the donor coordinator called me and asked if I would be willing to change my donation process to the traditional bone marrow harvest! Yikes! this meant a surgical procedure, and more recovery time! How could I say no....Knowing that a "no" would mean death for my patient! Knowing that Teresa had sat in a room with Michael waiting for cells to arrive, knowing that something could go wrong! I said yes, but that I was worried about going into the procedure less than 100%. At this point I had not had a meal since Friday at lunch!
Because the change of procedure would require an O.R. we were unsure of where this harvest would take place! If an O.R was not available in Tulsa on Tuesday, the other option would be to fly to Georgetown Medical Center in Washington D.C. because they have a dedicated O.R. just for bone marrow harvesting! Had I felt better at this point that would have been an exciting option, but it really just sounded exhausting!
Monday morning I received word that Tulsa could do the procedure first thing Tuesday morning, and that we should head to Tulsa that night as planned!
Gary Don and I arrived in Tulsa around 8, checked into the hotel, and set out to find him some dinner. At this point I still had not eaten a full meal, but was feeling much better! He wanted steak, so we wen to Outback. I ordered a steak and baked potato also, and ate the whole potato and a few bites of steak!
We had to be a the hospital at 5a.m. for pre-op blood work and test!
First I had to pee in a cup, then a blood draw, then we were placed in a out patient pre-op room. I was very nervous!!! Everyone at the hospital was very nice, and appreciative of what I was doing! When the anaesthesiologist came in to talk about the procedure, he asked if I was nervous, i replied yes and he ordered 2 ativan(sp?) for me! After that things get fuzzy for me! I remember being wheeled to the operating room, waiting outside of it and meeting the surgical nurse, and being wheeled into the operating room. After that I don't really remember much! Next thing I remember is waking up in a room, Gary Don being there, and I think I remember seeing Dr. Lynch. I was told that they took 750ml of Bone Marrow from my hip bones! We stayed all day, most of which I don't remember! We were discharged, and I vaguely remember getting into the wheelchair and leaving the hospital!
The 2 hour drive home is also a blur, I guess that is good! I slept o.k. Tuesday night and slept off and on all day Wednesday! Austin was here to take care of me Wednesday and he did a great job! Thursday things were better and by Friday I was beginning to feel a little more like myself!
The whole process really was not that bad!I have 5 puncture sites across my lower beak, and a lot of bruising. I think If I would have been 100% before hand it would have been even better! Over the weekend I was still very tired, and sore, but it gets a little better everyday! I was able to help at VBS this week, and come home in the afternoons and rest!
Everyone asks about the recipient- We may never know anything! He was scheduled to receive my cells on Thursday June 7th, that is all I know.
Everyone also asks if I would do it again....I hope I would say yes without hesitation as I did this time!

May 22- Step II

On Tuesday May 22nd, after graduating from preschool, Ann, Lori, and I headed off to Tulsa for my physical. The first stop was at the doctor's office who would be overseeing my donation. This stop was a little over whelming. The doctor is an oncology doctor. (I didn't get a picture of his office.)Sitting in his office waiting room seeing people in the middle of the fight of their lives was very humbling. It made the whole process of bone marrow donation very real. While here I met Dr.Lynch, his P.A. Erin, and Janice the donor coordinator. Erin preformed a physical, and they all asked a lot of questions.I got to share a little of Michael's story with them when they asked how I got on the BE A MATCH registry. They also thanked me over and over for my willingness to donate.

After leaving the oncology office we had to travel across town to the hospital lab for another blood draw. After the blood draw we had to go to another office across the street for an EKG and a cheat X-ray.  Thru this whole process and all the testing I kept wondering if they were going to find something wrong with me.

After a long afternoon of testing for me and shopping for my friends we ended our time in Tulsa with a yummy dinner at Abuealos.

On the Saturday after the physical I was called and told that I had the final approval to donate!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Little did I know.....

Little did I know two years ago when I went to Rocktober Feast to support a friend, who's son was in need of a bone marrow transplant, that I would get a letter in April of 2012!

The letter arrived asking if I was still interested in being a donor, and that I was a possible match for a patient in need. I went online and updated my contact information like the letter asked. A couple of weeks went by and I didn't hear anything. Then I received a phone call.
Them: You have been identified as a possible match for a patient. Are you still interested in proceeding?
Me: Yes
I was asked to answer a health information form online and submit it.
That done I was left waiting again, wondering if I would be chosen. week later I got another phone call. This one confirmed me as a match for an adult male with Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma. A time was arranged for a lengthy phone conference.
On May 9th I had my phone conference, I haven't talked on the phone that long since high school!
Step I: Last Monday (May 14) I went to a lab in Fort Smith for some lab work. The woman working at the lab was wonderful and in no time at all had taken 7 viles of blood from my left arm! I jokingly asked if I was going to have any blood left when she was done! The blood was sent to 3 different locations. Some will be tested for infectious disease (hope those are all negative), some will be used for further testing to insure that I
am the best possible match, and some will be kept on file for research studies.
Step II will take place this Tuesday May 22nd, I travel to Tulsa (I have recruited 2 great friends to travel with me! Thanks Ann and Lori) to meet with the Doctor to make sure I am physically fit to donate, and some more tests. EKG and chest x-ray.
Donation is set for June 5th if all goes according to plan!