Maintaining a Hopeful Attitude

▼ After being admitted overnight for my first chemo & other treatment.
If you know your hair is falling out next week, why wouldn’t you do this?
(put a water bottle inside and decorate with hospital gloves)

After being admitted overnight for my first chemo and all sorts of other things.  If you know your hair is about to fall out, do something fun with it! Like put a water bottle inside and decorate with hospital gloves, of course.

▼ “None but Jesus” at Soul City Church our last Sunday before it all began. Took out my phone in the middle of the song to snap a pic because I knew I’d need to remember that moment. 

"None but Jesus" at Soul City Church our last Sunday before it all began. Took out my phone in the middle of the song to snap a pic because I knew I'd need to remember that moment.

▼ One of my favorite nurses, Peggy! We had to put masks on whenever they needed to access the source of my PICC line. And in order to come in my room people had to put on these plastic gowns/gloves to decrease the chance of spreading germs.

One of my favorite nurses, Peggy. Had to put masks on whenever they needed to access the source of my PICC line.In order to come in my room people had to put these on to decrease the chance of spreading germs.

▼ My first blood transfusion. Pretty heavy getting someone else’s donated blood—makes you think about the total sacrifice of Christ, and how he freely shed ALL his blood to give us salvation.

My first blood transfusion. Pretty heavy getting someone else's donated blood—makes you think about the total sacrifice of Christ, and how he freely shed ALL his blood to give us salvation.

▼ FaceTiming with #jackiethadog of course.

And of course, there's #jackiethadog

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you to our church families, family and friends! All these incredible expressions of love, prayer, hope and support were a huge source of encouragement in my hospital room—I got lots of compliments on “my wall.”

A huge source of joy and encouragement! All the incredible expressions of love, prayer, hope and support from church families, family and friends!

10 Things Keith Did to Keep Us Afloat

At the Residence Inn during November or Northwestern Memorial Hospital during December…

10. He spent hours creating an entertainment center (basically getting the Apple TV, Xbox and internet FUNCTIONAL)! It was his mission. From NetFlix to HBO Go, iTunes, Pandora, Amazon Prime, and dozens of Breaking Bad DVDs, we pretty much had every show/service anytime. Continue reading

Love & My First Chemo

It was really scary being in a big city away from home when I couldn’t walk and didn’t know my way around. Keith made everything okay, but then he had to leave. He was contractually bound to play a gig a week after we got here so he had to fly home.

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Kelsey, one of my best friends, came to stay with me during that critical and scary time—bringing me to the hospital for my first chemo treatment/being admitted. Continue reading

In Chicago for 6-month evaluation

When I was in the hospital last year I was stuck to my computer, posting updates, photos and keeping everyone in the loop. Since getting home/Christmas, though, I haven’t stopped enjoying (and adjusting to) my new version of life. I’m sorry I neglected to update everyone!! I will do that now during this week—my 6ish-month evaluation—and share the photos I’ve been saving for you to see.

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Discharged!

Hey everybody!! I’m on my way home! I got discharged and we left the hospital. It was so fast I’m posting an update as soon as I could! Thank you all so much for your thoughts and prayers, and for loving me through all this.  It’s been a ride. And so begins part 2—life after the “hematopoietic autologous stem cell transplant.” But I’ll tell you a little about the final stuff at the hospital!

Well no, actually I keep closing my eyes so I’m just going to take a nap :) But I have lots of photos to share so please stay tuned bc I definitely want you to see them!!

Oh, good idea—I’ll include a teaser! Ok yes you’re right, two :)

Caption contest—post yours!

Caption contest—post yours!

Caption contest—post yours!

Caption contest—post yours!

We all have our thoughts/prayers… Can I be in yours today??

I’ve been thinking: I really love you as my friends. (Yes, FB friends, but I don’t really have friends on FB that I wouldn’t also call true friends in life.) So first, thank you for your friendship. 

Second, I consider myself blessed beyond measure to have such diversity among those I consider friends! 

I’m a Christian and I work in a church (I know, we AHS peeps never would have seen that coming 10 years ago).. But I was thinking about this a lot last night and I’m pretty sure I have just as many Muslim friends as Christian! And definitely many Hindu, Buddhist and Jewish friends. What a party!
AND many who don’t ascribe to a particular belief system, but would consider themselves spiritual…
AND lots who consider themselves agnostic or atheist—which was my dedicated worldview for 6 years before I became a Christian—so hey, shout out :)
HERE’S WHERE I’M HEADED W THIS: We each have our thoughts/prayers, whatever form that may take, and so I’m asking—can I be in yours today? Whether you are willing to have conversation with God, Allah, spend a few minutes in devotion/reflection, initiate some focused energy/meditation, or engage in positive thoughts around my circumstances—whatever flavor of intentional thought is yours—can you send it my way? And, can you like this post to show your response??

(Won’t this be a neat experience, too!? All of us joining together in committed thought around the same thing? That’s such a display of community! It would basically be the coolest social thing I could think of. And, the most humbling day of my life so far. Really.)

Here’s the specific deal: my white blood cell count has to rise from 0.4 to 1.0 today, in order to get discharged from the hospital after the stem cell transplant I’ve just undergone here in Chicago. So again I’m asking for your thoughts/prayers today on that front. What do you think, are you in!?

I love you,
Emily

GET THIS

MOMandDAD

My parents flew in today, and were very cautious to not catch anything on the notoriously germy plane ride. Thanks, Mom & Dad!

[Keith is flying home tomorrow to be back for Christmas Eve (kind of the Super Bowl when you work at a church so he totally has to be home)].

AND GET THIS… Part I: I’ve been quietly aware of having stopped using my left hand/arm for anything (Had a flare-up earlier this year when I lost the feeling & coordination there). I was painting yesterday & using a messy/painterly style.. And just started precisely smearing w my left hand.. Regular brush stroke w my right and smear w my left. It was like my whole arm woke up from a coma. Was so blown away and feeling like a true miracle. The first “whoa”

Part II: When we were telling my parents about this tonight I remembered another thing from my flare-up earlier this year… Based on where the new lesion was in my MRI at the time, my neuro showed me how when I quickly dropped my chin to chest I’d get an electric-shock-type of feeling down my spine + left arm. [Been that way ever since, of course #mssucks]

But tonight I couldn’t make that happen. No matter how many times or how quickly I did it. It’s gone. What a tangible display of healing… I’m still processing. And how could you not cry, explaining that to your beautiful, also-teary-eyed parents?