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?

Go-time

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Ok fam it’s go time..

My blood counts started rising (a big celebration for us stem cell patients!), so can you join me in praying specifically for my WBC to shoot all the way up to 1.0 by sometime tomorrow?! That’s what is necessary for my discharge, which we’re all (us & medical team) hoping/expecting to occur tomorrow. But it all comes down to that WBC getting to 1.0!

“Thanks & I love you guys!”

I want to extend a huge, “Thanks & I love you guys!” to the men of Christ Church…

They wanted to do something to support and encourage me in my journey, and came together for a head-shaving event last Saturday, plus others doing it on their own at home. SO COOL to have the men of the church & leadership do something so honoring — you guys rock and I’m moved by your love and respect. Check out these pics I’m getting printed for my hospital room :)

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We’re Back – [Guest Post from Keith]

Well we’re back in Chicago. And it’s go-time. The last few months have felt like go-time, but this really is go-time.

After a much-needed quick trip home for Thanksgiving, Emily and I arrived back 6 days ago. 5 of them, she’s been in the hospital. She just finished her 4th (and last) day of chemo yesterday. Her last ATG treatment was overnight last night. ATG is a heavy-duty immunosuppressant. And today is the big day where the 32 million stem-cells will be reintroduced to Emily’s blood. From there, the docs will monitor her blood count, give her transfusions as needed, and wait for her nearly non-existent immune system to show some life again.

The main thing people have asked is, “How is she doing with the chemo?” I’m thrilled to report that outside of some fatigue, she hasn’t experienced many side-effects. She’s had very little nausea, which has been quickly treated by meds (and Queazy Drops from Tamara). The docs say that the chemo affects everyone differently, and no doubt God’s grace has been shown by how it’s affected, or not affected, Emily.
Two last things before I go:
1 – Emily is handling everything like a pro. There is a lot of resting and sleeping, but as you might expect, her joyful attitude and wackiness (in a good way) have brought smiles to all the nurses and patients we come in contact with. Her enthusiastic attitude has also kept her spirits positive in situations where most people’s may not be. We know this is because of God’s peace and strength, and through the prayers of our friends, family and even strangers.
2 – If you know us well, you know that Emily and I are both talkers. We like to have fun and are never short on words. But honestly, when it comes to the support and love we’ve been shown by everyone, we really don’t know what to say. We have talked many times about how amazing it has all been. From the outpouring of financial gifts…to the hourly prayer times…to the texts just saying she’s being prayed for…to simply reading this blog…we know that it’s all provision from God and because we are well loved. So thank you.
Please keep praying that Emily would respond well to the rest of the meds, transfusions, treatment, etc. She already has some ideas and plans for blogging once she feels better. Comment on her blogs and let her know that you are reading.
Thanks!
Keith

Hair PART 2: Marital Moment of Head Shaving

If you’re looking for PART 1

My hair started seriously falling out Friday. By Saturday night my head was itching so much I wasn’t able to fall asleep until 4:30. SO annoying! It drove me NUTS!!! So I asked Keith to shave my head ASAP.

I cut as much hair as I could, we went out on our deck Sunday afternoon and shaved my head #likeaboss. (Except not really, because I was kind of yipping when he would get close to my face, and we’d laugh.)

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Honestly we had fun. If our neighbors saw us I’m sure they thought we had lost our minds.
In the end we decided this was one of our favorite marital moments :)