No More Chemo // Letter From My Donor

Today has been amazing in a variety of ways.

First, it is National Nurse’s Day. I spent the morning reflecting on all of the nurses that have cared for me over the past half-decade. They have been such a huge part of my life and it is difficult to imagine a life without them.

Ironically, the day became eventful when I received a call from my transplant team. After a great amount of thought, conversation, consideration, and prayer: We have decided it is best for me to stop chemo.

We had anticipated I would do chemo until June. The last two weeks though, I have struggled to make counts and we have had to postpone chemo.

Ultimately, I would only have time for one more round between now and June. My team and I have determined that this last round would not necessarily be impactful enough to risk further damaging my freshly donated bone marrow.

While I have been in remission for over a year, we have continued chemo in hopes of remaining that way. We have always known that I can not do chemo forever, but my body is starting to actually show signs of weariness. It has been a balance of killing the bad without killing too much of the good.

I knew this was coming, but it is still frustrating to know that my body can only do so much. Yet, I remind myself that 35 rounds of chemo is exceptional.

With all of this being taken into consideration, we have determined that it is in my best interest to stop chemo. This is good news, yet the unknown is daunting.

We will biopsy my bone marrow again on May 19 to reassure ourselves that I am still in remission. I am nearly as far out from Transplant 2.0 as I was from my first transplant when I last relapsed. Relapse is still a real scare, but I am optimistic for the future.

Please keep me in your prayers as I venture back into the unstable world of no treatment. Pray that my marrow recovers and the leukemia stays away.

That is not all of the good news I received today!

I was surprised to get a call from my transplant coordinator informing me that she has a letter for me from my donor. I had wrote him several months back. After all he has done for me, I did not expect for him to take the time to write me as well. I simply wanted to thank him for giving me a second chance at life and wish him the best.

The only information I have about him is that he is a male, the same age as me, European, our HLA markers were a 10/10 match, and he has a an 0 positive blood type (meaning I do too now). Despite knowing so little, I agree with him as he so kindly worded that there is an “extraordinary connection between the two of us.”

I have been quite emotional since getting this letter. The gratitude I have for this person is immense. I hope you find as much joy as I do in reading it:

Overall, today has been a great day. The decision to stop chemo and the news of word from my donor has brought more than a smile to my face.

I hope that each of you take my donor’s advice as well and enjoy life to the fullest. If anything, this experience has reiterated how fragile mortality is for all of us.

Finally, I want to encourage each of you to join the bone marrow registry! It is extremely easy and you might be blessed with an experience similar to the one my donor and I have had.

For more information, click HERE!

Donor Lymphocyte Infusions

I rarely share the nitty gritty about treatment, but today is different. With every type of treatment I have done, I have been able to talk to someone who had done it before. When I started this treatment of DLIs, that changed. I still do not personally know anyone who has done this. To have been able to have talked to someone when I was first started would have immensely helped my mental health. My hope is that by documenting this while it is all still so fresh, is that someone, somewhere, one day, will benefit from my experiences. … Read More Donor Lymphocyte Infusions

Round 35 + COVID 19

This week, I am completing my 35th round of chemo! It always blows my mind when I stop and think about the amount of treatment I have completed (and likely still have to go). Treatment has been part of my daily life for five years, so sometimes the numbers just get away from me. I… Read More Round 35 + COVID 19

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