Friday, September 30, 2011

Matchmaker, Matchmaker, Make Me a Match

Written Thursday evening, September 29

Got some disappointing news this morning. Lindsey nor I are a match for Jenny's bone marrow. The doctors were looking at markers on our cells called HLA markers. Lindsey matched 3 of the 6 markers, and I only matched 1. This news means the doctors are now moving to the next step in securing a donor: UNRELATED MATCHES. Essentially, "unrelated matches" means ANYONE except Jen's sisters or parents.

Signing up to be a bone marrow donor is a very easy process. If you would like to sign up, please visit and click "Join the Registry." They will send you a kit where you swab the inside of your cheek and send it back to them. You will then be placed in the registry as a bone marrow donor. PLEASE READ ALL THE INFORMATION, INCLUDING THE DISCLAIMERS.

Signing up to be "Jennifer's bone marrow donor" isn't the way this works (little did I know). When you join the bone marrow donor organization, you could possibly match her's, but you may match someone else in need of a transplant (or, you may not match anyone at all!). With that said, please know they may be calling you to be a donor for someone other than Jen. Of course, you can refuse but donating marrow to a stranger would be a life-saving donation, exactly the same situation we find ourselves in. And, as a friend of Matt's put it this afternoon, "Bone marrow I donate may match someone whose sister is a match for Jen...It's kind of a pay-it-forward way to look at it." This logic really made sense to me, so I'm planning on signing up as a donor even though mine will never match Jen's.

The biopsy of her bone marrow was performed this afternoon and the results should be in, at the earliest, tomorrow. If not tomorrow, then Monday. I asked Matt how the biopsy went, and this is how he put it: "Biospsy went well, and she slept some after due to the sedation. They were actually able to draw this time. During the first biopsy, they had trouble getting anything because the marrow was so full of cancerous cells. Their ability to get more this time hopefully means the amount of cancerous cells are decreasing. This is merely speculation, but I am hopeful it correlates to a decrease in tumor burden."

One more quick plug, as if asking you for your bone marrow isn't enough! Jen's 31st birthday is a week from today. If you haven't had the chance yet, please video yourself (from your phone would be great) wishing her a birthday message. Email the message to  Even if you don't feel like you know her well enough to do this, I assure you, this is definitely one of those cases where "the more the merrier!" Remember: Visitors are so limited right now that any familiar face will warm her heart. If you've never even met her and still want to send a message- fantastic! (Just include how you know of her so it won't be creepy.) Be as creative (or uncreative) as you like. Looking forward to making this a very special day for her and appreciate any help you can give us.

I helped her out today with her bath and washing her hair....It is starting to come out. Before I left for the weekend, she said, "When you come back, there might not be any left..." After a long pause, "Oh well, it's just hair." Well, it's not 'oh well' in my book. I'm sad. Sad about this whole darn thing. Sad that she can't come home with me from the hospital everyday when I have to leave her. Sad that her mouth hurts so bad she can't eat. Sad about (and terrified of!) the drugs in her blood that are literally burning her insides. Sad that she gets light-headed from a shower. Sad that Lindsey and I can't be matches and sad knowing it disappointed her we weren't.

While it might not be 'oh well' in my thoughts, attitude and emotions right now, it can be WELL with my soul. Out of the overflow of my soul, this WELLNESS will seep into all the rest of me...

"When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul." -Horatio Spafford

Father, You have taught us, "In all things, give thanks." Thank you for this news today. Thank you that we are not getting an easy match. Once again, it brings us to our knees before you- which is right where we need to be. Thank you for handcrafting Jennifer, Lindsey, and me each so uniquely that only a few of our markers even match! You are remarkable. Thank you that we can trust you have a better plan for Jennifer's bone marrow. Thank you for caring about 'little things' like hair. Thank you for being the Supplier of the 'well' that can be found in our souls. Father, thank you for this trial. For through it, we are certain, we will be brought closer to You. We praise You because You are the same God yesterday, today, and forever and we can count on You, not to do what we will, but Your will. And it is always perfect.


  1. Hey Jennifer, 4th time I have tried to share this word with you, must really be a word that God has placed on my heart that you need today. Quote from Babbie Mason, Grace Keepers Women's Conference, Sept.8,2007 " The TEST is necessary, James 1:2-4, Jesus has to get us out, to get Him in, He only tests something that is usable and can serve His purpose." Father God, I ask that You fill every cell of Jennifer's body with You, perfect in every way, You said, that every perfect and good gift is from You above, I am claiming that for Jennifer today, in Your name, Jesus Christ, amen.

  2. Praying for you all. I have been on the donor list for over 18 years now since Danny first bone marrow disease. There is also a Facebook page for the national bone marrow called be the match. Jennifer, I remember you as a young teen spending time in Sallis with my niece Andrea Roberts. Know that we are praying for you, Matt, and both of your families. I love Jamie Sample like my own family. God Bless you and keep you ;). Sheri Burrell

  3. Jennifer, you continue to be foremost in our prayers daily. We are praising the Lord for your healing, which we are confident that He is already doing. David and Russell joined the national bone marrow registry several years ago. We are praying for the Lord to find the right donor for you. Love in Christ, David and Beverly Casteel

  4. Jennifer, my sweet girl. I have only learned of your illness tonight. You will appreciate that something from your past quickly came to mind. My thoughts return to homeroom so many years ago as I watch you close your eyes and free fall to the floor knowing that Randy would ALWAYS catch you. The first time you did it I nearly fainted. You told me not to worry, that you trusted him to always catch you, and I looked him in the eye and he said, "I'll never drop her!" Those trust falls may be coming to mind now to remind us that Jesus will always be there to catch you, and has you in His arms as we speak. Keep your eyes on Him and your faith strong and the victory will be yours in His name! With much love, Frances Cain-Bigby

  5. Lauren, your prayer was so perfect, the one about God's will for us, and how it is always perfect! You are so right! It is perfect, even whenever we don't FEEL that it's perfect! Dr. Burge taught us the verse on being thankful in every circumstance, and I try to do, as you did, and thank God for the bad times, as well as the good. As you said, the bad times keep us close to Him. May God bless all of you! You are in my prayers! Ann (Breedlove)


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.