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 http://www.marrow.org/ 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 email@example.com. 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.