There is a lot to tell you. So much in fact, that any responsible blogger would break it into multiple posts. But we all know my style is far too reckless to bother with that so, hold onto your butts, I’m going in and you’re coming with me.
– I have to start with the thing that has been occupying most of my brain and heart for weeks now. My very dear cousin, Bonnie was recently diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. Bonnie won her battle against breast cancer years ago and so hearing a new diagnosis of cancer really took the entire family down at the knees. It does not seem fair that she should be called upon to fight a battle for her life again ever…let alone so quickly. I admit that I cried some very very angry tears as I learned what this diagnosis meant. This type of leukemia is rare and extremely aggressive. The odds I read online were not comforting and these were confirmed by Bonnie’s doctors. It all sounded very bad. They were the kind of odds you don’t want to hear. But we all vowed to do whatever we could to help and we started praying and asking our friends and their families to pray and we held on to the thin veil of hope and tried to strengthen that hope with our love for Bonnie and our intense prayers for more time with her.
After Bonnie’s first round of chemo, things were looking even more depressing. Bonnie had experienced debilitating side effects from the chemo and when her bone marrow biopsy showed that the chemo had not eradicated the cancer cells, she decided not to continue chemo. I felt devastated. I spent that night staring at the ceiling praying she would have a change of heart. I just couldn’t come to any peace with her decision. Apparently it worked because the next day Bonnie said she’d had a change of heart and would give one more round of chemo a try. But she warned us that the odds hadn’t improved and there were no guarantees.
I tried to temper my excitement because now the odds were even longer. I was afraid the chemo still would not work. But something kept inflating my spirit anyway and I tried to hold my expectations in check. But despite my efforts, I felt like we were on the precipice of a miracle. I had no reason to feel this way and I even prayed that if God intended to take her home soon that he would prepare my heart. After her second round of chemo, I was able to visit her and despite her fatigue, she was very much her happy self and I left the hospital feeling even more hopeful.
Then today as I was driving home from work, I felt my cell phone buzzing and I just knew it was news about Bonnie’s latest bone marrow biopsy. I’d had it on my mind all day. I was stuck in stand-still traffic on my commute home and so I took a risk and checked my cell phone for news as I wasn’t moving and I was right. The bone marrow biopsy was clear. There were no cancer cells. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I felt this rush of emotion so strong I literally screamed with the relief of it. I felt the tears of relief and joy running down my face as I screamed for a second time and then realized that my windows were open and the guys in the car next to me were looking at me like they fully expected my head to spin 360 degrees right before I took out my road rage in some newsworthy fashion.
I yelled, “it’s okay! They’re happy tears!” They looked incredulous so I explained and I was rewarded with enthusiastic rush hour high fives. Best feeling ever. I don’t think I could have felt any more excited if I’d won the lottery and accepted a proposal from Bradley Cooper at the same time. It was like the warm fuzzy feeling of every adorable cat video happening all at once. It was like new car smell, baby belly laughs, toes in the sand and standing up in the sunroof to feel the wind in your hair (don’t do that, it’s dangerous….but you probably did it at least once and so you know the feeling I’m talking about). It felt like my chest couldn’t contain it and I might have to scream again or risk exploding into a pile of confetti and streamers. It felt great.
Even now, I feel like I want to climb on the roof and scream out for joy but we all know how klutzy I am so I’ll settle for this blog and a few very enthusiastic Facebook posts and tweets.
There’s just one thing. One more hurtle to jump. And for this one, we need your help. Bonnie will still need a bone marrow transplant. Siblings have a 25% chance of being a match but both of Bonnie’s siblings have passed away. Extended family doesn’t have a statistically higher chance of being a match than the general population. So, if you are younger than 45 and are medically eligible, please register for the national bone marrow registry using http://www.bethematch.org. They will mail you a kit and it’s just a cheek swab. You mail it back and that’s it. If you are selected as a potential match for someone, you will be asked to undergo additional testing which would require a blood sample. About 1 in 40 donors might be asked to undergo this additional testing. About 1 in 300 will be selected as a match and about 1 in 500 will actually donate. You can find out if you’re medically eligible and what donating involves on the website. Please consider it and please share it with your friends. You could be the one that ends this fight for her. You could be the one that ends this chapter for all of us that love her. Please consider it.
-Speaking of people that have had to fight for their lives, remember Amazing Anne? Well, I hadn’t been pushing her story quite so much lately because she had some good job possibilities pop up but we recently found out that her best prospect didn’t work out. So, if you are a human and you know other humans anywhere in the world that might possibly know a human that is in the Orlando, FL area, please please please share Anne’s story with them. Anne also survived two different kinds of cancer and I know she’s destined to change the world. Someone just has to need her. It doesn’t matter if the field your friends are in match her “ideal” job or not because she is willing to learn and do anything. We can’t let a job hunt in a tough economy be the thing that breaks her spirit after being so strong facing cancer.
-For those of you that miss my food blogging, I haven’t forgotten about you. I’ve been spending a lot more time knitting lately. If my trading in my spatula for some knitting needles temporarily upsets you, you can blame all the fertile uteruses of my friends. I’ve had a lot of baby gifts to make. But fear not, it’s May and I live in Atlanta. Soon the idea of sitting around covered in yarn will be revolting until the weather starts cooling off again around late October. I may not want to run the oven but maybe we can discuss ice cream recipes.
I already have to report to you my recent findings related to vanilla extract. I promise not to take too terribly long to get that post together.
-Finally, I have to tell you that I’ve found some new, albeit time-consuming fun. I have a toddler cousin named Owen that gets ridiculously excited about large vehicles, especially busses. After suffering a terrible bout of insomnia, I took a stab at drawing him a school bus. I drew this in the app notability on my iPad free hand. I am absurdly proud of it.
I had such a good (and tedious) time drawing Owen a bus, I took a stab at drawing him my favorite vehicle: a fire engine
I’m sure most of you could have done a better job but for being freehand and drawn on an iPad with a stylus by someone with very little artistic ability, I thought they turned out fairly well. And, Owen loves them. I was trying to come up with a little story for him about the bus and fire engine but I’ve just been so darn busy. Do any of you have any favorite kids books featuring busses? Maybe if I don’t find time to make up a story, I could at least maybe read him one via FaceTime one evening or in person next time I visit.