Well, I am sitting here by the sunny window in Abby's room at the hospital listening to "Good Good Father" by Housefires. I have had my doubts these past months if I'm honest. No one would blame me. It's been a rough few months. But there have been a ton of things I've experienced during this time that have also strengthened my faith in God's character and his love. I don't have any answers but I have my relationship with God and for that I am very thankful. There is hope, God is still in control even though brokenness seems to be winning out in Abby's body right now.
But....I didn't start this post to talk about the big questions of life. I wanted to update you all on what's coming up pretty quickly. On Tuesday this week Mark, Abby, my folks, and myself sat in this room for 4 hours in front of a white board and Dr. Craddock hearing about all that goes into and comes out of a bone marrow transplant. It was fascinating and frightening all at the same time. It gave us all hope and filled us with fear. It was a long and full 4 hours. The procedure itself is a bit anti-climactic. It's just like a blood-transfusion. It takes about an hour. Getting the cells from Anna or Lily is a bigger deal than it is for Abby to receive them. We will know soon which sister gets to donate. Lily has been asking God to make it her. And then we wait for the new cells to engraft. Before the procedure Abby will get total body radiation and a big chemo drug to wipe out her bone marrow. She gets 3 treatments of the radiation. We aren't too excited about that. As you all probably know, radiation has a lot of lasting side effects. Margaret Feinberg likened cancer treatment decisions to being placed before a table with a knife, a gun, poison, and a bow and arrow and being told to pick. Not which one but which order. Of course, without the treatments, cancer is deadly on it's own. So, we walk the fence of a love/hate relationship with cancer treatments. Dr. Craddock was almost giddy that we have two matched sibling donors. There's about a less than 1 percent chance of that. God is good. When Anna and Lily were being formed inside of me, he made sure their chromosome 6 had all the same protein markers as Abby's. Amazing. That's a sobering thought for me, that he knew then what we would go through now and provided what we are all hoping will be the thing that saves Abby. Matched sibling donors mean that all the graft verses host issues that come up should be lessened. There are a lot of those. Stuff I don't even want to list. We'll just stay on the side of being optimistic. So the big things to come are the radiation and chemo before and all the side effects of those that will make her feel crumby going into the transplant, and the risk of infections (viral, fungal, bacterial) that will stay with her for a year after but be extremely high for the first 30 days post transplant. There is still the possibility that her body will reject the new marrow so you can pray for that as well. Feel free to leave comments if you have any questions or encouragement for us! The whole thing is scheduled to start March 7th with two weeks of work-up testing to see if there is any infection or potential for infection hiding out in Abby's body anywhere. Then the radiation is scheduled for March 22-25 and she will be admitted on Friday, March 25th. The procedure is scheduled for March 30th.