To Love a Rose: An Ethiopian Adoption Journal

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Pictures from the Cancer Battlefield, Part 6: MERCI MONSIEUR!

Mom in an out-patient room today getting infused with her antibiotics and fluids while checking her mail.

Well, it's been a while since I've written a "Cancer Battlefield" update; so, here you go!  And trust me, it's a good one:


The match is REALLY good, around 9.5 out of 10; which is simply fabulous!  The non-matching parts can simply be removed through a process which I can only assume is magic. ;-)  But seriously, her doctors are both really excited for her (they literally were throwing around smiles, hugs, and high fives); and, of course, we (the family) is too!

Right now, she is out-patient; but tomorrow she will have another intrathecal (this is where they do a lumbar puncture, remove some spinal fluid for testing, and inject chemotherapy directly into the spinal column.  She has to have one of these done with every round of chemo; so, she will have had 8 total, by the time the transplant comes around.  She also has to have at least 4 clean bone marrow biopsies before they will do transplant; so far, she has had 3 come back CLEAN already.  She is waaaay ahead of schedule, PRAISE GOD!

After the intrathecal tomorrow, she will be in-patient (meaning she has to stay in the hospital day and night in a room with nurses on the floor ready to assist should she need anything) again starting Round Three, Part A of her chemo.  There is a "part A" and "part B" to each round.  She will have 4 rounds total before transplant, making a total of 8 parts or sections of chemo.  So, she is halfway done - woo hoo!

We also have moved into an apartment in nearby Waukegan, IL.  It's not fancy, but it's nice to have a place to go other than the guesthouse; which is essentially just hotel rooms.  We have two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen/living room/dining room area, our own laundry, Wi-Fi, etc.  It's so nice to have a "home" here to come back to for some relaxation and time away from the CTCA.

So, anyway, back to the good part: mom's donor!  Really, all we were told is that it is a French man.  So, when it gets closer to transplant, he will be given Neupogen to up his stem cell production drastically.  Then, in a procedure much like a mixture of a blood-draw and dialysis, the "baby" stem cells will be harvested from his blood.  They will then be frozen and shipped here to the CTCA where the lab will remove the 5% or so that didn't match mom perfectly before giving it to her. 

Then, over the course of a day or maybe two, she will receive the stem cells in the same way she would receive a blood transfusion - "easy".  As her body takes them in and they begin to grow (the famous "100-day post-transplant wait"), these new, healthy, cancer-free stem cells will be sucked into mom's body and used where needed (ie: new, cancer-free bone marrow).  I'm amazed and beyond glad that they know how to do things like this.  Without treatments such as these, my mom and so many others would die from cancers like lymphoma and leukemia, including many, MANY children (in fact, the kind of cancer mom had is the most common type of cancer in children).  We are SO BLESSED to live in the here and now where God has given brilliant men and women the ability to help give LIFE back to their fellow human beings!  AMEN!

We may never get to know anything more about our heroic Frenchman (donors identities are kept secret unless they specify otherwise); so, all I can say is MERCI BEAUCOUP, MONSIEUR FRENCHMAN!  Without your selflessness, my mother would never get to see her soon-to-be grandchild, continue her crafting and sewing that she loves so much, take those trips she's wanted to go on so badly, or live out the rest of her years with her husband and family.  I will NEVER be able to thank you enough - how could I?! - but I want you to know, wherever you are out there in the world, that I am praying for many blessings and gifts to rain down upon you from God.  THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for giving us more hope, more years, more love, more joy!  We are so very grateful for you!

All the Love in the World,


  1. So, so happy for your mom and your family!!! Thanks be to God and the French man that God found and put on his heart to donate!! Give your mom my love and prayers continue for her and all of you!!

  2. Hi Mandy,
    Thanks for the good news update on your mom. I love how you write...your voice is clear and beautiful. My thoughts are with all of you! Will be praying for Kari.
    I lived in Northbook IL for quite a few years. Sort of know what it's like where you are staying. Glad you can be in an apartment for relaxation. Take care.
    Thinking of you!
    Ann Hektoen

  3. What a life-giving story to tell throught the generations! Amen!!

    -Carol Meyers

  4. Impressive , like the story, learned a lot.Heard many but this was the best. thanks for sharing
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