To Love a Rose: An Ethiopian Adoption Journal

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Pictures from the Cancer Battlefield, Part 14: TRANSPLANT PARTY!

Today was mom's REbirthday!  All the months upon months of chemotherapy have been to get to this point - transplant.  God has been so good to her and all of us.  We know we have been blessed, and I know that we have learned to never take one single day of life for granted.

Mom's donor was in Europe (roughly 7 hours ahead of us); so, last night a little after midnight we started praying for him.  As it turns out, because of when the cells arrived here in Chicago, we can know that we were praying for the donor right around the time they were harvesting his stem cells 1/2 a world away - SO COOL!

The cells arrived earlier than expected (around 3 p.m.), and then were processed by the lab here at the CTCA.  At 5:54 p.m., mom's transplant began...and thus her new life of total restoration and divine health!

I will let the pictures below speak for themselves, but I want to reiterate how very grateful we are to mom's donor, her doctors, her nurses, her fellow stem cells patients and their families, and everyone here at the Cancer Treatment Center of America.  She was told her situation was hopeless (stage four Philadelphia positive adult acute lymphoblastic leukemia DOES seem pretty hopeless when looking through the eyes of the world); but they NEVER turned her away and NEVER gave up hope.

And of course, I have to thank God above for seeing her through.  He is Jehovah Rapha, "the God who heals you"; and He has made good on every promise He has made to my mother.  I am not naive, I know the outcome could have been different; so I rejoice every day that He has blessed us with more time together.

Both of mom's doctors got a bag like this.  Dr. Redei got a bottle of chocolate wine from our favorite coffee/wine shop in Branson, MO - Vintage Paris.  Dr. Abutalib got a bag of gourmet, cola-flavored coffee (his two faves are Pepsi and coffee).

Banner I made mom for her hospital room.
A closer view of the banner I made for mom.
Decorations above at head of her hospital bed.
Mr. C made a couple of these Eiffel Towers for mom's room.  The trophy in the back is from one of mom and dad's employee's sons.  Both boys race carts and gave their first trophies of the season to mom, because "She's a winner!"  SO adorable!
One side of mom's room.
The other side of mom's room.
Mom's doorway.
My attempt at drawing "la tour Eiffel" - haha!
Mom napping before transplant.  Her numbers were quite low today (which is normal and what they want), but she was very tired.
Words of inspiration from the chaplain.
Mom wearing the cute, pink mustache we got her.
Dad and mom taking a moment.
Channeling Inspector Poirot. ;-)
Mom and her nurse, Kim.
Mom and PCT, Lisa.
I made treat bags for all the nurses and doctors and other friends of ours around the hospital to celebrate mom's REbirthday.
Inside each bag was a hand-made chocolate mustache on a stick, a party noise-maker, a bag of Ghiradelli chocolate squares and Jelly Bellies in cappuccino and French vanilla flavors, and a stick-on mustache.
A few of the chocolate mustaches that Mr. C and I made.
We made cupcakes for the doctors and nurses.
Nancy, Kim, and Ron bringing in mom's donor's stem cells (ie: mom's new immune system)!
Making sure everything's right.
Mom was ZONKED during/after transplant!  LOTS of steroids and Benadryl given beforehand...she slept pretty much the entire time.  Prograf is anti-rejection medication.
Mom and the "three elves".
Mom and Dr. Redei - photo taken a few days ago when she was admitted for transplant.
Dr. Abutalib with his "cola coffee".

There were so many pictures from today and the past few days, I had a hard time choosing which to post here; but I hope you can see how joyful we all feel and are about this milestone in mom's healing journey.  Every day she is going to feel better and better!

We are so thankful to all of you for your support and continued prayers.  We will never be able to thank you enough!

Love and Blessings to You and Yours,


  1. Awesome pictures and great day for the family!!! We are praying and rooting for our "badger" and her family!!!! You guys have touched so many lives.

    A vaincre sans péril, on triomphe sans gloire. Bon anniversaire!


  2. Of all the pictures in this post, the one that made me tear up was the one of your mom's donor cells being brought in. What an amazing gift her donor has given.

    Thanks for sharing photos of this happy day. Your mother will continue to be in my thoughts and prayers.

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