We felt with it being the start of a new year that we would share an incredible story from 2014 in honor of our sweet baby boy - intending that it may provide somebody with inspiration, faith and possibly even hope.
Shortly after Wesson was diagnosed in 2011 Logan and I and most of our closest family members were encouraged to join the Be The Match Bone Marrow Registry, as chances were quite high that he would need a bone marrow transplant.
So join we did.
It wasn't but a short two days or so after arriving at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital that rapid evaulation was done and it was recieved that Wesson's cancer was rapid, aggressive and quite terminal.
Logan, Keegan and I were quickly HLA typed (HLA - Human Leukocyte Antigen or our "genetic markers"). A test done to identify matched tissue types for transplants.
The results came back quickly - in hopes to move forward with a treatment plan.
None of us were potential matches.
I know that they began to look farther into the registry for the perfect match for his HLA type, and to this day because it was irrelevant I'm not even sure if they found one.
A simple matched bone marrow transplant became an unforseeable option as his cancer was unresponsive to treatment.
Our options became a high risk and sort of "new" and yet very promising stem cell transplant using mismatched donors. With hopes of reaching a "graft vs leukemia" effect where the new immune system responds by killing off the new "foreign" residual leukemia cells, and continues to do so.
Logan became Wesson's first donor. And his cells worked beautifully. Just as expected.
Wesson went into remission for at least a couple of days when his intelligent cancer cells mutated rapidly to appear completely identicle to Logan's new donated immune system.
His cancer came back more rapid than ever before and we had no more time.
I quickly became the perfect donor match for Wesson as a full mismatch to his cancer cells due to this mutation.
An incredibly high risk transplant known to completely deteriorate any residual cancer cells with high potential for a complete cure.
Only Wesson was in no condition for another stem cell transplant.
And so the story goes.
The point here was not to repeat Wesson's story with hopes for a new ending.
I do however like to reminisce from time to time; as Wesson's transplant physician had once said - it really was an incredibly poetic journey.
To cure our son it would take a mother and a father as a team.
Little did we know - two years later we would be reminded of these transplant details in a much deeper way.
We would travel down the path of bone marrow transplantation one more time again.
Only this time - We Were On The Other Side.
Logan recieved a phone call at the end of September from a kind woman from Be The Match
They needed his marrow.
He had been perfectly HLA matched to a very young boy from South America, who has been suffering from leukemia and would need a matched transplant in order to survive.
Logan did not hesitate. Happier than ever to be able to help this young boy - the same age as our oldest son Keegan.
The workup was not as simple as we expected. But we made a journey of it.
The next few months we spent time on the road. Physical examinations, various telephone calls, multiple vials of blood taken and finally a trip to Rapid City to pull out an entire unit of Logan's blood to be given back after the procedure.
He also agreed to be part of a research protocol. They would take extra bone marrow during the procedure and use this as part of a study. The study would defer the differences and outcomes of transplants from donors on anti cholosterol medications and donors who were not taking anti cholesterol medications.
Logan is obviously not on cholesterol medications.
Funny. They are still studying Wesson's bone marrow, blood cells etc. And now they will be studying Logan's too.
What a trip.
December 15th came - the day of the procedure. We traveled to Denver. We fought against snowy roads, inclement weather and poor traffic all in hopes to just get there safely.
This young boy was to receive his transplant shortly therafter. A new birthday right before Christmas.
It was certainly a physically draining task - quite literally for Logan.
I was thankful and felt blessed that Logan would get the chance to feel exactly what his own young son felt multiple times in his short 13 months of life. The physical pain of having a large bore needle jammed into the bones of your hips and sacrum.
The procedure was much longer than I had anticipated it. I guess it always seems that way when your just --- waiting.
Wesson's always seemed long too.
When Logan came out they took us up to the bone marrow transplant floor where they informed him he would need to lie for six long hours until his aspiration sites clotted.
They stuck a yellow gown, gloves, mask - the whole gammet on me while I waited in the rocking chair next to him.
For his protection they said. I felt like a lepper.
What a flooding of memories. What a flooding of sadness and emotions and reminders of the blessings that we have.
To sit there in the chair next to Logan I felt like he was sick.
And we thought about Wesson.
We thought about the frail bald headed patients walking down the hallway as we made our way to the room to recover. Hanging feebly on to their family members as their TPN and chemotherapy drips infused.
I felt lucky. Blessed that we would go home that night while most of the patients on that floor would stay there for months and months on end.
I wished badly that we could do more for them.
I wished that cancer was not real.
We thought about the little boy that would soon recieve Logan's life saving marrow.
We had been notified earlier in the week that he had started his intense treatment regimen in preparation to recieve Logan's cells. The treatment that we remember so well.
The harsh therapy that does all but kill you off completely.
We were nervous the whole week before.
What a blessing to be reminded of that fear. The fear that shakes you to your core and makes you want to hide inside of your house.
Because if anything would faulter on our part - this boy would surely not survive.
A fever, a sore throat or a car accident.
So much could go wrong.....
What a breathtaking experience.
Logan did wonderful. He is a strong and incredibly inspiring man and I could not think of a more wonderful candidate to donate cells to a young boy.
His recovery went well and the three sites on his low back from the aspirations are still very visible - which I think is amazing and I'm thankful for that.
I like to peek at them as he bends over to pick up our youngest son. Makes me sure that it is Wesson giving his daddy another chance to make a young child's life just as beautiful and blessed as his was.
Wow. Life. What a trip.
Logan wanted this story shared so that we could encourage people to join the Be the Match Registry.
It is incredibly easy.
Simply log on to http://wwww.bethematch.org and click on the link JOIN.
Some people wait their entire lives to help somebody in the way that my husband was able.
To give another child or an adult a second chance at life has to be one of the most incredible joys and opportunities that we can experience as soulful human beings.
God truly has some incredible plans in store. For everyone.
It really is worth the time here on Earth isn't it though.
We will be able to recieve updates on this little boy 100 days post transplant. So until then we pray for his recovery, for great healthcare and for comfort for him and his family.
We will keep you all updated too! Thanks for being part of our journey with us, Happy New Year and God Bless.
Thank you for sharing, Kristi. We all need a reminder to do these things that can do soo much good.ReplyDelete