the hyphens that define my life

Support Me Support Them August 25, 2013

Booming loud thunder.  Lightening flashing in the night sky.  House lights flickering.  Rain pouring down. The air cools and smells fresh and clean. I am in a melancholy mood.

Earlier tonight I spoke with my younger sister who filled me in on the details of her trip to Seattle last week while I was in Orange County, CA on a work trip.  My younger sister lives in Flagstaff, AZ and spent last week in Seattle as she volunteered to have her bone marrow harvested in a few weeks to help our ailing older sister who suffers from rare, complicated diseases, from which she has no hope of recovering. 

Our older sister, at the young age of 47, has been offered a glimmer of hope to renewed health through a bone marrow transplant that is scheduled to occur on September 18 with the University of Washington and the Seattle Cancer Center.  She has been sick, in a sickly sense, for a very long time, more than 15 years at my best recollection.  Though I am the worst to ask what is wrong with her because of the complexity of her illness, I do know that she has an immune deficiency that inhibits her ability to fight disease.  In addition, of the 5 IGG levels we all have (did you know that?), my sister lacks A, E & M. She also has a diseased liver, not liver disease, a diseased liver, that is causing all types of issues. At one point, I learned there were only 6 similar cases on the planet. Her prognosis is bleak.  As is, on the medication she is forced to take in order to maintain her current state, she will develop non-hodgkins lymphoma very soon.  A bone marrow transplant is her only hope.

Last spring, we three siblings, my younger brother and sister and I, were screened as viable candidates for bone marrow transplant.  Siblings, I learned through the process, are the best possible source for match.  Who knew.  I was immediately ruled out within 5 minutes of the initial phone call due to my previous cancer history.  My brother was tested but was not a match.  My younger sister turns out to be a perfect match for which we are all thrilled.

Last week, health screenings and additional tests were completed to further ensure that my sisters are an identical match. 

In three weeks, my younger sister will return to Seattle to undergo harvesting of her bone marrow and my older sister will receive the bone marrow via transfusion later that same day. I will be in Seattle at that time, for three days, to help and keep my mom calm and aid in the care of both of my sisters as they recover.  I will stay with my older sister primarily as her body’s reaction to the foreign bone marrow is of biggest concern.  Her body’s reaction to rejection could simply be nausea or it could kill her.

Yikes.  Heavy stuff.

I need you for support.  Please keep my sisters in your prayers and in your thoughts through the next month.  Though the critical time won’t begin until September 18,  emotions, stress and anxiety are already running high.

Thank you.


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