Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Joy of the Transplant Journey

The word 'journey' expresses in it not only that you are going somewhere, but that there is a process to get there.  There is no better word, then, for what Tiffany is now going through. 

The transplant process is a long and difficult road, as we have been witness to from both near and far, and will become intimately aware of just how long and difficult soon. 


Four weeks ago - we were told that this was no longer on the table, that the cancer had taken too far a toll on our sweet and precious Tiffany.  So to be here writing today is a miracle that we will take as far as our Father in Heaven will allow it to go.

Time has been limited, so you will please forgive me for not writing more before now, as I know there are legions of individuals who want to know how she is doing.  So let me tell you...

She is smiling.

This past week has been another busy, crazy week.  How busy and crazy you ask (I know, you didn't really ask, but that is how I am leading into this crazy busy week story)?

From Saturday 8/23 to Monday 8/25, Tiffany continued to seem to lose energy.  She was just tired and when she wasn't sleeping she was becoming a little more lethargic in everything.  She was needing help anytime she would get out of her reclining chair.  Come Tuesday morning, she was doing her best to be mom while the kids were getting ready for school, all from the comforts of her bed.  Giving instruction to get dressed here, to make lunch there, and to stop any lollygagging that happens to I'm sure just our kids ;).  Porter couldn't find his shoes anywhere and we went on a man hunt, but to no avail.  The carpool ride had come and Porter didn't have his shoes.  We looked a bit longer but then waived the carpool onward and he and I continued to search.  All this while Tiffany was giving instruction from her bed where to search, hoping we could find them soon.

We found them.  In the van.  What kid leaves his shoes in the van?  Well - mine does.  To say the least we found them, got him packed into the van and ran him to school.  Second day of school and we already had a tardy.  Five minutes later I was home. 

Tiffany had an appointment down at Huntsman for labs later that morning and wanted to get a bath prior to heading down.  So helping her, she got in and out and she stood for a minute at the sink brushing her teeth and then I started to help her back to sit on the bed to finished getting dressed for the day.  Between the bathroom and the bed, she started to slump.  Luckily I was right there with her and was able to carefully sit her on the bed.  She laid back and then a most scary thing happened... she wouldn't respond.

Her eyes were wide open, as if looking out into the distance.  And for a few seconds, which seemed like minutes, she would not respond to me.  Her breathing become labored for a moment and all I could do was try to get her back, all the while saying a prayer within my heart that I could do just that.  For the next minute or two, again, what seemed like an hour, she would come in and out of consciousness.  I would be able to get her to respond and then she wouldn't.  Eventually I tried to see if she was awake enough to get her to the car.  My mind was racing, but I knew that her blood count had been dropping and was likely the issue, I needed to get her to the hospital to get some more blood pumped into her to get some oxygen, and other nutrients, to her body, specifically her brain.

As I tried to move her, she said "I can't" and that I needed to call for the ambulance.

I have never called 911 before.  And I have to admit, I don't know at what point I should have called them.  Hindsight being 20/20 - I probably should have called a bit sooner, but I feel blessed that in the end, all is well.

As the sirens were coming, Tiffany said to me "great, now the whole neighborhood is going to be worried."  It was that moment that I knew things were going to be OK.  Oh - we still had the problem at hand, but Tiffany had mostly come back enough where I felt like things were going to be OK.  The EMT's, police, fire fighters, sheriff all ran in did their things.  I think at one point we had 8 emergency personnel in our bedroom.  Her blood pressure was very low and they decided to take her to the ER at Davis Hospital.  Having to carry her out of the home fireman style (their stretcher wouldn't work because we have a corner they couldn't get the stretcher past if they laid it flat) and put her on the stretcher in the front of the home, put her in the ambulance, and were off to the ER.

After talking to a couple of neighbors who had come by to see what all the commotion was about, I too, went after her.

I will speed up the story from here, but she was stabilized in the ER, her blood counts way low, and in consultation with the doctors up and Huntsman we ended back at Huntsman to get some blood, talk to doctors and after a long day - headed home about 9:00pm.

We were slightly worried that this crazy incident would either delay the transplant or put the kibosh on it all together.  About 6pm, while getting platelets and blood, doctor Glenn came and talked to us.  She had been looking at the blood results, as well as the prior weeks bone marrow biopsy, and in consultation with the transplant team told us that there was no reason to delay the transplant, that the days' issue was caused by known issues and that it wouldn't appear any new developments that would push it back any. 

This was the thumbs up we were waiting for. 

We finished up getting the unit of blood and came home, with instructions to come back the next day for another unit of blood and to go through the radiation walk through.  A friend of hers took her down on Wednesday, allowing me to catch up on work items.

Then Thursday came.  We got up early, went in, and before you know it - she was in her first radiation treatment (I will describe the process in my next post). 

And so it has begun.  The miracles we have seen just this week are amazing, and we are looking forward, with hope, and even joy (you should have seen the smiles on our faces when we got final word on Wednesday afternoon when we got final sign off from insurance).  We are now at a place that there really is no turning around.  We made it.  And yes, it is a long and in many ways scary path.  But this journey is a process, and one we are so grateful to have made it to. 



1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for the update, I think of you often and keep you in each of my prayers. I just love the new picture of Tiffany at the temple and I'm so grateful for the support you all have from your community and ward. It's so comforting to see them rallying around you in such an outward and visible way - it makes all the difference to know you have an legion of angels, seen and unseen, joining with you in faith and cheering you on to keep going. I'm so sorry to hear of the awful dips and valleys as of late... it's such a painful and unpredictable journey, but you are handling it with such grace and such enormous amounts of faith and resolve. I am so grateful for science and modern medicine and that the Lord has inspired brilliant minds to make these amazing advancements that give us such hope. I have no doubt that you'll continue to witness many miracles and tender mercies as this process continues. My thoughts and prayers are with you all this week as you move forward with each step....