First Post on Caring Bridge

dog with deb during chemo

23 years ago I was starting a new job, engaged, buying a house and being told I had Chronic Myloid Leukemia (CML) after being made redundant from CML (Coles Myer Ltd). Yes this also made my haemotologist laugh. I was lucky to have the best CML specialst (arguably in the world) look after my care when the decision was made after 2 years of trial treatment to search for an unrelated bone marrow donor. Remarkably and against all odds we found one in the UK through the Shirley Nolan bone marrow registry (read her book it’s an amazing inspiration ) linked with the Australian Red Cross Registry. Janet Toms my first miracle! So with a 50% chance survival rate of the procedure, I took a leap of faith, because the first 2 yrs of treatment had been no holiday and I figured finding Janet (@ this stage anonymous to me) was a sign. I’m a big believer in signs. Well the transplant went reasonably according to plan. 7 weeks in hospital, 2 missed weddings, total parental nutrition (TPN) for 6 weeks (fed by tube), a 10 minute break a day from my 6 intravenous lines for a shower , uncountable blood and platelet transfusions, a little bit of liver damage, a lot of morphine for the ulcers in my mouth osophogus gut & bowel, total body irradiation, high dose chemo a tone of steroids & cyclosporin & a tolerance unlike many to manage 4 of 4 highly toxic & dangerous chemo injections the nurses were fully gowned up to administer like it was a highly infectious disease. Is it any wonder I stood in the high risk category for cancer down the track?

So with a changed blood type, 2 different DNA profiles, someone else’s marrow finding it’s way to my bones where marrow develops into blood cells and decides what it wants to be when it grows up (red – give oxygen & life, white – be soldiers & fight infection or platelets – groupies who clot & stop us bleeding out regularly) and a new attitude it’s not surprising the medical fraternity were calling me a bit of a miracle. Miracle 2.

Armed with the confidence I was a survivor within 8 years we had the news a little boy was going to be joining our family and that completed our journey or so we thought. With Foster has happy as “Larry Su” we had everything we’d ever dreamed of. Miracle 3.

As Foster I grows I get prouder every day. A well rounded kid with a good head on his shoulders, respectful, always trying to be the best he can be, a quiet achiever, dare I say it, we may have had a little to do with that. Miracle 4.

The reason I recap this is more for me than you. Reminding myself that miracles happen every day, in every way. I’m so grateful for my wonderful caring friends, family, my work, my house, my pets, my life but I need u all to surround me with your postive energy. Does not mean we cant have tears or a tantrum now and then, or we won’t fall or smash that positivity cup against the wall on occasion. As long as we pick up those pieces and ‘keep punching’ as Rocky would say. I’ve got this and if u want to come with me then we’ve got this and we can claim this victory together. It’s always more fun with more peeps. Strength in numbers xxx

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