I just realized it’s been a month since I last posted on BoneMarinara.com. I guess you can say, “No news is good news.” But I’ve been busy with a number of ‘firsts’…my first beer brewed since getting out of the hospital (Anemia Ale, of course) and my first 5K race (had to walk 95% of it)…and all this past weekend! And now I’m planning for my first trip out of the country, although my family isn’t too happy about that.
This week is the 6-month mark since I left the hospital. The doctors at NIH were looking at my blood counts 3 months after my initial horse-serum treatment and talking about bone marrow transplant because I wasn’t responding as they hoped. I always believed I was off schedule because of my sepsis, so I gave myself 6 months after April 10 (my discharge) to reach levels of a responder. (Oct. 10) I think I’m there.
While I’m not cured yet, today’s blood tests were very encouraging. I haven’t needed platelets in about 2 months! They are at the highest levels since my discharge in April (now 27; need to be at 150). My white blood cells are also at higher levels (now 2.8; need to be 4) and my ANC is 1400 (1500 is low normal). I still need blood transfusions, but the length in between them is slowly increasing (another good sign.)
Everyone asks, “How are you feeling?” Well, I FEEL GOOD!
Everyone wants to feel good. Some feel good the ‘right way,’ and others feel good the ‘wrong way.’ (I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.) I’ve found that 5 simple things can make me feel good no matter what else is going on.
I pray each morning and thank God that I’m here. Recently, I’ve started to pray for these 5 things; the “Five H’s”: Health, Healing, Happiness, Hope, and Help. Today is one of those days when my prayers were again answered…I feel my 5H’s have been fulfilled today. My health is relatively good; my body is healing; I have hope; I’m happy, and am helping others.
So I want to write upcoming blogs on my 5H’s. Today is “Help.”
I’ve always enjoyed helping people. In fact, that’s one of the reasons people want to be a Physical Therapist like myself. (HINT: if you are applying to PT school, NEVER say you want to be a PT because “you like to help people”. That’s what everyone already knows!)
As you know, if you’ve followed my blog, I wanted to make my experience helpful to others who may suffer from similar illnesses, but also help anyone who needs a little motivation or inspiration. I can’t tell you how many people have reached out to me to share how inspiring my blog is to them and how it’s helped them to get perspective in their lives.
But I wanted to do more than just write a blog. I wanted to make a difference beyond that. So, we started doing blood drives…not just to help me, but to help others as well. Raising over 250 pints of blood this year in 3 states, I’m sure we’ve helped many people across the nation.
And the way I think I’m really helping is to increase awareness for bone marrow donation and get more donors in the registry. I have been amazed at how little people know the facts about bone marrow donation. Even though my own bone marrow transplant is on hold because my numbers are improving, I will continue to promote donation for the thousands of others who need a transplant.
Within the past month, I’ve helped with 3 drives, getting about 65 swabbed. Thanks to the LSU Gymnastics team, St. George Fire Department, and Most Blessed Sacrament Church Mens Club, as well as those who helped me like Ray Castle, Darrell Ourso, Dustin Yates, and Madonna Phillips. Since the Mayor of Baton Rouge issued his challenge of 250, we’ve been able to get 144 kits for Be The Match.
“Help me help others.” I ask God to help me to do His work, whether that’s getting bone marrow donors in the registry or making time to write this blog. I am convinced His plan for me is to help promote bone marrow donation awareness. If you haven’t yet, please help someone else by getting swabbed for the bone marrow registry.
Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you. Yes, I will help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
And I’m happy to announce that I’ve almost reached my goal of $1000 BeTheMatch fund-raising, so if you’d like to help contribute financially, please visit my donor site at: http://www.bethematchfoundation.org/goto/bonemarinara
You can also help by donating to the Aplastic Anemia & MDS Foundation.
Pay it forward. No matter how busy you are, how bad you feel, or if you think you can’t help, you can! And you’ll feel better for it.
Oh, and don’t forget to ask others if you need help. That’s what we are here for. To help each other. It’s not a sign of weakness…it takes strength to ask for help. And I wouldn’t be here to help people today without the help of so many others…