Three Year Michael Update

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Dr. Savani and Michael 5/19/17

Hello all! I know, I know, it’s been awhile since I’ve posted and I apologize for the ‘busyness’ of life.   But, I wanted to share with everyone how well Michael is doing. In just two days we will be celebrating the third anniversary of what Vanderbilt calls his ‘new birthday’. Almost three years ago is when the transplant took place and oh, what a journey it truly has been!
I wanted to update you about how his Vanderbilt visit went yesterday. To sum it up with one word…’FANTASTIC’! The truth of it is that Michael is doing incredibly well. Who would have thought that would have happened a couple of years ago when he got so sick! But, he’s not sick now; not by a long shot.

Michael’s hemoglobin has topped 18. Considering it was once down to 5 at its lowest point, that’s just amazing. In fact, amazing is the best word to describe my dear hubby. His recovery has amazed everyone; even me. God has been so faithful and on the way home from Vanderbilt yesterday, we were giving God all the glory for what He has so wonderfully done. Psalm 139 tells us how we are “fearfully and wonderfully made”. And, that is the truth!

All Michael’s labs came back showing great counts. The sinusitis that plagued him is just about gone. Dr. Savani agreed with me that it was quite possibly allergies at this point.

We had an extensive conversation with Dr. Savani about our future plans (more of that to be revealed as the next month or so goes by) and about whether or not Michael should continue working and, once again, Dr. Savani encouraged Michael to do just that. He said they are really working hard to encourage all their long term care patients to resume their normal lives. “We want them to go back to what they were doing before they got sick. We want them to continue on with their lives.” I wonder if Michael’s recovery has had any impact on that philisophy there? It sure wouldn’t surprise me to learn that it had because everyone we talk to there is so delighted with how well he is doing and Dr. Savani continues to praise his outlook on life and working. I say that only because Michael was never a ‘normal’ case throughout this journey. If you’ve read my book, you know that. We also shared with Dr. Savani our plans to go to Israel and Germany later this year and he was thrilled for us.

Another thing that we discussed with Dr. Savani is the outlook for Michael’s future. Of course, there are never any guarantees. We asked him about risk factors. The doctors at Vanderbilt have always been very honest with us about everything. As Dr. Savani told us, having truthful, open and honest communication with patients is of the utmost importance. During our very first consultation there Dr. Greer told us that there was no guarantee that Michael’s original illness won’t return some day. Those types of future things are ones only God can see. But we did discuss potential risk factors with Dr. Savani and what he told us yesterday was that, of course, no one can reliably predict what the future holds, so he couldn’t say there was ‘zero risk factor’. But he puts the risk factor at about a ‘1’. How exciting was that to hear!!!  And, what should our attitude be towards those risks?  Well, as he put it, “I have to come to work every day and every day I have to go drive home on I-65”.  What he means by that is that one can’t look at difficulties or challenges of life and decide to just stay home and do nothing out of fear that this or that ‘could’ happen.  Life must go on and we must go on with it.  In fact, on one of the walls in the stem cell clinic was a new quote from Chuck Swindoll.  It said, “We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations”.  What a great quote and how true!

We always learn new things when we go for Michael’s checkups. This time we learned about new research that has come down the pipe that has shown that when patients are Michael’s age it’s much better for their donors to be young; even kids. Patrick, Michael’s donor, was 18 when he donated. We are so thankful upon learning this new information that Michael’s sister wasn’t a match because she’s even a few years older than he is. There is a lot of scientific jargon to accompany this but in a nutshell what it said to me was that the younger the donor, the better, stronger and healthier jumpstart or boost it will be to the patient’s immune system. That may also partly explain why Michael is doing so well.
So…all-in-all it was a great visit. As always, we left excited and encouraged and ready to roll into the next chapter of our lives. We thank you all again for the prayers, support and encouragement over the last few years. It has been such a blessing and a help to us as we have gone along a sometimes difficult journey. It is such a blessing to be on ‘the other side’ of all of this. Again…God gets the glory.
And, I still have a number of copies of my book. If you know anyone who would like one, please let me know. At this point, I am happy to simply give them away. After all the thank yous and comments I have received from readers I have come to realize that this is really a ministry; not an opportunity for financial gain. All I ask is that if I have to ship one, the reader pay the postage.
Jan
Isaiah 46:10

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