It’s the day before I move into the Hilton Americas for the International Quilt Market and Quilt Festival. It is also my birthday.
Sunday my husband and I went to James Avery after Sunday school, church, and lunch. I had chosen the wide Crosslet Ring for my birthday gift from him. While he was paying for it and giving instructions for the engraving, I went to Chico’s next door.
Really, I was looking for one item at our local Chico’s that I hadn’t found at the Chico’s near our office. One thing led to another, with a helpful, knowledgeable manager, and I came out with four new outfits to wear to the Fall Quilt Shows. Happy Birthday to me.
The Hilton and the George R. Brown Convention Center will be my home for twelve nights and thirteen days. However, each Monday, Wednesday and Friday my husband will pick me up at 6:30 am to go to MD Anderson Hospital for blood reviews, PA and oncologist visits and platelets and blood transfusions. I was diagnosed with Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS) in 2007, but did not need treatment until March of 2015.
Those of you who have seen me running the Education Department for Quilt Market and Quilt Festival for the last 40 years, have no fear. I will be there sporadically. I feel fine and have energy as long as I have a current platelets and/or blood transfusion.
The shows are in good hands with Jill Benge as Manager, Barbara Cline as her assistant, Marcia Barker, who takes on all our special projects and new developments, and Shannon McGaw who works part-time for Education and a great help to me.
Part of our show team will arrive for Market and the remainder will come during Festival. We couldn’t do the shows without them.
Man or woman cannot live on transfusions of someone else’s blood products indefinitely. For a while one of the chemo trial treatments worked for me. But, after seven months of no transfusions we came to a dead end. My oncologist tried other treatments, but my bone marrow just won’t function properly.
So the only thing that is left is to have a Stem Cell Transplant. When my oncologist is satisfied I am healthy enough to go through the high dose chemo process, to eliminate my existing bone marrow cells, I will be admitted to the hospital for three to four weeks. After the conditioning phase is complete, the collected stem cells will be infused in my body. My blood counts will be monitored daily and any side effects will be managed. It will be a tough time. Initially I said I wouldn’t put myself through this voluntarily, but when that’s all that’s left, I had to change my mind.
Once I have engrafted, meaning that my white blood cells have recovered, and I am eating and drinking well, I will be discharged from the hospital. For 100 days I have to have a caregiver 24 hours a day. I will be monitored at the hospital generally every day for follow-up initially and that will adjust to every other day depending on my health and needs. I’ve been told to plan on a year to get back to how I was physically before the transplant. Needless to say, I am fearful. I am sad.
I won’t be able to be in public for quite some time because of infection possibility. I will have no immune system initially. The family gatherings I treasure so much will have to wait for a while.
During this process I won’t be able to be around grandchildren who are under 14 years of age. That breaks my heart. We have a 16 month old grandson and another baby on the way.
I will be strong and follow the rules so I can recover and have good times again with family, friends and TRAVEL. My faith, family, and friends will be of utmost importance through this process. God will be my constant companion. I won’t be alone.
Will you say a little prayer for me? God bless you and love, Judy
Tags: bone marrow, Chico's, George R. Brown Convention Center, grandchildren, Hilton Americas, International Quilt Festival, James Avery, MD Anderson Hospital, prayer, quilt market, stem cell transplant