Being Picky

30 Mar

I hate to be brief, but it’s been a long day of appointments at Mayo Clinic today. I’m also overwhelmed by the wonderful support shown to me today from Powell Tate | Weber Shandwick and their parent company, Interpublic Group (IPG). I’ll write much more about that tomorrow.

Today we met with both my pediatric and grown-up hematology/oncology docs.  Thankfully I can cater to both, so I’m lucky to have coordinated care from the best of both worlds. The teams huddled last week, were presented all my glam details and devised a plan.

It turns out that they’re being extra picky with my match. Two of the four donors are already perfect matches (!) and we’re still waiting on the details of the final two, including whether those donors have been pregnant. Pregnancies make women develop antibodies, which we’d rather not bring into the mix. Anything to reduce the possibility of graft-versus-host disease, where the donor marrow recognizes my body as foreign and attacks it. But we know one of those perfect matches is a 20-something male, or “tall, dark and handsome” in healthy bone marrow transplant-speak. They say I’ll get the final word by the end of the week.

Once they choose a match and a back-up match, both donors will be asked to get a physical at a local transplant center. Hopefully both matches are all up on their fitness and we won’t have a problem. From there, the donor picks a date to donate and we work backwards from there. For me, that includes an extensive work-up of basically everything my body can do – lung function, kidney function, heart function – the works. Next I’ll go into surgery to have a Hickman line installed so they can give me all the drugs they want without having to always poke my arm. Then I’ll check in for my lengthy hospital stay. We’re hoping I start chemo about the third week of April.

In the meantime I’m fending off a blood transfusion. My hemoglobin is down to 7.9. Apparently I should be sleep-walking with that level, but I think (and my doctors believe me) that I feel good enough to go without. I’m also having another bone marrow biopsy next Wednesday. Although there are no blasts (symptomatic of MDS turning into AML) showing in my weekly blood work, they can develop in the marrow before manifesting in the blood. The docs want to know exactly what we’re dealing with, and I’m all for it.

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15 Responses to “Being Picky”

  1. Karen Torseth March 30, 2011 at 9:03 pm #

    Praying for you Jenna! It sounds like everything is moving along as well as can be expected. Your blog on the whole situation is amazing, you are an outstanding young lady! Hang tough!!

    • Jenna Langer March 31, 2011 at 11:37 am #

      Thanks so much! Really appreciate hearing from you.

  2. Barb Dietz March 31, 2011 at 8:10 am #

    Jenna, I am happy to hear things are going so well with finding a perfect match for you! Your blog is a delight to read. Your enthusiasm and spirit is so evident. You are a wonderful spokesperson, what a difference you have made already in getting the word out about Be the Match. My prayers and thoughts will continue to be with you in the coming months!

    • Jenna Langer March 31, 2011 at 11:38 am #

      Thanks so much, Barb. And thanks for your support for my mom at work. Really invaluable.

  3. Julie March 31, 2011 at 8:14 am #

    Dear Jenna,
    Our prayers are with you. You are once again an inspiration!

    • Jenna Langer March 31, 2011 at 11:38 am #

      We need that coffee date! Calling soon…

  4. Kelly W March 31, 2011 at 8:37 am #

    Rooting for you here down south!

  5. Ann Bergemann March 31, 2011 at 8:57 am #

    Good Morning Jenna,
    I think about you all the time. I too look forward to your blog. You could write a book or a news paper column and have a boat load of followers and fans! My vote is for the tall drink of 20 something male also, so you can get your “athletic bone” from someone since Jack is holding out on you. I hope the next three weeks go by quickly for you, since everything is falling nicely into place. Sounds like you have great plans to make tracks and see some friends. Wish Jimmy well on his tests! I believe all of these things coordinating together in time are in the great plan of things to keep you focusing in multiple directions rather than in one place. This will give you the opportunity to look back at it all when it is behind you and say “That wasn’t so bad!”
    And let me remind you, anything you need, just ask!
    Always a fan! Always a supporter! Go Jenna!!!
    Love, Ann

    • Jenna Langer March 31, 2011 at 11:42 am #

      Thanks, Ann. I’m not sure I have enough thoughts for a whole book, but a column would be right up my alley 🙂 Thanks for the compliment.

  6. Cate March 31, 2011 at 9:30 am #

    Hey Jenna—
    You write so well! You could do play by play for sporting events (oops, I think Jack and your dad and Jimmy would disagree with that) Maybe you could do play by play for royal weddings or Hollywood award shows…or something….

    Plans are good aren’t they, feels like a battle plan is forming and you and family and medical staff are in control of the strategy!

    See you soon.


    • Jenna Langer March 31, 2011 at 11:25 am #

      I’m already planning the Royal Wedding celebration I’ll be hosting in my hospital room. You’re dead on. 🙂

  7. Rebecca Oppenheimer March 31, 2011 at 1:00 pm #

    Hi, Jenna:

    We at GolinHarris (sister agency) recently heard about you and your superior blogging skills. Just wanted to say hi and that we’re cheering for you!

    All the best,

  8. Lori Banks April 1, 2011 at 9:28 am #

    You sweet, beautiful girl. I am happy to hear you have a match and such a strong spirit. You are in my prayers. Lori


  1. The One « The Redhead Report - April 4, 2011

    […] calendar. Barring complications (knock on wood), I’ll undergo the body of tests I spoke about in an earlier post next week. I’ll have surgery to get my hickman on April 21. The dose for one of the icky chemo […]

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