The Last of the Negatives

10 May

I can’t wait to get out of the negative days, the naysaying days of chemo leading to transplant. Tomorrow I break even at Day 0. Transplant Day.

Those minus symbols in front of days can really set the tone, especially when you know that the traffic of tubes you can see leading to your body are filled with injections meant to sicken. It’s not natural to lay here and allow toxins consume your body, wiping out your immune system. My survival sense wants to fight the noxious contradiction.

“You’re doing really well,” said Dr. Arndt this morning. “Better than most?” I asked. “Yes, better than most.” That’s really great news for me. I’m trying.

Between my year’s worth of experience with chemotherapy and the packets upon binders of information they’ve given me this time around, I like to know where I stand. But knowing all the things that could happen, it can be difficult to separate those that won’t, and keep those expectations out of mind.

My Morning Wake-Up Call

True to form, my Mayo calvary showed up again this morning in full gear, with news that my counts had in fact plunged. I now have no trace of neutrophils, the white blood cells that fight off infection. So I’m officially tethered to my room and imposing extreme-neat-freaked-ness on all who come by. I’m much more tired and weak today too because of low red blood counts, so they’ll transfuse this afternoon. My counts will continue to belly flop over the next week as my body realizes all the chemo it’s received. Let’s just say I’m now up to a double IV pump, a medication waiting line my nurses ever so skillfully keep synchronized.

My Stacked IV Pole

Tomorrow we’re expecting a late-night transplant. My donor’s procedure is in the morning. From there, they’ll fly the bone marrow to Rochester airport and have a special courier hand-deliver it to the hospital. The doctors are thinking a start time of about 9-10 p.m. The transplant can last up to four hours depending on how much bone marrow they can collect from my donor and how well I like it.

More on that tomorrow, but today, please think and pray for my donor. She’s having a surgical procedure on behalf of a stranger. I’m beyond grateful and humbled. She deserves all the love she can get.

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36 Responses to “The Last of the Negatives”

  1. jenna May 10, 2011 at 11:31 am #

    SO many prayers for you and your donor my name-sister! Even though we never got to meet in person I think it is clear we have to be friends because we share a name and a faith 🙂 I think of you very often, pray for you whenever I think of you and read your blog to check up on you. Keep fighting my dear, you have all the saints cheering you on as well!

  2. Bev Erven May 10, 2011 at 11:33 am #

    My thoughts and prayers are with both of you.

  3. Ashlee Suker May 10, 2011 at 11:35 am #

    Jenna I’ve been thinking of you a lot lately. I really hope all goes well tomorrow! 10 years ago tomorrow my dad has his brain aneurism! I hope that ten years from now you’re healthy as can be and can say ’10 years ago I had a bone marrow transplant, it sucked, but I made it through like a superstar!’. On a more positive note.. tomorrow is five years from when Ben proposed to me 🙂 So May 11th is full of events! I will keep praying and look forward to updates…
    Love, Ashlee

  4. Lauren Levenstein May 10, 2011 at 11:43 am #

    Sending thoughts, prayers, and positive vibes to all 🙂 In awe of you Jenna!!!!

  5. Kendall Severson May 10, 2011 at 11:53 am #

    Jenna – I’ll be rooting for you tomorrow. It’s going to go so well. You are in the best of hands! xoxo

  6. Vicki May 10, 2011 at 12:15 pm #

    Prayers just said for your special donor. What a unique opportunity to help someone you do not even know. You are a remarkable young women who seems to keep being placed in difficult journeys. I know you will use each of these experiences to help others. BIG PRAYERS nightly being said in your name.

  7. Jonathan May 10, 2011 at 12:16 pm #

    Happy soon-to-be Birthday #2 Jenna! Keep up the fight and just take everything one moment at a time. So glad you’re doing well and I’m sending lots of good vibes and smiles your way and to your donor. She’s an amazing person as are you. Tomorrow is going to be great!

  8. Fran Albright May 10, 2011 at 12:21 pm #

    Jenna: New person to pray for, your donor, shall do, I hadn’t thought to do so. I needed the nudge. YOur posts have really kept yo in my mind, I can’t help but think how Jimmy better just keep busy or he’ll go nuts.
    Love to you,
    PS I never tire of seeing your quilt. I get such joy knowing it’s lifted you up.

  9. Rhonda Kerkhoff May 10, 2011 at 12:23 pm #

    I don’t know if you even remember me….I’m Kyle’s aunt from Morgan, MN. I followed your story several years ago, and have been getting your redhead reports and following your story now, once again. I feel(probably like many others)like this ‘secret’ follower and cheerleader! You have wonderful insight and writing abilities….a sense of humor, and yet, a very human heart, experiencing life in some very tough moments. Dig deep and continue the fight! One day soon, I hope you can write a book about your experiences to share with thousands of others as inspiration! Best of luck tomorrow. Take special care! Rhonda Kekrhoff

  10. Julie Grathwohl May 10, 2011 at 12:34 pm #

    Julie Grathwohl

  11. Julie Grathwohl May 10, 2011 at 12:38 pm #

    Oops — my comment got messed up above. What I wanted to say was hello and good luck tomorrow. Sending prayers your way and also to your donor. Give your mom a hug from me and keep your spirits up — think of you often and sending you lots of warm and fuzzy feelings!

    Julie G

  12. Rose Forst May 10, 2011 at 1:35 pm #

    Hey Jenna,

    Happy Birthday early! You have to love the Calvary. Sometimes there are so many they have to stand in line outside the door. We continue to pray daily for you and will add your donor too. Thinking of you often,

  13. Tiffany W May 10, 2011 at 1:57 pm #

    Thinking and praying for you and your donor…

    Much love,

  14. kathleen schwarz May 10, 2011 at 2:04 pm #

    God bless both you and your donor-you are both in my thoughts and prayers!

    Kathleen Schwarz

  15. Kirsten Lesak-Greenberg May 10, 2011 at 2:24 pm #

    I’ll be sending positive vibes your way, love!! Here’s to hoping that the transplant goes smoothly and the cells engraft quickly!


  16. Nicole W May 10, 2011 at 2:39 pm #

    Sending my love to both of you! (And the crew at Mayo — why not? There’s plenty of love to go around.)

  17. Karen Torseth May 10, 2011 at 3:23 pm #


    We are praying for you and your donor! Wishing that everything goes your way…You deserve it!!

    Doug & Karen Torseth

  18. Lisa Simon May 10, 2011 at 5:13 pm #


    You’re one in a million! I’m continually amazed with your optimistic spirit and courage. You are an inspiration.

    You and your donor are in my prayers. Take care, sweetie!

  19. Andrea May 10, 2011 at 6:10 pm #

    I just got home from my first day at my big-girl internship 🙂 I’ll be thinking of you and your donor tomorrow, everything will go just swimmingly, I know it! Sending all my love to you and happy thoughts to your lovely donor. Say hi to Lisa, I’m sure she needs some happy thoughts too… LOVE LOVE


  20. Brianne Ketteman May 10, 2011 at 6:19 pm #

    Thinking of and praying for both of you! Hang in there, lady!

  21. Lori Thom May 10, 2011 at 6:41 pm #

    Jenna, we will be thinking & praying for you and your donor tomorrow & every day. say Hi to your mom. Thank you for letting people know how you are doing.

  22. Vanessa Beranek May 10, 2011 at 6:44 pm #

    Keeping you (& your donor) in my thoughts & prayers!! As always, you are so inspirational & a strong young woman…

  23. Ted & Marcia Kunze May 10, 2011 at 8:02 pm #

    Our prayers continue for you and your donor, your family and all the doctors and caregivers. May everything go exceptionally well tomorrow!
    Marcia & Ted

  24. Pam Schmid May 10, 2011 at 8:24 pm #

    Sending lots of love and prayers to you, your donor, and to your family!!!!

  25. Sarah Ivers May 10, 2011 at 9:01 pm #

    You’re amazing Jenna, I’ve been thinking of you and praying for you, and send special thanks to your donor, and your team for taking such good care of you.

    lots of love,

  26. Margeaux May 11, 2011 at 12:17 am #

    Your Chicago fan club is thinking about you Jenna!

  27. Greg Kaiser May 11, 2011 at 6:34 am #

    Hope today goes as well as it can! Thinking of you!

  28. Sarah Rohde May 11, 2011 at 8:20 am #

    I’m in awe of your strength and courage, Jenna. Know that you’re wrapped in so much love today as you go through the transplant.

  29. Theresa Schroeder May 11, 2011 at 9:35 am #

    I work with your mom at Family Services and wanted to let you know that I am praying for you too. It was 10 years ago in May that my husband had a stem cell transplant at Mayo Clinic, so May must be a good month for such things. Happy Birthday today.

  30. Catherine May 11, 2011 at 11:19 am #

    You are so strong! I am in awe of everything you have been through and are currently going through. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

  31. Stephanie May 11, 2011 at 11:21 am #

    Hi Jenna,
    Just wanted to let you know that your friends at WSWA are thinking about you!!

    ~Steph, Jerry and Jasmine

  32. Gusty May 11, 2011 at 12:06 pm #

    Hey Jenna!! You are always in my thoughts and prayers. I will be thinking about you, your whole family and your donor tonight. You are such an inspiration to me!! Take care hun!! Love ya!

  33. Jennifer Rath May 11, 2011 at 3:40 pm #

    Jenna, I saw my friend Kyley’s facebook post about your transplant and clicked through to your blog. My dad had a bone marrow transplant in 2007 (at 59 years old & his donor was my 74 year old Aunt!) at the Scottsdale AZ Mayo. Just talked to him yesterday, he’s driving up from AZ to MN next week for the summer. THE MAYO MEDICAL BONE MARROW TEAMS ARE AMAZING!! Literal miracle workers! You’re going to do awesome. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. I took 6 weeks off work to be with my dad during and after the transplant.

  34. Ann Bergemann May 12, 2011 at 10:52 am #

    Jenna, I can’t wait for the day you tell us all about the day you and your donor meet face to face!!! God Bless you, your donor and your mom and dad!
    Love you!

  35. Ashley Marks May 20, 2011 at 8:02 pm #

    Thinking of you Jenna!!!!!!!!!!!


  1. Good Riddance and Happy New Year « The Redhead Report - January 1, 2012

    […] now, thanks to my selfless donor and resolute medical team, none of these are concerns any longer. I have been blessed with an incredible caregiver – my […]

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