It has been a long 11 days since my sister came into the hospital for her stem cell transplant. It is one of those procedures where everyone follows the same basic pattern leading up to it and in the days following, but after the infusion of cells, everyone has different reactions to it. Cari received her high dose Melphalan on Tuesday, April 23rd. And then the next day they infused 2 bags of her own stem cells - 6 million total. April 24th was the day we deemed 'new life' for her. Then the waiting game began. It seems like this cancer journey is one big 'hurry up and wait' party.
She did something called 'cryo therapy' an hour before the chemo, during the chemo and for an hour or so after the chemo. This is basically keeping ice and other cold items such as popsicles in your mouth constantly during that period of time. This therapy greatly reduces the likelihood of something called mucousitis setting in and causing sores in your mouth, throat and digestive tract. That and a lot of prayer has proved to be successful. Other than a little tingling and a metallic taste in her mouth, she has had no sores at all. Praise The Lord for that! Small victories that are cause for huge celebration!
Over the past 9 months, God has shown Himself mighty time and time again. There have been so many 'should haves' that didn't happen. There have been many disappointments that God turned right around into joy. He has covered and He has protected and He has delivered. And as we continue on this path of walking by Faith, I have no doubt that He is walking right beside us. And at times right in front of us, leading the way and clearing out the path that lies ahead of us. He is so good.
As of her blood work from midnight, her white count is .05 and her platelets are 41,000. She reeived 2 units of red blood last Saturday as her hemoglobin had dropped to 7.6. They expect that her counts will bottom out tomorrow and then after that they will likely hang there for a few days. We look for that day that the white counts starts building and building. As of right now, she has no immunity at all. She has virtually no white cells to fight with so she is very suseptible to infection at this point. We are very careful around her and we can't even touch her. We have to keep our distance from her in the room, and only get close enough to help unplug her and plug her back in!
She is so tired and so weak and it breaks my heart, but I know that this is a very necessary part of the process and of the path to wholeness. God has been working in her body since the day she was diagnosed, July 30th of last year. I can see the evidence of His Hand in so many areas of her life and the life of our family. I can look around and see the handiwork of God as He has lovingly ministered to my sister in her time of need. I can see His fingermarks all over the place!
How good is our God?? Oh, He is so good! His precious Word is full of Hope and Encouragment. It is full of Joy and Peace. It is full of promises that we can hold tight and cling to.
And for now I cling to the Savior that is cling worthy. I fall face down before Him and reach out to grab hold of the hem of His garment. And I hang on until the blessing comes.
"I love the LORD because
He has heard my appeal for mercy"
(Psalm 116:1) HCSB
"Yet He knows the way I have
taken; when He has tested me,
I will emerge as pure gold"
(Job 23:10) HCSB