Spring Break?

Yes I know its been over a month since I last updated the blog.  I originally intended to update this once a week to document our journey, but I think what I wasn’t expecting was the “grind” period we are going through now.  By grind period I mean where everything feels the same and the days and weeks start vanishing off the calendar at a rapid pace. 

A recent picture I took while sitting in traffic last week amid the rain storms, don’t worry I wasn’t driving!

With this grind period it feels like there isn’t much to update on.  No news is good news, or at least it’s not bad news in our situation.  However, this week several individuals asked me when we would be updating the blog again and I had an uptick in questions from acquaintances on how Will is doing. I started to take the hint but each night as I sat down, I couldn’t think of what to write.  Then on Wednesday Kim’s headache doctor told her that I needed to update the blog.  Okay, okay, I get it!  So, this one is for all of you out there who asked me last week when we were going to update this!    

Yes he’s actually asleep and a reminder those are headphones he pulls over his eyes to block out the light, not just a blindfold.

So the update…update…update…update…Well every week feels the same; two scheduled trips into the hospital each week for infusions on Tuesday and Friday, starting those days with an hour of sitting in traffic, stressing about prescriptions not being filled on time, juggling multiple pharmacies for the umpteen prescriptions he is on because some require special pharmacy, some require prior approval, etc…, watching for bleeds due to constantly dropping platelets as a result of the TMA, constant blood draws (not sure how he has any left) to check the multiple levels they are closely monitoring, guarding Will’s nonexistent immune system against sickness/colds that are going around, attempting to work/husband/parent/self care in between it all, the ever delicate tip toeing through gradually weaning him off of meds while also adding additional ones to help him with that and everything else his poor little body is going through.   (I say little but my little boy is now a lot closer to 12 than 11 and he keeps growing up in the midst of all of this happening to him.) 

Can’t decide if I should title this, “My new home office”, or “Doctor Anderson at work”. Oh and the camera adds 20 lbs by the way, and so does being the parent of a bone marrow transplant patient!

And that is where we are still at, yes everything is kind of different than it was a month ago, adjustments have been made to meds, his GVHD remains in a good place, things are kind of progressing, but they are all the same too. 

One example, last week we were able to reduce his Ruxolitnib dose down to one pill a day.  Ruxo is the med that helped with his GVHD but has the nasty side effect of making you bleed more and is the likely culprit for all of the platelet/hemogoblin (yes I know I spelled it wrong, but my brain always switches it to goblin and I think its funnier.  My humor, if you can call it that, is probably a defense mechanism, you know like a spider changing colors to blend into their environment right Peter?) 

I should add that we completely trust and have faith in his doctors, they are amazing.  I don’t want to make it sound like we don’t trust them.  They are making the best of a challenging situation around every corner, and we are so lucky to have them.    

Anyway, his doctors have wanted to get him off of it ASAP because of the side effects but it’s dangerous to stop it quickly because the GVHD could come right back.  On top of it all, Ruxo is a fairly new medicine, and they aren’t exactly sure how quickly to wean it so they err on the side of caution and go very slowly.  Right now, we are starting into a two week stretch where we will stay at his current level and closely monitor him.  Then in two weeks we will cut that dose in half and watch for two more weeks, etc…

How Will gets through the days in the Infusion Clinic!

Amid all of this, last week I started preparing myself for my regular “patience” pep talk that I like to give myself when I start feeling sorry for myself.   After all, this week was Spring Break here in Arizona and as I started seeing all the posts about family, friends, neighbors, co-workers heading out on vacation I started getting irrationally angry that we couldn’t go anywhere.   How dare you all have fun and do cool things!  (On that note: Dear infusion doctors/technicians working in the CCBD clinic, don’t ask your immune compromised kids if they have any plans for the weekend.  Yes our plans are to stay safe and alive, what are you up to?) 

However, this week when I started gearing up for the talk with my inner self I realized something.  I’m not frustrated, I’m not asking when it’s all going to be over.  I might actually be demonstrating some patience people!  Mind you it’s probably coming more from a place of being beaten down by life’s current challenges to the point where hope is but a small speck on the horizon, but everything just kind of is.  This is our life right now and it’s okay.  Actually, I think it’s more than okay.  I think things might even be classified as good.  Yes, our hands are full.  Yes, we are exhausted each night and hate the mornings when we get up early to head into the hospital.  Yes, the constant flow of medicine is tiring and we are sick of saying our most repeated phrase “Take your pills!”, but through it all there is happiness, there is love, there is peace in a time where it feels like we shouldn’t have any. 

Life goes on and we adapt, just as I’m sure all of you adapt to the ever-mounting challenges in life whatever they are.  All I can say is keep your head up, put one foot in front of the other, hold on for dear life to whatever it is keeping your propped up (family, service, food, books, sleep, work, cleaning, hobbies, spouses, siblings, candy, Diet Coke, etc…) and know that if you endure that this too will pass. 

And if you are lucky, it will pass with a cat in your lap!

Relatively recent picture of Will with Cola sitting in his favorite chair in our bedroom. This also shows some of the swelling in his face and the current state of his hair regrowth a little better.

William Anderson

Goodyear, AZ

Transplant Type: BMT/Stem Cell

Transplant Status: Transplanted

Goal: $75,000.00

Raised: $37,123 of $75,000 goal

Raised by 108 contributors

5 thoughts on “Spring Break?

  1. I’ve been thinking about you guys and almost did all how things were going when you updated. But I wanted to tell you how much this post helped me to remember that things do get better, even when it seems like the struggle has gone on forever, and right now it looks like nothing really changes, it will get better. Thank you. All my love, and I’m always thinking of you guys.

  2. We love you guys! Thank you for updating us. I still have ward members asking how he is doing. We love Will too and the whole family. This gives us just a glimpse of all the things you have to think and stress about. I wish we knew how to give you more support. Just know that we feel for you, especially in the many stressful moments and into all hours of the night. You guys have got this!❤️🙏🤗

  3. Hi guys. I am so glad to hear that Will is slowly improving. I sat here nodding my head as you talked about the weekend plans and thoughts of no summer trips. We are in the same boat and have been asked the same questions as well. I know people don’t think when they say it but it does serve as a reminder of our situation. We have many people ask us about our constantly being masked and “aren’t we tired of it” to which Joe replies “my life depends on it”. I am ok with the slap of our reality it gives people. In all this we have seen the hand of God sooooooooooooo many times I hate to say it but I’m starting to loose track of them all. I hope you guys are seeing those times as well. This whole situation sucks and I wish we (and you guys) never had to go through it. I am go grateful for the modern technology and medicine that has made it possible for us to come out on the other side. We pray for Will and your family (I know how hard it is on the caregiver as well) that he will continue to get better every day and that you guys will have the strength you need to make it through each day. ❤️

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