Showing posts from March, 2020

Palm of her hand

We’ve had a productive week in isolation. Ramón’s sister, YuSun, arrived in Atlanta on Monday night before heading to Emory on Tuesday for a full day of pre-transplant visits. With each needle stick (Sibling voodoo?), YuSun remained faithful and is now eating a very strict diet – in quarantine – until cell collection a week from today. So, as Ramón sits on his throne as the Pancake King, his sister is force-feeding herself broccoli, bananas, and peanuts (Oh my!). She’s also required to consume 8000mg of calcium a day, which is the equivalent of 26 glasses of milk. Please send YuSun strength as she prepares her body for stem cell collection. Though the food requirements don’t exactly make me salivate, I hope YuSun takes comfort knowing that, post-transplant, she’ll have Ramón eating from the palm of her hand.

Four words to cherish

Ramón and YuSun in Puerto Rico, December 2011 Four words to cherish in the world of cancer: We got good news! Ramón’s bone marrow biopsy shows that we’re ready to head to stem cell transplant. Though some details are still up in the air, we know that Ramón’s sister, YuSun, will be his donor. YuSun is a half match, but she’s 100% committed to helping out her “little” brother. We’re back at home with the dogs until Ramón is readmitted for transplant in the next few weeks. The transplant process is very intense, but we’re up for the challenge. Please keep YuSun top of mind as she travels from Michigan to Georgia in the coming days to deliver Ramón’s new blood formation system. Given the importance of staying healthy, she’s driving to Atlanta and staying until her cells are collected for transplant. Send YuSun (and her family who will be missing her!) good vibes in the weeks to come. I’m keeping this short because we don’t know all the answers and, even if we did, we’re doing our

Our lucky day?

Ramón  with two of his loves This photo was taken two years ago today, and it has me feeling somewhat nostalgic. I’m longing for a time when I was the only sick half of this duo  –  a time when I’d never heard “absolute neutrophil count”  –  a time when we weren’t living in a hospital, watching medical experts fear for their own lives while insensible people in the real world refer to significant loss of life as a political stunt or media hype. Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Do I sound festive or what? This round of treatment has been difficult for Ramón, particularly due to debilitating headaches. After about 2-3 weeks of helplessly watching him endure pain, we think we’ve finally hit on the right combination of medications to keep it under control. His counts have been slowly trending up, so we’re grateful for that. Which brings me to today’s request… If it crosses your mind between about 2:00 and 3:00 p.m. ET, please bombard us with positive energy. Ramón will be getting a bone m

Keeping it ill

It’s everywhere you turn: coronavirus this and coronavirus that. One minute, you read an article about a grieving daughter who suddenly lost her mom to the virus; a few minutes later, you see someone suggesting it’s a hoax and that the fear is manufactured. Another person is upset about an event or trip cancellation because it sucks when life doesn’t go according to plan. Then there’s the person whose decreasing 401(k) is causing more affliction than illness ever could. And lest we forget the person who has enough hand sanitizer to fill a kiddie pool. The inundation of information is overwhelming, yes, and some media outlets are churning out stories for the heck of it. “ The flu kills people every year, and we’re not freaking out about that .” Actually, some of us have been. When flu season peaks, I am constantly mindful of the fact that the flu does not mix well with cystic fibrosis. Also, I get the flu vaccine the moment it comes out – like I’m 15 years old waiting in line to buy N

twenty is plenty

Well, well, well … It’s hospital day 20. It’s not Ramón’s best day, but we’re making the best of every day. When I’m faced with anxiety-provoking situations, I try to apply logic to make the uncertainty disappear. For example, I have been replaying last May’s induction chemotherapy, trying to remember what happened on what day, thinking it will be an indicator of how things go this time. I am wrong day after day. I want to accept that there is no making sense of cancer, but the detective in me still makes fruitless attempts. Though I don’t know how much longer we’ll be here, I know that we should be able to go home (with many outpatient clinic visits) for several weeks leading up to Ramón’s transplant. Right now he’s tentatively scheduled to be admitted early to mid-April for transplant, but there are so many moving parts that I’m not getting too attached to any specific dates. There are still tests galore before the transplant is officially green-lighted. For one, Ramón will ha

Day 300

Livin' in the sunshine We made it to day 300! Sometimes it’s still hard for me to believe Ramón was diagnosed with leukemia last May. It’s even more difficult to believe that, after about nine months in remission, it occasionally feels like we’re back where we started. But, on the bright side, we’ve had 300 love-laden, laughter-loaded, gratitude-packed days. When you’re living in a hospital and constantly reminded of life’s fragility, every moment takes on a deeper level of meaning. As I typed that, a helicopter just flew overhead. It could be carrying a person or a vital organ; it might be on the way to get one. Whatever the case, it’s unlikely to be a joyride. Instead, the helicopter will likely determine someone’s future. It’s occasionally overwhelming to be surrounded by such significance, but, more often than not, it heightens life with a richness that’s challenging to describe. Despite some discomfort here and there, Ramón is doing quite well. Right now he’s not gett