Sunday, April 4, 2010

It kinda feels like we're preparing for the End of Days. And you guys are kind of like Jesus. Or Spiderman. Depending on your theology.

Over the last few months there has been this wacky combination in the Brabbs household of nesting in preparation for the baby's arrival, which is clearly hormone-driven, and also of trying to get all my ducks in a row for Phil's transplant, which is purely panic-driven. For those of you who may not be following the dates very closely (and we barely are, so that's probably most of you) Phil should be released from the hospital, assuming all goes well, on my due date-- April 20th. Given my track record it's likely I will go past my due date (I was 15 days past with Ocean and 10 with Iris) so we have that going for us but since labor is unpredictable we realize how truly close we're cutting it here.

Neither of us is a big planner so the stickiness of this particular situation which obviously called for lots of forethought and rallying of the troops sent me into a tailspin. What would I have done, then, without all of my dear friends who have worked tirelessly to fill my freezer with meals so we would be prepared for the overlap of Phil's hospitalization and subsequent isolation, and the baby's arrival? We are also receiving dinner twice a week from friends and Phil's co-workers which has eased my burden tremendously. My parents, my mom in particular, have become my caregivers, as well as caregivers to our kids-- they are here multiple days every week, taking care of the kids while we're at the hospital and bringing milk and bread when we run out. We have friends who take our kids to the park for us since I can barely walk, much less run after a rogue child, and Phil is exhausted... friends who have cookie bake-offs just so we can judge the results... friends who created boxes of crafts and games for our children once Phil comes home and we have to limit contact with other people while that immune system is being rebuilt... friends and family who call to check on us and who encourage us through this blog and email and Facebook, even if they don't quite know what to say... friends who dye their hair blue and then shave it off... friends who pray... friends who stuff envelopes full of Dominate wristbands... friends who babysit so we can get out of the house when reality becomes too real and life begins to close in... friends who made my birthday super-special when-- amidst the chaos-- I forgot I was even having one... friends who clean our house... friends who have lost their hair due to chemo and bring over a satin pillowcase because they know it will be more comfortable... friends who have been there with us since all of this began, who promised to be there for the long haul, to do whatever we needed them to do, to see us through this. I mean... really. Really? How wonderful are all of you? There are no words. And to simply say Thank You just doesn't do enough to convey our gratitude.

Here we are just 3 days away from transplant and all of this preparation and planning that was primarily undertaken by others-- not by me, oh no, because I was mostly over in the corner freaking out-- has allowed me to have such tremendous peace about how Ready we are in the face of Ready or Not. We've taken one day at a time throughout this process so I haven't thought too much about what the next few weeks will look like but I dared myself to take an imaginary peek into the near future and from my fictional crystal ball it looks like we just might make it. That's not a testament to anything but the grace of God and the goodness of the people in our lives. Because we... we are a mess, dudes. You all, you're like the hero at the scene of the accident, who gets the adrenaline burst that allows her to flip a car over in order to save the person inside. We need to flip over a car or two, but without all of you it couldn't happen. So that makes you guys heroes. Which, at least in a home where Spiderman and Jesus are often confused for one another, is a really, really big deal.

So. What happens now?

Tomorrow Phil gets a Melphalan infusion. It's supposed to be kind of nasty so they'll give him anti-nausea meds up front to make sure he doesn't get sick. He'll also have to chew on ice and popsicles to drive the blood circulation away from his mouth and throat, since Melphalan is notorious for giving mouth sores. (I'm going to bring our own cooler with fruit popsicles since I'm kind of a freak about food dyes and HFCS.) And I'm fully anticipating the challenge of trying to keep Phil awake while on sleep-inducing anti-nausea meds in order to make sure he's keeping his mouth cold enough. For FOUR HOURS. Pray for me.

We go home on Monday night and then back to the hospital on Tuesday afternoon, where Phil will check in for his transplant. I think there will be lots of Netflix watching on Tuesday night.

Wednesday is the actual transplant, which we hear is quite anti-climactic. More about that later.

Tonight we're taking it easy after a lovely Easter weekend with Phil's parents yesterday and my parents and sister today. Iris's sugar crash happened early so she is already in bed, and Ocean will be close behind, once he and Phil finish their Movie Night.

I am in the living room with the door open, enjoying the sights and sounds of spring... and a cookie that is a definite contender in the bake-off.

My hope is that you all feel as loved and cared for as we do on this Easter weekend, and that Peace is as close to you as your next breath.


Heather said...

Thinking of you and your family and all that is happening with you on this Easter Cassie. Good luck to you and to Phil in the coming days! Thoughts and prayers are totally dominating right now!
Heather Khoury-Lambert

Kindred Spirit said...

Easter Sunday is the beginning of Easter week, a time of great grace. Your family will be in my daily prayers during this special time. May God bless you all.

Sandy said...

I'll be on the prayer team... and intending right now that all is going well and easier than expected and is successful in all the ways it needs to be for the highest and best good of all concerned. So be it and SO IT IS!!!

Lorna said...

It's hard to believe just how much you have both been on my mind this weekend.(Mike's too as he drifted in and out.) Like Sandy said, we hope that things go well over the next few weeks. (I have to say I'm already scared and Mike's SCT isn't until November!)
Loads of hugs and love winging their way over from the UK.
x x x x x

tim's wife said...

Wow, you guys are truly blessed!
It takes a village and thank God
you have one and a mighty big one at that. Phil's gonna do great. You all will. And you're right, the transplant is very anticlimactic.
Here, they give IV benadryl as one of the premeds before they infuse the cells and it is truly the ticket to send one into La-La land.
If Phil gets that, he probably won't remember the transplant at all. He will just smell really funky for about 24 hours from the stem cell preservative. Some say it smells like garlic. I BEG to differ. Sending prayers from Jersey!!!

libbylu said...

More thoughts and prayers from NJ are being sent your way. I, too, thought of both of you a lot this weekend. It is awesome how much help and support you have. Here's to a smooth transpant and a speedy recovery.


M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
M said...

Cassie, We met years ago through CM (I work for Burt's Bees). I just found your site again and am catching up. Things have really changed.

Good luck to you all in the next few months. My brother was fighting cancer during my first pregnancy. While it was very different from your situation, I understand the wild emotions of pregnancy while fighting for your family’s health. My son was born 4 days before my brother's cord blood stem cell transplant - a procedure which is completely anticlimactic!

I am glad you have so many wonderful people in your life to support your entire family.

Take care,

Cassie said...

Thank you, everyone, for your kind words, thoughts and prayers.

Mary, I'm so glad you found us! I think of you often... I'm still SO Burt's Bees brand loyal because of your presentation! If I can't eat it, I don't buy it. =)
You also gave me some great info at the beginning of all this regarding Phil's blood clots; it would have taken us a lot longer to see a hematologist had it not been for your suggestion that we do so. I owe you a huge Thank You.

Jilly said...

Thinking of you all!!!!!!

Preferred Customer/ Janice said...

Wow just writing that took courage. You will make it and believe me put one foot in front of another. That is how we all get there. A suggestion you can have someone make your own Popsicles by putting juice into and ice cube tray, cuts down on the sugar and dye.
You just do the best you can and take a deep breath, you are going to need it for labor. I pray daily for your family and know things will improve. "God Bless you and keep you, make his face to shine on you and give you peace."
MMS Janice

Elka said...

We are praying for you every day during this time! Wish we could come and be in isolation with you. But we're with you in spirit.
Elka and Adam

Jamie said...

We're praying for you guys. You're in our thoughts moment by moment. Love you all.

Becky said...

Beautiful post Cassie. I hope today went as smoothly as could be. When I got to the part about Phil having to keep his mouth cold for four hours I stopped reading and said a prayer for strength for you guys. It is so overwhelming, all of it, and I am awed by how you guys keep on doing what needs to be done. You are Spiderman! Or Phil is and you are that Mary Jane girl.

Nerissa Picadizo said...

Dear Cassie and Phil,

Sending my deepest prayer for both of you and all your love ones!

May you always have the unwavering strength and the comfort of Faith to help you get through this SCT stage of the journey…

Much love and support,


I put up your cancer kicker logo on my blog… for I also deeply support everyone who is overcoming MM… All the very best!!!

JP said...

Phil -- Always thinking and praying for you, Cassie & the kids. U/M Hospital is THE LEADER and THE BEST and you're in the best of care!!!

With our recent donation, could someone send us 5 DOMINATE bracelets so we can send them to the rest of the Plott clan -- Chris & Stacey (Brown) and their son Bryce; Nicole, Michelle and Jeff. We're pulling for you!!! From your friends and neighbors here in Midland. John & Pat