Thursday, July 3, 2008

July, 2008: Two Months After the Transplant

Okay, here's the first James Shibley update in a while: When the medical people said this would take a year, many of us - including James - figured that would be front-loaded to the main event, the transplant itself. When James went home from the hospital afterwards, things were looking great. James was playing with the kid, and going for long walks. In short, for a few brief shining weeks this all seemed to be drifting into the past.

However, there is a reason doctors go to med school - it's to learn more about medicine than the rest of us, and it turns out they were right: This will take a year.

Several weeks ago, James went back into the hospital and it looks like his stay this time will be around a month. He mentioned possibly going home by the early middle of July. I don't think he is in any unexpected danger for this procedure - he just needs to be given medicine intravenously and he can't do that as an outpatient. Obviously, it's a huge challenge emotionally to do this all again - for all of us but especially for him and Stacey.

The way I see this is that we were surprised and shocked back in December, 2007, at the news and scope of the initial problem. For months, that never really had a chance to dissipate. I'm grateful for the weeks when James returned home and life seemed almost normal again. This stretch gave us a break to recover from the first go-around. Now that we're rested again, we should be less surprised at this setback and more used to the idea of this as part of life in 2008.

Yes, it sucks. I mean it really sucks. But it's supposed to suck so that's what it is doing. James has aced this procedure up until now. He was in the top of all possible responses. Hopefully, this is a temporary dip into a more typical reaction to an unbelievably complicated and invasive medical move.

So, onward. One other good thing is that the second month in the hospital is part of that year it is supposed to take for James to recover. So time is passing with the 3 most important words in all of life: To Be Continued. ---Bill McDonald


Anonymous said...

We eagerly await your updates. My husband is tentatively scheduled for a double cord blood stem cell transplant at the Univ. of MN - Fairview in late July. He was diagnosed MDS - RAEB1 with and IPSS of 2 or higher in late January. He has tried the Revlimid with some success, but because of lots of chromosome damage, they are pushing for a transplant. We were sorry to hear of the setback. Hang in there. You are in our prayers.
MNladyslipper from the MDS forums.
Bev & Barry

SrLampara said...

Dear James, Stacey, and Robert-
Thanks for keeping us who live far away up to date on your progress. I've been reading the blog regularly and sending all the good vibes we can muster your way but this is my first post here. You know I'm a silver lining looker, but even corrected for my delusional optimism, I'm glad to read about the toughness of spirit (and body) you all are mustering to get through this. Indeed, on a long hard road like this one, this setback IS progress.
I have a picture in my head of a poor nurse who sees James on regular rounds and looks forward to the next dose of "Born to Slack"ish observational humor. Poor thing needs a raise...or a box of chocolate...or preferably both.
I'd like to offer an observation adapted from a fridge magnet my sister gave me...Some people see the glass half full, some see the glass half empty, James looks at the glass and says "Hey, are you going to drink that." Drink (in the metaphoric sense of taking in all this jacked up life has to offer)Up!
hugs and kisses,
the kaufka/lupro continuum

george said...

What he said.

Love and hugs,
beth of the kaufka/lupro continuum

Anonymous said...

wymnpPlease know that You Are ALL in my thoughts and blessings. I have been a faithful fan of Born To Slack. One of the most incredible aspects of the show was to witness the friendship between Bill and James. It strikes me, that in the face of the all that James has been through, that James is gifted by the support and love of many. A beautiful family and friendship is a rare and precious commodity. The spirit needs to focus on the blessings today to assist physical healing. My Irish Grandmother used to say "If you're going through hell, keep going". I think she meant that you will get to the other side. I believe you will. Although, the journey is a bitch. My own health changed my life in 2005. The worst part was the money and endless paperwork that shows what a callous system healthcare is. Do your best to not let it interfere with the peace you deserve to heal.
For Bill; It was clear how much you care for your friend as you tried to keep the show going. In the latest live broadcast I sensed the despair over the situation we find ourselves in, and the impending doom descending over this human experiment. These are perilous times. Health issues are striking at an alarming rate, as more young people are battling devastating consequences. DAMNIT I AM PISSED! Bill, My hope is that you use your talent to process our collective confusion at how we all wound up in this handbasket. We need your perspective. Some of us are of the first wave of boomers, and have a profound reaction not experienced by many of the younger people speaking out in righteous rage. IT's just different after 50 plus years to face the betrayal that's been going on all of our lives, and longer. We need your is rare and valuable. Just keep it real, we can take it. We need to share it with you, so I hope you keep going. I thought the latest live show was one of the finest episodes I saw. I miss you with your friend on the screen. For now I am satisfied with your insights. Thank you for all that you and zJames have given.

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