So, I’ve been keeping a pretty big secret. Mainly, because it wasn’t my secret to tell. But, with the blessing of the person the secret affects, I’m hoping to be able to share with y’all a huge success story after years of a fight.
Thanksgiving 2016, my brother-in-law showed up to Thanksgiving dinner with enlarged glands in his neck. As a frequent sinusitis sufferer, he shrugged it off as sinuses, or maybe even strep throat given his symptoms. He had an appointment to see the doctor the very next day, so we all went about our Thanksgiving as usual. Never did we imagine that a seemingly harmless doctors appointment would change everything.
Leukemia. The words came out of his mouth, and I watched my husband’s face fall emotionless. We had just upped and moved to Alabama away from our family, only to have his Brother diagnosed with cancer a few months later. We went through a roller coaster of emotions and questions, the biggest one being, do we pack up and move back home to Florida? After a lot of discussions, prayer, and careful thought we decided to stay in Alabama but would frequent going home to Florida as much as we could to spend time with family as my brother-in-law navigated his way through treatment.
After several rounds of chemo, he got the news we all so desperately wanted to hear, remission. A word we weren’t sure we were going to hear, but there it was, and man, did it sound beautiful! Life slowly settled back into a normal routine. We started to really own our life in Alabama, my brother-in-law was able to go back to work, and we all took a deep breath for what felt like the first time in a year.
Some months later, my brother-in-law started to feel off. He had been working extra, so we hoped it was just fatigue from overworking, but we were hit with the news once again. It was back. But, how?! He was just in remission? Cancer obviously does not care about remission, it will find a way to sneak back in, and it did.
The first time they broke the news to us was scary, but there is something even scarier about knowing a disease came back after declared remission. Does this mean it’s stronger this time? Does this mean remission a second time isn’t possible? So many questions, and unfortunately, so many morbid thoughts.
Our hometown hospital decided his treatment this time would be more beneficial in the hands of a more equipped hospital. Surprisingly, that hospital would be 45 minutes from our house here in Alabama. A small notion that our move to Alabama was God’s plan after all.
Treatment started right away. They would start with multiple rounds of Chemo, and fighting chance to stay in remission would be a bone marrow transplant. Without question, my husband insistently offered to be his brother’s donor.
Typically, biological siblings don’t have a high percentage of being a match, which was surprising news to us. So, in addition to my husband getting tested, Be the Match would also search their database, and the best match percentages would be presented to my brother-in-law. My husband ended up being a much higher percentage of a match than we thought and was higher than anyone they found in their database. So, now we move forward with the transplant, which will be taking place at the beginning of next month. We are all nervous, hopeful, stressed, and dare I say it, even a little scared. This could be a defining moment between life or death and as much as it sucks to say that out loud, it’s our crippling reality.
I’m hoping to chronicle the donation process, as I don’t know if people truly realize the importance of bone marrow donation. I sure didn’t until my family’s life depended on it. I’ve seen some beautiful success stories through Be the Match, and I’m hoping our family will be able to add to those stories after this. If you’re interested in becoming a donor visit BeTheMatch.org, you just might save a life.
This has been incredibly hard on our family, not to mention, the person actually living this reality. My brother-in-law, as much as he will deny it, is a sarcastically funny light in all of our lives, the best uncle, my iCarly ride or die (inside joke), and we aren’t ready for him to leave us yet. My husband would do just about anything to help his brother, and we hope this small gesture is just the ticket he needs.
As for now, I just have one favor to ask, and that is for your prayers.
Please pray that the days, appointments, and tests leading up to the transplant go smoothly.
Please pray for my Husband and his Brother. Pray protection for them both. If you’re feeling extra generous with your prayers you can also pray for me and my mother-in-law as we watch my husband, brother-in-law, and her two sons walk a journey we have no control over. You know us women, we love control. Haha.
And last, pray for peace. Peace that this is the right decision no matter the outcome, and peace with the final results.
I know this blog has taken a nose dive this last year and I’ve wanted nothing more than to get my thoughts on the screen, but as you can tell, life has been nothing short of crazy. Thank you to this community who is always uplifting and supportive even if I do disappear for months at a time. I’ll regularly get back to this space at some point, but for now, I’ll catch you when I can.