Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Really Big News!

Light in a messenger’s eyes brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.” Proverbs 15:30

It’s been almost a year since we last posted. The last post was on Tammy’s second “birthday,” April 1, 2011. Not much is different than it was a year ago. Tammy continues to do very well. She shows no sign of rejection or trouble. The doctors at the clinic still call her their “perfect patient” because she’s doing so well.

In our post last April, we wrote, “We were talking earlier tonight that her donor is now 39 years old. Somewhere, he is probably thinking about the sacrifice he made two years ago today, and we hope he is proud of his service. We still hope to meet him some day to say thank you in person.”

While we haven’t quite reached that last goal, Tammy got a wonderful phone call yesterday that we wanted to share with you. It actually was quite funny. Here’s kind of how it went:

Jim: “Tammy?”
Tammy: “Yes.”
Jim: “I went to your bone marrow drive. I just called to see how you’re doing.”
Tammy: “I’m doing fine. So, you came to my bone marrow drive?”
Jim: “Yep, we were driving down the road and drove by the fire station (remember, our drive was at our church) and saw the sign that they needed donors, so we went in and did the test. They called me shortly after that and said they needed me to come back.”
Tammy: “So, you were a match?!”
Jim: “Tammy, I was your match.”

They talked for 30 minutes. We have Jim’s address, phone number and email and we plan to keep in touch. (If he’s okay with us doing it, we’ll put his full name and address on the blog so you can pass along your thanks as well.)

We have shed a lot of tears of joy today, as Tammy finally got to say thanks to the man who saved her life. He didn’t want any credit for that. He just wanted to know how she was doing. He readily acknowledges God’s role in this story. He and Tammy talked about God’s will during their discussion, and Jim recognizes that God led him to drive past that fire station that day.

It turns out that Jim is from Waverly, a small town in upstate New York, about 100 miles south of Syracuse. The fire station in his community was having a bone-marrow drive one day in early spring 2009, and he felt the nudge of God to go in and sign up. When he got the call that he might be a match for a 49-year-old woman in Kansas, he agreed to be a donor. Tammy is alive today because of his willingness to obey that nudge.

Let us remind you of a little history. In October 2008, Tammy went to give blood, something she’s done almost every year since she turned 21. They tested her hemoglobin, like they do for all donors, and found that she was a little anemic. They recommended that she get some more tests from her doctor. The doctor did a complete blood analysis and found that all her counts were low. After a bone-marrow biopsy in November, they found that she had mylodysplastic syndrome, the precursor to leukemia.

Over the next few months, her condition deteriorated rapidly. Though she had no clue she was sick when she first got the test results, she quickly started to develop symptoms. The doctors did what they could to keep it from progressing, but it was obvious that she would need a bone-marrow transplant in order to survive.

We had a bone-marrow drive at our church in Kansas City, but around the same time, the fire station in Waverly was having its own drive. It may have been in honor of someone in that area, but God had other plans. Just like He had a friend of ours donate her bone-marrow to someone about a year and a half ago as a result of our drive, He had Jim respond to the sign at the firehouse to save Tammy’s life.

Today, Tammy is the picture of health. She amazes people with how good she looks (like she’s been amazing me with her beauty for more than 45 years). No one who doesn’t know her story can believe that she survived cancer so recently.

Thanks, in large part, to our new friend, Jim.

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