Thursday, May 31, 2012

Not Much Change

There's not a lot to report tonight, but things are improving. Her White Blood Count (WBC) went from .5 to 1.1. The higher WBC will mean that the mouth sores soon will evaporate quickly. They've started to heal, and the doctors expect them to improve rapidly.

Tammy is still feeling kind of puny, as she's still feeling the other effects of the chemo, such as nausea. When that flares up, she needs medicines that cause drowsiness.

So as we prepare for a potentially big weekend, we ask that you continue to pray. I think Tammy was a little discouraged today, because she really thought she'd feel a lot better by now. As I was getting ready to leave the hospital, she said, "I'm not sure I can do everything I need to to go home on Monday." I told her that would be okay. She shouldn't go home until she's ready, whenever that is.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Perfect Rx

Proverbs 4:8
"Cherish her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you."

The "she" in this passage is referring to wisdom, as Solomon encourages us to seek wisdom at any cost. But, hey, the verse works.

This morning Tammy got the perfect prescription for what ails her. For the first time since just after Christmas when David Lee left to go back to Poland, Tammy got a hug from him. She wasn't feeling particularly good this morning, but this definitely picked her up.

I know her eyes are closed. It's not a mistake in timing. I didn't catch her while she was blinking. Tammy believes the best way to soak up every ounce of hug is with her eyes closed. You can see the joy in her face to have him home.

I have a theory: fathers have sons and little girls; mothers have daughters and little boys. It doesn't matter how old they are. I love David dearly, but he's "my son," where Julie is "Daddy's little girl." It's a different relationship. The same is true with Tammy. She and Julie are very close, but David is her "little boy." (It doesn't have the same positive ring to it, but, trust me, it's true.)

So while she was battling some queasiness this morning, this embrace was the perfect remedy.

Our nurse, Lindsey, asked the doctor to wait to visit Tammy until David and I got there, and I'm glad she did. He was very upbeat today, and it did David and me a lot of good to hear it. Her counts are starting to rise, and he was very confident that the improvement will become more rapid. (However, he was a little disappointed to find out that now David Lee will get the credit.) We're still hopeful that things will continue to improve and she will be able to come home soon.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Proverbs 15:17
"Better a small serving of vegetables with love than a fattened calf with hatred."

We certainly have felt the love, and this proverb is true. Even in the midst of difficulty, with the love and support of our family and friends, this journey is a blessing to us.

I have a good update on Tammy. It's slow and incremental, but there's improvement to report. This morning she told the doctor that she's not in a lot of pain. She still has some discomfort, as you would expect with lots of mucus in her throat. But they were able to cut her steady drip of pain medicine in half, and she hasn't complained about any pain.

This morning, the doctor told us he expects to see some marked improvement as early as tomorrow, and by Friday, she should "feel like a new woman." He was very impressed with how well she's done, and he told her he believes her shirt when it says she fights like a girl. It was a different doctor here today than it was over the weekend (there are four who work together), and we joked with this one that if she did feel a lot better by Friday he could claim the credit in their weekly staff meeting. Not that they're competitive or anything.

Another thing that will help her condition is the fact that David Lee gets home this evening. It will be too late tonight for him to come by the hospital, but we'll come together tomorrow. I know Tammy will do better with one of her kids here with her. She is the epitome of a "mom." David will be here for three weeks, so he'll be here when Tammy comes home and for several of the early days of her time there. That will be a huge blessing to me as well.

I've received dozens, if not hundreds, of calls and emails from friends telling us they're praying for us. I feel a little guilty asking for so much prayer. This is the normal course of events for someone going through this. But a second batch of Leukemia is not that common. Mostly, it's my Tammy who's fighting this, so it's the biggest deal in the world. Thanks for indulging me and letting me share our journey with you. Mostly thanks for continuing to pray.

Monday, May 28, 2012

A Long Day

2 Corinthians 12:10
"That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

We're wrapping up a long, difficult day. Tammy has been struggling all day long, but she continues to fight. She has her "fight like a girl" T-shirt on today, and she has been living up to it.

The biggest struggle is the mucus that's in her throat. They want to keep it from getting into her lungs, so they're encouraging her to cough it up. It sounds terrible when she does, but she says the pain is lessened. She's on a really heavy dose of medicine, so she's been sleeping more than anything. But she's still cracking jokes to the nurses. They have to listen closely, because they're not expecting to hear sarcasm from a person in her condition.

I'm going to spend the night tonight. She's in great hands here. I can't imagine being in a better hospital. Yes, Jayhawk friends, we are extremely blessed to be at KU Medical Center. They have responded every time there's a problem, and everyone has a positive attitude. But I just can't leave. I know I won't sleep much, but I also know that any time I wake up she'll be just a few feet away.

We continue to be encouraged that this is short-term. Whether it's two or three more days or closer to five, there's an end in sight. We were just talking about something we'll do when we get home. I said, "when you get back to normal." She said, "I don't know what normal is" and winked at me. Same ol' Tammy.

I appreciate all the prayers that are being lifted up on our behalf. I need them too--for strength, endurance and patience. I also appreciate all the comments I've received throughout the day.

Another Hurdle

Romans 15:30
"I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me."

Please keep praying. Tammy has developed other complications, though at this point the doctor and nurses don't think they're life-threatening.

The different meds I wrote about earlier have caused a problem with her now struggling to get enough oxygen. Her oxygen drops when she's sleeping, which is most of the time now, because of the heavier dose of medicine. While she's awake she's okay; she's constantly clearing her throat and getting rid of the mucus. But when she sleeps, she doesn't, and her oxygen levels drop into the low 80s.

The doctor called in a pulmonologist (sp?), who considered taking her up to ICU because he was worried about this going to pneumonia. But they decided the risks of the ICU (other bacteria, etc.) were too great, so they're keeping her in the BMT unit. They've put her on oxygen and are monitoring her more closely. (I'm not leaving her side, either.)

The doctor still says that when her counts come back up in another 4-5 days, the sores will clear up and the mucus will go away. With it, this risk will go away. It's just hard to watch right now.

I'll update as necessary. Send me an email ( if you have any questions, instead of calling, because I want her to rest.


I Just Wanted to Share This

Psalm 113
"Praise the LORD.
   Praise the LORD, you his servants;
   praise the name of the LORD.
2 Let the name of the LORD be praised,
   both now and forevermore.
3 From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets,
   the name of the LORD is to be praised.
 4 The LORD is exalted over all the nations,
   his glory above the heavens.
5 Who is like the LORD our God,
   the One who sits enthroned on high,
6 who stoops down to look
   on the heavens and the earth?
 7 He raises the poor from the dust
   and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
8 he seats them with princes,
   with the princes of his people.
9 He settles the childless woman in her home
   as a happy mother of children.
   Praise the LORD."

Discouraged, But Not in Despair

2 Corinthians 4:8-10
"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body."

Today is a tough day. It's not devastating, as the long-term prognosis is still good. But Tammy is in even more pain, maybe the most so far. The doctor was in about an hour ago, and he said that the sores in her
mouth (and throat) will last another four or five days. Tammy teared up a little when she heard that.

I asked him if the continuation of the sores was a sign of worse things to come, and he said no. He continues to say that they're very normal, especially for a patient going through her second bone-marrow transplant. There's always the risk that bacteria could form from the sores and move into her blood stream, but that's unlikely.

So it's just a matter of riding it out for another four or five days. They have changed the pain medicine to something stronger, which will help. But it's also knocked her out pretty good. I'm spending most of my time just watching her sleep.

Please pray that the pain is not too bad. We know this is the normal course of events, but it hurts me so much to watch her in pain.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Now I Know Why

Matthew 26:39
Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, 'My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.'

For several weeks--actually for a few years now--I've been telling you how proud I am of Tammy. You know she's my hero.

I've seen her fight through some big-time adversity and still persevere. She's walked every day during this stay in the hospital, even though her energy is drained with the chemo, as well as the medicines to fight the effects of the chemo. I've watched her eat, even though her mouth and her throat are filled with sores that make every movement very painful.

Today I found out how rare she is. I left for a couple of hours this afternoon to attend her Dad's birthday party. When I got back, she told me about a conversation she had with her nurse. She finally decided she couldn't handle eating any more, and she cried a little. It hurts too much and just about everything she eats gives her nausea. She felt like she was giving up, even for a few days until the chemo in her system goes away.

The nurse told her that the staff is amazed at how strong she is. She told her that other people who have been in the same situation as Tammy, with fewer and less severe mouth sores, have given up a lot sooner and been put on feeding tubes while they wait for the chemo to leave their system. She told her that she is an inspiration to other patients and the doctors and nurses.

Because she's so close to being to being rid of the chemo, they're not going to put her on a feeding tube. They're going to let her sustain herself on Jello, Popcycles and ice chips. By Tuesday, or Wednesday at the latest, she should be rid of the mouth sores and hopefully she'll be able to eat without pain.

In the meantime, she'll just have to get her "nutrition" from the adulation of everyone who gets to be a part of her recovery.

About the verse I chose tonight: I was thinking about something this morning. I was wondering if I was trying to tell God what to do when I requested that He take away the mouth sores. I've been praying for God's will, but saying, "But I'd really like you to help her feel better quickly." Was I trying to take control from God?

I don't think so. Remember Jesus' words in the Garden of Gethsemane. He knew that God's will was that He would die on the cross for my sins, and those of a sinful world. Yet He prayed the prayer above. I know He never sinned, so this prayer must have been okay. I guess my prayer to ask God to do something is not a sin either.

So please keep praying for God's strength and healing. Ask Him to take away Tammy's pain. And please ask Him to help Tammy recover from this hideous disease.


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Good Exercise

Proverbs 2:6
"For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding."

Okay, that was another reach, but somehow it fits.

I just got home from the hospital after spending the afternoon and evening with Tammy. I felt the need to add one more post. I'm so proud of her.

By now you know she doesn't feel very well. Even the nurses talk to us about how she's persevering through the tough times. Instead of laying there in a ball, she continues to get up and walk around the room and up and down the halls. Tonight, she took two different trips around the BMT unit.

When we got back to the room, we got out the Bible trivia cards and I read them to her. Although she fell asleep a few times while thinking about the answers, she got through about 15 cards (six questions on each). I didn't keep track of exactly how many she got right, but I know it was more than half.

She is an inspiration to me. And I hope she is to you as well.

In God's Plan

Psalm 139: 13-14
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

No matter how spiritual we try to be, I think it's pretty normal to sometimes rely on our own “wisdom.” For me, that usually means trouble.

It's hard to see Tammy in so much pain, even though I know this is temporary and the mouth sores are a sign that she's responding to the chemotherapy. The doctor keeps telling us that a few days from now--when the chemo is out of her system--she'll start to feel better very quickly. But I love her more than I can express, and it's frustrating to watch her hurt and know that I can't do anything about it. I want to stroke her cheek, but that hurts her.

So I sit and pout about not being able to do anything.

This morning, as I was reading my devotions, I came upon this verse. It's a very familiar verse, one that Tammy taught her preschoolers every year. It's so simple that preschoolers can understand it. Yet sometimes I struggle to grasp its meaning.

God knows every square inch of Tammy's body, because He created her. He knows what she needs, and she is in His care. All the worrying and fretting I can do will not change a thing. She'll get through with this when He says it's time. His “works are wonderful,” which includes the smiling Tammy with a full head of hair, and the Tammy I see right now, struggling with her swallowing because the sores are in her mouth and her throat.

So I ask you to continue to pray for Tammy, that she could be as comfortable as possible while the sores remain, and that God would allow them to go away quickly. Also, please pray for patience for me to wait for Him to accomplish His will.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Still in Pain, But Dealing With It

Psalm 16:8-9
"I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure.""

We used this verse about a month ago, but it's still appropriate for today. Of course, we could say that about any verse in the Bible. Isn't it amazing how pertinent God's Word is for us on a daily basis?

Tammy is still in a lot of pain with her mouth sores. The doctor says they'll probably last for another four or five days and then go away quickly. Everything else is going well, and he's not worried that this is a long-term problem. For that we're very thankful.

Tammy continues to "rest secure" because she is focused on the Lord. We're amazed how anyone goes through this battle without faith in the Lord.

Speaking of people whose faith is in God, we would ask that you pray for our friend, Shelley. She is the daughter of our friends, Chuck and Carol. She is also the wife of Dave and the mom of Devin and Sean. She has been battling breast cancer for a while, and is still in a battle, as another tumor has showed up. Her faith is strong, as is that of her entire family. We ask that as you're praying for Tammy tonight, that you mention this precious family to God as well.

Remember our analogy of prayer. When you pray for someone, you're picking them up and carrying them to the Throne of God. You're saying, "God, You love this person more than I can. This person has needs, and only You can take care of them. Please meet their needs and comfort them." It's an honor and a privilege to pray for others.

Have a blessed day!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Pray for Relief

Psalm 4:1 (Amplified Bible)
"Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness (uprightness, justice, and right standing with You)! You have freed me when I was hemmed in and enlarged me when I was in distress; have mercy upon me and hear my prayer."

Tammy is in a lot of pain again today. She has a lot of mouth sores that are a result of the chemotherapy she's still receiving (to prevent the Graft Vs. Host Disease). The GVHD is the rejection we're trying to avoid. We're hoping the pain subsides tomorrow, because she has trouble eating and talking.

I've spent a lot of time this evening just staring at her and trying to get her to smile. She's such a strong person, that she smiles through the pain. I know I'm biased, but even with no hair and cheeks that look like she's got the mumps, she's still the most beautiful person I know.

But I can't wait until that smile is easy because the pain is gone. The good thing is that the doctor is not worried. He predicted that she would have a fever this evening, and unfortunately she followed orders. It's right around 100, so it's low grade. But that doesn't help how she feels. We're ready for this part to be done.

We don't want to ask for too much, but if you can pray that the sores would go away, we'd appreciate it.

Forms for the Fun Run

We'll post later on today, so nothing profound attempted here.

Here are the forms for the fun run, called "For Shirts & Giggles." Feel free to post the flyer (the second document) anywhere you want. You can use the registration form to register yourself and/or your friends.

We look forward to as many people participating as possible.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Dealing with Pain

1 Chronicles 4:10
"Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, 'Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.' And God granted his request."

Many of you might recognize that verse. There was a very popular book that came out about 10-15 years ago called The Prayer of Jabez. It's a powerful prayer that pretty well sums up what we all should pray on a regular basis. It seems appropriate today.

Tammy is in pain today as a result of the chemo. It has created sores all over her mouth that make it very difficult for her to swallow or talk. She's on some pain medicines, but they only offer minimal relief.

Still, her strength continues to amaze me (I'm glad I'm on her side). In spite of the pain, and the subsequent weakness from the medicines, she just completed a lap around the BMT unit. I know if I were going through this, I'd be curled up in a ball, crying like a baby.

The doctor is not concerned about the sores. He says they're very common with the type of chemo she had and is having now. It's to prevent the Graft Vs. Host Disease, so it's very necessary. It's working well, but the side effects are tough. Please pray that the pain goes away quickly, and that she can get some rest. As you can imagine, it's tough for her to rest with the pain.

We have some more details on the fun run in Tammy's honor. Some of this is repeated from yesterday, but instead of trying to figure out what we already posted, I'm posting everything.

The run will be Saturday, June 16, beginning at 10 a.m. at Roe Park (Roe Ave., between 103rd and 435) in suburban KC. We're asking for a $50 entry fee, but that fee can be given or raised through pledges per mile, etc. It's a 5K run, but there is also a half-mile track at the park and people can walk if they prefer. We'll serve lunch after the run/walk is completed, and water will be provided. (If you can't make it to the event on June 16, or if you're not from KC, you can still participate. Just run or walk (with pledges) and send the money to "For Shirts and Giggles," c/o Farmers Insurance, 9229 Ward Parkway, Suite 380, Kansas City, MO  64114.)

The proceeds from the run will be given to the KU Med Center BMT unit, where Tammy has received such wonderful care three years ago and again this spring. The funds will be used to purchase T-shirts like the one Tammy is wearing in the picture we posted yesterday. It represents the fighting spirit one must have to overcome this dreadful disease. Tammy has that spirit, and the shirt has been an encouragement to other patients and even the nurses on the unit. We have a flyer and registration form for the run, but they're in a form I can't attach here. Let me know if you want copies and I'll send them. If we get them saved in a different format we'll post them here later. Feel free to put them wherever you want, around your neighborhood and/or around your office. We'd love to have more people than we can handle comfortably.

This whole idea stemmed from our son's desire to run a race in Tammy's honor while he's home from Poland for a wedding (May 29-June 19). When he couldn't find one that fit his schedule and seemed appropriate, we decided to hold our own. We thought about what to do with proceeds if we got any, The idea of giving the money to the BMT unit to purchase these T-shirts just came to us. Eventually, we'd like to do this for every BMT unit in the country, but with just over three weeks to plan it, we're focusing on this year for now.

Thanks again for any help you can give us on this. Maybe we'll see you out there. (Email me if you have any questions.)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

An Inspiration

Hebrews 12:1-2
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."

We were talking to David Lee on Wednesday when he told us that he definitely wanted to run in a race while he's home (he gets home next Tuesday night). He started running about 2 1/2 months ago, and he's already running more than 10K several times a week. He's gotten serious about it, and he thought he could push himself to do something for Tammy.

I had sent him a link to a web site that listed all the races/runs in the KC area over the three weeks he'll be here. He narrowed his choices down to two, but neither one really excited him. We suggested that he host his own where he could raise pledges for every mile he runs.

Then we tried to figure out how the money he raised could be used. He wanted to do something in her honor, so we thought about doing something for the BMT unit, where Tammy has received such excellent care. As you may recall, Tammy's "I Fight Like a Girl" T-shirt is very popular in this unit (see the picture). Many of the nurses, and even the other patients, have commented on how cool the shirt is (David Lee bought if for Tammy last summer).

Well, as tends to happen with ideas like this, it has grown. We're now pleased to announce that on June 16, we will host a 5K Run/Walk in Tammy's honor to raise funds for the BMT unit at KU Med Center. Those funds will be used to purchase similar shirts for all the patients that go through here on an annual basis (there will be cool shirts for the male patients too).

We'll mark out a 5K path that will start and finish in the same location. If you're not a runner, you can still participate. We'll have a walking trail, and you can raise money by walking. We'll time it to finish the Run and the Walk at the same time. We'll have an award-winning lunch after we're done, and a good time will be had by all.

The registration fee is $50/person, but that fee can be paid with pledges. If you're going to run the 5K (3.1 miles), you'd need to raise a little more than $16/mile to meet your goal. Obviously, we'd accept more than $50, because that would buy more shirts. Every penny we raise will go to the BMT unit to buy the shirts. We're going to raise some corporate sponsorships to pay for the food at the event.

We're still finalizing all the details (exact location and time), but it will be in the mid-morning on June 16. Tomorrow, we'll post a flyer (with all the details) and the registration form on the blog. You can post these at your workplace in case there are others there who want to run or sponsor you as you run/walk. Even if you're not in the Kansas City area or can't run on the 16th, you can do this wherever you are.

Our goal is $3,600 the first year, but obviously we can use more than that. If we get 72 runners/walkers to each raise $50, we hit our goal. We have long-term goals, like possibly purchasing shirts for every patient in every BMT unit in the country, but that's for another year. We'd like to get off to a fast start, and we'd love to include you.

On the medical side, Tammy is going through the usual reaction to Day 6 after the transplant. She's experienced stomach upset for the past couple of days, but this is very normal. The doctors continue to be pleased with where she is, and we look forward to possibly bringing her home sometime next week.

As usual, if you want to visit her, please call her (913-908-4795) first to make sure she's up to it. We appreciate the prayers very much. Please keep them going.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

She "Went to Church"

Psalm 29:2
"Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness."

One of the parts of her faith that Tammy enjoys the most is attending worship. She enjoys worshiping with her family and friends, and today she got to do that. How, you ask?

Our friend, Marianne, brought her iPad to church this morning. She called Tammy on Facetime, an iPad application, then set up the iPad on the balcony bannister so Tammy could enjoy the whole service, including the message and all the songs. At the end of the service, the worship host, John, told everybody that Tammy was joining us, so we all turned around and said "Hi Tammy!" at the same time.

After the service was over, Marianne carried her iPad around with her so Tammy could talk to people and they could see how well she was doing. It was a blessing for Tammy to be able to join in, and I'm sure a blessing for others to be able to see her.

Tammy is resting most of the day today. It's part of the recovery process, but she's battling some queasiness. The medicine she's on to fight that makes her sleepy, so she's been asleep most of the afternoon. She did wake up long enough to talk to David Lee on Skype for about 20 minutes. You're not supposed to have favorite children, but David Lee is her favorite son, and one of her two favorites among all her kids. Talking with him always brightens her day.

There's nothing else new to report. The doctor continues to be pleased with her progress. He's still very encouraged with how she's responded to the treatment so far. We appreciate the continued prayers. Keep them coming.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

More Progress

Psalm 46:10
"He says, 'Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.'"

Patience is not high on my list of qualities. I pray for patience, but usually the prayer goes like this: "Give me patience, Lord, and please give it to me now!" Obviously, that's not a very effective prayer. I have a hard time being "still."

This is especially true when I'm waiting for something like Tammy's improvement. I want her to be well so badly that I have a hard time waiting for things to follow their normal course. I'm learning through this process that God's timing is not necessarily my timing. And, of course, His timing is perfect.

I'm learning a lot of patience from Tammy. She has learned how to celebrate the baby steps that recovery from this dreadful disease requires.

We had more encouraging news this morning. The doctor came in and told her that he is very pleased with the numbers. He said she would have days when she doesn't feel well, but she'll also have days when she does. And he expects her to continue to improve to the point that she might be able to go home as soon as Monday, May 28, two short weeks after her stay here began.

I must remember that if that day isn't the day, God's timing is perfect. I'll just have to wait until He's ready for her to come home. And I'll continue to praise Him for the progress that He has allowed in Tammy so far.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Slower Progress

Psalms 37:7
"Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him..."

Today we were reminded what a long road this is, as Tammy spent much of the day resting. She needed blood and fluids during the night, which interrupted her sleep. She really didn't get a good night's sleep. There are so many elements that contribute to her recovery, and sleep is one of them. Without it, progress is slowed a little.

The key thing is that she's still progressing. Even with her fatigue today, she still walked up and down the hall numerous times. We just got back to the room after two complete laps (600 feet). It was a little slower pace, but it's pretty remarkable that she's able to do this much so soon after the transplant.

The doctor came in this morning and was very pleased with her numbers. When Tammy told him that she was surprised she was doing so well, he told her keep doing what she's been doing.

When she went through this before, the doctors called her their "perfect patient," because she did what she was told to do and responded exactly the way they planned.

Nothing has changed as far as the routine with visitors. She's open to anyone (over the age of 14) visiting her, as long as you have not been sick or been around anybody who's sick. She asks that you call her (913-908-4795) first to make sure she's up to it at that point.

(Don't forget to enter our "Where's Mike From?" contest. If you have a guess for her donor's hometown, post it here or send me an email at The Grand Prize is a hug from Tammy.)

Blessings to you for a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


Ephesians 3:20-21
"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."

Wow! I can't think of a better way to summarize the last 24 hours.

At this time last night, the nurse was preparing Tammy's new cells for the transplant. We knew the riskiest part of this process was about to start. Over the next four hours we watched new life drip into her body and then watched for any negative reaction. Fortunately, nothing came and we were able to fall asleep. This morning, she was alert and energetic.

As today went by, she continued to get better. As far as I know she didn't take a nap today, and that may be the first time since she went back into the hospital on March 23, including the three weeks she was home between hospital stays.

She walked up and down the hall of the unit several times today, at a pace better than the day before she was released in April, and much better than the day before she was released three years ago. I'm smart enough to know that my memory may be faded, but to me she looks and acts better than she did a month after her transplant in 2009. I have to think that her 24-hour response to this transplant is a sign of things to come.

Remember that we have talked about how God can be glorified no matter what He chooses to do in this situation. Option 1 was always, "He could heal Tammy quickly and be glorified by His power." While the first day is encouraging, it doesn't necessarily mean that He will choose to do that. But we can dream, can't we?

So we continue to rely on God. We know things can change, and we also know that He can do anything He wants to do. We're not called to understand. We're certainly not called to predict. We're only called to be obedient. We will continue to pray for His will, all the while praying that His will is to heal her quickly. And we'll continue to pray to be obedient and faithful.

Day +1!

Lamentations 3:22-23
"Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."

We woke up this morning to a sunny day. Outside, the sun was shining as well!

Today is Day +1. It's the first day of Tammy's new cells and she looks great. (I can't say the same for me. I have hospital bed-head.)

She slept well and there were no adventures in the night. We're ready to face the new day.

Just a reminder that we're still having the contest to guess where "Mike" is from. Guess a city and a state. The winner gets a hug from Tammy. The winner will be revealed in at least one year, when his registry releases Tammy's information to him. Different donor registries do it differently, but all of them wait at least one year. So send me an email at with your guess.

We hope you have a blessed day. I know I will, because I get to spend another day with Tammy.

The End of an Eventful Day

Philippians 4:7
"And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Tammy is falling asleep after an amazing day! Her new cells are now two hours old, and she is doing remarkably well. She looks the same and she shows absolutely no signs of any problems.

The picture above is of a poster that Lindsey, our daytime nurse today, made for Tammy. Lindsey was our nurse the day Tammy got here and we hit it off immediately. All the nurses here are wonderful, and we don't want anyone to think we don't appreciate them, because we do. But there was a connection right away with Lindsey.

When I got to the hospital around 11 a.m. this morning, I called into the nurses' station as you have to do to get into this unit. She answered the phone and identified herself. I said, "Our Lindsey?!" and she said, "I'm thrilled to get Tammy again today."

When her shift ended before the transplant, she came into the room with a Chesire cat grin with her hands holding something behind her. She said, "I can't be the one to give you your transplant, but I have something for you." She had taken the picture we had given her and made the poster to commemorate Tammy's new birthday. She also gave her a necklace of beads. Tammy wore them until she fell asleep tonight. What a blessing she was to us today, and we get to have her again tomorrow.

You all are a blessing to us. We have felt the prayers throughout the evening, and now we'll rest comfortably knowing that prayers are continuing. We have such a tremendous peace that only can come from God.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Transplant is Done

Leviticus 17:11a
"For the life of a creature is in the blood."

Tammy's transplant is complete. The nurse just disconnected the bag of Mike's cells and flushed the line. That simply, the process is done and the next stage of recovery begins.

Our good friend, Jan Kniesly, is here with us. Together, we prayed for the cells as the nurse got them ready, and we watched the cells travel through the tube. It was fascinating to watch the life-giving blood cells literally move from the bag, through the tube, into her vein. It caused us to think about how it was the blood of Jesus that brings us new life.

It's very simple, yet very profound. Tonight we're praising God for Mike's donation of his blood to save Tammy's life. Every day, we praise God for Jesus' donation of His blood to save all of our lives.

Tonight, we pray that you have received that salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ.

The Cells are Here!

We're getting started! Time to ramp up the prayers.

Tammy has her "fighting duds" on again.

Today is the Day!

Psalm 118:24
"The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad."

Today is the day we have been waiting for since late March when we found out that Tammy's Leukemia had returned. Today at approximately 6 p.m., she will start her second transplant. It's a painless procedure, as it's all done through a blood transfusion.

We've had a lot of time to think about this. We're aware of the risks, but we know that the doctors and nurses here have been very well trained and they're ready for whatever may transpire. And we take great comfort in the fact that they rely on the Great Physician for guidance in treating their patients.

We know a lot of people who follow this blog have known Tammy for a long time. Very few have known her longer than I have, as we met in the summer of 1966 when her family started attending our church. Some of you, however, have only known her for a short period of time, or maybe you've never met her and were directed to this blog by a friend.

So for those of you in this last group, I would like to tell you about Tammy. I would like you to know why she is so special and why so many people are praying for her. For those of you who do know her well, this can be a fun little refresher.

Tammy was born in Topeka, Kansas, in July 1959. She has two younger brothers, Mike and Jim. Her parents, Lynn and Carleen Young, have been second parents to me, first as a boy and for the last 31 years as the man their daughter chose to spend the rest of her life with. When I was ready to be baptized in February 1967, Lynn was the elder who helped me get ready.

Tammy and I will celebrate 31 years of marriage in August, but our love goes back much further. We were both entering second grade when her family came to Westwood Christian Church. I immediately had a crush on her. Second-grade boys aren't supposed to like girls, so I "showed my love" by stealing her purse and throwing it into the boys' bathroom. My brother would always get it for her. She says now that she always knew I'd be the one she'd marry, but I'm not sure what I did to give her that idea. I'm just thankful that it worked out that way.

My family moved away after Tammy and I finished fourth grade. We stayed in touch, but not real closely. We'd come to KC occasionally, and we'd always go to Westwood. If her family was in town, we'd always say hello, but I figured my chances were done. When we were in college, I met my Mom in KC for a long weekend, and we went to church at Westwood. The choir was singing a song that we knew, so we went downstairs and asked the director if we could join in. She said yes so we put on the robes. I looked across the basement floor and saw this beautiful girl walking toward me. I'm sorry to say that I didn't recognize her at first, because it had been several years since we'd seen each other. But as she got closer, I realized who it was. My heart was "all aflutter."

We spent much of the day together, as she convinced her parents to invite my Mom and me to join them for lunch (I found this out later). Curiously, I rode in the back seat of her brother's car with Tammy, and we just talked. As we parted that evening, I told her I would write to her, and she said the same thing. We wrote for several weeks, with the closing going from "In Christian love" to just "Love."

I called her Christmas morning to wish her a Merry Christmas, still nervous that I was misreading her reactions. She said she was thrilled to hear from me. At the end of January, I decided to take a five-day weekend and go to KC. That would be the true test. I got off the plane and from that minute on, I knew she was the person God had picked for me before the beginning of time.

We've been through a lot together, as is true with any married couple. We have two amazing children, and we have built a lifetime of memories together, many of them around how we got through difficult times.

Tammy's prayer since she was a little girl has been to be used in a mighty way. Through her initial battle with Leukemia in 2008-09, and now again this spring, I believe that many people have come to a deeper relationship with God partly because of Tammy's example of faith. She is my hero. She is the love of my life.

Thanks for letting me share some of the reasons with you.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Having Some Fun

3 John 1:2
"Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well."

We decided to have some fun on the night before the transplant.

Tomorrow morning, somewhere in our beautiful country, an amazing 50-year-old man will head to his local hospital and start to have his blood drawn. Over the past week, he has been taking medicine to help him produce extra bone-marrow cells, and as his blood is drawn, those extra cells will be filtered out and stored. At the end of the four-hour process, he will be released and life will resume as normal.

That evening, in the University of Kansas Medical Center, those cells will begin to drip into an equally amazing 52-year-old woman, and her life will be changed forever. Thanks to "Mike," Tammy once again will begin the long road to recovery. That much we do know.

What we don't know is where "Mike" is from. (For those of you who just started reading this blog, we're calling the donor Mike because Tammy has two brothers--Mike and Jim--and Jim was the name of her first donor. Therefore it only makes sense that this donor is named Mike.)

We know that the courier will pick up the cells at the hospital where Mike will have the blood drawn, and then will take a one-stop flight to Kansas City. That courier will be met at KCI and the cells will be brought to the hospital. But why can't it be a non-stop? Is there no airport close by that has non-stops to Kansas City? Is it too far away? Is it too small of a community? Your guess is as good as ours.

That's where the fun starts. We are going to have a pool to guess the hometown of Mike. The person with the closest guess wins the grand prize ( will be the judge). We won't know for at least one year, as that's the minimum amount of time before a bone-marrow registry will release the recipient's information to the donor. We didn't learn Jim's identity until almost three years after Tammy's first transplant.

We've thought about what we could use as a grand prize. Someone suggested that we could get someone to donate a gift card, but that didn't seem like enough. It has to be something "not available in stores," and has to be something of great value. We tossed a lot of ideas around, and then finally it came to us.

The person who guesses the closest community to Mike's hometown gets (drum roll please) a hug from Tammy. As someone who has "won" this prize on numerous occasions--many times undeserved--I can tell you that there is no better prize. Tammy is the best hugger around.

So put your thinking cap on, or just pull an idea out of thin air. Send your guesses to me at I'll keep a file and then when we find out the answer, we'll let you know who won. No matter where you are, we'll figure out a way to deliver your prize.

Besides announcing the contest, I want to give you a quick update. We received news today that the transplant that was originally scheduled for 9:30 p.m. has been moved up to 6 p.m. We don't know why there was a change, but we are thankful that it will happen sooner. Of course we'll let you know how it goes. The blog will be the best source of information on her condition.

Please pray for the whole process tomorrow. We covet every prayer that can be lifted up.

Monday, May 14, 2012

The Next Stage

Psalms 32:6-7
"Therefore let all the faithful pray to you while you may be found; surely the rising of the mighty waters will not reach them. You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance."

We're back at the hospital this morning for the next stage of treatment. We're actually in a different Unit as Unit 41 (the BMT Unit) was full. We're not sure if she'll stay here or move back to Unit 41 when a bed opens up. This is also a cancer unit and it's still a very sterile environment, so Tammy will be well taken care of while she's here.

Last night and this morning were a little rough for both of us. As I got ready to leave the house, I kept walking around thinking, "Will this be the last time...?" for each thing I did. Would it be the last time I would help her get ready for a shower (she needs a wrap over her "PIC" line so it doesn't get wet)? Would it be the last time we would sleep in the same bed? We're both confident she's going to get through this once again, but the thoughts kept going through my mind. Only God's grace kept me from being a blubbering idiot (no comments, please).

Tammy was an encouragement. We had very open conversations about the what-ifs, and she continues to be very strong. Her positive attitude is a healing balm for me, because I know it will help her in this battle, and it's hard for me to be down when she's so up.

When we got off the elevator on the fourth floor, we started to walk down the hall and Tammy started to cry. "This is too familiar," she said, almost embarrassed by her tears. She knows the battle ahead, and for just a few seconds, she let it get to her. But she gained her composure quickly--I think I helped that a little by just holding her--and by the time we walked into the BMT Unit, she was smiling once again. Several of the nurses came out and told her they were happy to see her, which always helps.

She's now resting comfortably, and we're preparing for the transplant in two days. There's an eery comfort level here, as we've been through this before. We know the tough road ahead, but we also know that this is where she belongs because she'll get the excellent treatment that she needs.

As the transplant day draws close, we ask that you continue to pray. We ask for prayers for the doctors and nurses as they prepare Tammy, for "Mike" as he prepares for his donation, and for peace and comfort for us. You are a blessing.

Sunday, May 13, 2012


1 Peter 4:9-10
"Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms."

Stop me if you've heard this before. Today--a day on which it would make total sense for her to enjoy being spoiled--Tammy has been ministering to others.

It's Mother's Day, and though she's not my mother, she is the mother of my kids. She was a spectacular mother. I try to honor her every day, but today, even Hallmark tells me I should.

It's also the day before she goes back into the hospital for her next bone-marrow transplant. We'll get her to the hospital at 8 a.m., and her "freedom" will be gone. Right now she can still go where she wants when she wants. Once she's admitted, she'll be tethered to the IV pole and restricted to the BMT unit for the next two-plus weeks.

When we got home from the clinic, where Tammy spent the morning getting the last of her outpatient treatments, we put together some food so we could go on a picnic. As we drove by an elderly neighbor, Tammy said, "Let's stop and tell her Happy Mother's Day." Apparently when we did, it distracted her, because she closed her car door and locked her keys in her car, with the engine running. We spent the next hour trying to reach people who had an extra house key before she remembered that she had subscribed to a tow service. We called them and got someone to help her get into her car.

The whole time the neighbor was at our house, Tammy just listened and smiled at her. She told us all about her life, including some highs but many more lows. Tammy has an uncanny gift of making the person she's talking to feel like they're the most important person in her life, because at that point, they are. It's that "more a person, less a person" thing again.

I am so proud of her. I consider being her husband the crowning achievement of my life. As my friend Keith says, "If you're going to over-achieve at one thing, it might as well be at picking a wife." (By the way, Keith did too.)

We did get some good news on Friday, when the last of the results from her bone-marrow biopsy came back. Her DNA is completely gone, which means that only her original donor's DNA is around. This will lessen the chances of rejection, especially since the chemo she's been receiving since Thursday should greatly reduce the amount of his DNA. Rejection comes when the new donor's bone-marrow cells don't recognize the host cells. The smaller the number of host cells, the smaller the chance of rejection.

This is a big week. The transplant will happen late Wednesday evening, then the long, slow rebound starts. We are very confident as she prepares to head back to the hospital tomorrow. We know her fighting spirit and her strength will help her in this process. With those attributes, and God's hand on her, we look forward to a successful transplant and recovery. Please keep praying that God will bless this time.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Hit the Spot

Psalms 42:1
"As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God."

We started the chemotherapy treatments at the cancer clinic this morning, and when they were done, we came home. What a blessing it was to bring her home, where she can stay more active and comfortable. She'll have three more days of outpatient treatments before heading to the hospital Monday morning.

While we were there, we asked about Tammy's diet. When she goes into the hospital they put her on the highly restrictive diet right away. But since her counts are still high--actually higher than they were Monday--she's not quite ready for the neutropenic diet. So the nurse "suggested" that we visit her favorite restaurant tonight. Well, we don't have the funds for her favorite restaurant, nor the patience to wait for dinner, so we stopped at KFC and picked up a bucket of chicken. We both like KFC (it's our favorite "health food" restaurant), and we enjoyed the chicken, cole slaw and biscuits.

When we got through, Tammy said, "That hit the spot." Being a sentimental guy, I said, "In many ways, you hit the spot for me every day." But what does that mean? says "hit the spot" means "to be exactly right; to be refreshing." So that fits. Tammy is exactly right for me, and seeing her doing so well is very refreshing to me. When I see her struggling, I struggle. But I also realize that she's not perfect. As good of a match as we are, we both have flaws.

So it caused me to wonder, do I pant for God? Does my soul long for His presence. Does time spent with Him "hit the spot" and refresh me? I'm afraid that more often than not, that's not the case. I get caught up in the busyness of life and I thirst for things other than Him.

One thing I have learned through this process three years ago--and obviously I didn't learn it well enough because I'm learning it all over again this time--is that only God can "hit the spot." Only He can satisfy.

I pray that you will be refreshed by God today.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

More Good News!

Zephaniah 3:17
"The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves."

I was on my way to work this morning when Tammy called me with excitement in her voice. She said, "Do you want to hear some good news?" Now my wife is pretty smart, but did she really think I might not want to hear some good news? Of course I said I did, but I was not prepared for what came next.

She said Beth, the transplant coordinator at the KU Cancer Clinic, had just called her. The doctors had met yesterday afternoon and talked about Tammy's treatment. They decided that she could go through the preparatory chemotherapy on an outpatient basis. That means she'll go to the clinic each morning and then be able to return home in the afternoon. They believe she will remain healthier by being able to spend time at home. She'll move around more and keep things as normal as possible when she's home. The other good news is that they're expecting her stay in the hospital will now be only about two weeks after the transplant instead of three.

We're not sure if this is because she is doing so well to this point, or the fact that she will undergo a less-strenuous regimen of chemotherapy, but we're guessing it's a combination of both. We're celebrating tonight the fact that we don't have to take her to the hospital for a four-week stay beginning tomorrow. She'll still be admitted Monday, but that's four more days and nights together at home before she goes in, and likely fewer days apart on the back end.

It's a minor thing, but it's also more convenient to take her to the cancer clinic. Finding a parking spot is rarely a problem (and it's free), and getting from the car to the waiting room takes five minutes, not the 15 it takes from the parking lot to unit 41 in the hospital.

We've really received a sense of peace over the past few days. We're still aware of the risks, but we are more confident all the time that she'll get through this just like she did the last time. Prayers are still requested. You are all very precious to us..

Monday, May 7, 2012

Continued Improvement

Deuteronomy 31:6
"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you."

We had another appointment at the clinic today. Besides Tammy's latest series of labs, we had an appointment with a nurse practitioner. Tammy's counts keep going up, remarkably fast. Her platelet count is now normal (189, 150-400 is normal) and her ANC (telling us how well she'll fight infection) is very close to normal (1700, where normal is 1800-2400). The NP said she is doing as well as she can possibly be doing. Every bit of improvement will help her long-term chances.

We're continuing to take a positive approach. We know that this time through will be riskier than the last time, but this is absolutely the right choice. Every time we get news like this afternoon's we are more confident that this is what we should be doing. Pray extra hard next week as the first few days after the transplant are the riskiest.

Tammy knows that she's in for a fight, so she's got her "rumblin' duds" on (check out the photo). Our nephew, Ian, found this scarf in California and thought it represented Tammy's fighting spirit. David Lee and Julie bought Tammy the shirt for her birthday last year. (Now I know the lead doctor at the clinic has told Tammy that she's "one tough woman," but she has trouble with the "tough girl" look.)

Today, the NP told Tammy that she was amazed how well she was doing. She kept using the term "hearty." (I guess that means that she's David Lee's and Julie's "Hearty Mum.") That heartiness--or toughness--certainly will help her as she goes through the tough times. It did the last time for sure.

There is one change from what we previously told you. She now will go into the hospital this Thursday (rather than Wednesday) and her transplant will now be Wednesday, May 16. We know that the donor is a one-stop flight from here, so the transplant will not happen until late in the evening, at least 9:30 p.m. Tammy is guessing that "Mike" is from San Diego. I think he's from Jersey, which means she's going to have an accent of some sort.

Several of you have mentioned to us that you have been blessed by this blog and by our testimony. While that is flattering, we like to claim the words of our good friend and pastor, Brian Wright: "What's good is God, the rest is us." We are pleased that God has chosen to speak to you through us. Writing this blog has been very therapeutic for us, and we want to be transparent and let Him be seen through us. We'll keep writing, and you keep praying.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Power of Worship

Exodus 23:25
"Worship the Lord your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you."

We've had a few hours to absorb the news of today--the excitement of the fact that we're ready to get started with the next step, and the sobering news of the risks involved.

As I was preparing dinner, I thought about the day three and a half years ago when we went from the possibility of a bone-marrow transplant to the fact that it was the option we would take. I remember very clearly hearing the doctor talk about the risks involved with a transplant and the chances for her survival. We knew we needed to go down this path, but it was hard to put my arms around the whole concept.

That evening, I went to worship rehearsal and shared my concern with the members of the worship team. They prayed with me and for us, and as we worshiped that evening, my fears departed and I once again was able to hold on to the fact that God was in control. I could feel that sense of peace wash over me.

As I processed those memories tonight, I shared them with Tammy. Now we don't believe in coincidence, so it was pretty cool that tonight, I got to go to worship rehearsal. I'm on the worship team at church once every two or three months, so it's not like I go to worship rehearsal every Thursday night. I told Tammy that I was looking forward to the opportunity to worship with close friends and let God wash over me. Tammy said, "Can I come?"

She won't be able to go to church for about a year. She actually has permission to go this weekend, but with going into the hospital next week, we don't want her to run the risk of picking up something. Once she gets out of the hospital, she'll be under tight restrictions, so she's out of the church loop for quite a while. Tonight, she was able to join us for worship and be ministered to at the same time. But more than that, she was a blessing to the other members of the team.
Even facing the uncertainty of the impending procedure, they could see the joy of God on her face.

God has been so faithful to us, especially over the past few years. We actually look forward to what He has in store for us, because we know that "
in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28)

My friend and former Major League Baseball star, Mike Sweeney, had a great description for our situation. He used to tell me, "Life is a two-seater bicycle, and I'm just along for the ride."

The Next Step

Hebrews 7:26
"Such a high priest truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens."

We now know the details of the next step, and it's nothing short of another miracle.

We went to the clinic this morning for our appointment with the doctor and the transplant coordinator. They told us that the other match they found has agreed to be Tammy's next donor. Their description of his response was "record time."

The donor is a 50-year-old male. We have no idea where he's from, but we know that God sent him. Just like we were with her first donor, Jim, we are very thankful that this man was willing to listen to God's nudge to get tested. And when the call came that he was a match, he was willing to help save Tammy's life. He will be a part of our family forever, just like Jim. So we came up with a name for him. Tammy has two brothers, Mike and Jim. Since we already have another Jim, we're calling this guy Mike.

Tammy will go back into the hospital next Wednesday, May 9. She'll go through another batch of chemo in preparation of her second transplant on Tuesday, May 15. The treatment will be less intense, since she's already had a transplant, and her body would not be able to handle the full regimen again. The good news is that the treatment they will give her will have fewer side effects. She likely won't be as sick while she's in the hospital or after she gets home.

Another transplant can be risky, because they're subjecting her to lower blood counts and chemotherapy again. But not doing anything would be far riskier. The doctor also told us that they thought about a booster dose from Jim. While that would be less risky initially, the fact that Jim's cells didn't prevent the Leukemia from returning means the long-term risks would be higher. So they believe that this is the best option.

While we were meeting with the doctor and the coordinator, we shared our belief that God is using the KU Med Center's Bone Marrow Transplant team to accomplish His will. We told the doctor that Tammy is under the care of The Great Physician. He said he agreed with us, and he joined us as we prayed for the coming weeks and months.

As we prepare for this next step, we ask you to step up your prayers. God had this whole adventure in His plans before the beginning of time. He knows our every need, and He will provide.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A Big Day with Big News!

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

I know we've used that verse before, but it's so appropriate that we're using it again.

We just got home from our second visit to the clinic today. Our first visit this morning comprised labs and a visit with the doctor. The second visit was for Tammy's latest bone-marrow biopsy.

The labs turned out great! All her counts are up markedly. We are very pleased with the progress. Her white blood count, which was 2.3 last Friday, was 3.8 today. That means her immune system is building strength. That's a pretty significant jump in just four days. Her platelets also jumped pretty significantly. They were 73 last Friday and are 119 today.

But the biggest jump was her ANC (absolute neutrophil count), which tells the doctor how well her body can fight infection. The magic number for that is 500, because when she hits that number she can stop a couple of the medicines she's been taking, and we can eliminate many of the restrictions from her diet. Plus, we get to kiss each other for the first time since she went into the hospital March 24. Last Friday her level had jumped to around 250 (from 20 the previous Tuesday). Today that number was 1,026! (Excuse me, Doc, I need to kiss my wife!)

We'll find out many of the results from the biopsy tomorrow, and then Thursday we go back for an appointment with the transplant coordinator. We'll learn the plan for the next transplant. We know there's another possible donor, but we don't know if he has accepted the responsibility yet. We'll also find out when Tammy will need to go back into the hospital.

We have to admit that we were anxious as we headed to the clinic this morning. We wondered how we would react if the news had not been good. Our faith is strong, and, deep down, we knew we'd be okay. But it didn't keep those thoughts from gnawing at us. With the news being as good as it was, we laughed a lot this afternoon. We very much enjoy each other's company, but today was extra special.

Many of you have asked if you could bring us a meal. Before today that answer was no. Tammy couldn't eat "home cooking" made by anyone but me, because I knew the precautions to take when preparing her food. Now, while she still has some restrictions, she can handle more things. We're not asking anyone to bring anything, but we also won't turn down a good offer. Just call us and let us know.

More than meals or words of encouragement, we appreciate the prayers being lifted up on our behalf. We felt them today more than ever.