Day +537: Reunited and it feels so good…

“There’s one perfect fit and sugar this one is it.
We both are so excited ‘cuz we’re reunited, hey hey….”

Mary Lou and I were “united” for the first time on November 30, 2010 when I was infused with 1342 ml of her life saving bone marrow. We finally met face to face nearly 18 months later on May 16, 2012. It’s hard to say which of us was more excited with ear to ear grins, bone crushing hugs, and instant rapport. It was a fantastic afternoon all the way around.

Michael and I first visited with Mary Lou and her husband, Jeff, and her adorable snoodle, Lucy, for a couple of hours, enjoying the perfect weather and breath taking view of the Columbia River from the deck of their beautiful home. We exchanged stories and photos, both eager to know every detail of our respective experiences with the donation.

We then had the honor of being interviewed by Cathy Zimmerman, features editor for The Daily News of Longview, Washington. I can’t wait to read her story!

We finished off the day with a pizza party with Mary Lou’s extended family, all of whom were eager to meet me. Everyone was warm and welcoming, and I instantly felt comfortably at home. It was very much like the family gatherings at our place (except for the food). The pizza was, without exaggeration, the best I’ve ever had. Mary Lou hand tossed her own special recipe dough, and we assembled the pizzas with different combinations of the wide array of available toppings. Jeff transported these culinary delights to their custom built outdoor, wood burning pizza oven where they baked to perfection. Sadly, although I’ve apparently inherited Mary Lou’s sweet tooth, I failed to gain her extraordinary talent for cooking. It’s difficult to imagine a more perfect day.

Thursday, we drove to Mount St. Helens. Michael surprised me with a helicopter tour. It was the day before the park officially opened for the season, and we had the pilot, Darren, and aircraft, a shiny new red Eurocopter, all to ourselves for an hour of spectacular views and interesting narrative. Once again, the weather cooperated beautifully. We finished the day with a Bosnian feast of cabbage rolls, lamb, fresh fruit, and Turkish coffee at the Drina Daisy in Astoria.

Friday, we visited the Maritime Museum and the local sea lions before meeting Mary Lou for dinner at The Bridgewater Bistro near our hotel. We had another good visit during and after dinner and parted with promises of staying in touch and meeting again.

Yesterday was another travel day. We flew to Denver via Salt Lake City and drove to Estes Park with a stop for dinner along the way at an old favorite German restaurant, The Black Bear. Sadly, the place is for sale after 35 great years. I can hardly believe it’s been nearly 28 since Michael and I ate there the first time.

It truly has been a wonderful vacation. My only disappointment is this nagging respiratory infection which seems to have settled in my sinuses and chest. It hasn’t stopped me from doing anything I wanted, but I wish I felt better. My raspy cough is also embarrassing in public places. Flying was particularly unpleasant with all the pressure changes. We’re taking it easy today, emerging from our cozy mountain cabin only long enough for our traditional Sunday brunch at the famous (from The Shining) Stanley Hotel. I’ve been in contact with both my hematologist and my transplant doctor via email, and they believe I’ve picked up the virus that’s going around and should be fine without medical attention until I return home Tuesday night, as long as I’m having no fevers or shortness of breath. That being said, I think it’s my nap time!


  1. Sounds like a wonderful vacation!

  2. Thank you for sharing this wonderful story. About two weeks after your donation (Early December 2010), I flew to Georgetown Medical Center in WA DC and donated bone marrow to a 15 year old boy with AML. I am a resident of Longview, WA. I have not yet had the opportunity to meet my recipient but hope to very soon. He resides in VA. It was a life saving surgery as well. My awareness article was written by the Columbian as I grew up in the Vancouver, WA area. It is a great cause and was so lucky to be a perfect match as well. What irony in the timing. Thanks for sharing the story, I will come back and read the entire blog. Have a great evening!!! Brian Loos

  3. Bless your hearts! I live just down the road from Cathlamet in Kelso. I read your story in the Daily News and cried. I’m a 46 year old man. I hope that you do live to be 90+. Take care, Joel

  4. So happy to hear you had a wonderful time meeting your donor!!!!!

    Can’t wait to see pictures too!!

    I think I got a sweet tooth from my donor too…ha!

  5. I’m so glad you were able to meet Mary Lou! Your first vacation sounds like a dream to me! I hope you get better soon.

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