Day +743: In life, one and one don’t make two…

“I look at my face in the mirror
I know I’m worth nothing without you
In life, one and one don’t make two
One and one make one
And I’m looking for that free ride to me
I’m looking for you

“I’d gladly lose me to find you
I’d gladly give up all I got
To catch you I’m gonna run and never stop

“I’d pay any price just to win you
Surrender my good life for bad

“I’d call that a bargain
The best I ever had”

12/12/12: The message from my transplant nurse practitioner today was short and oh so very sweet:


    “Bone marrow biopsy shows no evidence of disease with 100% donor. Great news.”


Mary Lou, I think we both agree that you, and consequently I, have some excellent bone marrow!

Going back to Michael’s post last week, yes, the biopsy was painful but finished very expeditiously, and I wasn’t even sore the day afterwards. Much, much better than last year’s. On the other hand (both arms actually), my immunizations were painful for the moment and very sore for a couple of days. Again, I felt sorry for toddlers going through this who don’t even understand the benefit of the shots. I received the following vaccinations:

  • diphtheria/Tetanus (actually got this 11/19/12 after the cat bite)
  • H. influenzae type b conjugate [bacterial meningitis]
  • Hepatitis B
  • Inactivated polio
  • Pneumovax 23 [pneumococcal pneumonia]
  • MMR (live attenuated virus) [measles-mumps-rubella]

I also had my seasonal flu shot in September.

Another difference from last year’s exam was that they drew only 4 tubes of blood (instead of 11). Blood work continues to be very good:

December 6:
WBC: 8730 (norm 4500.-11000.)
ANC: 4310 (norm 1500.-7800.)
Platelets: 584 (norm 150-350)
RBC: 4.39 (norm 4.00-5.20)
HGB (hemoglobin): 14.2 (norm 12.00-15.00)
HCT (hematocrit): 42.2 (norm 36.00-46.00)
Bilirubin: 0.7 (normal 0.1-1.2)
AST: 24 (normal 0-31)
ALT: 20 (normal 0-31)
Alkaline Phosphatase: 114 (norm 30-120)
Ferritin: 393 (norm 10-300)

All in all, the day passed quickly and easily.

Yesterday, I returned to Hopkins for a swallow study and consultation with the speech pathologist, Heather Starmer. She asked me to eat and drink some barium laced items – applesauce, juice, and pudding on a very dry graham cracker. After each bite, radiologist Dr. Fynes and Heather studied a real-time x-ray as I swallowed to find any problem areas. As I already knew, food does tend to stick a bit in my throat but overall my functionality is very good with no evidence of aspiration. As long as I drink plenty when I’m eating, all is well. Heather instructed me on some swallowing and tongue exercises to improve speaking and eating functionality further. I also have some lymphedema under my chin – Heather said to ask my physiotherapist to show me how to do the lymphatic massage myself to augment the massages I get during therapy.

Other than continuing physical therapy 2-3 times weekly, my next medical appointments aren’t until my recheck MRI and followup with the surgeon and speech pathologist next month. Hurray, a little break for the holidays!

Look for tag line updates next post – there’s still time to send your guesses on old posts, too!


  1. Oh Karen, I am so happy to hear that your blood work is doing so well on the numbers.
    I know you are trying so hard to get well and I pray for you every day for your recovery.
    Take care and have a blessed day

  2. Everything looks great!!! So happy to hear!

  3. Well that is certainly fantastic news, and a great Christmas present I’ll wager. When I spoke to you last week, I honestly couldn’t hear any issue with your speech.

    I know that’s the who, and I think it’s Mobile, or Going Mobile.

  4. What wonderful news during this Christmas season! I pray things continue looking up!

  5. What great news to receive this holiday season. You’ve come such a long way from a couple of years ago, congratulations to you, Michael and Mary Lou for all your hard work as it is certainly paying off. I’ll go with Chris who suggested the The Who and the title might be The Bargain, but nevermind I’m just happy to hear all looks well with the biopsy.
    Deb and Mike

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