My brother Tom has had Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma for the past 4 years. He did failrly well with different treatments, then recently found out that his bone marrow was getting tired and not producing anymore. He had a bone marrow biopsy and was diagnosed with full blown Leukemia. I went to Ann Arbor, Michigan with him for a consultation on his disease and options. We were told that his only option is a bone marrow transplant, and that it needs to be done soon.
The implications and planning for this proceedure were very overwhelming. First he needs to find a bone marrow donor. He was told that the actual bone marrow transplant will take 100 days in Ann Arbor. The first 30 in the hospital, then the next 3 months in an apartment near the hospital. He will also need 24/7 care while in the apartment there. Wow, immediately I had blood work to find out if I could be a donor, as did several of our brothers and my nephews. We are still waiting on that. I also decided that since I am a nurse, and can free up some time, that I will take care of him in his apartment for the first month.
Wow, because I work in the field of coaching and guiding family caegivers, I immediately started to recognize some needs I will have. The first being that I will need some relief and respite from 24 hour care. So the plan is to get someone to relieve me for 1 or 2 week-ends while I am there. There will be lots of other things that I will need to do for both Tom and myself. As I continue on this caregiving journey, I will post my thoughts, experiences and self-care decisions. here.
I also want to share some of Toms writings and poetry. The first one follows;
Why Not Me??
Of Course, Me
Thank You for the Challenge
Better myself than a 5 year old filled with wonderment. I have lived, I am much better equipped to handle the psychology of recovery. My parents will not have to wonder if their child will live a full life, or if they will be able to enjoy watching that child grow into adulthood.
I have 60+ years of faith, prayer, forgiveness, and love!!
Ihave lived, I have danced,
I have loved, I have lost,
I have cried, I have smiled,
I know disappointment and failure,
I know pride and contentment.
I WILL SURVIVE!!!!!
I KNOW HOW TO DANCE!!!!!
My faith and mind will allow and persuade my body to heal. Asking "Why Me" smacks of self-pity. Pity parties are ugly, they don't look good on me, they don't match my socks!!
I have raised children and know the wonder of grandchildren.
I know success.
I know friendship.
I know how to smile in the face of adversity.
I will attack the pain.
I will welcome the questions in my mind.
I will make lemonade.
I will be thankful that I have been chosen.
I am not afraid, I may not win but my adversary will know they have been in a battle if I don't.
If a full recovery, my life continues dancing singing laughing smiling. If no recovery my new life begins dancing singing laughing smiling. I cannot lose!!
Thank You all for your prayers, friendship, and wonderful words of encouragement. I am a rich man.
Posted by Carol McGowan
The Caregiver Cottage