Hello everyone and thank you so much for all of your support at the fun run on Saturday! It was such a fun event and truly inspiring for Katie and I to see. I can't even begin to express the gratitude I feel for all the love, friendship, and dedication to help from every single person who participated in one way or another. We were totally shocked by the number of people who turned up to run, walk, and just be there to show how much they cared. Many people came up to me after the run and said how they were thinking if Brandon can do this, I can do this race. My response to that is how I keep thinking, if there are this many people out there praying and thinking of Katie and me then I can definitely get through one more round of chemo, no matter how bad it is. Just to give you the update on our next chemo schedule: I go in for tests on August 17 to do a bone marrow biopsy, PET scan (that gives us an idea how much cancer is left), and some blood work in preparation for chemo. Then after the test results come back I go in to see my oncologist, Dr. Tricot on Thursday and begin chemo on Friday, August 21. I am not sure just yet whether it will be an inpatient or outpatient procedure this time around but we are hoping for outpatient, but that is up to the Dr. at this point. The chemo will last for four days and I will have my transplant on August 25. In the following two or three weeks I will have my immune system go to zero until I am "neutropenic", and then slowly build itself back up again. During this period I will be very susceptible to disease just like before and won't be able to see any visitors. It is very nice knowing what to expect, having been through it now once before, and also knowing how many people out there are thinking of and praying for us. It really does make a difference, and we are so very grateful for everything that everyone has done for us. It makes those few weeks of discomfort and sickness seem more bearable, and much less daunting. After that, depending on how I respond to the treatment we may have one more round of a lighter chemo referred to as "depace" but other than that I should be primarily on chemo pills for the rest of the ordeal if everything goes as planned.
As many of you I am sure already realized I am doing much better as far as health and strength go. I have gained about 22 lbs. back of the 45 total that I have lost throughout my hospital stay, and my back although still sore is much stronger and not nearly as painful. Unfortunately I will never regain the 5 inches of height I lost when my spine collapsed, but I figure as long as I am still taller than Katie (which isn't too hard considering she is 5'2'') I am happy just being able to walk again. The path to walking has been a long and slow one, but it has taught me great patience. First, was the challenge of sitting up in bed, then standing up next to the bed. Next came the walker, the crutches, and now the cane! Hopefully soon I will be walking on my own.
I am constantly in awe from all of the overwhelming support we have continued to see over and over again throughout this struggle. We especially want to thank Jessica and Randy for all the work they put into planning the fun run. There were also many others who donated their time and their talents to help everything come together. It was such a wonderful day and reflection of how great everyone has been from the beginning. With the end in sight it is so comforting to remember all the strong arms willing to catch us if we ever stumble or fall, ready to help us get back up and keep fighting. We will never forget this special day, in this unique time in our lives to help us get through whatever lies ahead.