There is something about smells that can overwhelm your senses and take you to your most treasured memories. Two scents that will always remind me of June 22, 2012 is that of a campfire and oddly enough, creamed corn. Why? While I was preparing to head to the hospital this morning when I looked outside and noticed an unnatural, but beautiful glow coming through the clouds. I stepped outside and was hit with the overwhelming aroma of smoke. Ash was falling from the sky. Something somewhere was burning and the stench filled the air.
I knew Austin wasn't going to last long at the hospital so while Brady and Millie hung out, Austin and I went to lunch at Cafe Rio. It's one of the only places that he will actually eat something from. It was an odd feeling standing there in line ordering a taco while it was going to be the biggest day of my daughter's life.
Today was the day we have been waiting for. It seems so strange to have it be over. We have waited so long and although Millie got her cells today, we still have so long to go before she is totally in the clear, but here we are waiting and wondering what will happen next.
Her new stem cells arrived in a cooler, they brought them in, hung the bag, and that was that. Millie immediately felt ill. The cells have been frozen for around 2 years and since they have to be extremely fresh, they were still ice cold going in. She had been given Benadryl to help with any potential reaction and although she was struggling with the sensation of the cells entering her body she fell asleep quickly. It only took about 15 mins for them to completely infuse into her little body and I couldn't help but picture them swimming around in there trying to find where to go.
So why will I also be reminded of today whenever I smell corned corn (which probably won't happen too often)? The stem cells from the umbilical cord blood were frozen in a preservative, and it stunk like creamed corn. This is something else Millie was not handling well. Who would have thought the preservative would be an issue? Not me. Millie fell asleep before she noticed it initially, but once she did wake up the taste of the preservative was unbearable. When I would lay by her in bed I would have to turn my head away at times to try and get some fresh air. I hear day 2 is worse...
Tonight I am at home with my beautiful little man who has been amazing today. I could tell he too was overwhelmed by the day as we have been mentioning it to him over and over again for months, but he handled himself pretty well and I am so grateful he was able to stay and be there for this moment. Austin only knows Millie with cancer. She was diagnosed 4 months after his birth and she has been fighting ever since. Today starts a new life for him as well.
How bizarre to say that my daughter is Cancer Free. I thank my Heavenly Father every day that he sent Millie HER perfect match, no she didn't actually have a "perfect match", but I believe as well as her doctor's believe, that this is what she needed to destroy any remaining cancer. Millie needed the extra stress that having a little graft versus host disease can bring. Sounds odd I know, but for her going into day -10 with 0.6% cancer still in her marrow (they wanted it at or below 0.01%), some graft versus host could kill any cancer cells that may have survived the past 10 days.
Now begins that countdown to engraftment. Want to place a bet? Cord cells engraft on average at day 28, but have done so as soon as day 11 and as late as day 62. Millie guessed day 30. Here's hoping it's closer to 11, and not 62, YIKES!
Millie loves her daddy.
In this little, red cooler sits the cells that will change all of our lives forever.
Happy B.M.T. Birthday To You!
The room was full of medical staff who truly care about our daughter and want to celebrate with us, as well as Millie's grandmas and her grandpa Jeff. My dad is home recovering from a cold so he couldn't make it. We celebrated and opened presents, but before we could finish opening them she fell asleep - Benedryl will do that to you...
Millie and her new stem cells. Thank you to the total stranger that stepped up and decided to donate her umbilical cord to the bone marrow registry. My baby wouldn't be here today if it was not for you. You and your beautiful, little girl saved my Millie's life today.
Millie's Bone Marrow Doc
(Sadly it's the only pic I got, I'll have to sneak one another time)
The Miss was exhausted from all her meds, and I am so glad she got some much needed rest. She did not feel well and I'm grateful she slept through the majority of it.
Ya, Millie looks uncomfortable in her sleep and we all have on huge smiles, but it was an amazing day and I couldn't help but grin from ear to ear.
Happy Bone Marrow Transplant Birthday, Amelia!