• Our Mission

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  • Molly Wood
    The family and friends of Molly Wood are uniting to raise money to help in her battle against Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Please read on for an update on Molly’s health. Molly was diagnosed with Stage IV Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in late 2010. After completing chemotherapy in the fall of 2011, Molly was cancer-free. Of course, her doctors continued to monitor Molly and last July they detected a new mass in her chest that appeared near her windpipe. Initially, they were not too concerned as the mass appeared to be exceptionally slow-growing. Following her most recent PET scan and a successful tissue biopsy, they have determined that the mass is cancerous and she has been diagnosed with Stage II Hodgkin’s Lymphoma - there appears to be no cancerous growth in her bone marrow this time.

    Molly has met with her oncologist who has proposed a treatment plan that, while extremely rigorous, is also highly successful in treating recurrent Hodgkin’s. In addition to chemotherapy, Molly would also undergo a bone marrow transplant. The biggest drawback to this is that following the bone marrow transplant, Molly will not be able to receive chemotherapy treatment in the future should she ever need to. Due to this new development, she will be going to the Mayo clinic in Rochester, MN to get a second opinion. She may also seek a third opinion from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

    Molly will be unable to work during this time as she is traveling to get additional opinions from other doctors as well as once she begins the chosen course of treatment. As before, we are hoping to alleviate some of the burdens and stresses of her medical expenses. With your help, we can alleviate the financial responsibilities so that Molly can focus on once again being cancer-free!

  • Want to learn more?

    The following are resources to help you learn more about Hodgkin's Lymphoma and the fight to find a cure

    American Cancer Society
    Leukemia-Lymphoma Society
    Mayo Clinic
    National Cancer Institute
    curehodgkins.com
    Lymphoma Research Foundation
    lymphomainfo.net
    Hodgkin's Lymphoma Wikipedia Page

  • Updates

  • Jan.30.2018 at 11:29 AM
    Molly Wood

    Des Moines, IA, Visitation:
    Thursday, February 1, 2018
    6:00 – 8:30 pm
    Hamilton’s near Highland Memory Gardens
    121 NW 60th Avenue
    Des Moines, Iowa

    -AND-

    Nauvoo, IL, Visitation & Service:
    Visitation
    Saturday, February 3, 2018
    12:00 – 1:30 pm
    Nauvoo United Methodist Church
    1610 Ripley Street
    Nauvoo, Illinois

    Service
    Saturday, February 3, 2018
    1:30 pm
    Nauvoo United Methodist Church
    1610 Ripley Street
    Nauvoo, Illinois

    Disposition:
    Burial
    Saints Peter and Paul Cemetery
    Nauvoo, Illinois


    Molly Elizabeth Wood, 34, passed away January 26, 2018, surrounded by her loving family. She was born April 7, 1983, in Burlington, Iowa, the daughter of Daniel and Theresa Wood.

    Molly graduated from Danville High School in 2001 and attended Southeastern Community College prior to receiving her Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Iowa. She continued her education and training at Mercy College in Des Moines and began her career as a cardiac sonographer at Iowa Heart Center where she worked for 6 ½ years.

    Molly was active in high school sports where she participated in track, basketball and softball. She enjoyed watching the Iowa Hawkeyes, Oakland Raiders, and Chicago Cubs.

    Molly met Tim Munford in September 2002 and together they enjoyed motorcycling and boating. She also enjoyed watching the “Housewives” series.

    Molly had a zest for life, a radiant smile, and a great sense of humor. She was an adored daughter and sister, always kind, non-judgmental, and was a best friend to many.

    Molly is survived by her significant other, Tim Munford of Waukee, IA; parents, Dan Wood of New London, IA and Theresa (John) Wood of Danville, IA; brothers, Joey Wood of San Diego, CA, Andy Wood of McKinney, TX, and Johnny Wood of San Diego, CA; step-sister, Melissa Wood of Burlington, IA; beloved dog, Murphy; as well as other loving family and many special friends. She was preceded in death by her grandparents, aunts and uncles, and beloved dog, Newt.

    A visitation will be held from 6:00-8:30 p.m., Thursday, February 1, 2018, at Hamilton’s near Highland Memory Gardens, 121 NW 60th Avenue in Des Moines. Funeral services will be held at 1:30 p.m., with visitation from 12-1:30 p.m., on Saturday, February 3, 2018, at Nauvoo United Methodist Church, 1610 Ripley Street in Nauvoo, with burial to follow at Saints Peter and Paul Cemetery.

    Memorial contributions in the Des Moines area may be directed to Four Paws Unleashed in loving memory of Molly. Contributions in the Nauvoo, IL area will be received by the family and designated at a later time.

    Condolences may be expressed online at:
    www.HamiltonsFuneralHome.com or www.SchmitzFuneralHomes.com

    Jan.27.2018 at 9:12 PM
    Molly

    It’s with great regret to inform you that Molly passed away Friday morning. Please keep Molly and her family in your thoughts and prayers. Arrangements are to be determined.

    Jan.06.2018 at 9:17 PM
    Hospice Care

    At this time, Molly has been placed in Hospice care. If you have any questions or would like updates, please call Tim at 319-470-0834.

     

    Nov.12.2017 at 7:58 PM
    A VERY SCARY EXPERIENCE

    Hello –

    An update has been a long time coming and there is a lot on which to inform you. As you know from my last post, I began a new alternative treatment at a clinic in Mexico this spring. I was there for 3 weeks in March and April and sustained their treatment and diet plan until I went back for a check-up in mid-July. The check-up did not go so well. The tumors were growing and a new tumor had formed in my right groin. The doctors there informed me that there were no other treatment options for me to try. Needless to say, I came home feeling defeated and angry and a little hopeless. It took me a while to shake those feelings because I felt like I did everything that was required of me during the home treatments. It was yet again another punch in the gut; another failed attempt.

    I spent a while (too long) figuring out what I was going to do next. I had committed to myself and to you in this blog that I was done with chemo – 20 drugs was enough for me. However, during the next few months my body started to weaken considerably. I had no appetite, my weight was declining drastically, I was always tired, and the quality of my work was not where it used to be. At the end of September, I decided to take time off of work to give my body time to rest and to figure out the next step. A few weeks later, my health declined rapidly. I fell asleep while driving and I was starting to slur my speech, drift off while talking and having hallucinations. On the evening of October 16th, I was feeling and acting especially off as I was heading to bed. My dad demanded that we go to the ER immediately. I fought him on this of course, but ended up packing a bag and heading to the nearest hospital, Methodist West in West Des Moines. From there, I have little recollection of the evening, but was later informed of what had happened. They did a head CT, took blood and did an EKG. Once they realized my medical history, they took me via ambulance to Methodist Hospital in downtown Des Moines because they were not equipped to fully help me. The problem turned out to be my calcium and potassium levels – my calcium was way too high and my potassium was way too low. These abnormal electrolyte levels were the cause of my symptoms. I remember waking up in the ER the next day surrounded by family and coworkers and friends. I was still hallucinating and not making sense when I spoke and I knew everyone was very concerned about my condition. I honestly thought that it was my time to go – and I knew most people there were thinking the same thing. I spent 4 days in the hospital getting fluids and potassium until my levels were normal. It was a very scary time for me and I know it had to have been even scarier for my family and friends. I was released on a Friday and 2 days later, I was admitted back to the ER for a few hours because I was very short of breath and not feeling well. They gave me more potassium and fluids and sent me on my way feeling much better.

    The following Friday I had an appointment with my Des Moines oncologist to talk about my options. By that time, I had come to terms with the fact that I needed to start chemo – a targeted chemo called brentuximab. He agreed with me but wasn’t ready to start it until Monday because of dehydration and malnutrition. I could tell he was very concerned about my condition and told me that I would only get 75% of the recommended dose of chemo and that I needed to be admitted to the hospital over the weekend to get nutrition and fluids before the chemo was administered. I wasn’t happy to hear that but I knew he was right. I packed a bag and went back to the hospital. Of course, the chemo was not ready on Monday, so I didn’t get the drug until Tuesday morning (October 31st). Mentally, I was a mess. I loathed the idea of more chemo but I knew it was one of the few options left. After the chemo and the remaining bag of nutrition was complete, I was discharged and finally able to go home.

    To be honest, I have not felt better in months. The past few weeks I have been regaining my strength and my appetite and am starting to feel back to normal. I cannot believe these effects from just one dose of chemo, but I am definitely not complaining. Next week I go back for my 2nd infusion, which lasts just 30 minutes. The chemo is easy, but the following day I get a shot that rapidly boosts my white blood cell count. This shot causes intense, throbbing bone pain for 2-3 days, so I need to stay on top of that pain.

    Thank you for checking in and for being so patient with my infrequent posts. I know a lot of you had heard through the grapevine that I was in the hospital, but didn’t have many details. I want to say ‘thank you’ to everyone who came to see me or texted me well-wishes. I have never felt such love and support in my life. October was a crappy but eye-opening month for me – but rest assured that I am feeling much better and continue to improve each day.

    Love, Molly

    Mar.20.2017 at 8:35 PM
    HASTA LUEGO

    Hola –

    If my minimal Spanish is any indication, I have decided upon doing alternative treatment south of the border, more specifically, Tijuana. The clinic is called Hope4Cancer and it focuses on non-toxic, non-invasive cancer treatment methods. It is not the same clinic for which I sought treatment in 2014. I will be leaving for San Diego on Tuesday, March 28th and my 1st day of treatment will be March 30th. It is a 7 day/week, 3 week program focusing on rebuilding and rebooting my immune system via detox methods, high dose vitamins, coffee enemas (yikes!) and nutrition, while at the same time using advanced equipment to kill the cancer. These advanced methods include producing a vaccine to my specific tumor proteins to promote an antigen-antibody response, as well as sound, light and heat therapies that will target the tumor cells without destroying healthy cells. I will also receive spiritual and emotional support in the form of something they call ‘recall healing’ with the idea that the development of cancer often has an emotional core. I am excited that they use a whole-body approach in their program. Western medicine focuses solely on killing the cancer, with no regard for nutrition or emotional issues.

    Speaking of Western medicine, my oncologist is not yet aware of my decision. I have been playing phone tag with the U of IA cancer clinic and have not yet had a chance to speak with him. I think (hope) he will respect my decision and support me when I need blood work or imaging tests in the near future.

    As I mentioned, I’ll be flying into San Diego on March 28th. There, I’ll meet my mom and 2 of my brothers who live in the city. On the morning of March 30th, a transporter from the clinic will pick up my mom and I and take us across the border and directly to the clinic, which is about 10 miles away. My mom and I will stay there for 3 weeks – no crossing the border every day, thank goodness – and on April 20th, I’ll be driven back to San Diego. For the next 3 months, I will follow their treatment plan and guidelines before going back for a 2-day follow-up visit. I’ll visit again in 6-9 months, again for 2 days. I fully expect this to be a lifestyle change and am acutely aware of the fact that this will be a marathon rather than a sprint to good health.

    While I was angry I was forced into making another decision about my future treatment, I know, with 100% certainty, that this is the right choice for me. Throughout these 6 years, I have never once felt 100% certain about my treatment choice – shadows of doubt always lingered. After speaking with my oncologist regarding his recommendation, I felt so negative, so defeated and so stuck – stuck in the chemo cycle. No chemo has put in me remission before, so how would this be any different? A part of me feels like I’m becoming resistant to chemo. However, after talking with the clinic coordinator at Hope4Cancer, I felt hopeful and encouraged and my gut instinct was telling me that was where I needed to be.

    Of course, these cancer clinics come at a cost, one that is not covered by insurance companies. I am so fortunate and eternally grateful to have supportive and generous parents, but anything to help alleviate these costs would be appreciated more than you know. Please spread the word and share my website with family, friends, colleagues, the entire internet, everyone and anyone you can think of who would be willing to help.

    All of you play such a huge part in my emotional well-being. You truly brighten my mood and inspire me with every message, text, thought of well-wishes and prayer. It’s impossible to stay down when all of you are in my corner picking me back up. Thank you for all you have done and all you continue to do.

    I may not be able to update my site much while I’m in Mexico, but be looking for a post the last week of April describing all the dirty details of my time there.

    Much love, Molly

    You can learn more about the clinic and it’s treatment methods at www.hope4cancer.com

    Mar.15.2017 at 8:52 PM
    ANOTHER FAILED ATTEMPT

    Hello Everyone –

    As you can tell by my title, things have taken a turn for the worse with my latest treatment. In October 2016, I started the immunotherapy drug Opdivo (nivolumab). I was really excited about this drug because it’s not chemotherapy and it was a different approach to treatment than I have taken in the past. It was a simple hour-long infusion every other week and I didn’t have any side effects from the drug. In late December I had a CT scan that indicated good results – most of the tumors in my lungs were gone as was about 50% of my tumor load. I was shocked but obviously elated to hear that my disease was responding so well to this treatment. I continued with the bi-weekly infusions for a total of 10 treatments until I had a PET scan last week.

    The PET showed very different and much more devastating results than the CT. My tumors were growing and new tumors were forming at a significant rate. I now have multiple tumors along both sides of my neck, in my left armpit, in my left lung, a new and large one near my liver and bile duct and one in a cavity in the right side of my back. My oncologist could not tell me why the Opdivo stopped working other than that my disease has always proven to be aggressive. Understandably, I was crushed by this news – crushed not only for me, but for my family and loved ones as well. This has been a long road full of potholes and roadblocks – over 6 years since diagnosis – and with each setback I feel angrier and more devastated than the previous setback. After receiving 20 different chemo drugs during this 6-year process, it’s hard to not realize that my window of opportunity is closing, that my options are becoming fewer and farther between, that there is only so much one body can take before it waves the white flag in defeat or disappointment. I am not saying I’m defeated; I am not saying I’m stopping the fight; however, these setbacks have definitely taken a toll on both my body and my mind.

    I left my oncologist’s room with the promise that he would be in touch with me in a few days with his recommendation on the next course of action. A few days later, he calls proposing that I start Brentuximab (a targeted chemotherapy drug) the following week. He feels that I don’t have a significant amount of time before I reach ‘crisis mode’ because of how aggressively the lymphoma is behaving. Me, being the stubborn person I am, told him I need more time to think about it and to assess and research all of my options. This week I have been doing a lot of research on both western and alternative treatments. I have learned so much and have spoken with people who are very knowledgeable about cancer. I can’t say that I have reached a decision yet, but mentally I do feel the best I’ve felt since getting the news. I feel lighter, more encouraged, more in control and, most importantly, not so angry. I hope to have a decision made by the end of the week because, as stubborn as I may be, I do know that time is not on my side.

    I promise to post again soon with my decision. Thank you for continuing to remain with me on this roller coaster ride. The thoughts, love, prayers and support are appreciated more than you know.

    Love, Molly

    Nov.15.2016 at 6:24 PM
    AND THE WINNER IS…

    Hello Again –

    I wanted to write a quick update about which treatment option I ended up choosing. After meeting with the doc from Mayo and hearing his advice, I opted for Nivolumab, the immunotherapy drug. October 27th was my 1st treatment, which went off without a hitch. I spent about 2.5 hours in the outpatient infusion suite, but the infusion itself lasts only about an hour. The rest of the time was spent getting situated, receiving information about the drug, and waiting for the pharmacy to prepare it. After the infusion, I was free to leave and go about my day as normal. The regimen for Nivolumab is one infusion every 2 weeks, so I’ve also received my 2nd treatment. So far, I have not experienced any of the negative side effects that they have scared me with. In fact, my hemoglobin had even gone up one whole point between the 2 treatments! Yay for small victories.

    Because I live in Iowa with an unpredictable winter season approaching, I have decided to, for the time being, transfer my treatments to a local hospital. I meet with an oncologist next week in Des Moines who is a colleague of my oncologist in Iowa City. The following day, which is the the day before Thanksgiving, I will receive my 3rd treatment. This treatment, and the treatments following, will be done locally. I will still meet with my doctor in Iowa City for checkups and for scans, but will be traveling there less frequently.

    Thank you for checking in and for your continued prayers. My next scan is December 20, so I’ll be posting shortly after that. Cross your fingers and pray that this drug is the one that proves to be successful! Although the treatment this summer didn’t have the desired outcome, I still have so much to be thankful for…and so many people to thank for their continued love and support. Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

    Love, Molly

    Oct.23.2016 at 10:21 PM
    UTTER DEVASTATION

    Hello –

    I am writing this tonight with an angry, frustrated and sad heart. As mentioned in my previous post, I had a PET scan in IA City on Sept 13th. This was a follow-up to the inconclusive PET I underwent in early July. By the title of my post, I’m sure you can guess that the results of the most recent scan are not in my favor. I was informed that several lymph nodes (10+) lit up in areas throughout my neck, chest and abdomen; the largest nodes are in my left neck, in both arm pits and under my right breast. My oncologist recommended we biopsy one of the nodes to ensure a Hodgkins’ diagnosis, so the following week, I reported back to IA City and they removed 3 core samples from the node in my left neck. These samples confirmed, yet again, Hodgkins lymphoma.

    My doctor assured me that I am not out of treatment options and mentioned 3 different courses of action. The 1st option is a bone marrow transplant using a donor’s bone marrow. This is not even something I am willing to consider at this point for many reasons. The 2nd option is an antibody/chemotherapy drug called Brentuximab. It targets the cancer cells specifically, but it doesn’t have the greatest long-term success rate and there’s a good chance I could develop numbness and tingling in my hands and feet. Once this neuropathy occurs, I would have to stop using the drug. The 3rd option is not chemotherapy, rather an immunotheraphy drug called Nivolumab. It works by allowing the immune system to recognize and clear the cancer, but it can cause inflammation of several organs and also does not have the greatest long-term success rate.

    To help me navigate through these choices, I decided to get a 2nd opinion at the Mayo clinic. On Friday, October 14th, I met with Dr. Nowakowski and for about an hour and a half, we discussed my health history and my future treatment options. He strongly recommended that I go with Nivolumab, the immunotherapy drug. He explained to me that while my body may respond short-term to chemo, it does not work well for me long-term and that I should try a different method entirely. He knows this drug better than anyone, as he was in charge of it’s clinical trials and was responsible in getting it FDA-approved. He felt that the patients responded well to the treatment with minimal side effects and that it is safe to administer even months after a stem cell transplant. I am so glad I was able to have met with him because his professional opinion has definitely helped me weigh out my options more clearly.

    Unfortunately, on Tuesday night I had a set-back that has forced me to reach a decision sooner than later. I laid down to go to bed and felt an enormous amount of pressure/pain on my chest. No matter which way I laid, I could not find relief. I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep that night and that something was terribly wrong, so I went to the ER at Mercy in West Des Moines. I didn’t have to wait long before I was in a room getting blood drawn and an EKG done. The EKG showed a very rapid heart rate and the blood work showed a hemoglobin of 5.7, which is critically low (normal is 12-16). They immediately rushed me in for a chest CT and then I was given 2 units of blood. They moved me from the ER to a patient room, where I stayed until Friday afternoon. During this time I kept spiking fevers, so I was given cycles of 4 different IV antibiotics to combat any infection in my system. I also had a CT of my abdomen, which showed the cause of my chest pain – the tumor underneath my right breast. Finally, after a negative urinalysis and 6 clean blood culture samples, they took me off the antibiotics and decided that the lymphoma was the main culprit behind the fevers and I was able to go home. Basically, they were being overly cautious because they didn’t know my case (and had no info from the University of IA) and because of my recent bone marrow transplant. My chest pain is much better, but I do have an appointment to see my oncologist in 2 days. I’m sure we’ll get the ball rolling on some sort of treatment plan. Also, I just want to say how grateful I am to those of you who donate blood – someone saved my life this week and that means more to me than any words can say.

    I didn’t really want to start another treatment so soon, but I feel like my body is telling me differently. After I learned the transplant didn’t work, at all, I was completely destroyed mentally. It took a lot for me to get into the mindset to undergo that transplant and I truly had high hopes of a positive outcome. I was shattered to learn that it didn’t even work for 2 months. It made me think that it was all a waste of time – that I sat in that hospital room for 21 days for nothing. It has taken me quite a while to start to get over the anger, the hurt, the frustration and the negativity. I am slowly getting there, but it’s a process. I know I can’t turn back the clock, so I need to start looking toward the future and dust myself off. I am not done fighting.

    Love you all,

    Molly

    Jul.29.2016 at 2:17 PM
    PET SCAN & RECOVERY

    Hello Again –

    I am now 2 months post-transplant & have been feeing really good – I have regained a lot of my energy & feel better every day. My PET scan on July 5th showed a few things of interest. I developed pneumonitis or some sort of lung infection in the weeks following my hospital discharge. I noticed that I had become more & more short of breath in the days leading to my scan & that I didn’t have the lung capacity to walk far without feeling tired. A lung function test as well as the PET showed that my lungs were severely compromised so my transplant doctor immediately put me on antifungals, antivirals, antibiotics & prednisone (a steroid) so that all avenues of infiltration were covered. He suspected that I developed pneumonitis from the intense transplant chemotherapy drugs, but without an invasive biopsy, he couldn’t be certain. Regardless of the cause, within days of taking the new meds, I felt infinitely better. Breathing is fun…& important! I really didn’t realize how bad I felt until I started feeling better. 2 weeks later I went back to my oncologist for a follow-up lung function test & it showed that my lungs have cleared up & are functioning within normal limits. However, I’m remaining on all the medicine until further notice.

    The other result of the PET scan, regarding the lymph nodes, was a bit unwelcome but not too concerning. It showed 2 very, very small areas of abnormal uptake – one in my right chest & one near my left kidney. However, these areas were so small that the radiologist deemed the results inconclusive for lymphoma; or for anything else for that matter. The nodes are located in 2 areas in which I’ve never had the disease before, so my oncologist didn’t seem overly concerned – he said they could light up due to any number of things, including due to the lung infection. With that said, I have yet another PET scan in mid-September to follow up on these nodes. My oncologist & I felt this to be the best option at this time & we’ll see how it develops, if at all, from there. In the meantime, I’m not going to sweat it & am going to enjoy my summer feeling positive, stronger & more energetic than I’ve felt in a long time! I haven’t gone back to work yet & I still have restrictions, as I’m not 100 days post-transplant, but all of those restrictions are very minor in the grand scheme of things.

    My next, & hopefully last, appointment with my transplant doctor is August 2nd. If all is well, I’ll be back in my oncologist’s capable hands & the transplant will be a distant…but worthwhile…memory.

    Thanks for checking back in & I’ll be sure to inform you of the results of the mid-September scan. All of your support & love has been truly beneficial to my recovery!! You are the greatest!

    Love, Molly

    Jun.26.2016 at 11:50 AM
    FREEDOM!!

    Hello –

    I was discharged from the hospital on June 7th & would have kissed the ground outside of the hospital had I not been afraid of contracting a fungal infection that would have led me straight back to where I had just come. In total, I spent 21 days as an inpatient but to me it felt like 21 years. One thing is certain: I can never commit a crime because I know full-well that I could not do the time. I started chemo on the afternoon I was admitted & received it for the following 6 days. Melphalan, the ‘M’ in ‘BEAM’, was the absolute worst of them all. In order to prevent mouth sores, I had to suck on ice before, during & after its administration. On May 25th (now known as my 2nd birthday), I received the stem cells that I worked so hard to collect a few weeks prior. The transplant itself was pretty uneventful & it took less than an hour to administer the 3 bags. However, I did receive a ballon & a certificate from the nursing staff for my efforts – yay, me!

    The next several days I watched as my white blood count & platelet count crept lower & lower. During this time, my physical health also plummeted drastically. This was the transition phase of when the chemo was still in my system & the stem cells were learning where to go & what to do. Basically, I had no immune system & despite my best efforts with keeping my mouth cold during melphalan, my esophagus had been badly damaged. For about 7 consecutive days, I could not swallow food or water – it even hurt to swallow my own saliva. I would vomit randomly throughout the day, which did nothing to ease the pain in my throat. I developed a fever, which warranted a chest x-ray to ensure that I didn’t have pneumonia. Honestly, it was hell. It was everything they had warned me about in the beginning. During this time, it was really hard for me to remain positive & to see the big picture. It was the longest 7 days of my life & it felt like it would never end. However, it did end & slowly but surely, my immune system started to improve & my throat began to heal. Everyday, my numbers were posted on the board so that I could see the improvement. My stem cells engrafted a bit earlier than expected, which was just fine with me. Once I started feeling better, my main focus was setting a hospital record in quickest turn-around time for a transplant patient. I’m unsure if 21 days is a record, but I do know the doctors were impressed & pleasantly surprised with my progress. Once I was handed my discharge paperwork, I power-walked (as briskly as my post-transplant lungs would allow) out the double doors & never looked back.

    The majority of my recovery has been spent at my mom & stepdad’s house in Danville. I was told that I would need a caregiver around me to help with preparing meals, reminding me to take my meds, etc. I slept a lot the 1st week home, but would awaken a few times throughout the night around 3:30 AM & 7 AM, which ironically were the times in the hospital they would wake me up to take vitals. Luckily, I broke this pattern after a few days. Every day I feel better & every day I feel as if I’m regaining more of my strength. I haven’t been as weak or fatigued as I had originally anticipated. I’ve been to the doctor 3 times since discharge to have my blood drawn, & each time, my numbers continue to improve. I do have a handful of restrictions & I have to wear my mask every time I am outside my home, but this is a small price to pay for freedom. I will do everything in my power to prevent going back to the hospital.

    Aside from the damage to my esophagus & the nausea, vomiting, & GI issues associated with the chemo, the worst part about being in the hospital is the smell. I can’t really describe it, but the smell of the hospital room – the sheets, the blankets – makes my stomach turn. 2 days after discharge, I had to report back to the hospital for blood work & was told I was a bit dehydrated & needed fluid. So, I went to the chemo infusion suite, was escorted to a room similar to the one I had just left, & immediately got sick in the toilet from the smell of the place. I am so thankful that I don’t work in the hospital setting because I’m sure I would have to find a new job.

    Despite loathing the fact that I was in the hospital, I am beyond grateful for all the love, support, messages, cards, & visitors that I received over the course of the 21 days. Without all of that & without all of you, my time in there would have been completely unbearable. Thank you so much for keeping me sane & positive & for giving me the mental strength to persist & push through all the obstacles. I truly could not have done it without you & am forever thankful.

    On July 5th, I have a PET scan to determine the immediate success of the transplant & to determine if all this BS was worth it. I am hopeful that I will have great news to report. I will definitely post an update once I know the results. In the meantime, keep your fingers crossed & the prayers coming! Love you all.