Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting.
Some of you know that Nance has Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS). MDS occurs when the blood-forming cells in the bone marrow are damaged. She was diagnosed in February and began treatment in preparation for a stem cell transplant. She is considered intermediate to high risk, which means she's at risk for developing leukemia. A stem cell transplant can be a cure for this disease. She has an amazing team of doctors at the University of Minnesota and at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.
Finding a good match for a cell stem donor is important and can be a challenge. We turned to her sister to see if she would consider being tested and donating. Mary Jo said "Of course!". We were excited to receive a call from the clinic after her testing telling us she was not only a match —but a perfect match! Now we were on track for the transplant.
Last week Mary Jo came to the Mayo Clinic for the donation. She donated over 6 million stem cells (but who's counting?). On Thursday, October 26, Nance will have the stem cell transplant. It will be a very long road to full recovery. We are staying at the Gift of Life Transplant House (http://gift-of-life.org/
) in Rochester for up to 100 days. She will need to be seen at the clinic every day. And she needs a full-time 24-7 caregiver. (Guess who?) The Mayo does their transplants as outpatient procedures. They've found that many people do better when they are not hospitalized. The house has kitchens and dining areas along with living rooms, a library, exercise rooms and other spaces to hang out. Plus, you are with many other people going through transplants of all kinds. In many ways it's similar to the communal living conditions Nance experienced teaching the residential Lives Worth Living U of M course (aka Philosophy Camp) for three weeks every summer in Windom.
It's been a crazy and packed year for us. In January we sold our big old St. Paul house we had lived in for over 30 years. Fortunately, we both retired in the spring, because it was full time work to find a new house, downsize, move — all while going through the medical schmedical stuff. We found a perfect little bungalow in the Nokomis neighborhood in Minneapolis near Lake Nokomis, Minnehaha Falls, and most importantly, our kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews and their families. Who could ask for more? In between we gardened, biked and walked our new town, went to magical Itasca State Park, the cottages and cabins of Wisconsin.
We really appreciate the love, good wishes and prayers from family and friends. We will periodically update this site as we go along. Please feel free to share this news and site with others.
~ Nance and Brian