1800 Days Ago
1,800 days ago: Controversy continued over the Oscars problems, Mike Huckabee was deciding to run for President, Blockbuster announced it was for sale, Libya's regime launched an attack on Tripoli, there was a deadly earthquake in New Zealand, and oh yes...Mick McKellar had a blood and marrow stem cell transplant.
That last item did not make the early or late news, even in Rochester, MN—where the wonderful medical staff of the Mayo Clinic hooked me up to two small bags of chilly yellowish stuff. Those two bags of gold were truly a gift of life from my brother, Kevin. After weeks of preparation and some nasty chemicals to destroy nearly all of my immune system, the magical moment was rather pedestrian and simple. They also left me with the unmistakable odor of creamed corn—fortunately, a temporary condition caused by the preservative for the stem cells.
That night, after returning to the Gift of Life Transplant House, I sent out an email to my friends and relatives:
Well folks, the transplant took place this morning, between 9 and 10:00 AM CST. I am now back at the Gift of Life Transplant House, dealing with the side effects as they arrive. The nurses and doctors said it went very well. Very tired now. Will post more tomorrow. Thanks, everyone for the prayers and good thoughts.It was a few days after, when things became exciting.
Mick and Some of Kevin McKellar
Still Here, Still Fighting
I posted this update because I could not let a number like 1800 pass by without noting its sheer size. 1,800 days have passed since the transplant and I was allowed to live them all, despite several rather scary and disruptive digressions from the direct path to this date. Last time I checked, all but one of my compatriots at Gift of Life—those who grabbed the brass ring at the same time—have died fighting for their lives.
Blood and marrow stem cell transplants, while a marvelous, almost miraculous medical treatment, are not guaranteed life savers or life extenders. They are a gamble, but against an alternative that has a terrible downside. I had a choice: Have the BMT or have about 8 months to live.
Well, I am here and looking forward to February 21, 2016, which will be my 5th rebirthday. Thanks for everyone's good thoughts and good prayers.