Day 0, Tuesday

Photo of the Day: Day Zero

I chose this as my photo of the day, because this image best captures a Stem Cell Transplant. My job was easy and consisted of being transplanted with my donor’s cells. It was everyone else around me who was responsible for the effort and work needed to pull this thing off. My nurse Jenna, pictured above, is just one example. Today she coordinated with the Cell Processing Lab, fielded questions from my Transplant Team, administered all my medications, coordinated with my 3NE doctors, took my vitals every 15 minutes, made sure I ordered lunch and dinner, noted my fluid levels, monitored me during the entire 8+ hour transplant for signs of anaphylaxis, threw me a surprise birthday event with the other 3NE staff, maintained a sunny and supportive disposition, gave a tutorial to cell sign offs, all while managing another patient. I’m fortunate that so many of my Team emulate Jenna in their own unique way. I would not have had my transplant without wonderful people such as these, or the National Marrow Donor Program (Be The Match). This is why the above image is my photo of the day.

It’s now late, the clock is rounding up towards 9 pm, and I’m exhausted. I took a few photos of the day, enjoyed (in 2020 style, no doubt) a Zoom call with family, and ate a piece of chocolate cake. It is my new birthday, after all.

Cells were the color of watermelon puree. Tasted like garlic, smelled like creamed corn. 5 bags later, they have already started the process of working their way into my bone marrow.
2020, Zoom and a hospital room. This almost made my photo of the day.
When the garlic taste became too much, I enjoyed Lifesavers.
Watching and waiting as my donor’s cells travel through the tubing into my Central Line.

And finally, this day would not be possible without the most important person of all: my donor.

I was lucky to qualify for the protocol at the NIH. I was even luckier that my Team found you through the National Marrow Donor Registry. And the best yet – that you are a kind and generous person, who was able to donate your cells, in spite of all the obstacles that could have prevented such an act. Thank you, thank you. From the bottom of my heart, my parents, loved ones, friends & family – thank you.

Excerpt from a letter to my donor
A life changing gift.

If you are interested in potentially becoming a bone marrow or stem cell donor, please visit BeTheMatch.org. 15 minutes of your time could save the life of someone like me. Thank you!

  1. Being with you for 2.5 hours this afternoon while you received the gift of life was exhilarating and exhausting at the same time!❤️ Dad, Lucy and I marveled at your care – the doctors and nurses responsible for it! Rest well, let your new bone marrow cells multiply and do their work. I’ll be with you in less than a month ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Keep on keeping on marit. Smiles even when i know sometimes you dont feel like smiling.
    Like Pedergrahm id have never guessed the color 🍉.and cake! Of course.
    Love you 💗

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You are doing fantastic!! I’m so proud of you as I know your family and doctors are too! Keep on fighting the good fight! Happy birthday!! Love you girl!
    ❤🎁🥳🎂🎊😊

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Marit – thank you for sharing your momentous day with us. Perhaps a little anti-climactic for you , but nevertheless the first stone in your new pathway. Much love🐕😻🐕😻😍

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great seeing you on zoom as you were born again
    What a thoughtful letter you wrote to the donor. I would like to meet him and convey my heartfelt thanks.
    Let the new cells fully adapt to your system
    Both you and Andy looked great on Zoom.
    ❤️Dad

    Liked by 1 person

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