It’s no longer the Christmas season, according to my calendar. There have been four holidays since New Year’s Day, for you non-government workers out there: MLK, Jr. Day, Valentine’s Day (even though it’s a Hallmark holiday), Lincoln’s birthday and Washington’s birthday. I had three paid days off work, and used them well.
I traveled to North Carolina in January for an extended MLK weekend. My longtime friend Donnie moved there a few years ago, and we hadn’t seen each other since our respective weddings in April and May 2005. Even though we email back and forth several days a week and talk on the phone on occasion (we’re not teenage girls!), we were both looking forward to spending a few days together in person. In spite of some unforeseen events that happened that week and weekend, rain and snow, and me getting a cold, we managed to have a good time talking, hot tubbing, enjoying a cigar on the beach, watching the AFC and NFC championship games, and getting even more manly by putting together his new generator. Alas, I was traveling light that trip because of multiple connecting flights, so I have no pictures. It’s all in my mind, and there’s no cable that downloads that stuff to the computer (whew!).
Over the Super Bowl weekend, I joined a group of guys from church and drove to a cabin in the Kings Canyon area east of Fresno. In a nutshell, it’s extreme man camp–shotguns and clay pigeon shooting, snowmobiling, exploring in the Argo, red meat, beer, poker and other card games, reading woodworking magazines, etc. Good times.
Jen and I spent a few weekends driving around looking at houses. We’ve been thinking about buying our own place for a while, and the market here in Sacramento has been dropping steadily in the last 12-18 months. Some might even say it’s crashing! Regardless of how you classify the market, it’s an opportunity for those of us who were previously priced out of the market to take advantage of lower prices and lower interest rates. After looking at about 100 houses online, driving by about a third of those, and actually seeing the inside of maybe 15 of the ones we drove by, we finally decided to put an offer on one. After a few counter offers going back and forth, we are finally in escrow! This past week has been a little busy with the home inspection, chimney inspection, mold inspection, meetings with our agent and loan person, and lengthy discussions about finances and strategy (thanks, Dad!) At this point, we’re fairly confident that all will work out and we’ll be moving in early April. I’ll have pictures after we close and actually have the keys.
Last weekend, we drove to Palo Alto to meet with a lady who has tentatively offered to let us stay in her house when we do the transplant again. For those who don’t remember, we’re looking at going back to Stanford this summer for Transplant #2. Our generous hosts last year have had some things going on in their lives, and aren’t able to offer their house for us again this year. I must admit, we were really blessed to have that opportunity last year. The reality is that a situation like that isn’t common. Our meeting this past weekend was pleasant, and we are waiting to hear back about whether this housing situation will work.
I also started the referral process to get back to Stanford. A brief recap: Dr. Miklos wants to do two or three rounds of chemotherapy before I come to Stanford for transplant. The chemo will suppress my immune system, which wasn’t as suppressed as it could have been last time. Each round of chemo requires about three or four weeks in between. In order to go to Stanford in early summer, I’ll need to start chemo in the next month or so. Dr. Miklos also wants to do another bone marrow biopsy to “test for CLL with a very sensitive PCR test that we developed for you as part of the protocol”. He is surprised that my white blood cell counts have remained as low as they are (still below normal level). I’m scheduled to do that on March 4. The results of the biopsy will determine a new baseline disease level and may influence the approach the doctors take in treatment this time. All of this means that I’ll be posting more often as more information becomes available.
Here are a couple of specific prayer requests:
1. Housing at Stanford – We need to find suitable housing, just like last year. We are waiting to hear back from the lady we met with last weekend. If that doesn’t work out, we’re still looking.
2. House purchase here – Our lease ends at the end of June. If our purchase works out, we need to get out of our lease to avoid paying rent and a mortgage. In order to do that, someone needs to rent our current house.
3. Wisdom for the doctors at Stanford to determine a course of treatment.
4. Preparation on our part for the transplant – spiritually, mentally, emotionally, physically.