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Written by Tamara Fowler
Where do I begin? Thank you for saving my life! I am about to celebrate the one- year anniversary or the first “re-birthday” of my stem cell transplant. It wouldn’t have happened without you. While I’m sure there could have been other people who could have been adequate matches, you were a perfect match and that has made this process much easier and more effective than it could have been otherwise.
When we were told that I had leukemia, I had been re-married to my high school sweetheart for just over a year when I was diagnosed. It was quite a blow. We had dreams of growing old together, and now we were faced with the possibility of only having a mere three years. Because I had the type of CLL that had all the negative prognostic markers (17p deletion, unmutated, CD38, ZAP 70 positive, and ALC [Absolute Lymphocyte Count] doubling time of less than a year), I did not have time to sit around and wait for them to invent a new drug that might cure me. So we took the aggressive route and went directly for the stem cell transplant. So far, it has worked. I am in remission. J
I don’t know if you are a follower of Christ or not, but it was the power of prayer and God’s grace, love, and mercy that saw me through this very long year and a half. His Word has brought comfort and peace and carried me through some very dark days. There were many people praying for you as well, before you ever said yes…and of course afterwards.
My husband, Paul, was…is my amazing caregiver. It is a task that I will probably never quite fully comprehend, until the day that I might be given that job. He selflessly took care of me and everything else in our life while holding down his job and taking care of our home. We stayed with my mother for the first 100 days after I got out of the hospital because it was closer to the hospital, where I had to go back to everyday, then three times per week. The two of them sacrificed themselves in so many ways in taking care of me. But again, none of that would have happened if you hadn’t been willing to give.
I have two grown children, four step-children, and three beautiful grandchildren (Dana, 5; Caleb, 3; Ethan, 2). I am their Tadee, and they are my delight. (Since this was written, we have added another grandson, Jonah…four months old.)
I didn’t think my relationship with my husband could have gotten any better, but it has only gotten stronger throughout this past almost two years. Last year, we spent my birthday and our anniversary in the hospital. We are looking forward to taking a short trip together this year, actually in just a few weeks, to celebrate our life together…a life that we will hopefully now be able to enjoy for many more years to come. Thanks to you, to our medical team, the support of family and friends, and to our amazing God.
We would love to meet you someday and thank you in person. Taking you to dinner seems the very least we could do!
So, M-47, I owe my life to you. Paul and I owe our future to you. My children and grandchildren owe a lifetime of memories to you. My mother didn’t have to have her heart broken by losing a child because you gave. Thank you for giving life-giving cells. It touched more lives than you’ll ever know.