Today is Day 0. We have finished nine intense days of chemotherapy, with the goal of making space in Ryan’s little body to receive life and healing from his sister’s marrow. This time has been mixed with a strange combination of suffering and kindness. The latter helping to make these days bearable.
Ryan’s body, in so many ways, has been broken down. There have been frightening moments where his body seized and days filled with fevers and vomiting as poison was pumped into his blood. There has been darkness; but along with all of this, I have been a witness to a peace in room 3525 that exceeds my understanding. Ryan has a resiliency that has been necessary since the day of his birth 19 months ago. I believe his strength has been gifted by God and is somehow connected to joy. Ryan’s laughter has certainly been a medicine to his dad and I over these past 10 days. I am grateful that this “getting ready” phase was capped off with a day of rest. I pray it is a part of the path to healing.
As I reflect this morning on the long journey that has led us to this day, there is much to ponder in my heart. As Walter Brueggeman describes, I am celebrating the impossible that is right before my eyes, even though I cannot explain any of it. Without a trace of regret, I wonder how we have gotten here. How did these beautiful little ones become mine? How did their pain, joy, and healing become my story?
Today, as Sharon willingly gives part of herself to save her brothers, I feel grateful for the sacrifice she is making. I feel grateful for the gift of her being a match. As our hematologist described, it is a rare “golden ticket” for siblings with sickle cell to be a donor match without also having sickle cell disease. This afternoon, a part of Sharon will be gifted to her brother in the form of a transfusion. She’s giving her blood, she says, to help Ryan and Geoffrey.
For now, we watch and wait, praying for Sharon. Praying for Ryan and Geoffrey, that their bodies will have space to receive. We wash our hands constantly, praying against infection. We pray for Alice who also has sickle cell disease and doesn’t have the “golden ticket.”
I don’t pretend to know how heaven works; but I like the idea of a mama and baba, whose children I now consider my own, watching their little ones with the same since of love, awe and wonder I find myself filled with.