It’s been some time since I have been able to do any writing and I am sorry the Daily Journals have been on hold, as well as our live broadcasts, and of course my meetings with you. The past few months have been the most challenging in our 30 years together.
As most of you know, Steph was diagnosed with AML, (Acute Myeloid Leukemia), back in September. This felt like a death sentence initially, but she started chemo almost immediately, aiming towards a bone marrow transplant at some point. We had no idea what to expect at all.
Once in remission, and a donor was found (from Germany), she started preliminary additional chemo work at City of Hope in Duarte, CA. About an hour and a quarter from us here.
COH is a center for excellence in cancer research and world renowned for bone marrow transplants. We are so blessed and fortunate to be close enough to have this resource available to us. It is literally a city within a city. It provides the best care from the people to park cars, to nurses, doctors literally everyone is compassionate, friendly, kind, and top notch.
Stephanie was in full remission when she went in for the initial 20 day period, making her an excellent candidate for a transplant. What ensued we did not anticipate; 20 days of initial killer chemo to wipe out her marrow completely, then the transplant and the process that includes, mainly terrible sickness, vomiting, diarrhea , and multiple side effects from the 25 medications she is still on.
After five days home, since she basically has no immune system yet, she got pneumonia and we were back in five more days… any infection can kill her in this condition. Then we started to see a cognitive decline, confusion, needing 24/7 care. We know it’s a “process” to get well, but this seemed extreme. Confusion, frailty, pain… what’s going on!?
What was going on was one of the anti-rejection meds was doing a number on her so they eliminated that for another and she started to improve. Since then it’s slowly getting better with a 2 steps forward/3 steps back life situation… but we know we are on the right track and that the labs continue to slowly show improving counts.
She is walking largely without help, able to eat, and deals with intermittent side effects… good days and bad days for a few more months likely. But she is CANCER FREE as of right now and healing without any GVHD (Graft vs. Host Disease), is our aim, and we are trusting God for that. Successful transplants literally give you a new lease on life. Many live past 30 years after successful treatment.
So thank you for you patience, support, and love. We pray for all of you daily. And I have to be sure to mention how closely Frances and Tony and Steph and myself have been connected through our tandem cancer journeys. And we feel your prayers and support as many of you have taken the time to reach out just to see how we’re doing. We thank you all from the depths of our hearts.
Moving forward, I am slowly booking appointments which you can do through Christy-Ann at firstname.lastname@example.org, or calling 631-482-7348. She will be glad to assist you in booking. Start keeping an eye out for the Daily Journals coming back, and we are working on our new program called Real Talk. replacing the EIS LIVE! show.
Thank you agin for your love, support, prayers and patience.
Bill and Stephanie Hoffman