Day +62  – Good Days & Daydreamers 

I knew when I went this morning to the hospital it was going to be a good day. Not just a good day, a great day! Jennifer downed a bowl of cereal without much hesitation.  Eating is always a good sign of feeling better. Not too much before 10am, her doctors showed up with the news that Jen could leave the hospital. And by 11am, we were driving away from South Canon Garage.  

We weren’t at the hotel for more than an hour and already Jen was looking to do something.  Another good sign. We decided to go down to the Short North and enjoy this beautiful Memorial Day. We spent a good couple hours window shopping, as many shops were closed for the holiday.  I got my workout pushing a wheel chair. I had to learn how to avoid bumps in the sidewalk.  Luckily, Jen survived my wheelchair workout. It really isn’t an easy job when you stand 5 feet nothing and can’t see much over top the chair. 

After the Short North,  we drove down to German Village to enjoy the brick streets and picturesque houses. Jen became tired quickly and so we came back to the hotel to watch the Indians on TV and relax.

The day was just what I have been missing terribly. Nearly every outing thus far had left me worrying a great deal. The look on her face usually tells me she isn’t enjoying herself, but today that face didn’t show itself until after our drive through German. Village. For some this may not seem like much, but to us it was so uplifting.

Now as she rest,  I sit here day dreaming.  I haven’t given myself much permission to daydream. Especially not daydreams that include Jen. When I had, it had always left me feeling sad. But not today. Today, I’m daydreaming about the future, Jen’s future. Jen has such a passion for so many things.  And so I daydream about her doing the things she use to talk much about. 

The girl would love to travel. To Africa to see the elephants,  to Italy to see the art. She would love to spend days on the beach or near a mountain or a river, drawing or painting the day away. Or working in her quaint little shop, that has a loft,  painting or restoring a piece of furniture or maybe building a new piece with her dad. Or maybe sit by a big picture window  watching the rain as she designs something in photshop on her dream computer, a Microsoft Surface Studio. Or maybe head to Waco, Texas and work with Jo-Ann from Fixer Upper on HGTV.

Jennifer is definitely my daughter because she has so many paths she would love to pursue. And for the last several months, I quit thinking about those daydreams.  Until today. Today was a good day. A day for daydreams. 

Day +61 Give Blood – Receive Blood

So here we are at the James. Jen’s fourth readmission since receiving her transplant.  Readmissions are common but each time she has been able to stay out of the hospital longer. 

So far her doctors  have discovered she was dehydrated (most likely from getting sick) and she needed red blood cells (hemoglobin). Both can explain her fatique and overall weakness.  Her hemoglobin count was at 6.4 which under 7 gets her a transfusion. 

Again because someone took the time to give blood, Jennifer is able to receive it today. Maybe even someone at the Parish Hall in Ottoville last week. Whomever it was, thank you for giving. Blood transfusions have become vital for Jen to get well. 

Before Jennifer got sick, she gave blood many times. Now she is in need of blood and we are learning how important giving blood has become. I hope no one I love has to ever learn the way we have how vital it is. But please, give blood so someone can receive blood. 

Day +60 Counting Blessings

As I drove on 117 headed towards Columbus this evening, I found myself wanting to be angry. It seems so unfair that we only got two days at home before having to return to Columbus.  But then, I remembered the one thing I have told myself many times. If I  focus on all the things to complain about, that is all I would get done and it wouldn’t change anything, except making me even more angry. But if I focus on the blessings,  I will be able to face another day. 

Yes, Jennifer and I had to return to Columbus.  (She was feeling poor, with lots of nausea, stomach pain, and over all fatique. She also had an increase in blood in her nose which can point to needing some platelets. ) But although the weekend was cut short, here is a list of all the blessings we shared over the last 48 hours.

  1. We got to see Jessica, Randy, Jen’s grandparents, Rick and Lori, Jen Miller, neighbors Sparky and Doris Brinkman and The Heitmeyers who drew a beautiful Welcome Home message on the driveway.
  2. Jennifer and I got to spend time with the dogs 
  3. We had a meal cooked on the grill.
  4. I was able to get my hair cut thanks to Heather at The Gentry.
  5. Jennifer got a new mattress for her bed thanks to Ottoville Hardware.
  6. I had enough time to nearly finish all the invitations for Jennifer’s Welcome Home/ Survivor Party with Be The Match.
  7. I got to eat a couple pieces of the wonderful apple cake my mom baked and brought over.
  8. Jennifer and I both got to sleep in our own beds two nights in a row.

That’s a lot of blessings.  And although we hoped for more days at home, we know this is a process and it is going to be small steps forward for awhile. As much as we want life to be normal again, God has us on this path. There are still lessons to be learned. I told Jen, that maybe it isn’t our lesson to learn but someone else’s through us. Her response to that was “well they better ‘getter done’ because I’m exhausted.”  So if it is you who still needs their come to God moment, ‘getter done’ because Jen and I are ready to live life again. 

Day +58 – Home

This morning Jen had an appointment in the clinic. The visit was a great one for three reasons.

1. They no longer detect the CMV virus in Jen so she no longer has to take a med that drives down her counts.

2. Ever since they switched Jen’s anti fungal med, she has struggled with stomach pain and nausea. So she is switching back to the previous med. Although the other med caused her occasional hallucinations,  we decided that is easier tolerated than the latter.

3. Jen got permission to go home for a trial run. And so after a long nap, we packed up the car (packing for her is more complicated than packing for an infant) and headed home.

God is good! 

Day +57 –  You Have Made A Difference 

Like most evenings these days, tonight Jen and I are laying on the bed watching the Cleveland Indians.  She has been out of the hospital almost a full week but it hasn’t been easy. She has been back for  two clinic appointments and one transfusion.  Calls to clinic have been frequent and most days she spends much of her time curled up in bed. Not quite life in the city her and I had dreamed of. But this is what we expected but had hoped for more. 

Tomorrow morning,  she has another clinic appointment.  I plan to ask about one of the meds they recently started her on. Nearly every day since she started on this med, she has complained about body pain and stomach cramping. They had switched her to this drug because the other they believed was causing her to hallucinate from time to time. Currently,  she prefers the occasional hallucinations to this.

Since she has been spending so much time sleeping, I have had a lot of time to myself. Too much time. I have been reflecting a great deal about the last six plus months.  I still try to wrap my head around the diagnosis and how much has changed for her and the rest of us. I also have reflected on how much I’ve learned about leukemia,  about Jen, and about my faith.  I have witness so much generosity in many.  Even from people whom we have never met, including a young man who was willing to save Jen’s life with giving her life saving bone marrow. But also people who donate blood regularly.  I wonder if they know the difference they have made. 

But I also think about those I have become disappointed in. A long time ago, as our grandparents and  Randy’s parents passed away, Randy spoke about truely being tested in life. And in that test, you learn what you are capable of, who you can rely on, and who comes up short. Unfortunately there will be those that disapoint us. It’s funny how we can have hundreds of examples of generosity and thoughtfulness, but a few who lack are the ones we focus on.

With that in mind, I was talking to someone who is always offering up prayers for Jen and the rest of us. She asked me what prayer I felt needed answered.  I told her my ability to release the disapointment and sadness I carry with me daily. I want my heart to feel and my eyes to see only that which I am blessed with. Instead of praying to find something in someone there isnt, I want to focus on seeing the blessings I have found in others. Just as Jen must heal from her cancer, I must heal from the pain I have found in this journey. 

So I want to finish with this. Daily so many have given me hope. So many praying. So many in their thoughts daily. So many have rallied together with us. So many have been with us since day one. I have filled a shoe box with cards but also have received so many messages of love. I want you to know, you have made a difference.

Day +55

Here we are, four full days out of the hospital. It helps, we have had two maintenance visits, one on Friday in the clinic and one on Sunday with infusion to get platelets.  Tomorrow,  Jen will be seen in the clinic again, which is good because yesterday her white count and ANC was very low, thus the need for a neupengen shot. 

On Saturday afternoon,  Jen and I saw Cirque Du Soleil at the Schott.  And although Jen found the show nearly too long to sit through,  she stayed for the entire thing. We were both amazed by the shear strength of the performers.

We are hopeful yet again Jen will be given permission to go home for a short visit but with her counts fluctuating so much, I’m not sure she is ready. Her low white counts today has made her feel fatigued with a sore throat. We watched closely all day for fevers but thankfully she had known.

So now, nearly eight weeks since her transplant,  we continue to wait for her health to improve and life to be somewhat normal. 

Disney Raffle Tickets

Raffle Tickets are still available  to win $3000 Disney Cash
Tickets are $10 each or 3 for $20. Disney Cash can be spent on anything Disney and does not expire. Winner will be drawn July 22 at Jen’s Welcome Home Celebration.

If you like to purchase tickets, you can mail money to
Joyce Honigford

PO Box 501 Ottoville, Ohio 45876
or also I can send a paypal invoice to your email address.

Raffle has been made possible by these sponsors
ProTec Coating Company
Unverferth Manufacturing
Wibby’s Sports Bar & Grill
Remingler Manufacturing


Day + 52  – Happy Friday To You All

* Good News Report Today*

1. No transfusions.  If she notices more blood in nose between now and Sunday she can go in on Sunday and get blood products
2. (And this made me scream with delight) NO CANCER IN PLIMINARY BONE MARROW RESULTS!!!!!!

3. We went to hospital and left on the same day  (and in less than two hours may I add)