Jake weighs 135 pounds. His appearance is shocking- bald, emaciated, covered with scabs and scars. Mentally and emotionally he has suffered. He says things and realizes it’s not what he meant, or he loses his train of thought. His body itches, jerks, shakes and shivers. He’s barely eating solid foods, the first since April 27th.  The yogurt he tried eating made him vomit. His GI tract was damaged by the chemo, and the new layer of tissue can’t handle the lactose yet. He had an IV bag of fluids last Tuesday. He was getting dehydrated – not enough to be hospitalized.  They warned us that 95% of transplant patients who were re-admitted were dehydrated.  I was waking Jake up every 30 minutes to force him to take sips the evening before. Jake has asked me to hold him a few times, he let me kiss his head. He’s talked about things that frighten him. He’s afraid he will never feel good or normal again. He asked me to lay in bed with him until he fell asleep.  We sit on the couch and watch TV. He wants us near him. He’s lonely. He looked back at a text message he sent his friend and suggested they get a rat as a pet. When did I write that? Why did I write that? I’ve heard of “chemo brain”. I wonder if going back to school this fall is an unrealistic goal. But his “numbers” look great. The blood counts are coming back beautifully. We have every reason to be hopeful. I keep encouraging him that this will get better. Each day this week, he has made small improvements. Dave left Monday, and returned tonight. It is Thursday, and he says Jake is a different kid. He let Dave push him along the canal. It’s a 3 mile loop. He chatted the whole time. I miss him, but I’m thrilled to see my daughter. It’s in the back of my mind that soon she’ll be across the country at college. We’re going to get our hair done and go to dinner tomorrow. She asked when Jake can come home.  We were given permission to come home for a night or two. Jake didn’t feel ready for the drive. Soon we will be home, hopefully forever and this nightmare will be over. I’m thankful we had Jake’s Senior pictures taken 2 weeks before the meningitis. I meant to take his picture with his sister to his hospital room. I wanted the nurses and doctors to see what he’d looked like before. They could also see his donor. He occasionally mentions life before he got sick. He’s hopeful for the future. He knows it will be different, but he’s hopeful- we all are…

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