Today at the hospital, we saw a young man who looked familiar. He was with his wife and 2 little girls in the cancer center. Jake hadn’t seen his doctors since December, and this was a routine visit. I asked the man if it was possible that he had visited us in the bone marrow transplant unit last year. A big smile formed on his face. Definitely! He had stopped by to give Jake encouragement that he could endure, survive and thrive after a BMT. The difference though was he had received his own stem cells. They had found a mass in his chest 4 years ago.  He was exercising and was short of breath.  His own stem cells had been taken to help him endure the chemo. There weren’t the same risks as with a donor transplant.  Most of the patients at that time were getting their own stem cells. It made me feel lonely and scared. I hoped he was back for just a check up. He looked good. He was interested in Jake. “How are you doing?” I asked. The cancer had returned. This time it had been in his lungs. He stayed positive though. They were trying a new treatment, and he only had 2 more rounds. He had responded well. I immediately thought to myself, wondering if he had some unnamed gene mutation that would cause the cancer to keep coming back. Each time with a vengence that would eventually take his life far too young. Science knows so much, yet so little. It has come so far, yet there is still much to be learned. Another young man recently died from an unknown, unnamed disease. Maybe someday it will be discovered. Chances are his family may never know. We were lucky. A doctor was able to identify Jake’s immune disorder in 2012. It didn’t make any difference, in fact it just complicated his test results. They started the chemo not knowing for sure that he even had AML leukemia. It was an educated guess, and everyone hoped for the best. That is what we have now. We have experiences and educated guesses. There are drug trials and plenty of errors. There is still much more to be discovered. The process is slow and expensive. Maybe someday, Jake’s cause will be given a name. It won’t matter. Jake was able to have a cure. We were just extremely lucky.


Molly was irritated when I posted that we were at a restaurant in Denver. “Mother, why do you post everything we’re doing? No one cares…” While she very well could be right, I didn’t care. If someone was irritated by my post, they could ignore, scroll past or unfollow me. Within minutes, I received a personal message from a gal that I had not seen since junior high. She only lived in Paris about 4 years, but I didn’t forget her, and I was glad she had sent me a friend request. She lives in Miami, but she saw my post and had a personal connection to the University of Denver.  Within the hour, I was talking to the Dean of Admissions. Molly had already been accepted, but now the Dean “would love to meet her.” “Her credentials are very impressive….” “If we need anything….”  You can bet that if she ends up in Denver, I will appreciate having Todd’s name in my contacts. I held my phone up to Molly and said, “THAT is why I posted that on FB, Molly. ” She had posted a picture and realized a friend from college was also in Denver. It makes the world seem smaller. There may come a situation when we need to reach out to a familiar face somewhere. I have been surprised by the friendliness of the people we met in Spokane and Denver. Sometimes with the bad things we see and hear about around us, it’s easy to forget that there are many kind, helpful people around us. Twice I asked strangers for help on this trip. Both times it saved us time and frustration. It was embarrassing for Molly, I’m sure, but I hope she saw the value of asking for help. She noticed one of the streets near the campus was named Columbine. She associated it with the school shooting. “Did you know that the Columbine is the state flower? You will likely see it a lot. It came way before the shootings.” It’s sad that she only associated the name with something horrific. My grandma always had Columbines in her garden. “They have to grow from the seeds. You can’t divide them,” she had told me once when I wanted some for my yard. She saved me the seeds, and I planted them in my yard. So just like my FB post, something good was shared…