Day 161: I’m still alive. I promise.

Day +161 (or something like that). Sitting in the clinic this morning, gearing up to get another two units of RBCs. No need for Neupogen or platelets though. This is surprising, but great news! My body has been doing this interesting thing lately where my lymphocyte and neutrophil counts have been stable and steadily increasing over the past few weeks, meaning that my fragmented immune system is starting to do what it’s supposed to do! Granted, I still need blood every week or two, but this is incredibly encouraging.

This trend is what my doctors were hoping to see about a month ago when we were deciding on whether or not to do a second transplant. Unfortunately, this encouraging news comes too late as the transplant train is well on its way moving full speed ahead. Regardless, I believe the second transplant is the best course of action considering I still need RBCs weekly.

We’re currently waiting to hear back from three potential international stem cell donors (from China and Japan). My doctors would like to do a stem cell transplant the second time around as it is believed that they are more successful as a second attempt versus a full marrow transplant. The lag time in communication between countries makes for slower progress on the transplant front, but patience is a virtue, right?


I started a fundraising campaign to aid with funds for the second donor search since my insurance doesn’t cover 100% of the search cost. With an initial goal of $3000, friends and supporters reached that goal within 90 minutes of my campaign being live! I asked my care team if I could raise additional funds to help cover costs of finding more donors as well as medical costs, and my second goal of $6000 was met and surpassed within a day.

I am completely humbled and so grateful for the generosity of my friends and supporters who have made the search for my second donor possible and who have helped cover medical expenses. I really am the luckiest guy in the world and am so blessed by everyone’s willingness to help. 🙂

giveforward


Apologies for the lack of posting lately. Going back to work has proved to be more demanding that I thought, and I’ve also been traveling a bit to see friends before the second transplant. Over the past six weeks I’ve made trips to Boston and LA seeing friends from college that I haven’t seen in a while.

The trip to Boston was fantastic! A few friends (Steph, Brennan, and Monique) banded together to get me a plane ticket to visit for about a week. I visited all my favorite places (the Boston Commons, Public Gardens, Newbury Street, BU, and Cambridge to name a few) and ate at all of my favorite restaurants (Flour Bakery, Craigie on Main, the Harpoon and Sam Adams breweries, and Green St.)!

samadams

copley

bpl

The highlight of the trip was when my friends surprised me with a surprise party on the weekend! Friends from the Boston area came together, as well as friends from Philly and Connecticut drove in to see me. I was completely in the dark about it and was totally taken by surprise. I’m really one lucky guy to be blessed with such amazing people in my life. 🙂

frands


I just got back from LA with Ricky this past weekend and also had a blast seeing friends and enjoying such a great city! Everything from visiting Disneyland and Hollywood, to eating spaghetti and meatball sandwiches and macaron ice cream sandwiches, I saw and ate everything. 🙂 I stayed with my good friend David and Ricky’s friend Natasha.

mickey

Ricky, Mickey, and Me. ❤

spacemountain

Hanging on Space Mountain.

waffles

Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles FTW!

santamonica

Oh hay Santa Monica! You sure look pretty.

hollywood

We found it!

comedy

Great standup comedy with some great people at the Comedy Store.


We also had an Abbeys west coast reunion at our founder Cooper’s house. It was great catching up with four generations of Abbeys. We were all in different life stages, which was amazing to see. (The Dear Abbeys is the acappella group I sang with in college.)

abbeys4


About two weeks ago, my friend Laura Nelson put me in contact with Brendon Rearick, a fellow aplastic anemia patient, who was diagnosed this past July. Like myself, Brendon is a healthy, active, mid-20something, who is one of the roughly 300 people who are diagnosed with aplastic anemia every year. It was absolute serendipity that linked us together, and I’m grateful that we are able to share our experiences and love of ice cream with each other and our friends and family. Click here to find out more about Brendon’s journey and please consider supporting him. He’s a great guy with a firm head on his shoulders and a bright future ahead of him!

brendon


That’s all for now. We’re hoping to hear back from my possible donors any day now. Until then, I’m hanging tight and enjoying as much of this life as I possibly can. 🙂

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