Thursday, August 13, 2015

Personal Favours

This post is a bit different, and more difficult to start than I thought it would be. It is quite personal. Wow! A personal post on a blog? Imagine that! I must the the first to have ever done that!! (Tongue firmly in cheek.)

A dear friend of mine, and known also to many Africammers who might read this blog, has a very special grandson. Young Nate didn't grow properly, and although his shining brown eyes follow the action of his older brother and friends while they play, he is too fragile to run and join in. He frequently gets sick. Tests found that he suffers from a rare genetic disease, called Fanconi Anemia. FA is an inherited disease that can lead to bone marrow failure and cancer. It is so rare that only about a dozen families in Canada are affected.

He would need a bone marrow transplant, but nobody in his family is a match. The transplant will not cure FA, but will give Nate a chance at a more normal life. The family is reaching out to ask people to register to be swabbed for a possible match. You could be the OneMatch that saves someones life. Perhaps you are not a match for Nate, but maybe you might be for someone else who is also looking for a donor.

Living too far away? You don't have to physically go to the clinic to be swabbed; you could also register online to have a kit sent to your home.

Please see the poster with Nate's picture (click to enlarge) for the clinic hours and address.

 If you have young children, nephews and nieces or grandchildren, perhaps purchasing a new story book might be up your alley and you are still helping! Part of the author's income will be donated to the FA Research fund in Canada.
Teddy Bear Stories by Tom Germann

No Kindle? No worries!
Remember you don't need a Kindle to read - the free Kindle app on Amazon can be used to read Kindle format books on your phone, tablet or computer. I love mine, especially because I now always have a book in my pocket.

To learn even more about young Nate and this rare disease, a Powerpoint Slideshow was prepared by the family.  I converted it to FLV and uploaded to YouTube to make it easier to view. No sound, but read the text, it only takes a minute. 

THANK YOU for reading, sharing and perhaps getting swabbed!


Since I'm asking favours -- told you this was a very personal post! 
Maybe you have seen this blog before, maybe not. On an earlier post I mentioned that I haven't been able to get permission for my adult sons, both blood donors for almost a decade, to donate blood to be used during my upcoming brain surgery. (Read Surgery update - scroll down a bit to the second paragraph under the heading "Meningioma")

Today I found that there is a special program where friends and strangers can donate blood in honour or remembrance of someone.

So this is my request: Since I would need about 2 litres of blood (4 pints) during my surgery next month, would a few people reading here be willing to go out to donate back to the pool, please? When you do, you can mention your intentions to the person tending to you, and you will be given a special card to mail if you wish to do that. Of course anonymous donations work too!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for replenishing the pool, in honour of a friend or loved one. (If you can't donate blood due to previous illness or disease, there is a program to donate blood for research. LINK )

Donate blood in honour of someone: Program link

Thank you for reading and sharing this post. Links are below; just click the one(s) you wish to use.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Surgery updates


Less than a month after his partial thyroidectomy, hubby already played softball again! The healing is amazing.
Below is a combination picture - taken less than 24 hours apart. The first one was taken shortly after surgery. Tape measure is around his neck to check for any swelling.
The next day, the tape measure was gone and he looked a little bit more "there"! The draining tube was removed about 24 hours after surgery and only left a small scab.

A week later, we had to go in for the stitches to be removed. Since it was only a single stitch, sort of like a blanket stitch (new to us!) I hardly had time to get the camera in place for a picture! He said it was more trouble to have the steri strips being pulled off than for the stitch to be removed.

The surgeon was happy with the result after seven days. We are still waiting for the pathology results of the removed half of the thyroid, though. I was hoping to have that ready and was holding off on this update for that reason.

Picture to the right was taken a week and one day after surgery, only hours after the stitch was removed.

Thank you for all the messages of concern and offers of help!


If you read a previous entry on this blog, you would know that I was diagnosed with a brain tumour, called a meningioma. My surgery is still scheduled for September 8 at Trillium hospital. By all accounts, their neurological department is excellent. (And it seems they have better coffee than Brampton Civic, which will be a plus! But I'm packing my rooibos teabags anyway.)

Realized last week I might need blood transfusion for my surgery. My sons have been blood donors for about 8 years, and I can use both their groups. I am A+; so is younger son and elder son is O+.  Called to ask if they can donate blood to be used for me, found out I would need about 2 litres during surgery. So that is in the works.

Blood Services Canada said  a parent can donate blood to be used for a child's surgery, but an adult child can't donate blood for a parent's surgery. Silly and makes utterly no sense! Now the surgeon's office is trying to let me know how we can go about using the boys' blood. Voicemail was garbled , though. I said if it is too much trouble, I'd just ask my sons and a few friends to go donate blood, which means the general pool gets replenished.

Oh yes, and the hair! So may people asked if I will have to shave my head. The surgeon said they'll shave what they need, but I decided to have fun with it. So did the hairdresser. She created a funky, spiky hairstyle, which will be cut once more before surgery and go quite a bit shorter. Another friend is making me a very bright hat so that people don't have to get sick when they look at me after surgery!

Here is a picture with a friend on the city plaza while we were enjoying the Farmer's Market. I'm the one on the right .... What do you think?

I'm still playing with it and learning how to do different things with the spikes. Part of it is adding some colour, using cream eye shadow. It works, and washes out with shampoo.

As for symptoms - headaches, fatigue (especially while working on the computer) and sometimes an unexplained twitch of the leg or arm might all have to do with the mushroom I'm growing in my head.

A very interesting year for us, indeed! 
Thank you to friends and family near and far, who carry us in thought and prayer. 

Other stories to read:

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