Saturday, June 22, 2013

Be The Match

A few weeks ago I stumbled upon this blog.

Her second child needed a bone marrow transplant, and at the time I read this post, the little boy's donor had backed out.  There was literally nothing for them to do except a) wait for an international donor; b) wait for someone to register who may be a match (very unlikely); or c) wait for the situation to become so dire that they have to do a type of transplant called a haplo transplant, in which a non-matching parent donates, making it usually not as successful than a typical transplant.

Now, as someone who spends her days wondering whether peaches or melons have more nutritional value, whether a short-sleeved shirt or a sleeveless shirt would keep the boys more comfortable, and/or whether I should switch to an all-natural sunscreen- very minute details of my children's comfort and well-being-, and I cannot even begin to fathom how difficult it would be not to have any control over such life-or-death issues.  As a parent, every kid is our kid.

Immediately after reading this post, I thought, "What if I am the match for this little boy?" "What if I am the match for someone else's mother/father/sister/son/daughter-in-law/nephew/friend/etc, and I'm not registered?"

That same day, I registered as a bone marrow donor at

I have to back up and say that my husband registered in college (free t-shirt).  He was called as a match during his first day back to work after Carter was born, sometime in late August 2012, which means he was on the registry for approximately 15 years before he received a call.

The Be The Match staff was extremely prompt and helpful in communicating with him and noted that if he didn't want to continue, he needed to say so now. We researched what he would need to do as a donor and learned about the two methods of donation.

He decided to continue.

They wanted him to do additional blood tests, which he did. The follow-up information from the Be The Match staff indicated that the recipient wasn't able to continue with the transplant, which could mean any one of a number of things.  That was all the information we received, so we chose to hope for the best for this person.  I was (and am) so proud of Frank for choosing to give a stranger a second chance at life.  But with an itsy-bitsy baby, I kind of put this info on the back burner... until I read that post.

So a few weeks ago, I received the cheek-swab kit.

It's very easy.  You take four q-tip type swabs from your cheek and mail them back, postage-paid.

Processing takes approximately 8 weeks, and I am in the middle of that stage.  Even if I don't match right away, at least I will know I have done my part.

The good news is that Will, the little boy whose mom's post prompted my registering, found a match through an international donor.  His fight isn't over, but at least this first important step has been taken.

If you would like to follow Will's story, you can do so here.  In the meantime, I will wait and hope that things work out if I'm called.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Kentucky Trip Recap

For Father's Day last weekend we took a little road trip to the Kentucky Lake area.  One of the trip highlights (for me) was renting a car.  We got a sweet little Ford Taurus.  I know what you're thinking:  a Ford Taurus?!  Doesn't your grandma drive a Ford Taurus?  Yes, she did, actually, but the body style has completely changed, and it no longer looks like my grandma's car.

Fortunately, both of my guys are good travelers because we got stuck in construction about 10 miles from our hotel on the way down.

The first night, we went to the Buzzard Rock Cafe, just off one of the marinas.  I was a little skeptical at first because it didn't look... clean... but they ended up having fabulous food.

Frank and Jacob went swimming in the hotel pool that evening, which I hoped would wear Jacob out but no such luck.  He was still bouncing off the walls by his usual 8:00 bedtime, which meant Carter was also still awake.  We brought a pack-n-play for Carter, and he just kept standing up in it and yelling.  Finally, around 9:30, I think everyone went to sleep.

The next morning, we walked around another one of the marinas.

(This is Jacob's, "But why can I not get in the water?" face.)

Then we went to a fun park just down the road.  Jacob played some video games, but his favorite thing was the go-karts. 

Doesn't he look tiny sitting there?! I thought maybe he would be scared, but he was all about it.

Then we moved on to bumper boats.  Since we were the only people on this ride, there was no one to bump, but that was probably just as well.  

Carter supervised these activities and ate puffs. It was about 800 degrees outside, so I was trying to keep him in the shade, despite what it looks like in this picture.  

That afternoon we went to a waterpark where I didn't take any pictures!  Between the swim trunks, towels, swim diaper, swim hat, sunscreen, water, sandals, bottle, and stroller, I didn't have a free hand.  

I think Carter wanted to be sure we didn't forget him because he kept climbing on Jacob's suitcase as we were packing up the next morning!

Overall, I was surprised at how rural the Kentucky Lake/Lake Barkley area is.  They do have some tourist attractions, but everything is very spread out, geographically.  Everywhere we ate was fantastic, and I got some great sweet tea (gotta love the south for that!).  

Frank said it was a great Father's Day weekend!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Gift of Siblings and a Bribe for Better Behavior

From the time I knew there was going to be a Carter, I was so happy for Jacob.  He'll have a brother.  A friend.  Someone to chase around the house, play baseball with, share a car with.  Someone who will commiserate with him on how mean his teachers are and how stupid his parents are.  Someone with whom his fighting will probably, at some point, draw blood, and someone who will be in his corner, unconditionally- whether he says it out loud or not- during his successes and failures throughout his life.

Today I am bribing Jacob to stop trying to kill his brother.  Really.  Jacob is constantly knocking Carter over, trying to pull off his legs, or get his face.  They are not the picture of happy siblings that I had in my head, and I feel like I have to press the Restart button on this behavior.

I'm not asking for dandelions and pancakes everyday, but the current level of craziness has to stop. I do feel responsible for fostering a bond between them, and if it takes bribery at this point, so be it.  Hopefully, when they're 17 and 20 and they're buddies, they'll thank me.

The bribe is a Matchbox car.  Be nice to Carter all day (and do what mama asks you), and at the end of the day, you can choose a Matchbox car.  I have a package of 5, so I'm thinking I'll make the offer every day for 5 days.  Maybe that amount of time will allow him to reset his behavior, and going forward, things will be  a little calmer.  (Or, maybe he'll demand for a Matchbox car every day until he leaves for college, I don't know...)

So far, the bribe seems to be working.

There has been less screaming from both parties (and from mama).

If you want to read a truly eloquent article on The Gift of Siblings, go here.

Meanwhile, I'll be stocking up on Matchbox cars.