Tough times lead to new beginnings


Hello everyone! It has been just over a year since I received the incredible gift of my anonymous donor’s bone marrow through an 8-hour infusion! Praise the Lord!

Wow! It’s a new day!

I am reminded about the magic of the morning. What good am I going to do with this time that I have been given? Trying not to get paralyzed with my overly ambitious lists and thoughts but rather striving to channel my new energy into creative problem solving and into making choices that matter. My goal is to calmly see the bigger picture while being fully present with what is going on around me right now. This includes my daily, groggy entrance into the day, checking in to the first thoughts that enter my mind. I usually flow first to people that pop into my mind. I listen to my body, and to each sore muscle that aches from yesterday’s workout. I am alive! I then imagine what each chirping bird looks like while rubbing Watson who is sleeping by my side. I am slowly sipping my coffee while letting these good and bad thoughts flow all over me and sorting them into categories for today. What matters most? The birds voices are working together to create a new song. I can see the sun popping up over the trees through the window, the sunlight coming through is dancing on my pillow. Carl has a ritual to bring me coffee every morning and it is one of my most favorite things. His ritual is usually my only “sure thing” of the day!

During this Corona Virus “lock in” without an imposed schedule, I tend to go from task to task of what matters most at the moment while keeping up with the pulse and special people and work tasks at the office. I am reminded of my quarantine on the transplant floor 1 year and 1 month ago at Emory Hospital. I am grateful that I am not in survival mode occupying a hospital bed anymore. I pray for the many people who are sick from this virus. I talked with Dr. Waller yesterday and he said that Emory is currently transforming half of the transplant floor into an ICU unit in anticipation of a flood of Corona virus patients in Atlanta. This is another scary and uncertain time for all of us. I fear that our city is about to go through a surge of COVID-19 cases. Although I have been off of all of my immunosuppressive drugs for over 6 months and my new immune system is now very strong, I’m going to be extra careful like everyone should. I have been re-immunized with all of my non live vaccines and although I still take Acyclovir to prevent Shingles and a plethora of over the counter supplements, I am off of all of my post-transplant drugs. I am blessed.

I can hear the cautious words of my late Uncle Bill whispering in my ear always reminding me to take precautions and giving me the latest on new developments in medicine, cancer research, tests available and tips on wholistic health. I wonder what he would say about this virus? I miss him terribly each day. He and brother Bill are always on my mind.

Over the last several weeks, Sims Patrick Studio has gone from a healthy bustling company, with our best year ever in 2019, to laying-off many people and making huge reductions in our remaining staff’s paychecks. We are so hopeful that the government can give us some relief to survive this tumultuous time. My core management team and I have been meeting constantly and strategizing on how best to stay together as a firm during this difficult stretch. Since our primary business is the interior architecture and design of hotels and most have temporarily shut down, we have been hit badly. Our Sims Patrick Studio teammates are all working remotely from their cozy home offices. We are very appreciative for the companies and clients that trust us with their hotel projects and especially those that have the ability to continue work on their projects through this unprecedented time in our economy.

On a happy note, I filled out the donor recipient paperwork yesterday! I am hopeful that my selfless, brave and beautiful donor is safe and healthy in New York. I pray for her and that she will want me to know who she is. I want to thank her in person for her selfless and painful act of supreme kindness. In the midst of all of this chaos, it is such a comforting time to realize how blessed I am with so many thoughtful and inspiring friends, a supportive husband, son and family and collaborative colleagues that are such a huge part of my life.

I’m looking for the silver linings. It hit me today that the world being quarantined is similar to my 4 months of quarantine a year ago. I was locked in my hospital room and at home. We are all locked in our homes due to a scary illness and this isolation can be compared to a bone marrow transplant process.

It will get worse before it gets better, Boy, I could write a lot about this analogy. I am hopeful that after the sickness passes, the world, like me, will have the chance to emerge with new blood and new energy that has a focus on what matters most. God is our selfless, loving Donor of the world renewal that is on the horizon!

Thank you, Lord that you comfort, strengthen and guide us and for my angel donor, my amazing family …including dogs, cats and turtles, my brilliant doctors, my friends, my colleagues and this new life that you have given me.



If You Haven’t Read This, Please Start Here

If you are visiting here for the first time, please read the Story Begins Page first: before you read further.

If you are returning, we invite you to share the journey through the Journal. Libby feels strongly that this website is not about HER. It is about sharing all of our journeys together. Everyone is going through something. We invite you to go to the Contact page and send us a blurb and one of us will reach out to you explain how to share on the website. Continue reading “If You Haven’t Read This, Please Start Here”

Starting to Feel Like My Old Self

I am starting to feel like my old self now at 8 months post transplant. Yippee! I am so grateful, so thankful and so blessed. It is truly a miracle. Prior to my transplant I tried to anticipate all of the worst scenarios that could happen as a result of the transplant with my family, friends, home and work and make preparations for all. Carl and I revised our wills, made sure I had a living will, chose Carl and Alex as my power of attorney and I assigned a board of directors for Sims Patrick Studio in case I was incapacitated for any reason. Similar to when I was pregnant with Alex, I found myself going through a nesting period at home…it felt similar to a maternity leave but this time, I was the baby coming home. I started cleaning, purging and organizing things.

Once I got my closets and desk cleared out, I was ready for the ordeal and entered the hospital ready to fight with all my heart and soul and the most positive attitude I could pull together! After I entered the hospital in February of 2019, everything in my life went on hold because no one could tell me with certainty the final results of my transplant.

Now that I have passed the 8 month mark, I am feeling good, more confident, working full time and traveling again with my team. I am starting to make some long term plans. I have a new lease on life.

I’m so blessed and grateful to my donor who saved my life! My incredible transplant team at Emory of Dr. Waller, Dr. Lechowicz, the transplant floor team of nurses and PA’s as well as all of the nurses and the PA’s in clinic, CeCe, Joel, Amanda, Daniel, Maggie etc. They have all guided me and nurtured me back to health with their incredible intuition, skill and compassion. My family…. especially my sister Sheri for her constant caregiving. My sister Lisa and my Mom and Dad and my extended family of in-laws, aunts, uncles and cousins. My dear “penguin cap“ team of Sheri, Diana and Caroline. So many notes and gifts and calls. So many Incredible people. So much love. It takes a village.

Below,  I am including a piece of writing that I recently put together after being inspired by a Ted Talk on “end of life“ needs. There have been continuing texts and emails going back and forth with my Uncle Bill an amazing retired internist who just lost his struggle with Lymphoma and has been one of my confidants and protectors. It all started when he and I were expressing our frustration about the chemotherapy infusion experience and the lack of comfort and beauty in the hospital infusion centers around the country. We have often brainstormed… how much privacy vs community and aesthetic surroundings does one want/need when going through such a necessary but humiliating infusion process? Why can’t you have more than one person with you at a time during the infusion? Why is everything plastic, etc.

As an interior designer and spending so much time in hospitals over the last 2.5 years, I believe that we have a monumental task to make the patient experience more beautifully designed… physically, mentally and spiritually. I  wrote this after thinking about and praying for Uncle Bill and pondering my brother Bill’s last week of life. I had all of this in mind when jotting down the following thoughts. I’m wondering how I can help. It is a very rough draft of raw thoughts.

For living and especially for dying, we need to sense, feel, touch, smell, hear and see beauty and unconditional love and close community around us. We want to feel trust, compassion and respect with our closest friends and family. We also need simple sensual experiences like touch, sight, smell, reflection on what matters. Bringing nature into view. We need simple pleasures like the feeling of a snowball melting in your hand, a soft hug, your dog at the foot of your bed, seeing into someone’s eyes, seeing the beginnings of an intricate flower bloom or a view of a magnificent garden or distant mountain. We need to be able to draw or write a line or two of expression, smell a fresh cookie baking, hear a laugh, beautiful music or merely your breathing in a dampened quiet room… or the voice or note from someone special. Each new morning reflecting on all the goodness that you are learning in this life while also putting to rest the challenges. Our lives are full of little pieces of Grace that add up to a full life of people, places, things and above all love…knowing that there is a higher power who cares for you and will take you into another heavenly realm one day. Knowing that when you fall asleep, God will be awake and will answer all of your prayers.

At my last appointment, I got word that my blood work looks great and that I can get off of all immunosuppressants! No more prograph, magnesium or Bactrim antibiotic! I am completely thrilled that I don’t need to come back to the clinic for two months!! Thank you all for your part in lifting me up in prayer and positive thoughts! I could not have done this without such positivity surrounding me! Only 3 months until I get to reach out to my donor!!! Love, Love, Love! Love for love:)

As I reflect, here are some fun pictures…

Feeling Good

EAECAA0B-6A35-4078-BA6E-A5F3811A0B03The latest from Libby: I’m feeling pretty good. Just finishing lunch at California Kitchen after another positive appointment and labwork at Emory.

DA157085-47F0-423D-92EC-52236C78A665Dr. Waller popped in as a surprise. He said that he just wanted to say hello since I was always so fast coming in and out. He said that if you have not had to see a doctor yet in the clinic then you are doing great! He said it twice! Joel, the PA, had been in and although there are a few blood counts are low and a few that are high, he said my blood work looks perfect! Of course with caveats! Evidently at day 44 it’s perfect!

Still feeling shaky at times with off and on nausea and lots of fatigue. I’m hoping the fatigue will diminish as I continue with my cardio/full body fitness plan. Yay, I gained two pounds back since Monday! I don’t want to lose any more muscle mass than I already have. Eating more calories each day even though I have no appetite or taste seems to be working.

What a great day! Praise the Lord!

Every Cell is Well!

Another good day! 

IMG_4821On day 30 after the Bone Marrow Stem Cell transplant they took blood from Libby to determine the progress of the engraftment process and determine what percentage of the blood in my body is still hers and how much is the donor’s. They check for 2 compartments including T cells and B cells. This is called Chimerisms. 

The results came in yesterday that she has 100% donor T cells and 100% B cells. This is a great thing! She is so excited! This is a really good sign that everything is going great! The mood around the house after this news was celebratory!!!!

Thank you for your continued prayers for her body to accept her new cells and that they flourish, that her side effects of nausea and fatigue are well managed, and that her donor is thriving! Every Cell is Well!