I hope everyone had a very happy Thanksgiving surrounded by good friends and family sharing fun stories and making new plans.
We are here in Decatur and had a wonderful day yesterday with our family here including Bill’s family Tara and David, Will, Richie and Kelsey. We were missing Alli and her boyfriend David who are in London but we will see them for another family gathering to celebrate Christmas on the 29th of December. Living in London, David has never been to the state so we will especially enjoy sharing our southern Christmas traditions with him.
Thank you all for the support and positive thoughts about my upcoming transplant adventure. I feel scared and vulnerable but will be ready to give it all of my heart and soul in January 2019 for the hope of another cure. To date, the plan is to move forward with an Allogeneic stem cell bone marrow transplant at Emory with an unrelated perfect 10/10 donor match if all goes as planned. I am still making the visit to Mayo Clinic in Rochester to see Dr. Steve Ansell on Nov 29th. Mom and Dad, Lisa and Carl are going with me.
I am thrilled and feel sure that “it is a God thing” that I had 20 perfectly matched donors and of those, 4 donors were activated. It made me cry when I learned that last week 3 of the 4 donors agreed to move forward and each had already gone into a lab somewhere in the world to get checked out to make sure they are still compatible. I am humbled and so very grateful that a stranger would do this for me. I asked if there was a way for me to reach out to the selected donor to thank them but my transplant nurse said that I have to wait a year to call or visit them. I naively asked why? Moura, politely said “well you see…if something were to happen to you, we don’t want the donor to feel like it was their fault”. What that really means is that if I were to die, they don’t want the donor to feel guilty. Ugh! I do feel strong, energetic and ready to take on this next challenge. Caroline reached out to Nicole who is a recent stem cell transplant survivor who sent me an account of her transplant stay at Emory. Nicole also attached the story of another young woman named Tania. I had been told about a man from Florida that was a cross fit trainer with his wife who had run 3 miles on the day he was discharged from the hospital! I told the nurses that I needed to meet this guy! Would you believe that on my last visit to the clinic, I was sitting in the check out area and I met him and his wife! They told me how happy they are with Emory’s transplant team and could not say enough good things about Dr. Waller! To me, the fact that this man was in the clinic on the same day and at the same time as I was is truly another God thing! These God things are making it clear that God wants me to do the Allogeneic transplant at Emory. These decisions I have been struggling with but God keeps leading me. Thank you Lord.
Mom and me
Going out for Finlay’s Birthday Nov 16th! Yay, lisa was in town to celebrate!
I am feeling a strange, nesting instinct recently almost like I am getting ready to have a baby and be on maternity leave for 3-6 months. Lol My OCD is on overdrive and I want the house to be clean and purged of junk and well organized. My friend and former office manager Ginger is coming over on Saturday afternoon to help me clear out clutter and make sure things are organized and in a rational place that Can be found easily. This is for my sanity and for my caregivers during my leave of absence but also it is something I have been putting off. There is no time like the present. I have read the The Life Changing Magic of Tidying up by Marie Kondo that really spoke to me about what to keep and what to throw out. I’m also making sure that everything is under control with my core management team at the office to prepare to be away. I will have my laptop, phone, I-pad etc. so that I can stay in touch. SPS has so much exciting work going on right now and the potential of so many more sought-after new projects. These are the kinds of projects that we have strategized about for years and our work is paying off. Lots of community based Unique boutique hotel projects have come in and things are really beginning to gel. Each one has a special story that we write based on research, the location, the flora and fauna or history or really anything that makes a good story! I just found out that NEWH awarded us one of the 3 Top ID firms in the Atlanta region! Melissa and I just confirmed with Michelle Finn that we will be one of the Hotel design firms doing a specialty design space booth in New York at BDNY next year! I have such a cohesive talented team of designers and administrators! Melissa Wylie and Jenny Rutledge will lead the firm with the help of Stephanie England our CFO and Angela Zhou our office manager and our incredible team while I am away for 3 months. There is ongoing branding work going on for SPS. We have goals for a new version of our website, Photography shoots and portfolio updates as well as a pending renovation to our physical space. I couldn’t feel good about taking this leave of absence if it weren’t for my core design partners and staff who have my back…and they know that I have theirs.
Core management- Stephanie, me, Jenny and Melissa
I’m thankful for my SPS family:)
The main thing that keeps me going is my strong faith in God, My Carl and Alex and Watson, my incredible sisters, Mom and Dad, my extended Stainback and Brandon families, close, trusting friends. Thank you to each of you who are reading this. I hope that somehow by writing about these life adventures, it will connect us closer and take away some of the fear by knowing that we are truly all in this life together for a reason. It’s all about loving and supporting each other through thick and thin and a whole lot of laughter and Ah ha moments. Or God things as I like to call them! Let me know how I can help someone who feels alone or lonely on their cancer journey. Yes, let me know if I can help. Next PET scan is December 4th with a follow up with Dr. Lechowicz and my 4th treatment of Brentuximab Vidotin. Praying that I am in remission so that I can take a few more rounds of BV and that all falls in place with my evaluation and the perfect donor.
My personal email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Bye for now.