Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Future NHS Tiger!

Alex attended the Norman High School Pom Clinic a week or so ago and got to cheer during the game and perform at halftime last Thursday night. She had a ball and the girls were adorable! Unless something changes...this is the high school she will attend, so she thought it was pretty cool!

Here is a little video of her cheering and the halftime performance.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I'm Back...Thank Goodness!

I have been a very bad blogger this summer and for no real good reason other than I have let "life" get the best of me. Call it a "thrisis," Call it being a wife, daughter, mother, employee, etc...Call it Life. I have no real excuse.

We received the following email last night and I went to bed thinking about it and woke up today still thinking about it. I would like to share it with you. Sometimes things arrive just at the right time. For those of you who know Brett, know that he has been and continues to be an amazing person and friend.

I hope you enjoy this selfless story and that it arrives just at the right time for you too!

My Bone Marrow Transplant Story – By Brett Dick

Some of you may know I recently went through a bone marrow transplant as a donor for a 12 year old boy with a rare disease called Hemophagicytic Lymphohistiocytosis (HLH). Initially, I told only my immediate family because I didn't want it to be made into a big deal. However, I now realize how important it is for me to tell my story so that you will better understand the donor process and will see how easily you can also contribute.

In November of 2009, the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) was at our church campaigning for their cause and giving simple mouth swabs to those who wanted to apply to be a donor in their program. Along with the majority of my Sunday school class, I decided to fill out the paper work and become a donor. It took a whole 15 minutes!

Forgetting all about my signing up, I received a call about 8 weeks ago from Arlene, a representative for the NMDP. She told me they had found a possible match and asked if I would go to the Oklahoma Blood Institute and give samples for further testing. She told me there was still only on 8% chance a match would be made, and the odds were still stacked against me on being a good match.

About 2 weeks later, she called and told me I was a match, but more testing would be needed to make sure I was healthy enough to go through the procedure. Within a couple of days, I received a packet in the mail containing a CD that explained the process and surgical procedure and lots of literature about the NMDP. In addition, I was told my recipient was a 12 year old boy with HLH.

After setting up a date that was good for me, I went to the Presbyterian OU Health Center for an overview of the bone marrow transplant process, an explanation of the recipients' disease, an EKG, urinalysis, chest x-ray, more blood work and met the surgeon who again explained the transplant procedure. By the end of the day, the doctor determined I was healthy enough and it was time to sign the paperwork needed to move the procedure forward.

At this point, I was told by my signing the paperwork the recipient would be notified he had a donor; a date would be set for the transplant; and he would begin his chemotherapy. This meant if he didn't receive my bone marrow on the transplant date, he would die because his chemo dosages and their frequency would be ramped up until the day of his transplant. His white blood cells would be almost completely eliminated from his body, and only with the introduction of matching white cells would he be able to survive.

As I was signing my name, the full impact of what I was doing hit me pretty hard. I became very excited by realizing I could potentially save someone's life.

Some of you may wonder why I haven't said more about the recipient. It is because the NMDP only allows the donor and recipient to know age, gender and disease of recipient (although I did learn my marrow would be flown to the recipient's location). Anonymity is important because of the emotional toll the complete process can have on both the donor and recipient. First, there is no guarantee that the recipient will survive the chemo prior to the transplant. Second, the introduction of foreign white blood cells may cause his body to fight these cells rather than accept them (this is why matching is only 8%). In other words, the donor's white blood cells could literally kill the recipient. I was told we could write each other through the NMDP and they would remove anything that might provide more identification information than allowed. When I made a decision to write the boy, I had no idea the effect it would have on me. With every sentence I wrote, I became very emotional thinking about the impact I would have on him.

On the day of the surgery (Thursday), I showed up around 5:30am and was surprisingly not very nervous. Since the surgery was at a trauma center, I was luckily taken into pre-op on time. After getting prepped, I was taken to surgery with family walking along side until we hit the operating room. Upon waking in the recovery room, I just remember being thirsty with a little bit of a sore throat. The nurse gave me ice chips which was heaven! I then was taken to another room where my wife and mom waited, and my vitals were checked. Soon, I was cleared and given the option of riding in a wheel chair or walking to the car. I don't know if it was the anesthesia or will power, but I was definitely walking. How amazing is that! I literally WALKED out of the hospital after having needles put into both hips.

After arriving home, I had a little nausea but never got sick. I was excited to find out that by 12:30 my bone marrow was already on a plane and on its way to the recipient. I slept for a couple of hours, ate soup for dinner, and occasionally walked around the house. By the next morning, I was hungry for solid food and waited for the anesthesia to wear off and for the pain to begin. Luckily it never came, and I didn't need my pain meds as often as prescribed, but I did take one in the late morning and then another later on that evening. By Saturday morning, my pain was minimal, and I had a full range of motion taking only over the counter pain meds. I felt like I could do anything but go for a jog. I was literally lifting and going up and down the stairs (not that I am recommending doing this).

Sunday and today, Monday, as I write this letter I feel the same way. I don't want to say there is no pain, but it is certainly nothing compared to the knee surgery I had in college. I can feel a little pain when in motion, but if I sit or lie, I don't feel any pain at all. By the way, I took an Aleve and went to work today. I have a feeling I will continue to take Aleve for the next week or so, but I don't see needing anything stronger. Both Arlene and my surgeon told me I would be doing fine in a couple of days. I honestly thought they were just trying to put me at ease. But it was the absolute truth. The whole bone marrow story about being extremely painful is completely false probably due to how the procedure used to be done and a similar procedure that often gets confused with it. Not long ago the bone marrow transplant process was done without general anesthesia and bone marrow biopsies are still done with minimal pain management and no general anesthesia. When all said and done, I missed 3 days of work, one for the day I had my lab tests and the other two for the surgery.

I found out on Friday NMDP will give me information about my recipient's current status in about 4 weeks. They will tell me whether he is doing fine, still in same condition or has passed on. I ask all of you to pray the transplant will help this little boy beat HLH.

During this process, many people have said what a wonderful thing it is that I have done. I'm the lucky one who was a match for a 12 year old boy that needed some help, and I honestly can't imagine anyone not doing it.

In conclusion, let's look at the pros and cons. I only missed 3 days of work and have a couple of weeks of minor aches, yet I was given the opportunity to save someone's life! Even though it is NMDP's policy for a donor to give twice in a lifetime, I would do it as many times as needed.

Go to www.bethematch.org!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Twice Lost - A McGinnis Tooth Saga

This story is for sure a keeper. We always have funny stuff happening at our house, but this one was one of our better "McGinnis" moments. Hope you enjoy!

Last night while gumming at a huge slice of watermelon, Alex lost her 8th baby tooth. (Yes, she is only 5.) She just lets them hang on forever. So when it came out, she actually thought it was one of the white seeds that you sometimes find in watermelon. So we all 3 giggled and finished dinner. Alex put her tooth on the table, Billie proceeded to clear the table and Alex and I began eating cherry popsicles for dessert.

When Billie came to clear the plate with the watermelon rind on it, he got worried that maybe the tooth was on the plate with the seeds. We showed him it was on the table and we all went about our business.

Alex and I then started talking about what happens when kids lose their tooth before the tooth fairy comes...does she still leave a dollar? Alex suggested that she probably did since the tooth fairy has televisions to watch all the kids like the elves do at the North Pole. (Of, course...why didn't I think of that?)

So once again, Alex and I go back to enjoying our popsicles when Billie then comes over and wipes the watermelon juice off the table...Alex and I immediately gasp...Billie wiped the tooth off the table (even though we had just had a minor freak out of the thought of losing it) and the tooth is now lost.

I can't help myself and start laughing until tears come out of the corners of my eyes. Billie is on all 4's trying to find it...Alex is trying to stay calm, but given that she is my daughter...she is beginning to get a little worked up.

Billie looked for the tooth for probably 15 minutes. In the meantime, Alex has a little fit..."just forget about it," "she won't come now, but it doesn't matter" and the proceeds to write and give us this note and tells us that this will just have to do.

The twice lost tooth was found after about 20 minutes of Alex's ranting, Billie's searching and my laughing...under the refrigerator. Good times! (And yes, there was a $1 on the nightstand this morning.)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Flashback Friday

These came home with Alex from school yesterday. They had been hanging in the 2 year old room at school above the sink since she was in there. Guess they must be updating a bit since she is now 5 going on 6! I had completely forgotten about these, but so glad they ended up at my house. She used to be the BEST handwasher...now not so much.

Those cheeks, that belly...I could just eat her up!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

My "Garden"

Top Row: Cantelope, Onion Chives
2nd Row: Okra
On Ground: Strawberries, Corn and Watermelon

Oh, and Maggie May to the right...always my "helper"

My Tomato Topsy Turvey

My Pepper Topsy Turvey

All summer, I have been waiting for Billie to build me a raised garden plot. We are putting it in our neighbors (Dave and Robyn's) backyard and sharing it with them. We decided to put it over there because the last time I tried a "salsa garden" the dogs jumped my little fence and ate my tomatos, peppers and onions. So...Alex and I have been babying these plants so far this summer and they are about to explode out of the pots. (These pictures were taken a couple of weeks ago.) Last summer, you may remember we put the gate in between our house's so that we can easily go back and forth.

Billie and Dave are finally going to make our garden this weekend. Let's hope I have enough of a green thumb like my mom to have a successful transplant of our goods!

Wish me luck!

Wordless Wednesday

Did I have to order this online to find SPF 85? Yes!

There is no way this momma is getting fried at the beach again this year.

Billie asked me if it came in a blue bottle because it is a bulletproof vest...I say whatever works!