Making the Next Month Count

Andrew&SamanthaSmith2014-16

We are about a month away from Andrew’s transplant and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t overwhelmed and terrified. It is surreal to have a date for what seems to be both this impending doom but also this glimmer of hope in what has been a dark past few months. It’s complicated, to say the least. Andrew is such a rock; this isn’t terrifying to him. He, of course, understands the gravity of what is about to take place, but he has such a peace about the future ahead. I, on the other hand, just finished reading a twenty-page document detailing every single possible risk, including fatality. “Don’t read too much into it!” he tells me. Ok, sure, Andrew. I will not worry one bit.

I’m so glad he’s at peace. He’s excited to get going. It gives me great comfort to see his tenacity and readiness for this next battle. He makes me feel like we can do this together and our extensive history should give me no reason to think otherwise. He’s a warrior…but I am a worrier. In my defense, let’s look back at the past eighteen months: cancer, cardiac arrest, coma, cancer again. I feel like it’s fair for me to always panic when it’s been more than an hour since I’ve heard from him. It’s fair to go grocery shopping and breakdown on the car ride home because I pass a funeral home. It’s fair to feel pain. It’s fair to feel strong, but then weak. It’s fair and completely acceptable to deal with things differently than someone else. I’m just so thankful that God placed Andrew by my side, though he copes differently than I, to walk through this journey with me. He inspires me every day, even though I feel like I should be the one pushing him to keep his head up. Andrew is ready for this transplant and though I’m not quite “excited,” his strength and all of your guys’ prayers and support have carried me through some of our toughest days. Thank you all for your love and kindness. You’ll never know how much every single email, message, tweet, etc. has resonated with us and truly touched our lives.

One way we have coped and wrapped our heads around this relapse has been by being proactive about our purpose. We want to spend our final month before this transplant doing good and helping others. We want this next month to count. Though we don’t know why all of this has happened, we trust that it is part of a greater plan bigger than us. We are hoping and believing that part of that plan is the Bone Marrow Registry. We knew nothing about this whole transplant world, but we were especially ignorant about the Bone Marrow Registry and its lack of donors. It broke our hearts to learn how many people pass away because they never received that glorious phone call with someone on the other end saying, “We found a match for you. You can have a bone marrow transplant.” We also had no idea how simple it is to get on the registry and that the process itself is nearly painless for the donor. You fill out a form. You swab your cheek. You’re on the registry and could save someone’s life, just like someone out there is saving Andrew’s. Andrew and I just urge everyone to PLEASE consider joining this registry; there are many out there waiting for a match, and for some, they’ve been waiting years and think it may never come.

Andrew and I will be hosting a couple of Bone Marrow Registry Drives over our next month before his transplant. Our first one is tomorrow, Saturday September 19th, at Lions Park in Zionsville. We are honorary co-chairmen for the St. Vincent Cancer Walk/Run. You can register on their website or onsite if you’d like to support the St. Vincent Cancer Center by walking or running a 5k or 10 miles. Or you can just stop by our booth and hop on this registry. Andrew and I intended to be much more involved with the walk/run, but with his relapse, we had to take a step back. It’s worked out beautifully, though, because we can now host this Bone Marrow Drive and hopefully help save many lives by getting people on this registry! It will take five minutes out of your day; all you have to do is fill out a form and then swab your cheek. So if you are between the ages of 18-44, please consider coming out and seeing Andrew and I! We will be there from 6:30am-11:30am and would love to personally thank you for joining this fight against blood cancers. (Plus there will be a cupcake and nacho food truck, which I know is exactly what everyone wants on a Saturday morning!) We will also be holding a drive at Butler University later on this month, but more details will come after we get through this first one!

If you can’t make it out to see us this Saturday, the link below will allow you to fill out a form online and then they will mail you a kit to swab your cheek. It’s that easy to save someone’s life. Thank you. We love you and feel so loved by all of you.

https://join.bethematch.org/Andrew

“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13)

7 thoughts on “Making the Next Month Count

  1. Dear Sam,
    We are old friends of Andrew’s parents. We watched Andrew grow up before our eyes for we sat in the pew at church right behind Debbie and Curt and their four beautiful children. We watched #44 play basketball at Butler cheering him on with great victory!! We just want you to know that we are still here watching the Lord conquer this evil cancer and fighting in prayer for Andrew’s healing.
    Your honesty with your feelings is so real. Thanks for sharing. You are an amazing young wife and support to Andrew! You two make a great team! We are rooting for you along with so many who love, respect and admire you! Philippians 1:3-6 Proverbs 3:5-6 and Ephesians 3:20-21 remind me of your trust in Christ for this Victory too!
    Our love and prayers are with you.

  2. My husband had an allogenous bone marrow transplant on January 28, 2015, and is doing very well. His anonymous donor was a 32-year-old German man. I won’t say everything was easy, but far easier than either of us thought it would be. He is back working, going to the gym everyday, and enjoying life. I know if I had known someone with the same experience, it really would have helped me. Hang in there.

  3. It is so easy to sign up to be a donor! I did so after a friend’s mom fought leukemia a few years ago. Do it today and trust God for the strength if and when you get a call!

  4. Sam & Andrew-
    From Nov. 2013-Sept. 2014, I would get chemo on some Mondays at The St. Vincent Cancer Center. I remember you two firecrackers coming in towards the end of my journey and you both have popped into my head occasionally.
    I read your story recently on one of the news websites and just thought I’d send a little encouragement your way. You both are very inspiring and I will pray my a*$ off for a successful transplant & a speedy recovery. I’ll also pass on to all the registry info. Such a gift you’ve been given to shed a light on this!
    Godspeed my friends
    Shannon

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s