Quick Update: Monday, August 4, 2003 (Day 125 Post-Transplant)
Quick Update: Tuesday, July 29, 2003 @ 2:00 am (Day 119 Post-Transplant)
2003 (Day 106 Post-Transplant)
Our trip back couldn't have been better. Wednesday, the Mitchems (thank you Mike and Marian!!!) came and helped us finish packing and get the van loaded, and I do mean LOADED!!! By the time everything was in, there wasn't an inch of space left open. We were lucky there was still room for us to sit! Our grand plan was to be on our way up to Cape Charles by noon. Of course reality soon hit and we were on the road at 5:30! By the time we got to the bridge that we were so excited about seeing, it was 10:00 pm! Oh well, maybe we'll be able to catch it when we go back for a check up in October! We stayed at a little B & B called Chesapeake Charm and the owner, Phyllis, couldn't have been nicer. In the morning, she took Nick and fed him his bottle as well as some mashed banana (which he loved) so that we could eat breakfast. Her daughter brought out her guinea pig for Alex to see. She was so excited about this! The rest of the day until about Sunday, everyone heard how she got to pet a guinea pig! Alex was so quiet most times in the car that we kept thinking that she was asleep. We'd look in the back and see her looking quite contently out the window. The thoughts that must have been running through her mind!
got into D.C. and found our hotel, The Fairmont, pretty easily. While we
were at the desk, the staff was so nice. Alex was going on and on about the
guinea pig and then she started talking about getting to go home. We
explained to the girl that we had been gone for four months and why. As we
were collecting the keys from her, she told me that the room she put us in
wasn't the one we booked (bargain basement Expedia) but, she thought that we
would really enjoy it since it was our last night. We got upstairs and she
had put us in a suite. We were floored. It was so beautiful, and big! Of
course, the first thing that Alex makes a V-line for, was the $9 jar of
Jelly Bellies! We told her that there was no way she was to open them! When
the bellman came up with our luggage, she started telling him how she wanted
the jelly beans, but mommy and daddy had said they were too expensive....
Later when we ordered dinner, it came up with a large plate of chocolate
chunk cookies, milk, and of course, a jar of Jelly Bellies. All on the
house. She was in heaven and so were we. To have such thoughtful people
working at a large hotel trying to make you feel special, meant so much to
us. Back in our expense account and pre kid/cancer days, we used to stay at
really nice hotels all the time. The Fairmont and their staff was the best
hands down, even to the Ritz Carlton! One of the things that makes the
experience more unreal is that they were one of the least expensive hotels
listed on Expedia! We can't recommend them enough.
While we were in Durham, we were
told that not only had the house next to us been complete, but the people
moved in! About a week later, Todd received an email from Brandi, our new
neighbor. Before they purchased the house, the builder told her and her
husband Mike that we were in North Carolina because of Alex's leukemia. For
most people this would be sad information and that would be about the end of
it. The difference here was that a year ago, Mike and Brandi lost their 15
month old baby boy, Mitchell to AML. Brandi had come across our website a
while ago when she was doing some research on AML and thought we sounded
familiar. Sure enough, she looked on the homeowners list and there we were,
her next door neighbors. Needless to say, all four of us were pretty freaked
out by this very odd common bond. Even though we had emailed back and forth
and were both excited to meet, we both did the "chick" thing! All weekend I
was afraid to go over and say hi because I wasn't sure if they were really
ready for us. I was afraid of the pain that seeing Alex might bring up and I
thought that I should just give them time and space. Then, yesterday when I
was walking Nancy and Chrissy out, Brandi was also in her front yard. We got
a good laugh that she was doing the same thing and was worried that we might
not be ready to meet them! They came over for dinner and it was wonderful. I
have talked in the past about how strong the bond is with cancer and
transplant families, because they truly understand what you go through each
day. I also wrote about having a harder time leaving Durham because of all
the great friends we had met and how well we understood each other. Last
night wasn't like having dinner with people we had just met, it was like
having dinner with old friends that you have had forever. It really amazes
me the way God works and puts people that you really need in your life. We
are so thankful that He led Mike and Brandi here.
We would like to thank everyone at Corporate Angel for their hard work and for getting us on the flight on the 11th. They new how important it was to us to get on this flight. Not only was it an empty flight, but it was a non-stop. A lot of times when you fly with them, it will take 2 or 3 flights to get home. Each time you take a flight, you have to stay overnight, so it takes a while to get home and it gets very expensive. Liz and her staff work their tails off every day to get families like ours to and from treatment in the most direct manner possible. It really helps when you don't have the added stress of having to fly commercially. Thank You!!!!
We have gotten permission to thank Boeing Corporation for flying us to Durham and back home again! Our crew this time was just as great as the one we had when we went out. We were lucky enough to have John Seek as our pilot again. Don Balish was our copilot, Nick had a blast sitting in his lap and "flying" the plane! Kathy Martinson was our attendant and we had such a wonderful time talking and spending time with her. They had all kinds of goodies for Alex and they spoiled us all rotten! We hope to see them again in October when we fly out for our six month studies. Thank you all for taking such good care of us!
When we got to the hanger on Friday, the rep behind the desk immediately told us that she had to go get someone that wanted to see us. I was a little confused, because I hadn't even told her who we were! Once my brain and common sense returned to me, I figured that they probably don't see too many families with a bald 5 year old and a baby come through their corporate hanger! About a minute later, Jeanie came out of the office. She had been there when we came in and had showered Alex and her friend Grant with attention and candy! John told her the day before that we were flying out, so she went shopping. She had a bag full of gifts for Alex to keep her entertained on the plane. Then she took Alex all over the hanger so she could visit. Alex loved it! Jeanie, she hardly ever puts the "yoyo" down! Thank you so much for your kindness.
We also need to thank the Piedmont
Hawthorne Corporation. We found out from John that whenever they have an
Angel Flight, all of the normal fees are waived for the corporation doing
the flight. This is hundreds of dollars each time. What a great company! We
got to meet the general manager Jamie Wilson and he was great and made us
feel very special. Thank you!
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