Friday, September 17, 2010

life since 7 Mott.

Ironically, this is the title of the blog I've been meaning to write for a couple weeks now.  Yesterday, one of my friends asked me if our journey ended when we left the hospital.  I had to laugh.  Our journey has not ended, it has just changed.  From what I hear, many of you have been asking what's new.  Well, today I have ample time to fill you in.

Since we left the hospital at the end of July, things changed quite a bit, but they are still far from "normal".  As you know, Josh, Boss, and I moved into my in-laws home in Portage, MI (near Kalamazoo).  We are still living there and will be until we get the "ok" to go home.  This usually happens sometime around 100 days.  I remember thinking that 100 days would take FOREVER.  Now it is just a couple days away.  100 days will mark the biggest landmark after a bone marrow transplant.  How far we have come.

Our first weekend home, Josh celebrated his 30th birthday.  Although he could not go out to celebrate like he normally would, he had a wonderful time... thanks to a surprise party by his loving family.

Card created by Josh's brother Aaron, with signatures from all of you!

The fam sporting their "Team Josh" shirts featuring John Deere!

Josh with his Bald Support Group!
Keith, Dominic, Chris, Josh, Aaron, and Roy

Just prior to Josh's birthday, we had our 2nd fundraiser, a spaghetti dinner and silent auction organized by Joshua's grandma.  Although Josh was unable to attend, his mom and I took a video of the entire event including shout outs from several of his friends and family.  I was flabbergasted to see the turn out and was so excited to tell Josh.  It really hit home for him when he received a special birthday card from Grandma announcing the results.  Josh's eyes filled with tears to hear the news and tears continued to flow while he thanked his family for organizing the event.  It was a very special moment for all.

With love from all of our family and friends... WE THANK YOU.

Card that accompanied a donation from Josh's father's entire workplace.

We are hoping to get home soon.  However, we have to finish some work to do before we can move back.  Josh can not move in until we finish all of our prior construction projects.  The biggest of these is our bathroom.  Thanks to the help of our family and wonderful friends, we have made a lot of headway.  I  can tell you right now, I will NEVER buy a house with plaster walls again!

What I now do in my spare time...

Working women: Mom and Johannah

One wall finished!

Progress... and PLASTER FILLED air!!!  Yuck.
This is after ripping down two drop ceilings.  Notice the layers of
beautiful wall paper??  Talk about a walk back in time!

Once our bathroom and rear entry way is finished, we will have our carpets and upholstery cleaned, as well as our duct system.  That way it will be fresh, clean, and healthy when Josh comes home.  I miss our wonderful neighbors (who have taken great care of our home).  I miss our bed!  And I miss a commute to work that takes less than an hour!!!  Hopefully soon!

Josh has been getting more and more active.  He throws the frisbee for Boss, goes on short walks, and even took a short bike ride a couple weeks ago.  He typically visits U of M one to two times a week for check ups and procedures.  Now that I am back to work, we rely on his super Mom and Grandma to get him there.  Josh is still not allowed to drive and probably won't be for awhile.  I can't wait for that day to get here!

Josh will not be allowed to work for at least a year.  This will be a challenge for both of us.  Especially Josh, who LOVES to stay busy.  I think his biggest frustration is feeling helpless.  He can't work on the house or work at a job.  He is considering taking a few internet courses to fill his time.

We have gotten him out of the house as much as possible.  We have had quite a few family events lately between weddings and birthdays.  Plus, my two youngest sisters are down in Kalamazoo now.  Both attend college at Western Michigan University.  It has been great to have more family close by.

Jana & Jeff's Wedding


Party favors: a donation to the Nation Bone Marrow Program

Josh was so glad he could be part their special day!

We had Mom's Birthday party in Kalamazoo!

Mom & the boys.  Hanging out at Darcy's apartment before going out!

The Duitsman Girls

Mom & Dad

So our journey has continued.  In fact, it has gone as well as can be expected.  We feel more than blessed for each good day.  Again, I apologize for the delay.  My life has just been a whirlwind of busy with everything going on lately!

Now, to fill you in on why I had time to catch you up today.  I was out to dinner with my sister last night, when I received a phone call from the doctor at U of M.  They have found a bacterial infection in Joshua's blood.  They advised us to come straight to the ER to be admitted in the hospital.  We had to wait until Josh's home IV finished to leave.  We headed over hear around 10:00 last night.  We were so exhausted when we arrived. 

We started in the ER for more blood testing and to begin Josh on antibiotics.  We both fell asleep each time the doctors or nurses left the room.  At some point, I somehow drifted into a deep sleep in my chair.  I was woken up around 2 or 3am when they moved us up to Mott 7.  We are not in the same room, but we have all of our friendly nurse family back!  We took the last room on the floor and could not be happier. 

Around 4 or 5 in the morning, the orthopedic surgery department came and extracted some fluid from Josh's right knee.  His knee has been bothersome for the last month or so and they want to find out if that is where the infection started.  According to the doc, the fluid looked normal; however, until we get confirmation, Josh has not been able to eat or drink in case they have to do surgery.  If the infection is found there, they will get in there, clean out what they can, and inject medication into his joints.  Judging by the pain of the extraction last night, this does not sound like a walk in the park.

Once again, the amazing doctors here discovered the infection at the best possible time.  Josh had not shown ANY signs or symptoms.  No fevers, chills, pain (other than his knee), or weakness.  No sinus problems, cough, headaches, or trouble eating.  We are hoping that it was caught early enough to take care of it before it gets out of control.  I will keep you posted.

It was sad to leave Boss again last night.  He was all curled up in a sleepy little puppy ball, but he quickly sensed that we were up to something.  I am such a baby... I bawled walking away from him staring out the door with his sad puppy face.  Luckily, we received a picture last night from Josh's mom.  He was all curled up with his Grandma in bed, sleeping soundly.  : )

We had two busy weekends coming up.  We were going to go to a festival with some close friends tomorrow.  And we have our final fundraiser next weekend - the first one that Josh can actually attend.  It sounds like that will still be a possibility, which makes us very happy.  We are looking forward to a BIG party with all of our family and friends!  Josh might even try to golf!  I will most likely be participating in the beer drinking part of the day!

If you haven't heard about the event and are interested, just let my mom or Jeff & Jana know.  Anyone is welcome... we tried to let everyone know, but it is impossible not to miss someone.  There is golf early in the day, then a family BBQ in the afternoon / evening.  They are raffling of a flat screen TV.  Tickets can be won as well as purchased at the golf outing, and can also purchased at the party.  There will also be a silent auction at the party.  It will be a great fall kick-off event and there WILL BE KEGS!  Bring your game face!

Finally, there has been a new addition to the family.  Jana and Jeff bought a brand new puppy!  Mack is exactly one year younger than Boss and SO adorable.  We had both puppies over at my parent's house with Tank and Harley last weekend and it was so cute.  4 dogs!!!  I told my mom that Christmas is going to be crazy this year....  I think that's the only way events ever go at the Duitsman household!

To my wonderful family in the RV Claims Department at Foremost, THANK YOU for your help while I am gone unexpectedly.  I hope to be back soon.

And to everyone, I hope all is well with you and your families!  Hugs & Love, Heidi

In case you missed seeing this cute face... sleepy Boss under the coffee table!


  1. happened upon your post as our very close friend has been diagnosed with the exact same condition your husband suffered with. i read through your wonderfully worded, articulate blog and am eager to hear how your husband is faring since you last posted (sept 10, 2010), hopefully all is now stable and life is going on (which is the reason theres no more posts) but if you could, 1 more post to update the happy news?
    thanks so much!
    jessica (whose friend was diagnosed with CML 6 weeks ago and appears to be going on ther a journey very similar to what your husband went through, shes also in her late 20s)

  2. Hello,
    I have a question about your blog. Please email me!