It's not that I haven't wanted to provide an update to everyone, its that up until recently there hasn't been much to update. Honestly, until about 3-4 weeks ago, things were just very mediocre. There were more days that were bad, a few where we saw a glimmer of the bright side, but ultimately Brad experienced the same thing over and over.. and over: exhaustion and severe stomach aches with absolutely no appetite. He was steadily losing weight, getting as low as 168 pounds. Sadly, we lived in this cycle for 2-ish months and before that we were still in the 'risky' time period post - transplant so he didn't feel great then either. I am no doctor, but I swore there HAD to be something they could do for him. He told them what was going on, but until about 3 weeks ago were they able to make any changes. We found out that he had a gnarly case of GVHD (3 out of 4) in his GI tract that was causing the majority of his issues. I hate that it took us so long to be able to conquer the case, but I am thankful that they were ~finally~ able to help us turn a corner.
That corner we turned was as a result of steroids, a really, really, high dose of steroids - 80 mg to be exact. The change for Brad was almost instant. Within 2 days he was eating and completely energized. I like to explain it this way: pre - steroids it was as if I had a really sleepy, sickly infant. He needed lots of attention, slept a lot and we couldn't even figure out what was wrong. Then, steroids came into the picture and he morphed into a rambunctious toddler. He now eats anything and everything all day long. He goes to bed after midnight and wakes up throughout the night and then is wide - eyed by 5:30 am and he doesn't stop talking. But, I couldn't ask for anything better. I wish I could truly articulate how incredible it is to have my Brad back. I wish it wouldn't have taken so long for us to recognize the GVHD, or that he didn't have to take any more medications, but he is back to his normal self and I am thankful.
Since the steroid switch was flipped life has been really close to normal. There isn't an undone chore in our house because he has conquered them all...and then some. He is going to the gym 3 times per week (it's a private session with safety precautions taken). We have weekly date nights. We are 'us' before we knew anything about cancer. Honestly, throughout this last year I have often felt that I was married to several different people. I have had sick Brad, sad Brad, hungry Brad and Brad in all different physical forms, but now I have my Brad. It is wonderful!
He is continuing to wean off those steroids, week by week decreasing total mgs taken. At this point, we are in the waiting game until his doctor clears him to go back to work, but fingers crossed that is soon because I am not sure I can come up with any more home projects for him to accomplish!
What's next: he will get a few more of his 'infant' shots in the coming weeks. He will also have his 6 month bone marrow biopsy in December to ensure there are still no signs of disease. We will be certain to keep you posted. BUT, the most fun news to share of what is to come is the The Bradford wallet is almost to the market. I will be certain to share broadly when it can be purchased, including the story behind the wallet! Super excited!
Sneak peak of The Bradford designed by my Bradford. Proceeds benefit The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. More details to come.
As always, thanks for continuing to follow along and pray for us throughout this whole process.
All our love,
Natalie & Brad
As many of you saw through various social media platforms, I had the opportunity to share our story on The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society national platform. I hope you had the chance to check out, but if you missed it: https://www.lls.org/blog/stronger-together-navigating-cancer-as-newlyweds
It has been incredible to hear from people nationwide who either have a similar story or were moved by reading ours! We hope to continue to be a resource to any one and everyone on a similar journey.