Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Celebrating Peter's birthdays

Yesterday, Sunday, was Day -2. It was also my Brother Peter’s 52d birthday! So today, on Day -1, I want to celebrate him and his incredible gift to me of the stem cells that I’ll receive tomorrow, Day 0.
Last Monday, the 14th, Peter received a great early birthday gift of Joy in the form of a new guide dog named Joy! Joy is from Fidelco, a Connecticut-based school that specializes in training dog/human teams in the home environment. Joy is a German shepherd, probably 70+ pounds, and Peter reports that they are very happy together and still in the training phase.  Nevah, Peter’s wife, sent us a photo of Peter with Joy and daughter Hannah, and Anna put it up on the altar of precious and meaningful things; certainly Peter and Joy seem very happy here!

When Peter and I were little, our parents would wake us up extra-early on our birthdays by coming into the birthday boy’s room and singing Happy Birthday. Then would come a treasure hunt through the house, clue leading to clue, suspense building until the gifts were found.  There was a different treasure hunt for each of us: the boy whose birthday it wasn’t got a shorter hunt and a smaller present, but in any case the search was on. Then we would eat breakfast and disperse to school and work. In the evening (and sometimes again on a weekend if there was a birthday party), my mom would make a birthday cake from scratch in (almost) whatever shape the birthday boy had requested—one of her triumphs involved a giraffe, complete with long neck and great patchy spots on the skim. Another (not for one of our birthday’s but for Lincoln’s birthday, now folded into the bland President’s Day) was a log cabin. I don’t remember the specifics of any particular birthday, but I do remember that one year (maybe 1959 or ’60?) Peter somehow managed to get himself five separate celebrations for the same birthday, which is some kind of record—if not globally, then at least in the Slatin family.

Peter and I haven’t been physically together for either his birthday or mine for many years, and this year is no different in that respect: he’s in New York and I’m in Houston But of course this year is different: this year, Peter’s given me a wonderful gift for his birthday, the gift of millions of stem cells that, once infused into my bloodstream through my CVC line, will become engrafted, take hold in my bone marrow to produce the cells that carry oxygen, the cells that fight disease, the cells that make the blood clot when the  body is cut, the cells that sustain life. That will mean we can celebrate August 22 as our new joint birthday. More parties! Thanks, Peter; I love you.

Quick update
It’s Day 0—Tuesday. The nurse, Melissa, just came in and told us that the time for the transplant/transfusion has been set for 10:00 AM Central time. She said they’ll do the pre-medications, Bendadryl and Solumedrol, starting at 9:30 (about 10 minutes from now). We’re ready. I love you all. Thanks so much for all your love and your support and your prayers. More to come!


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