Gratitude. Grace. Mercy. Those are words that come readily to my mind as I reflect on the last three years. Today marks three years since we first heard the words "Leukemia." Three years ago, Kurt headed to UK hospital to begin the induction phase of his treatment. We were give the diagnosis, told to go home and pack our bags, and go to UK. It was a whirlwind. In some ways, we are still processing everything that has happened. I remember wishing, as we spent those first nights in the hospital figuring out the nuances of Kurt's diagnosis and treatment plan, that I could fast forward to 2023. I wished that I could have a peek into the future, a future where Kurt was free of cancer and healthy again. I also wanted to freeze time. I wanted to stay right in that moment, because I was afraid that 2023 might come and Kurt would no longer be here with us.
If I had gotten my wish, I would have missed out on a lot of pain, fear, and suffering. I would have also missed out on the growth. I imagine I will have a lot more to say about that in the future. In some ways it is still very raw, though this past year has brought a lot of healing to our hearts.
In May, Kurt reached the two year anniversary of his transplant. He had a wonderful check up and received the last of his childhood vaccines. He is still 100% donor cells and his bloodwork was excellent. Kurt's hemoglobin finally came back into the normal range this spring and it has really improved how he feels. The GVHD that effected his tendons/muscles seems to be inactive now. He has a lot of residual tightness in his arms, torso, and legs, but it has improved a bit with stretching and exercise. Kurt is medication free and doesn't have to see his oncologist again for six months.
This year, we have been able to enjoy so many activities as a family. In September of 2022, we went to Walt Disney World for a 10 day vacation. It was so much fun! After Kurt's follow-up in May, we have been pretty much mask-free in public. It has felt really strange after wearing them so long! Kurt enjoyed volunteering and attending our church's VBS program this July. He worked with the design crew to create some amazing lighting for our medieval theme.
Kurt continues to work as an IT Engineer and is enjoying being able to travel for his job again and be out with clients. Thankfully, he is home a lot of the time. We really enjoy seeing him throughout the day! It's a nice balance and was truly a life-saver during Covid and his treatment.
In a few weeks, Kurt will celebrate his 43rd birthday. We have learned not to take one day or one moment for granted. We are still in awe at what God has done. We are also so thankful for Kurt's oncologist, Dr. Reshma Ramlal, and her team at the University of Kentucky. We pray each day will bring us closer to a cure and better treatments for all blood cancers.
It doesn't seem real that it has been three years. Here we are. It's beautiful.