hospital on Christmas Eve. I cooked a turkey and made dressing and the trimmings and had all of our family, including Jo, home for Christmas. God is still mindful of even the little pleasures of our lives.
After the pneumonia, her cancer markers remarkably went down to 0 and stayed there for most of 2002. In August she was able to have vertebroplasty surgery at UAMS (a bone glue procedure), to stabilize her broken back at L5.
None of Jo's doctors had mentioned the surgical bone glue procedure. In June of 2002 we went back to M. D. Anderson to see her doctor there. He, again, suggested a bone marrow transplant.
When we came home I was praying, "God I need you. We need to make a decision on which way to go. Do we go back to M. D. Anderson for the transplant or keep going to the University of Arkansas Cancer Center?"
The phone rang and I heard Jo saying, "How did you get my name?"
Mr. Hollis Wilson called from Killeen, Alabama. He talked to and encouraged Jo for about an hour. He said her name was on the Internet. I had never put her name on any web-site,. except WNOP and they only use your first name.
He said, "Don't worry about the transplant. I am a 16 year survivor"
"Where did you have it done?"
"M. D. Anderson, but I don't go there anymore, when Dr. Barlogie and the transplant division moved to University of Arkansas, I moved with them." .
"My back has been broken now for 4 years. It hurts so bad."
"Tell them to glue it back together! I have had mine done that way."
I said, "Thank you God. That was my answer."
We tried to call Mr. Wilson after the bone glue procedure worked so well for Jo. We never could get in touch with him. We wanted to thank him. We called so many times that I began to think he was not real, however, one day when we were at the UAMS I asked if they knew a Hollis Wilson. They said, "Yes, he is a fine old man."
The cancer came back in the later part of 2002. In January of 2003 her doctor advised that it was time for the transplant procedure. The first phase of this was done in March-April of 2003. This entailed placing a triple tube through her chest cavity to thread the peripheral vein into the right side of her heart. This was used to inject several different kinds of chemo directly into the veins. I had to learn how to flush these three lines to keep them from clotting. This was done daily for about 6 weeks. She even went to church with the lines in place and never complained.
When the chemo had brought her white blood cell count down to almost 0 they started to giving her Neuprogen shots to stimulate the growth of new white blood cells. The stem cells are a part of the white blood cells. When her white blood cell count came back up to a certain level they changed the triple tubes for stiffer double tubes. Then she was hooked up to a machine that separated the stem cells out and put the other blood back into her body. Her blood was run through the machine several times during a two-day period. After the stem cell collection we were allowed to come home for a couple weeks rest before starting the second phase of the transplant.
When we went back to UAMS to finish the transplant in April, the UAMS had a new clinical trial that they wanted volunteers for. Feeling that she did not have anything to lose and maybe something to gain, (by not having to go through more chemo and the triple lines again), she signed up for the new drug trial. It did not work. Her back broke at T8, (between her shoulders), and the left 9th rib broke. She had surgery at the UAMS again in August of 2003 to repair the T8 with bone glue. This time, the results of the bone glue was not as good as the first surgery at L5. She still has a great amount of pain in her back and ribs on the left side of her chest.
In September of 2003 Jo passed out in her local doctor's office. She was having to have her blood drawn twice per week for testing. She was taken by ambulance to United Regional Hospital. Her doctor told her, "You feel as good right now as you will ever feel. You may want to consider Hospice for pain management."
"Getting my blood drawn in the doctor's office, I passed out. An ambulance was called. What's happening? My head is swirling. All kinds of tests were made and I was sent home. A few days later I was back in the hospital with double pneumonia again. Tubes were stuck through my chest to pump the fluid off my lungs. So much of this I don't remember. Oh God, I am your child, I trust you to take good care of me."
Again Jo showed her faith in God by refusing the doctor's recommendation. Later that month and early October, she spent 3 more weeks in United Regional with hoses sticking out of her chest draining her lungs. She had