I have begun this post in so many different ways, and I can't seem to say it the way I want to. If only you could feel what my heart feels right now!
Terry's need for a stem cell transplant sent us on a search through his siblings for someone who could be his donor. It had to be a perfect match to work.
Everyone of his siblings willingly agreed to be tested and we sensed that each wished to be that perfect match. Our children even volunteered to be tested, including the younger ones - volunteering with a feeling of love for their father that overpowered their feeling of fear and anxiety. Many friends even offered to be tested. We are surrounded by such good people.
The testing began! The first results we received were from Gregory. He had opportunity to be tested a couple years ago in California. They checked his records and found that he was not a match, but he was definitely "half" of each his father and mother. This was really fun to hear and see - it touched our hearts and brought great pleasure in a time of uncertainty.
Because of the cost of each test we began with just two at a time. We started with Terry's siblings living closest to us, keeping Sherri's paper work that was to be sent to her, but knowing that she would have already been tested had we not asked her to wait.
Troy and Shawna were the first two to be tested. We learned that neither of them were a match for Terry, but they were a match for each other. We hope that they never need to use this new-found info in the future, but it was exciting to learn.
Dennis and Ellen were the next to be tested. The phone call came two weeks later at 9:19am Thursday morning, September 4th, 2008. Dr. Julie Smith was the bearer of the good news. "We have a match, the search is over, and the others do not need to be tested." Her voice was filled with joy and that joy spilled over into my heart. (And my heart spilled over too! :)
Each sibling was so willing and even anxious to give and help and support their brother. Who the perfect match is does not matter as much as just the fact that we have a perfect match. We are so grateful to have such a wonderful family who lovingly cares and willingly shares, and we thank each of them equally.
The perfect match does belong to Dennis, which means he will also bear the greater burden in the future. We don't know when this will take place, and we know very little about what this even really means, but we will keep you posted when we learn more.
We are traveling through this new experience on a course that is laid out before us only moments before we take each step. We are learning and growing and we have faith that the final destination will be worth every rock, every stump, and every raging river we come upon. Sometimes we can even see bridges being built before us to help us on our way. With the Lord on our side, we cannot fail. And, He has sent us some pretty awesome help.