To Read Tami's Story from the Beginning

Just CLICK HERE. Her blog begins on March 12, 2009 with a post titled "Tami's Myelodysplasia Diagnosis." Then at the bottom of each post, click on the words "Newer Post" located just below the comments section on each page.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Donor Drive Help for Team Anh

As you can imagine running a donor drive campaign is not a small effort. It takes a LOT of time and energy and one person cannot do it alone. That being said Team Anh is looking for some help. Their focus is on the Vietnamese community as Anh is Vietnamese and is suffering from Myelodysplasia just like Tami. Please email if you can help.

They need help with two things: (1) online help and (2) volunteers for drives.

- ONLINE HELP: Can you help them with blogging, twittering, and emailing about Anh's need to get a stem cell match. Please reference Anh's website: They also need help maintaining her website.

- VOLUNTEERS WITH DONOR DRIVES: They urgently need volunteers who are willing to start a drive (it's very simple) or attend a drive in:
- South (Houston, Austin, Dallas, New Orleans)
- East Coast (New York, Boston, DC/Northern Virginia, Philly, Atlanta)

Check out their Facebook Group at:

Friday, May 29, 2009

How Tami is Feeling

We have some more information regarding Tami's numbers.  At her last blood draw Tami's platelet count had risen to 75!!  As you remember, that's up from 69 at her previous blood draw. Her white count has risen to 3.9 up from 2.7 at her previous blood draw! Unfortunately, her red count had dropped slightly. We will post those numbers as soon as we have them.

As of 5/26/09 - Tami's count followed by the normal ranges:
White Blood Cells 3.8 (4.0 - 11.0)
Platelets (150-350)

Back on 5/1/09 - Tami's count followed by the normal ranges:
White Blood Cells 1.7 (4.0 - 11.0)
Platelets 16 (150-350)

We are still unsure what is causing Tami's numbers to rise.  It will be interesting to see how the doctors explain the increase.  Whatever the reason, we are just so happy that Tami is lucky and her numbers are rising and not dropping!!

Posted by Wendy. Learn more about her in this blog post

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

How Tami is Feeling

On Monday, Stacie told us about Tami's platelet count rising to 56! It's even higher now at 69 platelets!! No one can believe the increase. We are still very unsure about why the counts are rising on their own. Remember she is still well below the normal range of 150-350 platelets.

Tami has experienced some indigestion but has been able to eat her meals on a normal schedule which is good. We want Tami to be able to keep up her strength!

If all checks out ok with Tami and the donor her chemotherapy is scheduled to begin on June 22nd and will most likely run for 8-10 days. This can be a very hard time for Tami. All people are different, but chemotherapy can be very, very hard on the body. We will definitely update Tami's progress through her chemotherapy.

Posted by Wendy. Learn more about her in this blog post

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Difference 25 Days Can Make

Today I spoke with my mom and learned that some of Tami's blood counts are continuing to rise.

To put things in perspective when Tami was released from the hospital on May 1st to become a daily outpatient her platelet count was at 16. Normal counts are between 150-350. Yesterday at her blood draw her platelet count was at 56, which is still far below the normal minimum but so much higher then it was just over 3 weeks ago.

Her white blood count on May 1st was at 1.7 with normal counts ranging between 4.0 and 11.0. So imagine my surprise when I found out that yesterday her white blood count was at 2.7! Again still below the normal range but the improvement is something we are all thankful for.

Her red count has not risen significantly but her doctors don't understand why her white and platelet counts are rising this way. I posted the other day that no change was seen in her last marrow biopsy taken two weeks ago. On the conservative side this makes us incredibly hopeful that Tami will pass her pre-transplant health screening evaluation to make sure she is strong enough to undergo the transplant procedure itself. On the optimistic side I can't help but wonder how much higher her counts are going to rise on their own.

At this point in time her doctors say she does still need a transplant. Though the improvement is good it isn't good enough to delay her need for a transplant or make a transplant unnecessary.

Posted by Stacie (Tami's cousin)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Another Marrow Match for Tami?

Well here's some news. I found out that there is a second potential marrow match for Tami. What I don't know is how good of a match is it. Is it an 8, 9 or 10 marker match? The closer to 10 the better. This is reassuring of course because if for any reason the first match is unable to donate due to health reasons or is unwilling... We won't necessarily be starting over at square one. 

The thing is, is that the closer this second potential donor is to a 10 marker match the better the odds of Tami's transplant being successful. So if we find out that this match is less then 10 we will still push forward to guarantee Tami the best odds she can have and try to find her a second 10 marker match if the first one doesn't move forward.

Also of importance is to note that even with two potential donor having been located it does not mean we can stop searching for Tami. There are patients who have to find multiple matches before one is able and willing to donate. I Know Nancy Sakakura had to find 3 matches and others have had to find 4 or 5 matches before finally receiving the stem cells or marrow they need.

A special thanks to Nancy for her help and reassurances that we are on the right track with all we are doing to help Tami. Sometimes it's easy to feel a bit lost or overwhelmed when one takes on a national marrow donor drive out of the blue (LOL) as we have. Her support has helped us immensely in times of uncertainty.

Posted by Stacie (Tami's cousin)

Friday, May 22, 2009

How Tami is Feeling

Tami's marrow biopsy came back. To the doctor's surprise there was no change between the current biopsy and her last one. Which is puzzling given that her marrow has been producing some healthy new white blood cells and platelets. Once she is in Seattle at the Transplant hospital she will undergo another marrow biopsy as the doctor's would like to figure out why her marrow has been behaving differently the past couple of weeks. 

Her out patient visit yesterday revealed that her counts had dropped jut slightly. Let's hope it was a one day occurrence and that her next test two days from now will show another gain instead of a loss of healthy cells and platelets.

Posted by Wendy. Learn more about her in this blog post

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Another Patient in Dire Need

This is first and foremost a blog for Tami and how she is feeling and updates on her condition. However, there are many patients in need of bone marrow and stem cells. Nick Glasgow is one of those patients and we would like to share his story with you because we would like to be able to help all patients find their matches.

Nick is of Caucasian (3/4) and Japanese (1/4) descent.  His best chance for a match is another individual of the same or similar Asian and Caucasian combination.  As you know, the Registry is in great need of minority donors and mixed ethnicities matches are the most challenging of all.  Nick lives in the SF Bay Area and has a phenomenal team of supporters who are launching a nationwide, online, marrow donor drive on his behalf.

Nick is 28 years old and thought he had strep throat but shockingly was diagnosed with a rapidly progressing case of  Leukemia. Please read the rest of Nick's story.  You can also join his Facebook page for more information and updates.

Please help Nick find a donor by joining the Registry and asking your friends to join.  His doctor told Nick he has 0% chance of finding a match. Imagine how devastating this news must have been. We believe that Nick has a chance, albeit a slim one due to his multi ethnic background but he does have a fighting chance if enough people join the registry!

Posted by Wendy. Learn more about her in this blog post

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

BIG NEWS - One step closer to Fred Hutchinson

I just found out that Tami will be admitted to the transplant hospital the first week of June to begin her pre-transplant health evaluation. If her doctors at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center find she is healthy enough to undergo the transplant her potential donor will then be screened to see if he is healthy enough to donate. If he is deemed eligible and is willing the actual preparation for the transplant will begin.

Overall the odds of the donation moving forward based on these two factors is 50/50.

If everything goes according to plan this is how things are shaping up in the coming weeks:

1. Tami moves to Seattle

2. Tami undergoes and passes her health evaluation.

3. The potential donor undergoes and passes his health evaluation.

4. The transplant will be scheduled.

5. Tami will undergo several rounds of chemo to destroy her damaged bone marrow. The amount of chemo needed varies from 4 to 10 rounds.

6. The donor will begin undergoing the injections that will make his marrow over produced stem cells so that they leave his marrow and enter his blood stream where they can be harvested. The donor will receive back the blood taken minus the extra stem cells.

7. The stem cells are flown to Seattle and Tami receives her transplant.

The entire process will still take several more weeks once Tami has been moved to Seattle. I will try to find out the typical timeline but I wouldn't expect a transplant to take place until late June or possibly even July depending on the hospital's transplant schedule and the donor's availability.

Posted by Stacie (Tami's cousin)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Update on How Tami is Feeling

Nothing new to report today.

Tami didn't have to go in for a blood draw but she will tomorrow.

We continue to wait for the pre-transplant evaluations to begin for both Tami and her potential donor to see if he will be healthy enough to donate his marrow to her. At the moment her move to Seattle most likely won't be until the end of the month. This means we have to be patient and continue to hope and pray that this donor is able and willing to give his marrow to her.

Her doctor did tell her that she was no longer neutropenic a few days ago. This means that her neutrophil count (a type of white blood cells) has risen to the point that she is no longer at higher risk to general infections. Well at least she wasn't when her test was done. The thing with blood and platelet counts is that they can vary widely during a 24 hour period. So her neutrophil count may be high enough to protect her at one point and then she can be at risk 12 hours later if her count drops.

They will continue to take precautions but this is great news as it shows her overall white blood count is improving bit by bit.

Posted by Stacie (Tami's cousin)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

PLEASE HELP: Michelle's Need is Critical

I have to say that yesterday as I worked at the Red Mango Donor Drive my thoughts were with Michelle Maykin. I'd read in Michelle's blog on May 13th that her condition has reached a critical point. The news was more then sobering. It was heart rending. At her most recent office visit her Doctor had outlined her three options moving forward: To undergo more chemo and continue to look for a marrow match, to begin a drug therapy that might extend her life by months or to simply stop treatment and go on any vacation or trip she's ever wanted to go on.

Michelle and her Mom

Her doctor has warned her that her Leukemia is so treatment resistant that further treatments could be detrimental to her quality of life and that he guaranteed that despite their efforts her cancer would come back. Michelle's response leaves one to wonder where her courage, tenacity and optimism come from:

"I am only 27 years old. There is no vacation I want to go on before I die (I wouldn’t enjoy it with this dark cloud hovering over me.). I am not in denial. I understand that we are in unchartered territory and I am up against a ginormous wall. However, I am not fighting to live for a few more months. I AM fighting to cure myself of this horrible disease so I can enjoy life until I’m gray and old. I want to be there to support Van as he becomes an established businessman, to applaud Melanie at her graduation from med school, to be in the delivery room and welcome Melissa’s future babies into the world, to join a senior citizen bowling team with my BFF Mabel, etc. I would rather die fighting than throwing in the towel."

If you are of Chinese or Vietnamese descent and have not yet joined the national registry, please consider joining to see if you are Michelle's marrow match. This is wrong. Just so wrong that people like Carolyn Tam and Michelle are faced with death in the prime of their lives when their disease is treatable. A transplant is not a guarantee but for many patients it is their only chance. Their only hope.

If you want to try to help Michelle please don't wait. Every day counts. Please tell your friends about Michelle and ask them to tell their friends. Ask them to join the registry if they are of any Asian ethnicity but especially if they are of Chinese and/or Vietnamese descent as this is where she is most likely to find her match.

If you are Chinese, Vietnamese or any Asian ethnicity please CLICK HERE to order a free* marrow test kit. Read the information and click on the green "Request a Home Test Kit" button.

If you want to locate a live drive use the national zip code locator on the Be The Match website by CLICKING HERE.

*There is a Federal grant that covers the testing cost to people of any minority or mixed ethnicity descent to help diversify the National Donor Registry. Joining is simple and pain free. A short registration form and four cotton swabs is all it takes.

Posted by Stacie (Tami's cousin)

Live Marrow Donor Drive at Red Mango Valley Fair

Yesterday we had a live donor drive at Valley Fair Mall. Thanks so much to Red Mango Frozen Yogurt for allowing us to use their space for the afternoon and for offering free, small, single topping frozen yogurts to all who joined the National Marrow Registry.

Renting space in the mall was well beyond our budget so the invitation to use their space was very much appreciated.

Thanks so much to all of you who either came down because you heard about the drive or decided on the spot to try to help Michelle, Tami and Matthew.

Thank you also to all of you who took the flyers and packets of cards to help us spread the word. Your efforts make the drive successful beyond the day of. Just think if the person you tell becomes the match for someone in need? You did that! You helped to save a life!

Glenna from the Asian American Donor Program ( was there to help us out for the drive. The AADP is a recruitment group of the National Marrow Donor Program.

Thanks to all of the volunteers who came to help out yesterday. We couldn't have done it without you!

Thanks to Team Matthew for their unwavering support.

Thanks also to my friend Vicki who not only came down to volunteer but also encouraged some of her friends to come down to join the Registry.

Thanks to Andrew Hsu of Studio MSV who brought his family down and filmed this video short for us. It helps to show what a live drive is like and answers some of the questions you might have about the donor program and those in need.

Posted by Stacie (Tami's cousin)

Saturday, May 16, 2009

How Tami is Feeling

Tami didn't have to go in for a blood draw today but she will go in tomorrow. Her doctors are now taking an every other day approach since her blood and platelet levels have been more stable.

All in all she is feeling better. Most days she is now up and out of bed to go watch tv in the family room. Just moving around must feel so great after being in the hospital bed for so long.

Today she ate a hamburger. We're really glad to see her eating more protein as it's something her body needs but meat and eggs had made her nauseated the past few weeks so this is also an improvement for her.

She's starting to organize things to get ready to go to Seattle for her pre-transplant evaluation. The days of her feeling too tired to get up and do anything are becoming fewer and further between.  

We could not be happier for her!

Friday, May 15, 2009

How Tami is Feeling

Great news, yesterday Tami did not have to go get her blood drawn as an outpatient because her counts have been so steady. However, today her red blood count had dropped so she did have to have a blood infusion. 

The good news is that her platelet count is continuing to rise so she did not need a platelet transfusion. To be clear, her platelet level is still well below the lower normal range for platelets but her platelets are now higher then they've been since her diagnosis so the doctors are very curious as to why all of a sudden her marrow is once again producing some healthier platelets. The results of the bone marrow biopsy probably won't be back until next week but they may shed some light on the "why."

All in all Tami feels ok. When her red count falls it seems like she typically feels less energetic which makes sense because it means her body and vital organs aren't receiving as much oxygen as they need. Once she receives her transfusion she usually feels better right away. Her transfusions are still being washed and irradiated to reduce the likelihood of an allergic reaction to them.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

How Tami is Feeling

Very good news today!!! Tami has made it one full week without needing a blood transfusion or a platelet transfusion. This doesn't mean that finding a donor isn't important. Tami's counts are still low but it's nice she hasn't had to have any transfusions since there is always a chance for an allergic reaction or other problem.

We are relieved it's been a whole week!  

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

New Facebook Application to Join the Marrow Registry

Team Anh had a great idea for helping people join the marrow registry! A Facebook application to order a marrow donor kit!! What an easy and fast way to learn how to join the marrow donor program. Anyone whose anyone has a Facebook page these days and it is so easy to add applications. This is a direct link to the application.  All it takes is a simple form that will take less than five minutes to fill out and you will receive your kit.

If you do not have a Facebook it is never too late to join.  It's a great way to catch up with old friends and relatives and an easy and fun way to keep up with everyone you know.  And, Facebook has hundreds of applications that can be informative or games or challenges or even helpful for remembering birthdays. So if you haven't already, join and have fun!

If you are already a member of the registry please send invites to the application to spread the word.  This is such an important cause and Team Anh has really found a great and easy way to help people register.

Monday, May 11, 2009

How Tami is Feeling

Today Tami had an office visit with her doctor.

While Tami's red blood cell count is down just a bit both her white blood cell and platelet counts have risen. However, all her counts are still below normal minimum levels.

Tomorrow Tami will undergo a bone marrow biopsy to see how her condition is progressing. It will take several days to receive the results back so we won't have any information for you right away.

Also it will be at least 2 more weeks before Tami is moved to Seattle to begin her pre-transplant evaluation. This is significant because our understanding is that the donor will not begin his pre-transplant health screening to ensure he is eligible to donate unless and until Tami has passed her tests first. At that time the potential donor will be screened and if he is deemed eligible to donate and is willing to donate then the actual transplant preparations and scheduling of the transplant begin.

So here's hoping Tami's marrow biopsy goes smoothly tomorrow and prayers that the results are good news. And, more prayers that the donor is eligible and willing to donate!!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

How Tami is Feeling

A little bit of good news, Tami has not had to receive a blood or platelet transfusion since last Tuesday night to Wednesday morning. That is the night Tami was back in the ER. In fact, her blood draw yesterday showed her platelet count and red cell count had increased a tiny bit all on their own. That's a great sign that she is not just holding her own but has a bit of improvement.

Today Auntie Mary is making Tami Whoopie Pies. It's one of Tami's favorites that she had commented about not having had for awhile while she was still in the hospital. Whoopie Pies are a large, soft, chocolate cookie sandwich with a whip cream filling.

Here's the recipe Auntie Mary is using in case any of you would like to try them:

I don't know about you guys but I'm so hungry now!! They look awesome. I've never tried one but I know I would love them. I love all sweets.

Posted by Wendy. Learn more about her in this blog post

Friday, May 8, 2009

How Tami is Feeling

Tami is feeling better and better. Her apetite has come back and she's eating more kinds of food since she's been home from the hospital. She still has her protein shakes but along with that she's had more variety like nigiri (rice balls) with minced marinated beef short rib meat, a fresh orange every day and broccoli and green bean tempura.

The only odd thing is that she can eat fresh fruit again but only if someone else peels it for her. So each day someone peels her an orange. I don't know why this is but am thinking it might have something to do with bacteria or toxins like pesticides on the outside of the peel? If anyone knows please feel free to leave a comment and fill us in on the why.

Posted by Wendy. Learn more about her in this blog post

How Tami is Feeling

Yesterday Tami was feeling a little anxious.  The anxiety is probably caused by one of the various medications that Tami is taking.  Some medications can cause anxiety as a side effect.  Usually the doctors are able to give Tami something to calm those feelings.

Other than the anxiety, Tami had a good day:)  Let's hope there are more days like this to come.

Posted by Wendy. Learn more about her in this blog post

Thursday, May 7, 2009

California Donor Drives

Hi All!  You know by now that the more people that register to be marrow and stem cell donors the better.  Donor drives are a great way to get out and meet new people and have fun talking and socializing.

Here are some great upcoming drives you can attend to get registered! The Asian Heritage Street Celebration will be a great way to attend a festival, have fun, and join the National Marrow Donor Registry!  The drives are conveniently scheduled on Saturdays or in the evening so more people are available. 

May 16, 2009 (Sat)
Asian Heritage Street Celeb, SF
Larkin St and McAllister St, San Francisco, CA 94102
11am – 4pm

May 16, 2009 (Sat)
South Hayward Stroll
680 W. Tennyson Park Rd., Hayward, CA 94544
1:00pm – 4:00pm

May 16, 2009 (Sat)
Red Mango, Valley Fair Mall
2855 Stevens Creek Blvd., San Jose, CA 95050
12noon – 4pm

May 22, 2009 (Friday)
Gujarati Day Celeb, Sunnyvale
7:30pm – 9:30pm

Dont forget to check out They're always updating their calendar with new drives.  It is a great feeling to know that one day you may be able to save someone's life. 

Posted by Wendy. Learn more about her in this blog post

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

How Tami is Feeling

Tami has returned home today after being brought to the hospital yesterday.  Since Tami's blood transfusions and platelet transfusions need to be "washed" to reduce the possibility of an allergic reaction, Tami did not finish receiving the transfusions until 4:00 in the morning. 

The doctors stressed that Tami will need to monitor her liquid intake so that she doesn't become dehydrated again. Tami is planning on using small bottles of water when she drinks so that her exact number of ounces she consumes can be counted. 

The one thing at home that bothers Tami that she didn't have to deal with at the hospital is the smell of food being cooked in the house. It makes her feel nauseated.  

Red Mango Donor Drive

The Red Mango Donor Drive has been confirmed!! We are so excited about this donor drive. Yul Kwon will be in attendance for all you Survivor fans out there. Thanks to the generosity of Red Mango VF new registrants will receive a free, small, single topping, frozen yogurt.

The drive will take place on:

Saturday, May 16, 2009
12 p.m. until 4 p.m. at:
Valley Fair Shopping Center

2855 Stevens Creek Blvd. (Space 1293 on the first floor)
Santa Clara, CA 95050
(408) 246-2720

Because of federal funding all Ethnic Minorities and people of mixed ethnicities are tested for free. The standard Non-minority testing fee is $52 but thanks to a federal grant this fee has been reduced to a $25 (tax deductible) tissue typing fee for Caucasian donors. To learn why only Caucasians are charged please click here.

You can visit Red Mango's website for more information about their yogurt.

Yul became involved with AADP when his best friend in college, Evan Chen, was diagnosed with Luekemia. The donor program became important to him because Yul saw firsthand what happens when it takes too long to find a matching donor. Sadly Evan found a match but not in time. By the time his match was found, Evan was too sick to survive the transplant procedure.

If you're in Palo Alto this summer be sure to stop in Yul Kwon's Red Mango shop at:

429 University Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94301
(650) 324-1811

(Please note that the donor drive will only be held at the Valley Fair Mall location.)

Posted by Wendy. Learn more about her in this blog post.

Marrow Donor Drives May 17-18, Cleveland, OH

If you live near Cleveland or in Beechwood, Ohio, are of Eastern European descent and are not in the National Marrow Registry please consider attending this drive to help Eve. To say life is unfair is an understatement when we're talking about sick children.

"Gift of Life" will be hosting a donor recruitment drive at:
Beachwood Mandel JCC
26001 S. Woodland Rd
Beachwood, Ohio

Sunday, May 17 from 9am – 3pm
Monday, May 18 from 6:30pm – 8:30pm.

This little girl needs your help. And she isn't the only child in need. If you register you could save Eve or any number of children with Leukemia waiting for a marrow match.

If you don't live in Cleveland but know someone who does please email them the link to this blog post and ask them to tell everyone they know. Please help us spread the word about these drives.

Or you can help by joining the registry by mail. You can order an online, mail-in test kit. It consists of a short registration form and 4 cotton swabs. That's it. While there is a federal grant that covers the full $52 tissue typing fee for ethnic minorities, for those of Caucasian descent the fee is reduced to $25. Simply go to the donor page on the Be The Match website and use this Promo Code: AADPTami2009 when prompted to receive the $27 discount. To learn more about why there is a charge for Caucasians and not all other ethnicities please visit the Ethnicity Page on Tami's website.

For more details about Eve and her marrow drives in Ohio please CLICK HERE

Posted by Stacie (Tami's cousin)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Tami's Potential Donor: Still Some Big Hurdles to Clear

There are two posts today. Please be sure to read the one below this one. Tami was readmitted back to the hospital this afternoon.

So here's what I was able to learn today about Tami's potential donor's status and the transplant process. I was able to contact the cancer hospital's donor search department to learn what will happen next. As it stands a 10 of 10 match has been located. Still needed before Tami can receive her transplant are the following items:

1. Tami will receive a pre-transplant physical evaluation to make sure her body is strong enough to undergo the transplant procedure.

2. The Transplant will be scheduled. This means clearing availability of Tami's transplant hospital and team, the availability of the donor to go through their screening and pre-donation treatment process and the donor's hospital having the time in their schedule to harvest the stem cells to send to Seattle by plane.

3. The potential donor begins their physical eligibility screening process.

This is a biggie. Lots of prayers needed here that her potential donor will pass and be deemed both eligible and will be willing to donate to her.

A donor can change their mind at any time during the entire process so prayers are needed that Tami's donor will not waver in their desire to help a stranger in need.

Statistically 50% of matches do not proceed to donation due to a potential donor declining by choice to not go through with the donation or a donor who is willing t0 donate is told they are not physically eligible to do so.

4. A second blood draw will be done to confirm that the donor is indeed compatible. This will be a repeat process of the confirmatory testing that has already been done once to ensure their tissue type compatibility.

5. If all of these actions are cleared then the patient will begin their pre-donation treatment to receive the medicine to help his marrow over produce stem cells, which takes 5 days, and then a multi-day harvesting process where blood is taken each day, the stem cells are harvested and the donor receives the rest of their own blood back.

6. Tami will need to undergo a preparative process that includes rounds of chemotherapy (and possibly radiation) to kill her own bone marrow so that it will not try to reject her donor's marrow once the new stem cells have been administered into her blood stream and begin to engraft and take over for her old marrow in producing new red and white blood cells and platelets.

The preparative process of chemo and radiation may take from 4 to 10 days depending on many factors like the patient's age, the progression of their disease and any other treatments they may have received previously.

In total this process can take approximately 5 weeks to complete.

Thanks for checking in here. Tami really appreciates it. To be honest she's been kind of surprised and overwhelmed that so many people are out there rooting for her. But she really appreciates all of your support, prayers, good wishes and positive vibes, as does our entire family.

Posted by Stacie (Tami's cousin)

How Tami is Feeling - Back in the Hospital :(

Thank you everyone for your messages, thoughts and prayers for Tami and her potential marrow donor.

Unfortunately Tami has had a setback today and was taken back to the ER this morning. She is there now and they are conducting tests. I'll be posting an update here in this post as soon as I have one :(

Edited to Add at 3:36 PM: Just talked to my mom who informed me that Tami was readmitted to the hospital. The issues that brought her to the ER were not major. Her red blood cell count had dropped and she is now waiting to receive a transfusion. This almost always makes her feel better right away as her blood is then able to oxygenate her body more efficiently. 

Also Tami was dehydrated. Which is also easy enough to remedy. So all in all her return to the hospital is not due to a major setback.

Not sure how long she will be there now but we'll keep you updated.

Posted by Stacie (Tami's cousin)

Monday, May 4, 2009

Cautiously Optimistic: A Perfect 10 Marker Marrow Match Has Been Found!

Say a prayer and send positive vibes. We'll take whatever you're willing to give!

On the one hand we want to throw caution to the wind and simply celebrate that Tami has now overcome one of the hardest obstacles she faces: Finding that elusive 10 marker match. At this point all we know is that an anonymous donor was indeed a perfect tissue type match for Tami.

What we don't know is has this person already been health screened to determine if they are physically eligible to donate? There are many reasons why they may not be allowed to donate no matter how willing they are. Once we have confirmed this has been done it's pretty safe to say that Tami has a donor.

There is also a 50% chance that a donor will say no and decline donating but from what I've learned this usually happens when they are first notified they are a match, or after they've been briefed on the donor process in greater detail. Please say a prayer tonight that Tami's potential donor has already been briefed and still wants to go ahead with the donation.

If this is the case she could receive her transplant by then end of the month. 

Sadly some patients will have 2 or 3 or 4 potential donors either decline to give or turn out to be ineligible to donate. I can't even imagine the heartache this causes. To raise your hopes only to have things not work out. 

Thank you all for your support so far, and know that if Tami's potential donor backs out for any reason we'll still be here prepared to keep searching until we find one for her. There was a second possible match for her but at this time this person has not yet been confirmed as being a close enough tissue type to actually be a donor for her.

Tami is feeling very hopeful and appreciative of all of the support everyone has given to her. In my opinion she has every reason to feel hopeful as she has already defied the odds by finding a match so quickly. This isn't how things typically go for minority patients. Usually they wait the longest of all patients to find a useable match, let alone a perfect one.

I'll keep you posted the moment I hear back, hopefully tomorrow, whether or not not only the match but the donor's health and willingness to donate have also been confirmed.

Posted by Stacie (Tami's cousin)
Learn more about her on Tami's Website.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Being a Potential Marrow Donor

Hi Everyone,

This is Wendy, one of Tami's 2 official bloggers.

As you may have read in a previous blog post, I've been a member of the marrow registry for many years now. I'm an avid viewer of the soap opera Days of Our Lives and they had a story line about a girl that was in need of a marrow donation. She was suffering from Leukemia. At the end of each episode an announcement was made about the need for marrow donors. I also knew someone personally that had donated marrow for a stranger so I decided to become a member of the registry myself. I know it's an odd way of becoming a member but that's how it went. :)

I've been called three times so far as a possible donor. I have friends that have been on the registry longer than I have and have never been called. I guess I've just been lucky to be such a close match to three patients in need of marrow. I've been so excited every time I was called.

My first experience, I was called but I was not the closest possible match. I admit I was disappointed but I was also happy that there were other donors more closely matched to the patient than I was.

The second time, I came very close to donating stem cells. I was the best match for the patient and things started moving very rapidly. The patient was in dire need of a transplant. It is such an amazing and odd feeling to know that you match another person perfectly as if you were siblings yet you are total strangers. I went through all the testing and was set to receive the injections that would help my body produce extra stem cells . I got a call before receiving my first injection that the patient had come out of remission and could not receive the donation. I was told I would be called in the future if the patient needed me but I haven't heard anything and it has been four years now. I think about the patient a lot and wonder what happened.

I recently matched a third patient. I was really hoping the third time was the charm. I received a letter in the mail that said I wasn't the best match for the patient. However, I'm still a possible donor for the patient. If the perfect match is unable or unwilling to donate, I will be called. I sincerely hope that the patient receives their donation from the best match but I'm here and willing to donate if they need me.

I've been lucky to be called upon three times. One of these days I will actually be able to donate. I know it!!

Posted by Wendy. Learn more about her in this blog post.

3 Massachusetts Bone Marrow Donor Drives are Today!

GIft of Life is a Jewish Marrow Donor Program that has taken a personal interest in helping Tami to find her marrow match thanks to a volunteer who works there named Louise.

The Gift of Life Multi-Ethnic Donor Drives are Today!

Please tell everyone you know in MA. and ask them to tell everyone they know. You can make a difference. Call, email, text, Twitter... We can't do it without your help.

Lexington • Westborough • Brookline Massachusetts

For your convenience 3 donor drive locations are all hosted TODAY May 3, 2009.

Temple Isaiah
55 Lincoln Street
Lexington, MA 02421
9:00am - 3:00pm | 617-947-9900

Congregation B'nai Shalom
117 East Main Street
Westborough, MA 01581
8:30am - 1:30pm | 506-366-0662

Young Israel of Brookline
YIB Health Care Conference
62 Green street
Brookline, MA 02446
9:00am - 12:00pm | 617-283-8644

Posted by Stacie (Tami's cousin)
Learn more about her on Tami's Website.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

How Tami is Feeling

Tami had a really good day today. She is doing well at home. We are so relieved. It must be great to sleep in your own bed and see your family and children and pets.

Tami was required to return to the hospital today to have her blood checked and luckily everything was ok so she was able to return home.  She will return to the hospital tomorrow for a recheck.  

Posted by Wendy.
Learn more about her in this blog post.

Gotta Love Twitter

This morning I was "followed" by Sonya Lee Weddings and Events on Twitter.

Immediately I noticed that she is based out of Massachusetts. Serendipitous because the 3 multi-ethnic "Gift of Life" Bone Marrow Donor Drives are tomorrow and I'd been trying to figure out how to reach out to more people there. 

I asked Sonya if she would help us spread the word and she said yes in a BIG way. Not only is she going to get registered she's "tweeted" it to all of her followers on Twitter. 

Thanks so much Sonya! 

We really appreciate all of the help we can get :)

Sonya Lee Weddings and Events

Posted by Stacie (Tami's cousin)
Learn more about her on Tami's Website.

Friday, May 1, 2009

How Tami is Feeling

Big news today!! The doctors have decided to let Tami return home for a little while. However, she will be required to return to the hospital everyday for monitoring, check ups, and blood work. The doctors will also determine on a daily basis if a blood transfusion or a platelet transfusion is needed. These transfusion, of course, would be given to Tami in the hospital.

We are concerned that being home from the hospital can be dangerous incase Tami were to catch a cold or get an infection but the doctors are ok with her going home. Returning home will be good for her mood. Her children will also be so relieved to have their mom home!! And, Tami will be able to spend more time with them.

She does tire easily so she has to be careful to not over do it once she's home.

Northern California Marrow Donor Drives this Weekend

If you've been wanting to join the National Marrow Donor Program Registry but hadn't had time to order a mail-in kit or attend a live drive maybe one of this weekends drives will be in your area:

Saturday, May 2, 2009
Sing Tao, Redwood City

Lion Supermarket, Milpitas

Stanford Concert, Stanford
6:30 pm-10:30 pm

Cinco de Mayo, SF

La Gran Tardeada, Davis


Sunday, May 3, 2009
Sing Tao, Redwood City

Lambda Phi Epsilon Picnic, Sunnyvale
1-3 pm


For more details about any of these donor drives please visit the Upcoming Drives page on the website.

Thanks Everyone and have a great weekend!