It seemed unimaginably cruel as, just a year earlier, she had tragically lost her beloved sister Mary Jeanne in a fire, which also destroyed Rosemary's apartment.
After several grueling months of chemotherapy and physical rehabilitation, Rosemary was given the good news that she was in remission. Obviously, we were all overjoyed and our 12 year-old daughter Abby was estatic.
Rosemary returned to work at Crate & Barrel and was able to enjoy Thanksgiving and Christmas with us. She was in great spirits and looking and feeling great!
Unfortunately, in mid-February, Rosemary started to feel ill again. As it was flu season, we all chalked it up to that. She made several trips to the ER and even the doctors thought it was hopefully just a bug. As she began to feel worse, Rosemary's oncologist regretfully told us that the Lymphoma had aggressively returned and had spread to her liver and brain. The prognosis was grim. My husband Ian was reeling as this was not news that any of us were prepared for.
Being the incredible fighter that she is, Rosemary has defeated the odds. She had months of chemotherapy and phyiscal therapy to prepare her body for a stem cell transplant, which her oncologist told us was her best chance at a meaningful recovery. She was able to come home for a couple of weeks and got to spend time with Abby and her 5 cats, all of who had missed her very much.
In late May, Rosemary was readmitted to the hospital for her stem cell transplant. Understandably, she was extremely nervous. In order to give the new stem cells the best chance of working, the doctors first had to kill any cancer cells which were still lingering (a PET Scan revealed there were still cancerous cells in her brain), but in the process, her immune system would essentially be eradicated... making her highly suseptible to infection.
Rosemary was put on a 9-day course of chemotherapy. From the way she describes, it was nothing short of pure hell. She had devestating side effects and, for a few truly terrifying days, ended up unconcious on a breathing tube. Again, Ian and I prepared for the worst.
Nevertheless, she persisted. :)
Rosemary was able to breathe on her own again and, more importantly, we were told that the stem cell transplant had been a success. Her white blood cell levels are continuing to rise each day and her doctors are very happy with her progress.
The next step will be for Rosemary to enter a rehabilitation center to help her build her strength again. Her immune system will still be at risk for a year so she will have to be extremely careful and rest as much as possible.
Unfortunately, it is unlikely Rosemary will be unable to go back to her job anytime soon. Understandably, with the fire and the almost two years of hospitalization, her savings have been drained. Her bills have piled up and I know it causes her a lot of stress... which is not good for her condition or her recovery.
I know many of you want to help her and I thought this would be the most effective way to do so. Rosemary is a very proud woman and I know she does not like to ask for help. However, when she was able, she was always there for her family and friends... as well as any stray animal she came across.
Everything raised will go to Rosemary to help pay off some of her bills and help with her living expenses. I think it will be a big load off her shoulders to have some security and not have to worry.
If you are able to, please contribute... every dollar will help... and is much appreciated.
Ian and I (and Abby) are grateful all of the support you have offered to Rosemary over the past 3 years. We know it means the world to her as well. I assume in her darkest hour, it gives her strength to know so many people are rooting for her.