By Brenda Grabast
BEIJING, China — Derek had his final stem cell placement on Thursday morning after his therapies.
He is sitting up so big and tall now. It’s awesome to watch him work hard and laugh with the therapists.
After the lumbar puncture, Derek is supposed to lay flat in his back without moving for six hours. Well, Thursday he wasn’t cooperative at all.
I kept telling him that he would get sick if he moved around too much, but he didn’t understand ... until later.
When it was time to get up and move around, he wanted to go for a walk to the river. We got all the way down to the river, and he started rubbing his head.
He had a headache.
By the way he was acting, it was a pretty bad one. I asked if he wanted to go back and lay down for a while, he shook his head no, and pointed down the river. So we walked a little farther. He started coughing, and then got sick. He didn’t fight me when we headed back to the hospital.
He got sick several more times last night, and I think he finally fell asleep about 1:30 in the morning.
This morning, bright and early at 7, he wakes me up with giggling and his signature, “heeeeeeeeyyyyy.”
Today he has been doing great. He’s in a good mood, and even worked hard during therapy. I’d say he’s all better now.
Last week, I had Ken ship diapers for Derek, since they don’t carry the kind we use over here. They were put in the mail in the 21st, and they haven’t made it yet.
But, they are in China ... somewhere in customs. We have ran out of the diapers we brought, so we have been buying some here. He is too big for baby diapers, and adult diapers here come in the smallest size of medium. So, we are using adult diapers, and modifying them to fit. At almost $4 each, and only slightly better than a thick paper towel, I sure hope the package shows up, and soon.
On a lighter note, Derek has lost eight pounds. I’m not quite sure I believe the scale, because he sure feels heavier now than a month ago when we arrived. I guess it could be because I am not ‘powered’ by Mountain Dew anymore. Yep, that sounds like a good answer, so we’ll go with that.
I have had people ask if they could follow Derek’s story on Facebook, and that is fine. Just search for me (Brenda Grabast) and friend request me. I cannot access facebook until next week when I get home, so please be patient with the request.
If you do not have Facebook, or prefer not to add as a friend, Derek has a blog page at http://derekgrabast.blogspot.com. The updates are being posted by a very good friend until we return home next week.
We are ready to come home.
This will be our last post from Beijing. Derek’s expression says it all, “Enough with the pictures, mom!”
I am excited to come home, and watch Derek develop. I am going to let him skip school Wednesday because I think the 13 hour time difference may be a little much to adjust for in one night.
We will leave the hospital in just a few hours, and should be home in approximately 27 hours. If all goes well, we should land in Wichita Tuesday.
Here’s hoping for our planes to be on time, and that we make our connecting flights.
We have met some really wonderful people.
A family is here for the sixth time from Sydney, Australia. They are wonderfully positive, and have seen improvement each time. The condition is much different, and much more complicated. They have fought many, many battles, but continue to defy the odds with improvement. My heart goes out to them, as they continue their journey! And keep playing that beautiful music!
The families, the stories, the glimmer of hope. We all share the same desire. We all travel here, because the treatments are not allowed in our home country. We have been brought together with our unique ‘difference’ from society.
It is a bond that is as complicated, as it is simple. It makes me sad to leave, but eager to share my new knowledge. As more people understand adult stem cells, and the treatments they can be used for, we can only hope that this same opportunity will be available in our home country.
Our assistant Grace, I wanted to pack her up and take her home. She has been my shoulder to cry on, and my crutch to lean on when I needed it. Thank you for all you have done.
As I reflect on the past month, and what it took to get to this point, I can’t help but break down.
The extreme rollercoaster ride, the brick walls, the optimism, the pessimism, the good, the bad, and the ugly...
All for Derek ... all for the dream ... with love.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The Great Bend Tribune has followed the journey of Derek Grabast of Hudson for innovative stem-cell treatment in Beijing, China.