"Our Little Trooper"

"Our Little Trooper"
"Let me live, that I may praise you!" Psalm 119:175

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Day +11: "Her name is Jalene, and she is with me!"

Today is Day #11 for Rowan. 11 days ago his counts were zero and he received my stem cells.  The chemo went really well, prior to transplant, but Rowan has hard a hard time of things since then. He has run fevers every day for 9 days at least, some of them getting well over 105 degrees.  He has had a water cooling blanket on his hospital bed for over a week, been packed in ice packs nearly every day, experienced violent rigors when spiking the temps, been delirious at times, and narrowly escaped being transferred to PICU on several occasions. It has not been easy, but it has not been all bad...

Again, today is day 11
Well, guess what his returning ANC (absolute neutrophil count) is today??? 



Keep in mind, that it typically takes an average of 14 days or more for counts to start returning. Then, they need your ANC to be over 500 for several days in a row in order for them to consider it engraftment.  Rowan is already well over the 500 mark, and we aren't even 2 weeks post transplant yet. This is such exciting news!  They have of course warned us that those counts may drift back down again, or wax and wane, but to have his counts soar that high so quickly, is extraordinary!  It gives us such HOPE that this transplant will be successful.

There is extra special significance to all of this though. And it means so much to Rowan. 

His friend Jalene passed away 17 months ago today.  And since her passing, she has shown herself to her Mom (and to Rowan) in many ways.  One of the ways she gives her Mom signs is through double digit numbers. She was born 10-25-10 (Double 10s).  She passed away on 3-15-15 (Double 15s).  Since her death, her Mom sees these multiple double digits everywhere...at work on her employee badge, on the clock throughout the day, hotel room numbers, etc.  She sees them as signs from Jalene...reminders that she is still with her.

As I mentioned, Rowan has had serious fevers for days in a row.  He often lays curled up in a ball on the bed, grunting and gasping as the fever soars quickly. Thank God we have been able to use the cooling blanket, ice packs and IV Tylenol to get his temperature down each time, but there have been many scary moments.  One such moment, when I thought "he better start turning around now, or we are headed to the PICU", Rowan all of the sudden sat up and said "I need Jalene's bear" and he pointed at her stuffed angel bear which was sitting at the foot of his hospital bed.  I handed it to him and he squeezed it tight.  Moments later he started talking in his sleep.  Now this is not that uncommon, to have delirium with high fevers, but this time it was different.  Rowan said, "Her name is Jalene."  A few moments passed and he said it again, "Her name is Jalene, and she is with me."  I asked him what he was saying.  He was asleep, but I asked anyway.  His answer was the same, but this time he smiled really big, saying proudly, "Her name is Jalene, and she is with me!" 

I didn't know what to think.  He dreams of his friends in heaven often, so I found it sweet that he was dreaming of Jalene again.  But the way he smiled, the way he confidently repeated "she is with me!" just gave me chills.  I grabbed my phone and tried to start recording it, but of course by that point he startet just mumbling and wimpering under his breath.  It was too late.  I didn't get any of it on film.

Here's where it gets even better.  When Rowan woke up about 30 minutes later, it was the very first time his fever had broken in 8 DAYS!  His skin felt cool, his heart rate had come down, his rigors had subsided, and his temp was 98.7.  I was shocked and amazed, and oh so happy.

The next day, Rowan's teeth started chattering, his heart rate increasing, his 02 sats dropping...and I knew, his temp was spiking once again.  This time his nurse told him "Think cool thoughts Rowan, think cool thoughts."  I asked him what cool things he could think of that would help him keep his temperature down.  He immediately smiled, with his eyes closed, and started saying slowly: "Jalene...Frozen...Olaf...Elsa...Anna.  Jalene...Frozen...Olaf...Elsa...Anna."  Once again, his temperature came down.

Day +11,
his ANC = 1127,

17 months to thee day, after her death,
Rowan's friend is still showing herself,
still helping him.

She IS still with him...
that much I am certain of.

Thank you Jalene.

Thank you for giving your Mommy signs.

Thank you for giving Rowan signs.

Thank you for being with him.


  1. This brought me to tears. Such power in faith. Keep fighting - strangers all over the world, like me, are praying for all of you. Tell brian hi and give Rowan a hug from some gal he's never meet ;)

  2. Hello Rowan and Family! :):):)
    I wrote to you on Friday after I'd returned from a hospital visit myself, and had the great good fortune to discover your blog, and to read your inspiring, touching, and uplifting story:):) Medically I had a bad go of it this weekend, so I was unable to log on again until tonight, but please know that you were all in my thoughts and prayers the entire time:):)

    I was saddened to read in your newest posts of the tough times you've had lately--my heart goes out to you in your struggle, and I have great compassion for the suffering of every kind that you and your family are enduring (with such affecting and amazing courage, perseverance, and positivity) at this stage of your journey. But I was also delighted and relieved to hear of the heights your ANC has climbed to (I know from experience what a hard-won achievement that is, and what an incredible signpost that is from your immune system of how far it's come in its efforts to mend, and how ell it's doing at that task, too:):), and also of the beautiful healing experiences you've had with Jalene...what a gift, comfort, and inspiration those must be for you:).

    When I read them I was stunned to note the connections between what Rowan saw and felt, and the messages she gave him in the posts I left on Friday--they were so synchronistic that I went back to re-read that section of my messages (just to confirm that I wasn't imagining the details, 'cause they were THAT cool !:). Alas, I discovered that I made an error in my posting attempts, and much of the specifics regarding Jalene and her relationship with/messages to Rowan failed to post:(:( It was my first time on this site, and my first attempt to post a message, which made it a lot more challenging than I hoped, and therefore all the more likely that I'd make mistakes:( It didn't help that I was sliding into a fever delirium of my own (a circumstance that usually renders me about as likely to fly to the moon using my own outstretched arms as wings as to put a coherent sentence together, much less post multiple sentences successfully on a blog!:), and that I'm such a Chatty Cathy too!--I was so inspired by Rowan's story that I ended up typing a LOT more than I had initially planned to when I first set out to post a message here, and in the effort to make the long post more legible, I tried to break it down into multiple individual posts...and in the attempt, either accidentally deleted or simply accidentally failed to press "publish" on the three paragraphs that were related to Jalene).

  3. Rowan,

    Just wanted to let you know that your National Guard battle buddies are all rooting for you and praying for a speedy recovery!

  4. I usually follow on Facebook but have deactivated for now. I've been looking for updates on Rowan and saw this. I still pray for you guys and think of how my little hero is doing everyday. This young man has touched my heart and I feel the plan for his life is HUGE. Hugs and kisses to Rowan. Keep marching on! ��