Thank You Caregivers!
It would be impossible for me to heal from AML without the love, support and physical help of my caregivers. My caregivers are the people who drive me to doctor appointments, cook my food, do my laundry, visit me in the hospital, and provide tons of healing and emotional support. It’s a big job to be a caregiver – my sincere gratitude and love goes out to these four angels.
Andy Peri: My loving partner Andy has been a solid rock for me from the beginning of my diagnosis, and I’m so immensely grateful that our love is growing stronger through this process of my healing. We’re doing it together! I truly don’t know what I would do without Andy’s love and support. We talk a lot about having a long life together and celebrating in Hanalei, Hawaii (our favorite vacation spot) as soon as it is safe for me to travel again. Andy built the structure for this website, and he coordinates all of my food, as I was unable to eat hospital food due to my diet. He usually brings his ukulele to the hospital and has sung to me during chemotherapy treatments and blood transfusions. Sometimes we sing together which brings me great joy! And, I can always count on Andy to make me laugh, which “they” say is the best medicine.
Mary Lou Perry: My amazing Mom brought me into this world in 1969 and has been a mentor and strong female role model to me for my entire life. As soon as she heard that I had leukemia, my Mom booked a flight from Pennsylvania to California so that she could be with me. For each of my three admissions to the Kaiser hospital, my Mom came to California, and for her presence, love and dedication, I feel so much gratitude. Now she is moving out to California for four months to be my primary care giver while I’m under the care of the Stanford Cancer Center. This means she’ll be doing things like cooking for me, driving me to doctor appointments, changing the dressing on my catheter (when I’m out of the hospital but still living near Stanford), and a lot more of my laundry. My Mom and I do a lot of walking together during her visits to the hospital, and I’m sure we’ll be having many more strolls together after the bone marrow transplant.
Tara Coyote: My dear friend Tara has been one of my closest friends for the past 17 years –we’ve done a lot of dancing together since our 20’s. Tara even moved back from Grass Valley to Marin County from October 2013 through March 2014 so that she could visit me often while I was in the hospital. When I relapsed and the leukemia came back in December 2013, Tara helped us pack for the hospital and came with Andy and me to Kaiser to provide emotional support during the shock of being re-admitted early. Tara is organizing my fundraising website to help defray my medical expenses, and she is inspiring an amazing multi-venue musical concert that will be a benefit for my medical expenses on the evening May 16 in Fairfax (mark your calendar now, details soon). Tara has helped me tremendously through being a consistent and loyal friend throughout the years and particularly now. She has also helped through leading me through healing meditations and by sharing the healing powers of crystals.
Samantha Russell Raven: My sweet friend Samantha helps me tremendously by giving me regular Reiki treatments in and out of the hospital – when I still had my long dark hair we looked like salt and pepper together. Samantha came to my house the day that I learned I had leukemia to give me a healing, and she help me pack for the hospital that dark night, when I was scared, shocked and didn’t know which way to turn. Samantha has helped decorate my hospital room on several occasions, and she’s assisted me with moving out of the hospital too. Her partner Koa Pickering has cooked me food. Samantha has been giving me Reiki since 2009 when I tore by anterior cruciate ligament skiing. As a result of her Reiki and self-healing meditations, I was able to avoid surgery and grow back my ACL (my knee is strong and healed now!) Samantha is an amazing healer and friend. You can receive Reiki or a massage from Samantha too – see the Samantha Solution.
And thanks to many others too …
Family: I am blessed to have amazing family who have really reached out, been there for me, and shown their love during this time of need. Special thanks to my sister Chris DeAngelo of Pennsylvania who was so willing and eager to be my bone marrow donor, if she had been the perfect tissue type match. Although it didn’t work out, it was a huge act of generosity and love. Chris came to visit me just before my last round of consolidation chemo in January 2014, and we got to enjoy a hike outside before spending more time together in the hospital. We even forgave each other for anything mean we did to each other as kids! Chris coordinates a fun Facetime call with me each week along with her dancing daughter (Carly) and baseball wizard son (Drew). I am also grateful for the support of my Aunt Betty, Aunt Barbara & Uncle Tom, and my cousins Kathleen, Brian and his wife Lily, and Tom.
My Dad and his wife, also from Pennsylvania, came to visit me when I was in the thick of consolidation chemo. They got to see how quickly things can change in the hospital when you have cancer. One day I was sitting up, smiling and joking around, and the next day I was flat on my back with a spiked fever, completely weak and exhausted. I was happy to have a chance to see my Dad and Elly, who also, by the way, love doing yoga at their local gym. My Dad jokes (and loves) that he’s the only guy in the room. My great gratitude also goes out to Aunt Ann and Ernie for their financial support and love (I’m Deborah Ann Hubsmith, so partially named after my aunt). And tremendous gratitude to Linda Presley, Ann’s daughter and my cousin for her calls to me in the hospital and her stories about healing and overcoming obstacles.
I also express my love and thanks to the entire Peri family, especially Andy’s Mom Mari for her cheerful and sweet texts, and to Andy’s sister Reggie for her thoughtful Facebook messages and calls.
Healers: A big thank you to all of the doctors, nurses and personnel at Kaiser Permanente on the 5th floor for taking care of me and getting the leukemia into remission. Thanks to the Stanford Cancer Center for finding me a stem cell donor and for all the forthcoming support to get me cured! Thank you to everyone who has prepared food for me with a special hats off to Erica Harrold and Walter Liebscher who have cooked me about 50 eight ounce jars of ratatouille in recent months. Thank you to Amity Hotchkiss for organizing healing circles for me and sending Reiki, and thank you to everyone who has attended healing circles and group meditations/prayers dedicated to my healing. Thank you to Lindsay Wood (and her husband) for preparing food and giving me massages and guided meditations while I’ve been on break from the hospital. And a big thank you to my Reiki teacher and soul-brother friend Christopher Campbell who continues to be a spiritual advisor to me throughout this healing journey. Christopher is the founding director of the Awakening Heart School and also provides soul life coaching which I highly recommend.
And everyone else — too many to name: I also want to provide my DEEPEST THANKS to everyone who has been supporting me by sending cards, emails, Facebook messages and “likes,” texts, prayers and good thoughts. I feel it, and it helps!