Hi everyone, this is Mary Lou, Deb’s Mom. I haven’t written in a while since Deb has been feeling better and able to write her own blogs. The updates that Deb writes appear under the “Deb’s Blog” tab, so be sure to check there in the future, as I probably won’t post much more under “Health Updates.”
Deb continues on her road to recovery, with her progress monitored by Dr. Robert Lowsky, her Stanford doctor. She has blood taken every couple of weeks to be sure her blood counts are still good, which is a key sign that there is no leukemia present. She continues on medications to help prevent infections and to prevent the possibility of her donor’s cells attacking her body. She should be weaned off the meds over the next 6 to 12 months.
All in all, Deb is doing very well and we are extremely pleased and grateful to her anonymous donor (Mr. International), and to the outstanding staffs at Stanford Hospital and Kaiser Permanente. In addition to the bone marrow doctors, a large part of patient care is provided by the excellent oncology nurses and nurse practitioners. Stanford performs more than 300 stem cell/bone marrow transplants each year. The blood and marrow unit consists of 24 beds, and was always filled to capacity while Deb was there, with an overflow of patients on another floor. Stanford is building a new hospital which is expected to be completed in 2017, and will significantly increase their number of in-patient beds. The new hospital building will be connected to the existing hospital by a pedestrian bridge and an underground tunnel. The hospital is being constructed to withstand a magnitude 8.0 earthquake. Click here to read about the challenges faced to meet seismic requirements in California – something we don’t have to deal with on the East coast.
During the time that Deb was in the hospital and then recovering at the townhouse we rented, whenever Andy was there and I had an opportunity to go out, I would walk around the Stanford University campus. If I had to be away from home for several months, I couldn’t have been put in a better place for walking, sightseeing, culture and weather! Situated in Palo Alto, CA, about 30 miles south of San Francisco in the Silicon Valley, the Stanford campus, at over 8,000 acres, is one of the largest in the United States, and also one of the most beautiful. Frederick Law Olmsted, famous for designing Central Park in New York, designed the physical plan for Stanford University’s campus. Only a few roads on the campus are open to cars, so the primary means of transportation for the students is on foot or by bicycle. There are about 13,000 bicycles on the campus daily.
Stanford was founded by Leland and Jane Stanford in memory of their only son, Leland Jr., who died of typhoid fever at the age of 15. From its inception in 1891, Stanford was co-ed, non-sectarian and tuition-free (which it remained until 1920). President Herbert Hoover was in the first graduating class, and met his wife there, the first woman to graduate from Stanford with a degree in geology. The Hoover Tower, built in 1941 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Stanford, is a 285 foot tower with an observation platform on the 14th floor. The lobby of the tower houses the Herbert Hoover and Lou Henry Hoover exhibits, which feature memorabilia from the careers and lives of the 31st U.S. president and his wife. The observation deck at the top affords 360 degree views of the campus, the Santa Cruz Mountains, and the San Francisco bay area.
The Cantor Arts Center is a notable art museum on campus that houses one of the largest collections of Auguste Rodin sculptures, an outdoor Rodin sculpture garden, as well as many other art, photography and sculpture exhibits each year. The non-denominational Memorial Church, visible upon entering the University via Palm Drive and located in the main quad at the center of the campus, is considered the University’s architectural crown jewel. Although extensively damaged in both the 1906 and 1989 earthquakes, the church was restored after each. There is a beautiful cactus garden on campus, as well as other gardens and fountains, and many musical and cultural events are offered throughout the year.
So if you find yourself in the San Francisco Bay Area, visit Palo Alto, take a stroll through the town, and have dinner at one of the many popular restaurants. If you’re a fan of old movies, check out the Stanford Theater, which opened in 1925 and still offers double features with an organist playing in between shows. Walk a few blocks to Addison Avenue and see the HP Garage where Hewlett and Packard formed their partnership in 1939. And be sure to save some time to visit Stanford University, and take a guided tour of the campus. You won’t be disappointed!