Stem Cell Transplants, Moscow, and Borscht…life with Lisa in Russia.

Life’s a Dance

Today was amazing, not so much in the procedure itself, but in the blessings of words that were bestowed on me when I awoke and read emails.

Words of encouragement, prayer, friends staying up until 11:00 p.m. – the time here in Moscow the procedure would begin – to lift me in prayer. I am humbled.   IMG_0111

And for the procedure! Here I am waiting for the doctor to come in and begin, do I look….what? Can’t figure that face out!

Dr. Fedorenko is so proud of this apheresis machine. The first thing he did when wheeling it in the room was give it a spin, and point..”Look! Made in U.S.A.”!

And so without hesitation, I took a picture of the U.S.A. tag, which pleased him greatly.

Dr. F. then proceeded to explain every aspect of the machine, it’s capabilities, and let me photograph as he entered my data. Weight, height, total blood volume, and a laundry list of other details. After that, it was time…time to start, and time to pray that all went well and good cells were collected.

I was plugged in via the tubes inserted into my neck yesterday, plugged in to the iPad with a set list of songs, and plugged in to you, my team across the sea.


Having had the Hickman line put in the jugular the day before allowed me a bit more freedom of movement than I would have if I gone the IV route. I could lay on my back, or slowly turn to my right side. This was a nice reprieve because after 3 hours on my back, I was ready for a hot tub. Rolling to the side provided relief, and a good 2 hour nap. Dr. Fedorenko woke me up with a ten minute warning…ten more minutes and I would be unhooked. In those last ten minutes, L1090139I looked over at the tubing with the blood flowing through it, picked it up and thought a lot about that blood, what it carried inside that could…no would…save my life, and make a difference.

There is a song I love, “Life’s a Dance” by John Michael Montgomery. It speaks of learning each step of the way as we journey through life. About getting knocked down, but getting right back up and getting back in the race. Never give up, don’t stop. Ever.

“Life’s a dance you learn as you go
Sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow
Don’t worry about what you don’t know
Life’s a dance you learn as you go”

I saw in that tube a determination, that life is a dance and I’m not finished. There a lot more things to do, a lot more dances to dance. I encourage you to consider where you are at this point in your life. And I encourage you to, as it says later in the song “…pick yourself up and go back for more“. Yes, pick yourself up and go back for more of life. “Don’t worry about what you don’t know Life’s a dance you learn as you go”. Go back for seconds and thirds and forty fifths and whatever in life, but just go back for more. Don’t stop.

The good doctor came back to unhook me, and proudly held up my stem cell blood, to which I applauded. Were they enough? He was headed to the lab to start the calculations on the number collected, then they were off to the freezer. Dr. F would return in 3 hours with the verdict.


And….1.19 million cells were collected today. I still need 1.32 million at a minimum, so we begin again tomorrow at 8:00 a.m. He said that because of my age (then he blushed and said I’m sorry) that it can be difficult to get cells. Therefore I would receive another round of stimulation shots tonight. The process tomorrow will also be shorter, around three hours, to avoid taxation on my body. I guess it can take a toll, and he needs me in top shape for chemotherapy on Friday, should we get enough cells tomorrow.


I am exceedingly confident that tomorrow I will dance…life’s dance, with all the cells I need. 

Goodnight Moon,


P.S. to Grandson Ethan…

Ethan, I have your photos on the bed stand next to my hospital bed. The nurses ooh and awe at you. It’s a universal language, oohing at babies. I showed them the video your mommy shot of you playing with the water hose and they laughed so hard. You make it easy for me to communicate Ethan, thanks. 







3 Responses to “Life’s a Dance”

  1. Pat Vaughn

    Your courage, spunk and faith are amazing! I look forward to reading your blogs and am praying for you daily. I forwarded the address of one of our former student who is from Russia. She is now a registered respiratory therapist at OU medical center. Her name is Irina. I asked Lois Warner to forward her address to you. You never know when you might need someone fluent in Russian and English! Irina is a sweetheart, too! Hang on! Your wild ride is just beginning! Prayers and God’s grace and peace be with you!
    Pat Vaughn. (I met you in the mercy waiting room when you came to visit Lois)

  2. Larry Masters

    We are lifting you up with our daily prayers for your healing. May God show Himself strong in you and get glory as He works through your medical team. We pray God’s hands will be in the Doctor’s gloves.
    Love in Christ, Larry & Barbara Masters at Twin Fountains

  3. Barbara Masters

    Love & Prayers from Larry & Barbara Masters (Twin Fountains Staff)


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