April 12, 2020 ~ In case you were wondering . . .
We had to cancel the Botanic Gardens Programs abruptly last summer, and I know many of you wondered what happened? Was it the Botanic Gardens? Was it the Denver Tea Room?
I’m going to stray from tea business on this post to explain what happened and what life has been like since May, 2019. As you may know, I retired and closed the Denver Tea Room after 10 years. My family threw a retirement party for me and I was very surprised – really! I had absolutely no idea! And then we took a short vacation to Phoenix just to kick off retirement and get the Summer started.
Soon after, I discovered I had a few fractured ribs which would take a couple of months to heal. My back started hurting and I decided to see a primary care physician. I was still teaching the Summertime Tea in the Gardens Programs at that time, catering, and watching my three adorable grandbabies (two of which are twins) two days a week. I was in heaven! And other than my fractured ribs, I thought I was healthy and had enough energy for two people.
A couple of months later my primary care doctor asked me to get some bloodwork done before my appointment the following week. After the bloodwork was done, I received a call from her telling me she had just looked at my labs and I needed to check into the hospital immediately and I’d be there at least a few days. I was so stunned, told my husband, texted my kids, and went to the hospital. That doctor saved my life! I tell her that every time I see her and she just brushes it off, but it's true. If she had not requested the bloodwork and actually looked at the results that day, I would probably not be typing this right now.
Although I don’t remember a lot of what happened during the initial hospitalization, I remember waking up and my family and several doctors were in my room. They were there to tell me that I had end-stage renal disease and a high risk multiple myeloma cancer, and things did not look good for me. I had multiple fractures in my ribs and fractures in my back. They were going to do a procedure called Kyphoplasty (cementing the spine together) immediately before it got worse. And, I had a fractured femur.
I had never heard of Multiple Myeloma, but in a nutshell, here’s what I found out:
“Multiple Myeloma is a type of blood cancer that starts in white blood cells called plasma cells, which help your body fight infections. Mutations occur when the genetic material in plasma cells changes, causing plasma cells to become problematic myeloma cells. As myeloma cells multiply, they crowd out normal blood cells inside bone marrow, and that’s when symptoms can appear. While there is no cure at this time, people may be able to manage their symptoms through treatment. And although treatment may be effective, multiple myeloma can return after remission.” www.multiplemyelomaandyou.com
Imagine my shock! I had just retired and was going to Rockies games with Molly! I was planning to golf after my ribs healed! How could this be happening to me? I had absolutely no warning of this. I was sad. I cried. I was angry and cried some more. I was in the hospital for almost a month.
Two stem cell transplants were scheduled for me with the first one to be in February of this year. I was told this could put my cancer in remission and I agreed to prepare for it with chemo and lots of tests. Although there were complications during the transplant, I am praying it was a success. At Day 90 post Stem Cell Transplant (+90), they will do a Bone Marrow Biopsy to see if I’m in remission. Pray that I am! So, I planned to continue my self-quarantine and now with Corona Virus, I’ll be adding a couple more months. I will keep you updated on my status.
I apologize for TMI, but wanted to give you enough detail so you would understand why we had to abruptly cancel the Summertime Tea in the Garden programs at the Botanic Gardens. I felt so bad about that! We also refused catering jobs and were unable to plan a Downton Abbey, Harry Potter, or Sugarplum Fairy Tea special events last year.
I fear I will not be able to cater again due to the physical demands. I’m sorry, I can’t serve you in that way anymore, but I’m hoping our new online Tea Shop will be beneficial to you and that you will appreciate the same delicious teas from the Denver Tea Room days. We’ll be opening the Online Tea Shop soon and we hope to meet again. Chai!