Tammy and her husband David live in Kansas City. In October 2008, Tammy went to give blood, something she had done almost every year since she turned 21. After having her hemoglobin checked, Tammy was told she was a little anemic. It was recommended that she get some more tests from her doctor, which she did. A complete blood analysis was done; all her counts were low. Following a bone marrow biopsy in November, she was diagnosed with mylodysplastic syndrome, the precursor to leukemia.
Over the next few months, her condition deteriorated rapidly. Though she had no clue she was sick when she first got the test results, she quickly started to develop symptoms. The doctors did what they could to keep it from progressing, but it was obvious that she would need a bone marrow transplant in order to survive. David's latest email summarized the ordeal: "That was the beginning of a long, arduous process requiring this family to fully rely on the Lord for the healing Tammy would need."
Friends were kept informed of Tammy's progress through periodic blogs from her husband, and we all celebrated when we heard that an anonymous donor had given Tammy the blood she needed.
A year ago David had posted, "We were talking earlier tonight that her donor is now 39 years old. Somewhere, he is probably thinking about the sacrifice he made, and we hope he is proud of his service. We still hope to meet him someday to say thank you in person."
That wish came true last week when Tammy received a phone call from a man named Jim who, as it turned out, was her match. In David's own words: "We have shed a lot of tears of joy today, as Tammy finally got to say thanks to the man who saved her life. He didn't want any credit for that. He just wanted to know how she was doing. He readily acknowledges God's role in this story. He and Tammy talked about God's will during their discussion, and Jim recognizes that God led him to drive past that fire station that day.
"It turns out that Jim is from Waverly, a small town in upstate New York, about 100 miles south of Syracuse. The fire station in his community was having a bone marrow drive one day in early spring 2009, and he felt the nudge of God to go in and sign up. When he got the call that he might be a match for a 49-year-old woman in Kansas, he agreed to be a donor. Tammy is alive today because of his willingness to obey that nudge."
David's email continued: "We had a bone marrow drive at our church in Kansas City, but around the same time, the fire station in Waverly was having its own drive. It may have been in honor of someone in that area, but God had other plans. Just like He had a friend of ours donate her bone-marrow to someone about a year and a half ago as a result of our drive, He had Jim respond to the sign at the firehouse to save Tammy's life.
"Today, Tammy is the picture of health. She amazes people with how good she looks (like she's been amazing me with her beauty for more than 45 years). No one who doesn't know her story can believe that she survived cancer so recently.
"Thanks, in large part, to our new friend Jim, who was willing to respond to the divine nudge of the mighty God we serve."
Reading Tammy's story reminds me to become keenly aware of those "divine nudges," no matter how inconvenienced I might be. I hope it does the same for you.