First and foremost, Idan is doing well, still looking for ways to get into trouble while keeping us all laughing. We started a third immunosuppressant, which we hope will save the graft from slipping any further. His immune system is now extremely weak, and this means more isolation and more precautions necessary to keep him safe. Thankfully, the drug does not have many side effects and Idan seems to be tolerating it well so far. If it does not work (i.e., the chimerism keeps going down at the same rate), then we will come off the drug after 2 months. If the chimerism holds, then we’ll stay on the drug until it seems his graft has stabilized, which could be several months to a couple years. As they say, there are no guarantees in life, and there are no guarantees this drug will save Idan’s graft, but we’re not ready to give up just yet. In the meantime, we’ve been keeping busy with weekly doctor visits and blood draws and making sure Idan gets to make up for lost time with his grandparents, aunts and uncles.
And now, for our story. After Idan was hospitalized in April, you may recall that we did everything we could do to find out everything we could about his disease and raise money for the astronomical medical expenses down the road. This included a newspaper article in the New York Daily News, among other things. Unbeknownst to us, when our doorman Gus saw the article in the paper, he clipped it and made a bunch of photocopies and distributed them to all of our neighbors. He wanted everyone to help keep Idan safe and stay off the elevator if they were sick and they saw us inside, but mostly, Gus knew we’d need friends in the building looking out for us. We only found out when we saw cards slipped under our door, donations made on our Youcaring site, neighbors frequently asked us how we were doing, and offered to check the mail and bring in packages for us while we were away. When we did find out, we were so touched and caught off guard by the random act of kindness, and all the other random acts of kindness that followed.
Well, this single gesture carried further than we thought. Last week, we were greeted in front of the elevator by our neighbor Gloria. She was deep in a conversation with the doorman when we first walked in, but she glanced in our direction and immediately her eyes welled with tears. We hadn’t seen her since last summer, but, then, we hadn’t exchanged more than a couple pleasantries in the past, so it was a bit surprising at first that she was so emotional. She approached us and joyously exclaimed, “You’re home! You’re home! I’m so glad you are home and he is here, sitting in his stroller, looking so healthy!” It turns out, ever since the day Gus left the copy of the Daily News article in her mailbox months ago, Gloria has been praying daily for Idan. She tells us her family members and friends in Puerto Rico are also praying for him and constantly ask about him. His picture is hanging in her apartment and she thinks of him often.
Later that week, we bumped into our mailman, who also was very excited to see us home. He said there were others in the building asking about us, and to know that we had a lot of people looking out for our little boy.
Many of you know that I grew up in Manhattan and have spent my whole life living in apartment buildings. Despite having dozens of “neighbors” in Manhattan, it is almost unheard of to act neighborly. So I must believe it is something about Idan that brings out the very best in people, and that his cry has reverberated around our building and around the world for a reason. We feel very blessed to know these wonderful people, to live just a few doors down, and know that Idan is better and stronger for it.