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  • Writer's pictureJessy Tolkan

Out of the danger zone! Last weekend in Wisconsin (for now) Day 109 Post Transplant

There were some tears (of joy) and plenty of cheers at the doctors office today. I am THRILLED to report that at my LAST check-in with my Froedtert team I clocked in at 1,111 neutrophils (White Blood Cells). A huge milestone, I'm technically no longer neutropenic (technical term for dangerously low white blood cells), although I've got a ways to go before I'm as strong as they'd like me to be (normal range is 4000-11,000), we are in a whole new territory of recovery.

One thousand, one hundred and eleven white blood cells, on this 11th day of March, 109 days since the transplant, 117 days since arriving home in Wisconsin and declaring I'd "BE RIGHT BACK?! Also, Raj's birthday is 11/11, and on my final doctors appointment 1111 white blood cells? Coincidence or the universe affirming we are meant to be together - YOU DECIDE :)

Did these 4 months fly? Not exactly. However, like most things in life, now that I'm at the end of this phase of recovery, it does feel like a bit of blur. I suppose at some point I'll go back and re-read these posts, but for now I'll relish in how good I feel, and how far in the distant past those early puke-filled days seem from now.

I feel so so so so so good. I feel good in a way that I cannot remember feeling in so many years. I wake up feeling good every day these days, and so damn thankful for that feeling, I don't think this can get old.

For every day of this recovery journey I've been so many things - but NEVER alone. At all times Raj was there (every single moment), my mom was there, my dad was there - and all of you were reading along and supporting me too. In this last week Raj headed back to DC last week to make sure our home is ready and safe for my arrival (post full kitchen renovation). My Mom and Dad are in Hawaii - on a MUCH deserved vacation that I gifted them - because they are the greatest parents anyone could ever ask for- and these past couple of years have been more than anyone should have to handle. So I'm closing out this final weekend of this phase of recovery in Wisconsin solo. Strong enough and healthy to be by myself, and thankful for a little quiet reflection time as I venture back into the big real world. (Realizing that I'm not ACTUALLY alone, MILLY is with me, and keeping me EXCELLENT company!)

On Monday, I'm going to board an airplane, with my N95 mask secure our my face, and fly home to Washington, DC. Evening typing these words I'm a little emotional that the end of the tunnel is actually a few days away.

As I left the outpatient Bone Marrow Transplant office today, the doctor put his palms on my face, and said "please remember that your body may not be as strong as you feel, so BE CAREFUL OUT THERE" & "live life, because we didn't go through all of this for you to miss out on anything." We both had tears in our eyes, and I loudly told the entire team that my care was infinitely better than any place I'd ever been treated. (No offense to MSK or Hopkins, but these Wisconsin folks really know what they are doing!) I reminded the nurses and doctors and receptionist team that this wasn't good-bye, because I'll be back in April for another visit, and many more after that - but it was a big good-bye for now.

What's Entertaining US

The last weeks have been busy! The whole Aggarwal crew came from Maryland for some wedding food tasting and wedding venue touring. It was wonderful to host Raj's parents Sunita & Ravi and his sister, Sunita at our home on Friess Lake - and show off Milwaukee and the plans we've made for our September wedding! This was the longest Raj had ever gone in his 46 years without seeing his parents - the joy on his face and his mom's when they reunited was pretty damn amazing.

Raj accompanied his family back to Maryland late last week, and Jim and Sherry flew to Maui, but I've had the chance to connect with some friends and family these past several days...

A great visit from my favorite Chairman of the Democratic Party - Ben Wikler and his family, for some food outdoor bonfire and smores last Saturday...

And a special dinner with my cousin Lauren in Chicago after I dropped my parents off at O'hare Airport earlier this week and quick hello to my amazing nieces and flower girls Charlotte & Livi!

Don't worry I've still managed to get a good dose of TV in during these final days in Wisconsin, recently finished:

  • Inventing Anna

  • Ozark Season 4 (Part 1)

  • Documentary Shorts

  • Live Action Shorts

  • Mrs. Maisel


Going Green

I've been a climate activist for nearly 2 decades. Those who know me, know that I've struggled in the personal environmentalism part of the equation. Well this has been a BIG week!! I leased an electric car in Wisconsin (a KIA EV6) and I'm getting solar on the house at Friess Lake! Never has there been a time where it has felt MORE important to accelerate a complete and 100% transition to renewable energy - and achieving energy independence!

What I'm grateful for:

  • In 7 Days I'm going to turn 41, and the hell will every complaining about getting old - it is a damn miracle!

  • I have never known such love, such support, and believe it or not, I think we love each each even more now than we got here!

  • My Mom and Dad sound happy and relaxed and like they are enjoying each other's company and the Hawaii sunshine - that brings me happiness I can even put into words.

  • These sunsets, there have been 116 of them I've seen and I think they really still keep getting better

I'm going to keep posting ever so often - to really appreciate these moments of re-entry ahead. I've so enjoyed the chance to share my thoughts in this blog, and its inspiring me to think about writing more often! So no good-byes for now!

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Elizabeth McKeon
Elizabeth McKeon
Mar 17, 2022

So if I am reading this right (albeit late) then TOMORROW IS YOUR BIRTHDAY! It was such joy speaking with you today. The hour flew by and I loved every minute of it. Looking forward to many, many more! xo

Elizabeth McKeon
Elizabeth McKeon
Mar 17, 2022
Replying to



Sam Dorman
Sam Dorman
Mar 12, 2022

YES!!! TOUCHDOWN!!! 🤗😭😭😭🤗


Nolan Lehman
Nolan Lehman
Mar 12, 2022

Such great news you share! Makes me smile! Love and as they used to say on Hill Street Blues... "Let's be careful out there!"

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