Hello from Memphis. Now this is an update I’ve been praying to write. John, Kathy, Rich and Isabella are coming home to Charlotte. During these past few weeks, John has slowly been recovering from the Guillain Barre Syndrome while also remaining MRD negative with no detectable evidence of leukemia. Although he still has a tracheotomy and is very weak, he is fully weaned from the ventilator and able to move his upper body. The consensus of the medical team at St. Jude, along with Rich and Kathy, is that John’s best chance at a full recovery from the GBS is to transfer to Levine where he can ultimately be admitted to their inpatient rehabilitation facility for aggressive rehab/physical therapy.
John and Rich will be flying on a medical transport plane (accompanied by a nurse) from Memphis to Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte on Tuesday morning. He will briefly be admitted to the ICU before being transferred to the leukemia service at Levine. Once he builds some additional strength with visits from the rehabilitation therapists, he will be transferred to the rehabilitation floor for intense therapy.
Needless to say, leaving the amazing caregivers at St. Jude is bittersweet for all of the Hagen’s. They know this is the next best step for John, but it is not easy to leave the people who have fought so hard to give John his forever cure and to lift up the entire family during these last few agonizing months. There is a constant stream of nurses, doctors and staff coming to say goodbye and wishing them all Godspeed for the next phase of John’s journey. Rest assured that the people of St. Jude love John as much as we all do.
Kathy and Bella will be driving back to Charlotte on Monday to get organized for John’s arrival. We spent the weekend packing up the Target House apartment and cramming Kathy’s car full of eight months of belongings. Shout out to our friend Janet who skillfully utilized every inch of the car with an efficiency that is hard to put into words.
Kathy asked me to be sure and thank everyone for their prayers, cards, letters and many, many gift cards. You will never know how much all of the love and support means to them. Please pray for all of them during this transition. Pray that John will recover fully from the GBS, remain MRD negative and that he will feel God’s peace as he comes home and begins rehab.
I know that those of you in Charlotte in particular will be anxious to help the Hagen family in any way you can. Once they get settled into Levine and a new routine, we will be back in touch to let you know how you can help. Also, many people will be eager to see John and we will also let you know when he is ready to see visitors. In the meantime, join us in prayers of thanksgiving that John is coming home.
Much love from Memphis,