I started my day by not feeling the urge to toss my cookies.
It was a good start.
Overjoyed, I decided to get tea. Scratch that. Overjoyed, I decided to check in with my nurse Patricia and make sure it was safe for me to order tea from the cafe cart. (The 4 rounds of chemo I’ve gone through have now, essentially, hoovered my bone marrow, and my resistance will continue to plummet for the next several weeks). My cafe cart tea is on borrowed time!
But it was so quaint, and cute and homey – I just wanted to curl up with my tea and watch the rain.
And then there was the atrium. When I think of this spot, I think of Harry Potter and the Ministry of Magic (with a hospital twist). That being said, I’m tearing my way through Harry Potter all over again, so everything that I see has a slight Harry Potter filter over it.
Anyway – I tried to photograph the atrium with the help of my tripod, but a random security guard didn’t seem to think this was a very good idea. I may have pulled the, “I’m having a bone marrow transplant and this is how I communicate with friends and family…..,” card, but she didn’t seem impressed. It was OK – the shots were hard and I was finished up. And this just means that I get to figure out another way of showing the massiveness of the atrium.
It ended up OK, though – because I wandered up to the 7th floor, where I sipped my tea and looked out on the fall colors and rain. For a brief moment, I felt almost normal – like it was my choice to be curled up in my chair just watching the skies fall. I was happy to be sitting here in this moment.
The rest of today was thankfully uneventful. My lymphedema is behaving, with the help of the nighttime wrap. The nausea stayed away and I was able to get down all my food, thankfully. And I didn’t even need to eat a non-strawberry tasting shake. My potassium level has begun to drop because of the chemo, so my afternoon nurse brought in three very large pills for me to swallow. I was assured that it’s easier than it looks; she was mostly right.
Today I was also visited by Dr. Holland, the incredible doctor who discovered GATA2. He was on call at the NIH this weekend, and just wanted to pop by my room to see how I was doing. We exchanged our usual elbow bump and chatted. I told him that I was scared, and nervous at times – fearful that the new stem cells wouldn’t take, or that I would have really serious complications.
Dr Holland looked at me and remarked that as good as the science is, we are all just waiting to see how it goes. And that scientists don’t always have all the answers. But that there’s been a lot of research and calculation that has gone into this, and this procedure is necessary. And I don’t want to paraphrase any more, because he’s such a lovely human and I don’t want to butcher his words – but Dr. Holland made me feel better,
But I’ll be honest – I am scared going into this. I don’t know what will happen, and with the chemo in my rear view mirror, I know the only way forward is with the transplant. This will save my life – and I’m still nervous, scared, trepidatious. I can’t change it. It’s like I’m strapped in to the old wooden rollercoaster at Valley Fair, the one that I went to as a kid and just loved. I’ve left the loading area and I’m climbing the hill approaching the top, the chunk-chunk-chunk-chunk-chunk of the chain pulling me up, up, up, anticipation growing. The world is much higher up here – I can see so much further than I thought possible (that, and MN is totally flat) – and it doesn’t matter that I’ve committed to the ride. I’m here, I’m on it, we’re going.
And for the life of me, I don’t know where I’m at on the stem cell ride – top of the hill, over the edge, screaming up to the next plummet? I don’t really think it matters – I’m on this rollercoaster and have to ride it through to the end – through the good days and the bad, the nauseating ones as well. And everything in between. The way through is my journey. It won’t be easy, but when have I ever done things that are?