Day +107, Thursday

Photo of the Day: Monster & Ali, helping Mom pack. I still can’t get over Monster’s eyes – they scream of Corgie Guilt. Yes Monster, I’m a horrible human because I didn’t let you in and out and in and out and in and out and in and out enough times today. I must hang my head in shame. Outside. In the rain.
Cats.

It was a rainy day here in Western North Carolina, and I enjoyed watching it pour from the safety of my house with chili going in the crock pot. Prior to that, though, I had a 9 am lab draw, and no, I didn’t tell Alexa to shove it. Its a lot easier to wake up on time when I get to enjoy tea and breakfast with Andy. I was out the door only 10 minutes late, and at my hematologist’s office by 9:04. My phlebotomist was pleasant – the same one as Tuesday – and said that she was using a pediatric (meaning small) needle when asked. I have my suspicions, though. To be continued.

Then it was topping off my gas tank and a 23 minute drive to my OBGYN, just south of Asheville. I adore my Nurse Practitioner even more, after discovering that she herself faced breast cancer at 34. We discussed my health, went over GYN-related post-transplant issues and set up a plan moving forward. My dry and sensitive skin can be helped with a personal lubricant, which made me feel better. She also mentioned that my ovaries may not be kaput yet, that with something like chemo and a transplant, we just don’t know. So this may not be menopause, but instead, my body, hormones & reproductive system giving me a giant WTF? I’m cool with that, with playing this wait-and-see. What else is there to do?

Afterwards, I sat in my car for 20 minutes, texting back and forth with my NIH Team and making sure they were on board with the personal lubricant (rather than topical estrogen, which because of my blood clotting history and clotting disorders, isn’t the first choice for me).

I enjoyed the drive home, passing through open lots and farm country, with the occasional glimpse of distant mountains when the fog shifted. It was beautiful. Once home, though, I spent a bit of time working through additional health insurance related issues. There’s a lot of confusion with Humana and Tricare and the specific program that I’m enrolled in. It’s not fun, but needed to get done. Hurray for checking it off the list. After that, Mom and I successfully Crock Potted, making a nice and spicy Turkey Chili, followed by the FINAL episode of Top Chef, Season 14. I paused at this spot exactly as Andy sat down next to me. He looked at the screen, laughed and said, “well that’s going to be a problem!”

I’m feeling OK, tired still, but that seems to be my norm. My skin varies from day to day – rosacea bumps on my face, to which I’ll say humbug, but thankfully they tend to rove around and are inconsistent. Generally, my shoulder/chest skin is doing well, and for not having had pasta in….three days….my GI system is okay. I still get my Power Surges, and even last night, I slept above the comforter – its just what my body needs.

Mom leaves tomorrow, and I’ve got mixed feelings on that one, too. I’m so eternally grateful for her. She’s watched me, nearly all of my life, struggle with health, so its especially sweet that she’s been here to witness this transformation. Understanding what it was, that I have this genetic condition called GATA2 Deficiency, was huge. But the next step of a Stem Cell Transplant AND my subsequent life after, are just as important (if not more). It gave me so much peace, knowing that she was always there – that if I ever needed anything, she could watch over and help. What can I say, except, she’s my Mom and I’m really lucky.

Plus, it was a really beautiful thing to get to know my Mom in a different way. We were companions at times, explorers, co-conspirators, confronters of the maskless, travel buddies and friends. There were times when we laughed so hard, I nearly peed – and looking across the coffee table, tears in my eyes mirroring hers, I knew she was feeling the same. We had fun together, and sure, there were struggles – but that’s also life, and we managed. Ultimately, at a really vulnerable time in my life, I’m thankful that I had my Mom with me.

I love you Mom!

And another thanks goes out to Dad – it’s not easy being by yourself. Thanks for sharing Mom with me…I’m looking forward to giving you a giant hug one of these weeks/months!

Tonight involved watching Deadpool, eating Turkey Chili, and Zooming with Dad and Lucy. I channeled some elf magic for Andy to set up Zoom on the TV, and it worked! Tomorrow, Mom and I leave mid-morning for the the airport in Charlotte. At 2 hours, its the closest departure spot we could find that involved a direct flight to Minneapolis/St. Paul, and enjoying one more road trip with Mom will be fun. Plus, she’ll get to enjoy temperatures above zero, for a bit anyway. I’ll cry on the drive home, but also be really happy for my parents who will get to reunite later in the day. Life is short and incredibly precious – I’m so happy they will have each other again.

With that, I’m off to bed! Sleep well!

Our Zoom setup. Yeah, it’s complicated, but we made it work.
Final Zoom Session with the three of us together before Mom heads home to Minnesota. We look delighted. Actually, Mom appears pensive about the weather, and is channeling her love for snow under the snowflake blanket. I look like I’m wearing a cow, with the boots I just wrangled it in. And Andy looks like he’s plotting, and trying to keep his, “that’s what she said,” jokes to himself. Just another Thursday night, Zooming with family & friends, during a global pandemic.

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