Monday, June 1, 2015

Day -2

Today has been a day of self-searching and reminiscing. Colten left early this morning, and that was harder than when he left the first day. It was very easy to get used to having him here 24/7, even though it was only for 2 days. And I was only slightly (incredibly) jealous that he got to go home to my baby girl.

After he left, I felt like someone had punched me in the gut, so I got moving. I gowned-up (sounds kind of like I am a medical super hero) and started my laps around the halls, but I lost momentum very quickly. I just wanted to lay down and be depressed for the day, and I was losing the mental battle. I started back towards my room and suddenly thought of my iPod and headphones that I had yet to use; I decided to throw on some music and give it one more go. Music is my meaning. I feel close to God through music, I express myself through music, I understand myself through music. And I love to sing. And yet, I had not listened to a single note since coming here. I clicked on my iPod and upbeat music fueled my muscles and reignited my determination. I walked to Moriah Peters' song "Brave." The chorus says, "I'll fight like a solider, rise like a warrior, won't stop 'till the final day, look up and I see the way, You make me brave." It was perfect. I sailed through my laps and exercises.

So, I realized music is a necessity here. I plugged into my portable speakers and let it play throughout the room until my space was transformed. At this point I have to admit that I am a diehard Grey's Anatomy fan (or at least I was until Yang left and they killed Derek), and while I know it is little more than a glorified soap opera and I am likely reducing my credibility as I write this, it is my guilty pleasure, and that's that. Anyhow, any fan knows that the main character, Meredith, believes in "dancing it out." This is fairly self-explanatory. When things suck, you dance to really loud music until you don't care that they suck anymore. So I did. And it was awesome. But that only got me to about 11:00 AM. Still a lot of day to get through.

I settled into my throne (the only real chair in the room) and tried to read for awhile. Then I tried watching a TV show. Nothing was making the time pass. And I got a new neighbor who is apparently very well loved and, I'm guessing, lives here in SLC along with his or her family. I watched a steady stream of people coming and going from the room for the rest of the day and I felt very, very lonely. The crappy thing about being an "easy" patient and not having issues is that you don't see the nurses much (unless they are like Katie), and with no one else around and no where to go, it definitely feels like you are doing time in solitary. My sister-in-law surprised me with a video call, and it was a very welcome distraction for a few minutes (I love you Emma!), but not the same as sitting and actually being with someone else. So loneliness settled in for the day, which naturally made me wish I was somewhere else.

My Grandma had written me earlier and got me thinking about better days--the priceless days of childhood. So I sat and thought to myself how amazing it would be to go back and be that pudgy little wild girl again, without a care in the world, untainted by cancer and its demons. To go back to a time without fear of the future, physical pain, or seemingly endless stress. But then I thought about how much I would hate having to go through everything that I have already gone through all over again. Sure, it would be nice to be a kid for awhile, but I'd prefer not to grow up again. So then I thought about what it would be like to go back and make different choices. Maybe my parents would choose the standard chemo instead of the experimental chemo the first time around and the cancer would never come back. Or, maybe I would move away after the second time the cancer came back and it would kill the cancer for good (my family and I are pretty convinced my cancer is caused by the environment: pesticides and other lovely poisons dropped all around and on our yard and house during most of my childhood, as well as other issues throughout that whole section of Idaho). Any one of these things could have made the difference, or no difference at all.

But would I want my life to be changed? I don't believe in soul mates. I don't believe there is only one perfect person out there, or that God has only one planned spouse for us. That's left up to the decisions we make. Free will and all that. And cancer played a huge role in mine and Colten's relationship. Actually, we stopped talking for quite awhile, and my cancer coming back is what made him reconnect with me again. Getting pronounced terminal drove me to move away and live with my best friend, and it just so happened that Colten lived in the same city and we were reunited and fell in love. Would I still be married to Colten if my life was different? Because I can't imagine a world where he isn't my husband. And if I wasn't married to Colten, there would be no Rora. And I just can't accept a world with no Rora. What's more, I have met some really amazing people. I have met people who were told they were going to die, and, miraculously, the treatments cured their cancers. I have met people who were told they were going to die, and they did. But they left marks on my soul before they left. Would I give up the people I have met, the family that I have, the things that I have done, for a life free of cancer? No. No I wouldn't.

And with a little perspective, things just look so different. If I had a choice, I would still choose to be in this place, going through this transplant, and living this life. So it must not be so bad. Lonely, sure, but not so bad. And, having gone through a transplant that lasted a lot longer and was a lot more restricting, this one seems much easier, all things considered. So I'm thankful for that perspective. Heck, after being continuously attached to a pole for two days, I can even appreciate having a central line that's not connected to anything--and I did not think anything could make me thankful to just have a central line. It's all about your mental mindset. Henry David Thoreau said, "It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see." Dan Brown said, "Sometimes a change in perspective is all it takes to see the light." Both of these quotes touched me today.

My parents showed up late in the evening. My mom looked sore, tired, and worn. I feel sad and sick at what she has to go through to donate to me, just like I felt when my amazing sis donated to me last time. I wish it were easier and free of any discomfort. I wish that people I love did not have to endure pain to see me well. Mostly I wish it was just already over. She donates tomorrow.

We walked around the hospital together, and I saw a ton of people out walking their dogs. This is the first time I have seen anyone here walking a dog, and it opened up a new ache for me. I love my fur babies. I miss them so much. Most people don't get it, I know, but my mom does. It's probably one of the few things we have in common. Animals are such precious souls to me. They give me comfort and companionship that I can't live without. I miss snuggling my puppies and listening to my cat purr next to my ear at night. I have not been sleeping much since I got here, and I think it's because of the lack of warm bodies. I just miss my family. One couple walked by us with an unleashed pooch. He was so cute, and yes, I am that person that wants to pet everyone's dog. He kept hanging back by me and my mom, but he scampered away every time we got in petting range. That's probably just as well because his owners kept looking back with a certain fear in their eyes whenever he didn't immediately follow them. I can't say that I blame them, if someone in my getup came walking by my dog I would be worried. If said person attempted to pet them I am not sure what I would do. Please don't disease my dog! :-)

Today was my last day of chemotherapy (pre-transplant, anyway). Tomorrow I have radiation. Wednesday is my transplant, and I get to see my daughter, and MY SISTER IS COMING! I have not seen her in almost a year. I can hardly wait! All good things are coming. Just one more day (hopefully) for my mom to get through, and then it's all good things. And my nurse gave me a sleep aide, so I'm going to actually go to sleep. I'm adding the pictures that got me through today: all my family that I can't wait to hold.

Good night all.

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