Here’s the last installment of my reflections on my treatment for Leukemia
Day 24 of my stay in the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit. No transplant. Rather 7 days of 24 hour infusions. Then watching as my body purges billions of dead cells. Meditating, purging, meditation, purging. Meanwhile, investing as much energy in meditating on replacing those dying cells with healthy, vibrant cells.
2 hours here. 4 hours there. I meditated upon the quantum idea that if each of my cells can become ill, then each can die and be reborn anew. Each day my blood was drawn and tested. Accompanying my holistic approach, an intense regimen of steroidal substances was prescribed. I self injected these into myself daily or every few days so as to help my bodies efforts to regenerate red blood cells and white blood cells.
Gradually, I watched as my immune system returned. Each day I watched as my numbers climbed ever so slowly. I had to hit “1000” in order for my immune system to be strong enough for me to leave the hospital wearing a mask and agreeing not to touch anyone.
So at day 24, my numbers were enough. Not enough for making love or playing on a playground or riding public transportation, but enough to put on a mask and slink out of the hospital and into the protective boundaries of my newly cleaned home.
I had worked hard to get there. I had fought the urge to give up. I had laughed and joked with my caregivers. I had cried long hours of despair at the prospect of leaving my children on their own. I had meditated hour after hour and I had slept. Some days I would sleep nearly the entire day only to wake up shivering in a pool of my own sweat as the chemo wreaked havoc on every functioning system in my body!
And here I was. 24 days later. Ready to go home. I was scared and excited. The protective confines of my private room were to be stripped away. No longer would visitors be required to don gowns and gloves. Just masks from now on until my numbers reached near normal levels.
As hard as I’d worked, I didn’t feel ready to set out on my own again. But alas, ready or not, it was time to head home. To my kids. We’d made it this far with the help of my family and friends, we’d make it the rest of the way!
Here’s my journal entry for that day. It was a big day!
I’m out of here today. Jim B. picked me up @ AMC today. I gave myself my neupagen shot sub-q and out we went.
As soon as we got to the parking garage the cold wind blew through the open walls of the parking garage and – although I wore a mask – the crisp cold fresh air was intoxicating. I stopped in my tracks and just breathed.
I came home, napped, went for a walk with Peter and Tessa. We stopped at Elaine and Mark’s. Sammy had just made cookies. Mmmm. We didn’t go inside. Just said hi.
Maria went to get my scrips filled.
I so missed just kidding around with the kids. My home feels enormous.
Resentment for me is possibly the most debilitating. Forgiveness and gratitude is the key (sic).
It was an interesting month, to say the least. But this was my chance. This was my opportunity for a “do-over”. I had stared death in the face, made peace with it and granted an opportunity to start fresh.
Over the next several weeks I continued to heal. My meditations were still powerful. I imagine, however, that the energy for such an amazing recovery mostly came from the many walks I took with my children, the visits in my home by my dear friends and family. The home cooked meals my neighbors and friends dropped off. The hours and hours of sleep in my own bed.
5 weeks later is was driving again and heard on the radio an amazing song that so incredibly described the feeling I was living every day. It was Tim McGraw’s “Live like you were dying”. I never cried so hard from hearing a song on the radio. I say outside my sister’s house in my car in her driveway as the song came to an end as I’d arrived for a visit. I cried such powerful tears of joy and gratitude that day. I was alive. I’d come “this close” to dying and I was alive!
Just four months after my treatment, I was pronounced “Cancer Free”. But you’ll have to read the book to get the whole scoop!
Home. They say it’s where the heart is. In my case, I believe with every cell in my body that home is where the heart, the bone marrow and everything in between is. It’s inside you. You carry it with you where ever you go and you create it whenever you give your love. So I say to you with all enthusiasm, with all hope and with all authenticity…
Live with vigor, love with all you’ve got and please, please, please…Make the Most of It!
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