Being a Person

Today would be Day +42 post-transplant, but I don’t want to label it that way. Our days are our own again. Although we still frequent the Center for Advanced Medicine, we are living.
We are healing.

It’s been a while, so let me pick up where the last post left off…

Once Mitch’s white blood cell count started to rise, his misery morphed into healing relatively quickly. In a matter of days, his throat healed up and his stomach started to like him again. We were released from the hospital earlier than planned on Friday, September 28 – three days before our lease with Metrolofts began. Just as we were released from our first in-patient stay to celebrate his birthday in early June, we were now free (hopefully, once and for all) for mine on the 30th of September. We spent the weekend happily hopping between hotels and breathing in freedom. To celebrate my 26th year, we explored the city with Grace Potter in our ears and the sunroof open. We meandered through the Global Food Market (MILKA!), window shopped at Plaza Frontenac (very chic…), savored an Italian lunch, and then claimed a bench in Forest Park for reading and music-listening that lasted about an hour or so. It was impeccable. Instead of being patients, we were people again.

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The following Friday (October 5th) brought my surgery. The right side of my thyroid was removed and Mitch stayed with me overnight as I regained my strength and mind. The next day, once the narcotics had worn off, we came back to the loft with my parents. Recovery wasn’t so bad. I began teaching myself to crochet and watched the Cardinals advance in the NLCS. Josh Garrels’ song “Run” played quite frequently, sometimes on repeat. It’s come to speak for my current heart-cry.
You should give it a listen:
As I recovered, I waited to hear the results of the testing that was done on my stupid-large tumor. A week passed, and I’d heard nothing. Meanwhile, Mitchell’s Day +30 bone marrow biopsy came and went. His complete results would take a while to come in, but preliminary results looked promising. We were optimistic.
September 15th – we spend the afternoon on a blanket at Forest Park, just because we can. I read “Love Does” by Bob Goff and M sprawls out with his headphones. Our insides are at complete peace for, probably, the first time since…well, ever. It was a perfect day. I did have a momentary lapse of judgement when I watched a school bus pass by on the highway. I looked at the time to see it was barely three o’clock and began to feel guilty for sitting in the park while my colleagues were still at school in Jonesboro. As soon as the thought crossed through my mind, it turned around an kicked me. NO. No.
I am right where I should be.
On a blanket. In the Autumn sunshine. With a book. And my healthy husband. Absorbing creation and blessings.
Yes, right where I should be.
Night passes and Tuesday, the 16th, dawns. It’s a week and a half after my surgery, and I’d become content to wait for Dr. Gillanders to call. He’d been out of town and, I was told, hadn’t had time to review my results. Mid-afternoon, Mitch & I were just getting back from the gym. I was literally stepping into the shower when M came to the door with my phone. Wrapped in a towel, I listened to Dr. G explain his findings: 4.5 cm of Follicular Carcinoma.
Thyroid Cancer.
Seriously?
Ok. Let’s do this.
He recommended a second surgery to remove the rest of my thyroid. Approximately two weeks after surgery, I’ll swallow radioactive iodine in an effort to rid my body of any stray cells that may have jumped from the tumor. After I take it, I’ll have to be careful to maintain enough space between myself and others for a few days.
I let all of this soak in. Honestly, I feel like I should’ve been more upset. But, we’d already prepared our minds for this possibility and, compared to fighting leukemia, this should be a piece of cake. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not taking this lightly. It’s just that my perspective has been radically rocked.
The very next day, we went in for another one of M’s lab appointments. They checked him out and then, very nonchalant, the nurse said, “So, you’re marrow came back negative for disease….you’re clear.” A few seconds of dead air pass as we take in what she’s said…
NEGATIVE for DISEASE!!! I can’t make this font convey the joy that pumps through my entire being when I type/say/think those words. We could feel deep down in our guts that this was the case, but to have the official results give confirmation is unlike anything else. It’s like Christmas and birthday and first-day-of-summer all rolled into one…He’s CLEAR!!!
We celebrated that afternoon with Jeni’s splendid ice cream, and that evening with comfort food from Cracker Barrel and the company of my parents and our new friends, Zack and Laurel.
So, we’re spending our days trying to regain the strength that was lost during our hospital stays and keeping our minds busy in an attempt to avert cabin-fever. Next Friday, I have surgery number two. I’ll go through the rigamarole and pray that, once this is over, it stays over.
It between, we love every second we’ve been given and count the days till we get to come home.
“The times are changin’ I can feel it in my bones
Cause I’m standing on the edge of the other side of all that I’ve known…”
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One thought on “Being a Person

  1. Oh, my goodness! You have had so many curve balls thrown at you and you are so young! I applaud your strength, your positive thoughts, and your sense of humor and I say an extra prayer for you both. I will follow your progress as much as I can as we journey thru our own fight for my husband’s health.

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