Bear with me as I add more excerpts from this blog. You'll find Part II below.
May 21, 2009. "The PJ Freedom Fund is now accepting contributions. Here's what I need:
*pies with tools inside
*tickets to a remote (tropical) location where coffee is grown
*a new identity to fool those bad ass leukemic clones
*an order of La Cirque's Pasta Primavera
June 9, 2009. "My oldest son, Mark, earned his high school diploma on Sunday... I'm to be at the hospital in an hour for a heart scan, a test that
determines if your ticker is up to additional toxic assault. I'll check
into my room and the chemo will start dripping by mid-morning. I'm trying not to be too morose. Looking at the graduation photo makes me smile. I know what I have to do."
July 18, 2009. "I am to be admitted Friday, July 31 to have a catheter surgically
implanted in my chest and to begin preparation for my second transplant,
which better be the coup de gras. How much can a woman take?... I have two weeks to live large, and I plan to render each day down to its
essence. Time will neither fly nor creep because I'm going to pay
attention to the here and now. I've stopped wearing a watch."
slay time... time is dead as long as it is being clicked off by little
wheels; only when the clock stops does time come to life. ~William
August 5, 2009. "I have had a rough few days of it--serious chinks have developed in my
armor. The cytoxin caught up with me on Monday. On Tuesday, I started
total body radiation or TBI. It feels like nothing while you're having
it, but a few hours later you go comatose and just generally wish you
August 27, 2009. "Suddenly, you feel very odd, and your nurse sees it on your face. Your
heart is beating a mile a minute. We are not figuratively speaking here. Your
nurse calls in another nurse whom she tells to page the doctor on call.
The EKG machine is wheeled in and you are quickly hooked up to it. Your
heart rate is not just irregular but high, very high. A doctor comes in
and does a quick assessment, assuring you that it's probably not a
heart attack. Still, you hear a nurse ask if she should get the crash
cart. You are suitably terrified. The doctor explains that she is
going to inject you with a drug that will make you briefly feel like
you've downed 100 cups of coffee. You can't imagine what that feels
like. How bad could it be? Bad, very bad. You feel as hot
as those 100 cups of coffee, but you also feel like you're about to
explode. Is this it? Is this where it all ends? No, your heart rate eventually returns to a nearly normal and rhythmic range. And to calm any fears you may have about my health, let me also tell you this:
I'm going home today!
November 27, 2009. "Except for the fact that the turkey was the worst I've ever cooked,
Thanksgiving Day was the best in memory. I did most of the cooking, so I
was exhausted by the time we got to dessert (plus, my ankles were
swollen), but thankfulness doesn't begin to describe what I was feeling. For
the first time since August, Marty and I and our three kids were all
home. I'd been to hell and back in the interim, so there was a very
special synergy to the reunion. I lived for this and times like them. I
am a happy woman."
December 11, 2009. "It's finally happened: my blood type now matches my personality type, A.
You've figured that out by now. Sure, living for six years in tropical
paradise knocked me down to a B, but I lurched back into the A range
within a year or so of returning to the US. Nothing is of course
immutable, but I was pretty sure about blood type. Now, I match my kids.
Can you imagine what living here is like?
January 19, 2010. "When we got home, Marty slipped me into bed like a letter into a mail
slot. It took me Sunday and part of Monday to return to normal energy
levels. Pushing myself is good because in the end, it makes me stronger.
Lazing about doing nothing for a day or so after the crash is quite
February 5, 2010. "Shortly after I was discharged from the hospital in August, I received a
letter from Dana-Farber wanting to know if I would like to contact my
stem cell donor. I was not ready. I was shaky, could barely write or
type, felt like hell and frankly, I didn't want to send a thank you note
and soon thereafter kick the bucket. On Wednesday, I decided it
was time to make a connection. I looked for appropriate stationery,
nixing the pad bordered with red roses, and the one with the horse logo
at top. I found some pale blue paper and went with that.
first attempt to write the letter ended badly. I messed up the date. The
second went more smoothly, and I managed to write two paragraphs before
the waterworks began. Fortunately, I moved the stationery out of the
way so I wouldn't be sending my donor a tear-stained display of
gratitude. Composing myself, I continued writing, trying to show what
his gift had given me. Concrete things--not "life" or "a shot at a
cure"--but how my donor's generosity gave me a wonderful Thanksgiving
with my family, visits with friends, outings to see my children race, a
smile on my husband's face."