Well Happy New Year! I know, I know, we’re already three weeks in to it, but I’ve been MIA (on here at least) so Happy New Year to you and yours. I hope it’s starting out to be a spectacular year for you all.
It’s hard to believe, but we’re 80 days post-transplant. In some ways it seems like eons ago, but in some ways it feels like yesterday. These first 90 days are the most critical of the post-transplant phase, and we’re gearing up for a busy couple of weeks, but the past couple months have been pretty low-key — considering. It’s been 50 days since we were able to move back home, and we’ve settled back into the routine of life pretty well.
In our discharge class before we were released down at the SCCA, they told us, “You’ve gone through this process so you can live. Yes, you have to exercise caution, but don’t go home and wrap yourself in a bubble.” Christmas was kind of a reintroduction to life outside that bubble, being able to attend church together as a family for the first time in several months, and after laying low for most December we hit January running at full speed. Both of our kids are in basketball and between practices and games, it’s a 4-5 night a week operation for us. Throw in piano and guitar lessons, after-school clubs and mid-week church classes and yep, we’re running at full speed alright. Only for the first time in a long time, I don’t feel overwhelmed by it all.
It’s amazing how a little thing like cancer can change your perspective. And how your perspective changes when you’re forced to slow down and look, listen and feel things differently.
I suppose I could still choose to fight it. But mostly I’m not. Don’t get me wrong, I still have a long way to go in learning to totally let go. But I’m making progress. I think I’m beginning to see the forest through all these darn trees, and I’ve accepted the single-use capes that are meant to be tattered and dirty at each day’s end. I may not necessarily like it. I may whine a bit (internally, mostly) that I want my cape to be shiny and pristine, but mostly I shrug it off with a, “meh…” and carry on. I don’t feel guilty for my “NOs” anymore. If I have to say “NO” to something, it’s less likely to be my family these days than it would have been a year ago.
And I’m pretty sure that’s a good thing.
This 10 day period we’re in is kind of a big deal. They do a total re-staging between 80-90 days post-transplant. It’s been long enough since the transplant that Corey’s body has kind of settled down from the shock and they’re able to get an accurate reading of how everything panned out. So, over these 10 days he’ll undergo a full body scan/x-ray, a MRI, lots of blood work and other kinds of labs, and he’ll cap it all off with a double bone marrow biopsy, which I’m pretty sure he won’t eat before. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’ll have to read my previous post “Tattoos and ‘Told-You-So’s” for a good laugh on that subject…) All these tests will determine how successful the bone marrow transplant was, whether there’s any cancer left and, if so, what stage he’s at (as a reminder, he was initially diagnosed at stage two and there are only three stages to Multiple Myeloma).
I can honestly say I haven’t spent even a moment worrying about all the different “what ifs…” that could come from this re-staging. If there’s one lesson I’ve learned on this journey this past year it’s that the Lord will give me enough grace to get through today. So I will begin each day this couple weeks of testing, and each day the week of waiting that will follow, and then each day until our next appointment by strapping on those single-use capes, focusing on my people and my newly-realigned priorities and I will run my race, one step at a time, with the strength and peace that can only come from One greater than any other source. And I think that’s a pretty great way to start out a new year.