My second stem cell/bone marrow transplant anniversary is Friday, April 2. This anniversary—even more than the first—has been the cause for significant reflection.
For those of you who may not know or remember, this blog originated when Brett Modesti—a friend and member of Team in Training, a partner in my recovery—suggested it might be a good idea to document my journey for the benefit of others traveling the same path. The blog forced a change in my focus from what I was going through to what others could learn from the experience. From thinking only about myself to thinking about others.
My journey began with a fairly grim prognosis that resulted in the instantaneous recognition of what is really important in life. These revelations had a profound impact on me and our family.
They say where there is life there is hope. That was especially true for me. My hope was to qualify for a stem cell/bone marrow transplant before the disease precluded that possibility. I qualified for the transplant at the City of Hope in late 2018.
I’ve learned a lot about life and more about myself throughout this experience. I achieved a level of patience I never thought possible before the transplant. Along with new levels of understanding, empathy, and compassion. Finally, it’s helped me comprehend things like gratitude, grace, and appreciation on a completely different level. More than anything else, it’s helped me recognize the incredible gift I’ve been given. A second chance to be close to the people I love and care about so deeply. A second chance at life and living.
It’s also helped me realize that none of the lessons I learned depend on the diagnosis of a catastrophic illness. At least, they shouldn’t.