At this point there is no popping, flashy news. No occasions of perfect match finds, engraftment announcements or DNA switches. Like my weekend, no fireworks.
But in these weeks of creeping recovery, there are smaller bursts of light – sparks that I have to remember are worthy of my focus.
It’s the Mennonite girls who volunteer here and always ask about me when I’m at the infusion center instead of their suppertime singing performances. It’s the wonderful friends and family who cram my weekends with stories from the outside. It’s the easy silence I can have with my caregiver mom because we’re finally all caught up. And it’s the mini improvements in making my very own blood components.
“If you keep putting up numbers like these – try to get that hemoglobin out of the eights – and can turn over two consecutive negative CMV tests, we may even send you home before Day 100,” said Julia today. She explained that I would still have to get a daily anti-viral IV infusion, but apparently my mom could suspend it from a wire hanger or something at home all the same.
The only other stipulation is that I would need an on-call driver (ahem, mom) who can hustle me to Rochester if I spike a fever. Not to worry, my mom is better than an ambulance. On a trip to Rochester seven years ago, she was speeding to the sound of sirens behind us. As she pulled to the shoulder she barked, “Take your hat off!”
Rolling down the window she pouted, “I’m sorry, officer – I’m just trying to get my daughter to Mayo for chemo this morning.” Works like a charm.
My biggest feat in the last week has been walking up the mammoth hill behind the Transplant House that leads to the historic Pill Hill. On the 4th of July I scaled this thing with breath to spare:
Although the fireworks would begin in an hour, I was content staying home. Strolling past rows of antique houses, tiny blips of light in the grass caught my eye. The lawns were exploding with fireflies, their first night out on the town. As I continued, I came to appreciate that these small flares can be just as brilliant as the fireworks in the distance.
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