Day 100 has come and gone, celebrated on Saturday just as lavishly as had Day 100 been the newest spike in a blood- and immune-growing craze. My mom and I exploited the faux freedom of Day 100 immunity and jutted over to Uptown’s Juut Salon for our first-ever facial (thanks, Weber Shandwick Minneapolis colleagues!). I had to make a dent in the thousands of facials I owe her for the permanent facial strain she held for 40 days beside my hospital bed. We left greased and gilded in a relaxation I don’t think either of us has felt in months.
Later I drove south to my dad’s for a typical Langer feast, as if Miss Day 100 was the prodigal daughter and we wanted an excuse for the fattened calf. But that’s how all celebrations are treated under the Langer House, as Feast Days.
There we were, out on the patio, huddled around my grandpa as he recounted his research on our family tree. He was prepping my Aunt Sue for her upcoming trip to Europe, a trip where she’ll search for the baptismal records and gravestones my grandpa has already uncovered dating back to the 1500s in an area that is part of the Prussia to Germany to Poland rotation. As he recited the 16 Ludwigdorfs that were not the Ludwigdorf we hailed from, the complexities of where one comes from glared at me from the illiteracy of his Polish map. I couldn’t help but think of my donor’s familiar genes. Had her ancestors been my ancestors back then? At one time were our great-great-greats the blood sisters we skipped generations to become today? Or are our matching genes a fluke of evolution? It’s fun to imagine.
Day 100 was less of a pinnacle than what the “Survivorship and Your Bone Marrow Transplant” materials foretold. After all, I had moved on from the Transplant House way early, my Day 100 biopsy was already in my medical records, and my mood-swing-y blood cells haven’t always been on the up and up. But I got to ditch Dorothy and the other “big gun” drugs that have been propping up my immune system. Now we’ll see how I do on my own against those viruses, bacteria and fungi, and if my evolving bone marrow can breed some Day 60-style blood cells again. I’m becoming more of a believer.
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