Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Plans and Changes
Last week Abbey wanted her hair cut like Kit Kitteridge from the American Girl Doll collection. I have to say I was happy she chose such a wholesome role model. When I was her age, I wanted my hair like Farrah Fawcett (God rest her soul). This picture is my 6th grade school picture after I had finally convinced my mother to let me get my haircut Farrah-ish. I also had a perm because getting my hair to curl any direction takes an act of congress! No, your eyes are not playing tricks on you. Yes, I am sporting a Dallas Cowboy jersey. And please don't look too closely. This was the year before I went to my orthodontist.
On with the program. Yes! We finally have a plan. I will be going in the hospital on July 25th for a stem cell transplant from umbilical cords. They are still leaving the search for that 10 out of 10 match open but my doctor feels at this time, this is the way to go. Here are the interesting tid bits about this. It takes two cords to get enough stem cells that I need. One of the cords is coming from Italy. I guess I'm more Italian than I thought! Parla italiano? The other interesting fact is that one cord is O+ and the other is B+ and they are both from male babies. I am A+. I knew from the beginning my donor did not have to have the same blood type or be the same sex as me. I have been assured I won't grow a mustache, facial hair or worse. But the amazing thing is that my blood type will change to one of my donors. They don't know which one, but it will become O+ or B+. Freaky, huh? I am just glad we finally have a plan. I do not like being in limbo or getting wishy washy answers.
My hospital stay will be three to five weeks. Visitors are welcomed, needed, and loved! I'll send an update out once I'm there with a room number, parking instructions, etc. I will have all my conveniences like my laptop and my crackberry so I will be able to be in touch.
In my last post I mentioned that I was going to pick Abbey up from Camp Mystic after her four week stay. I have to say it was a pretty surreal experience. In some ways, she's still my sweet Abbey girl. But I have seen a change in her in other ways. First of all, she's very tan and looks like she's grown quite a bit. All the older campers and her counselors kept telling us how funny she is. My oldest is a lot of wonderful things but Julianne (our middle) is the one I've always dubbed as funny. It was like they were talking about another child. But there are other things I've noticed. She seems more independent. She was not an insecure child but she has a new found confidence about her. When I asked her if she was ready to come home, she said "not really." And she keeps telling me how she can't wait to go back next summer. I am so proud of her.
Abbey was just gone a month. I've been dealing with this inconvenience for two years now. It made me think "How have I changed since this started?"
1. I no longer take things for granted like celebrations. Each birthday, first communion and anniversary is one more milestone I get to share with my friends and family.
2. As most of you know, I'm not a real patient person naturally. I tease Doug and tell him he used up all my patience when we dated for five years. But honestly, I was impatient before that. I have a cure for those who have a problem with patience. It's called M.D. Anderson. You learn very quickly how to slow down and be patient when you're at the mercy of someone else's schedule.
3. I've learned not to sweat the small stuff. When things don't go as planned, I ask "Is there something I can do to make it right?" and "Is getting mad going to change anything?" The answer is usually no so why waste good energy on something that won't change?
4. I have learned how to be on both ends of giving back. I love volunteering and have made it my second career next to being CEO of the Sellers household. I have seen first hand what it is like to touch someone's life when I volunteered at Sheltering Arms Senior Services. But now I have been on the receiving side and can honestly say how much it means to have people want to help.
5. I no longer take my body for granted. Other than this Hodgkin's hump, I am not a sickly person. I now realize the importance of good health. I am also in awe of how strong my body is. Chemo hits your whole body like a ton of bricks. I am so thankful for things like my strong heart. Along with a freakish level of energy and a freakish memory, I also have a freakish immune system. I am the healthiest looking sick person you've ever met. When I go in for bloodwork, we sometimes find out my counts are low. But I feel fine. Other than being a little tired but who the heck wouldn't chasing 3 kids under the age of 8!
6. I realize how important it is to believe in something bigger than yourself. I do not think God gave me this cancer. However, I do believe He is using me for something greater. My faith in Him is strong and continues to grow with this journey.
7. I have reconnected with so many people and made so many dear friends during the past two years. I always loved my friends and family. But now I realize how important it is to make relationships a priority.
I recently took a trip to Austin and got to see some old friends from high school that I hadn't seen in a long time. It was so much fun to catch up. Talking about old times made me think how much I've changed since high school. But isn't that what your 20's are about? Personal growth and finding out who you are? My 30's were about settling down and starting our family. And I think I'm going to dub my
40's as when I dumped Joel the Pole for good and sent him packing! I'm going to change from cancer patient to cancer survivor.
As always, keep the comments coming.
God bless you all!