It's been a long and often rough road to get here, but I am finally starting to feel like my old self again (now with more super stem cells!). These last few weeks have seen visits from much loved friends and family, a few wonderful weekends at home (YES!) and small trips out to explore San Francisco. I appreciate that this time was for much needed healing, but it was starting to feel like Dr. Seuss's 'waiting place' without all the fancy hats. I stepped out of my Friday appointment feeling, for the first time, that the end of this phase is just around the corner!
Last week we got some outstanding news: my bone marrow biopsy came back with NO cancer detectable - AND - my chimerism count is 100%, meaning the transplant has completely taken hold and is a success! To top it off, I get to go home a week early! So winning!! I'm taking part in a clinical trial, and there are still many months of monitoring and healing to go, but this is a huge step and I am ready.
For some reason, the thought of losing this battle with leukemia has never been an option. It's never been a question for me that I have a long life ahead. Sure, I had some good cry's and felt sorry for myself along the way, but the outcome has always felt certain. That's most likely just wilful ignorance on my part, but it sure did help.
Throughout this whole weird journey, I keep coming back to a place of gratitude. The stars have aligned again and again. It's strange to say, but even the timing of all this was as good as possible. So many exceptional humans have shown their brilliance and lifted me up. Even the insurance company has been great (crazy, right?!). I've been bracing myself to have to file for bankruptcy at the end of this, but it seems like everything's going to work out (thanks in no small part to your help). I'm also so grateful that attitudes and laws have changed, spurring big advances in edible THC / CBD products. They have done wonders for me.
My Mom, Steve and Christine have had to make so many sacrifices to make this possible. They are the real hero's of this misadventure, and it will be a relief for all of us to return to dearly missed friends, family and home.
Each and every one of you that have reached out with messages, music, funny clippings, calls, help around the house, visits and artwork have buoyed me through some of the hardest times I've known. Thank you for your friendship. Thank you for being in my life. (especially this less glamorous cancery part of it) You complete me.
It was really uncomfortable for me to ask for your help financially. ...and yet, you did. There is NO price I can put on the relief of not having to stress about bills during this time. It has, quite literally, been a lifesaver. Thank you for responding with such force when I asked for help. I am humbled with gratitude.
It's hard to know how an experience will impact your life, and I do wonder what the take away will be. That I could not have done this alone. That science is amazing. That hardship brings out the best in us all. That good begets good. That I am blessed with an amazing community. That learning to receive is a life lesson worth learning. ...or that having a german woman's immune system rocks.
I am so thankful to have a long life ahead to ponder it.
Much love to you all!