Today I'll clean the bathrooms. Today I'll mow the lawn. I'll take out the compost and go to the store. I'll play Minecraft and have sword fights and gun battles and snuggles and movies. I'll have a glass of wine. Tomorrow I'll catch a concert and then have some folks over.
Sometimes I read my posts and think, "Do people believe me?
Do they believe that I really see everything this way, or do they
think this is phony cult-of-positivity bullshit?" Heck,
sometimes I wonder if life is
really that good.
But it is. It really is.
Do you know what happened a year
ago today? This:
I still don't know the young
woman whose bone marrow cells are in that bag. I won't know her name
for another year. Another year from today. I won't ever know if she
saved my life. The crazy thing about my transplant is that, when I
went into the hospital to go through that hell, and truly it was, I
was healing. I was in full remission, and I felt great. There was no
certainty that the cancer would come back without the transplant, and
there is no guarantee that it won't come back having had it. The
numbers favored the procedure, but we've gotten so blinded by
statistics in medicine that many have lost sight of how little those
numbers actually tell us about what diseases are and what makes
people susceptible, or sick, or well. Cancer treatment relies heavily
on prayer, and the doctors are praying as hard as everyone else. I
came very, very close to not having the procedure. Closer than most
people in my life know or would have wanted to know.
But I did it. In the end, I did
it. I did it because I wasn't going to have all the answers ever, and
so I closed my eyes and picked a door. I'm still here to tell the
I know how many times I nearly
died. Three. The first time was when I went into septic shock. The
second time was when I had pneumonia. The third time was when I
developed venal occlusive disease. Every round of chemo is a reckless
dalliance with death, a brutal obliteration of the life force and
then a tenterhooks tiptoe of apologies and beseechings that it will
recover and forgive.
What a gift, the opportunity to
experience, to know,
how fine an edge is on that knife, how fragile and robust life is and
how filmy the veil that sways between. And then to clean the
For a long time after my
transplant, the doctors told me not to eat uncooked foods. They told
me not to clean the bathrooms, or to mow, or to vacuum. They told me
not to go to stores, or concerts, or parties, or to drink wine. Every
time I do one of those things, it is something I have back,
something new and shiny. Every game of tag or darts or Minecraft is a
second chance, a third, fourth, fifth, sixth.
Every pile of manure sits atop a
vein of gold. Every shovelful I take digs down to diamonds.
Happy Rebirthday to me!