Saturday, April 27, 2013

Thankfulness Doesn't Always Come Naturally

Hello again!! It's been WAY too long since I actually posted on here and it's definitely time for a new entry. First of all, thank you for all of the wonderful birthday wishes at the beginning of the month! Even though I had to stay in my princess tower (a.k.a. hotel room :)) as I'm not quite to day 100 after transplant yet, I had a great birthday! I had my regular doctor visit in the morning and one of my nurse practitioners made me an adorable cake, presented while the staff sang happy birthday. It was SO thoughtful...and so yummy! My Mom also made me my favorite carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, a family recipe that is absolutely to die for. I had a fantastic birthday and, as my Mom kept reminding me, I'm no longer a teenager! What a weird thought. I do like how one of my sorority sisters put it when she wrote on my facebook wall: I'm beginning a new, cancer-free decade. Being thankful for the healing I've experienced is something I've been working on a LOT.

As mentioned before, I'm still trapped in the hotel until May 15th, which means today is day 82 out of 100. I can't go into stores or any other buildings (besides my twice weekly doctor visits at the hospital), and when I'm in the hotel lobby or at the hospital I have to wear a mask to keep germs away. My immune system is getting stronger as I go more and more days after transplant, but it's still a brand new immune system, like a baby's, so I will have to slowly build up my immunity. Also, and I've been asked about this, yes, unfortunately, I will have to get my baby shots again in about a year.

I still have to do that hour of walking every day to keep my heart and lungs healthy. I thought over time that I'd learn to like it or at the very least tolerate it...but it seems that every time I have to get up and do my walks I dread it. I have to do a total of an hour of walking a day, so I split it into two 30 minute walks. The chilly Chicago weather has kept me inside for the majority of the 100 days, walking the hallways and climbing stairs to complete my 30-minute sessions. However, thankfully the weather has taken a turn in the last couple of days and I've been able to walk outside at a park just down the street from my hotel! At least walking outside is better than the hallways; warm sun, fresh air, and things to look at. Still, it's so hard for me to honestly enjoy walking. My leg muscles are still building back up so they usually ache, and 30 minutes seems more like hours.

When my Mom takes me on walks, she often comments how thankful she is. Thankful mostly that I'm finally out of the hospital, feeling the fresh air and sunshine rather than looking out the big windows in the infamous hospital hallway I'd have to walk in. I have so much more to be thankful for, too...thankful that my cancer was curable; thankful for the support of my family and friends; thankful for my sister giving me new life by donating her stem cells to me; thankful for my body responding well to the transplant; thankful for the families who fundraised enough for me to stay in a nice hotel for my 100 days; thankful that, although I can't go many places, I can go practically anywhere outside; thankful that I have a healthy heart and lungs; thankful that I have an amazing doctor who's giving me the best care I could get; and so much more. I'm trying so hard to be more positive and see these great factors rather than focusing on not being back at school, not having my hair back, or having to walk an hour a day for who knows how long. My Mom often reminds me that it's much easier in life to look at what you don't have...but it sure will make you miserable. Pray for me that I can begin to find more joy in warm days and finally breathing in fresh, non-hospital air!

Peace and love coming your way tonight!