A bone marrow / stem cell transplant is not something you want on your bucket list. It’s not an easy medical procedure to go through and only tolerable because the alternative in most cases is death.
Painful as it has been, my transplant has gone well thus far. And compared to what others have faced, I’m a novice at suffering. Fellow writer, blogger and veteran cancer fighter Ronni Gordon has survived four transplants!
“I got really sick (105-degree fevers) after my induction in 2003. I had an auto and was good for three and a half years. I thought I was done with it but then I relapsed. I didn’t get too sick with the next two: allos from the same donor. I rejected the first graft after six months. They don’t know why. They didn’t think it was the donor so they gave me the same donor a second time. That time at six months the leukemia snuck back in despite the donor and I relapsed. This time they gave me a double dose of some chemo that hopefully got rid of the leukemia for good, plus a transplant from a different donor (Jan. 31). I’m 100 percent engrafted, but the chemo nearly did me in … kidney failure, infections, fevers, coma, the works. So here I sit trying to stay positive. It’s not always easy but as we all know, that’s what we have to do.”
Why fight so hard and endure so much? Because life is precious. Not as a single spark but as a shared experience with family, friends and others. I’m looking forward to playing with my grandkids Jason, Emma, and now Zachary (above), and to growing old with Susan. I want to do more laughing around the table with my kids, to have more philosophical discussions over coffee with my buddies and to convert as many strangers as I can into friends.
These are my reasons to do whatever it takes to stay alive.
What Who are yours?