Well first off I had yet another doctors appointment this past week. I met with both the transplant docs and my cancer doc. Both reports were pretty good. It's funny because I have had such a change in how I view doctors appointments. I used to dread going to the doctor, pretty much every doctors appointment meant another hospital stay. Now I almost like going. Don't get me wrong it's not that I enjoy spending hours siting in waiting rooms and wasting two days at the airport just to have a doctor look at me for five minutes, but going to the doctor has become an enjoyable experience. It is a chance for me to see how much I have improved and to show the doctors how good I'm doing! This visit in particular was met with raving reviews from my cancer doc and his student. Much to my grandmother's delight, who was with us this trip, he called me the poster child for PTLD! I also got to see my beautiful X-ray. I unfortunately did not get a copy of it but let me just tell you it was so big and black! Those lungs have really expanded and cleared out! I have a couple more appointments to go before my doc month is over (I see all my docs every 3 months and they all seem to occur at the same time), this time these are here so much less time consuming! After that I'm a free woman until September!
Few! With that update out of the way we can get on to bigger and better things. The real reason for this bolg. Transplant is a very intense process and it is impossible for a person to go through it without having their life completely change and not just in the obvious ways. Yes I have a huge scare across my chest and a few more along my neck and stomach but those are a small change in comparison to how it has change me as a person. In fact their are so many changes that I am going to spare you the novel post and break it up into smaller chunks! Thats right I'm back on the blog wagon! Lets buckle up (are there seatbelts in wagons? Maybe these days!) hold on and dive into our journey of LESSONS FROM A TRANSPLANT:
Lesson 1: Patience
How to Wait
I am no expert in this field, in fact I still kind of suck at waiting for some things. However I have had a LOT of experience waiting for big things to happen. Besides the obvious, waiting on the list for lungs, I have spent time waiting to get listed, waiting to go home, waiting to go back to school, waiting to feel better, waiting, waiting and more waiting. I have spent the good part of the past two years simply waiting.
What I have learned is that waiting just happens. It's one of the hardest and easiest things to do. Like time the wait will pass whether you pay attention to it or not and that is the key, to not pay attention to it. As anyone who has spent time in a waiting room, on a plane or on a car ride knows, the time passes faster when you have something to do, ideally something interesting or fun. As a person who has spent long periods waiting (were talking months here) I know that life doesn't stop when you wait and the time waiting is still time. You can sit around miserable waiting for the time to pass or find something to do.
Definitely the hardest wait for me was the seemingly endless 19 days I waited on the list. Now I know that sounds super short, and it was, but keep in mind I had already been waiting for about a month after we moved just to get listed. I was not the greatest at this wait especially at first. When the call came in that I was on the list I half expected to get lungs that night. I even shoveled in my food (and by shovel I mean maybe eat at a barely normal speed, I was pre- transplant people I couldn't eat fast remember this X-Ray! My esophagus was way over on my right there was no eating fast for this girl!), thinking I wouldn't have time to finish before the call came. Well I did, as hours turned into days I realized the call wasn't coming anytime soon. As I waited I began my first intense steps down the path for the waiting lesson. These steps showed me to find something else to do. I spent my days at rehab, napping, seeing friends and of course at our pitty dinners! Pretty soon this chunk of the path was over and the next chunk began.
This is a path we all travel all life long but for the next two years my path would change from a fairly flat easy road to a steep mountain pass, covered in a jungle making it impossible to see the end.
As I climbed along I learned some tips along the way.
Another way I have learned to be content with waiting it to change the moment from being one you want to pass to one you want to remember and even possibly enjoy. As I am currently waiting for my hair to grow back this lesson has been very clear. My hair is super short and curly and although this is not a style I would have ever chosen on my own I am learning to enjoy it. There are perks to short hair, its easy to deal with and never gets in the way. I do have my moments when I really just want to pull it up in a ponytail or braid it but I have to remember that one day it will be long again and this period of short hair will be gone.
I still have a long way to go on this path, as I still struggle to wait for school to start, to be done with school and start my "adult" life, a relationship, my hair, but I have also come a long way!