|I was born when I was very young.|
Counting days was not one of my habits until I was confronted by my own mortality. I started by counting days until my next round of chemotherapy. I continued when I could no longer withstand chemo’s onslaught and I was given eight months to survive until a suitable stem-cell donor could be found. Next, I counted days of preparation until my immune system was fully non-functional and the transplant could take place.
Finally came day zero: February 21, 2011 -- my rebirthday. Once again, I began counting -- 100 days full of milestones: bottoming out, engraftment, appearance of my brand new immune system, and my introduction to acute Graft versus Host Disease. It was a busy time and I kept my mind busy by counting days and writing about my present journey and my past journeys.
After 100 days (and a few extra days for testing, paperwork, and administrative stuff) we went home to continue counting days and waiting for chronic Graft versus Host Disease to come knocking. My old friend (and nemesis), cGvHD, has come a-knocking at my door far too often to ever be welcome and he nearly always takes something with him. We wrestle, he and I, every day.
And so, I still count days and I still feel grateful to wake in the morning and to slip peacefully away into the world of sleep each night; where I am unencumbered by the steely chains of cGvHD. I thank God for each day, and try to remember that every precious moment with family and friends is mine to share if I wish. Recently, I was reminded that, although those with enough hate or enough wealth might cut short my remaining days, they cannot use them -- live them -- not one second.
The content of my days, my thoughts, my memories, my joys and regrets...those precious moments are mine. Although some wish I would shut up, I can’t help but share them freely -- be they bright and cozy and warm or dark and painful and cold -- because once given, they live on beyond my count of days.
Today is 2,900 days since my blood and marrow stem cell transplant.