Another MilestoneTomorrow, February 21st, marks my sixth re-birthday. I thought not to reach this milestone, but here it comes — just now in sight down the road. Tomorrow marks the anniversary of my Blood and Marrow stem cell Transplant (BMT) in 2011 — the day stem cells and T-cells from my brother, Kevin were introduced into my own blood stream. Within weeks, my own blood and DNA were replaced by Kevin's blood and DNA, and I physically became two rather different people living in the same body.
Although we usually get along, you know siblings. When conflicts arise between blood and body, I know it immediately, because of the amazing, often terrifying side effects. This is known as Graft versus Host Disease or GvHD, an opportunistic and absurd disease, requiring constant watchfulness and lots of medications. I still hope we tire of fighting each other, and settle down and coexist in peace.
Anniversaries are ImportantI spend my days on moments. Each golden moment is dearly purchased with coin irretrievable, unloanable, unsaveable, and unborrowable. Time may only be spent, invested, or wasted. Were I to keep a ledger of my time, I believe I would be aghast at how little was spent wisely or invested sagely, and how much was simply wasted.
Were hours spent sleeping not healing and comforting and energizing, I should want to never sleep. For most of my life, I did sleep less than my contemporaries — a mere 4 to 5 hours per night. Now, of course, I must sleep more, because daily living has a higher cost and healing comes only at a premium. Yet, spend I must, or invest in a future I will likely never see. I have become fascinated, perhaps obsessed with avoiding the anathema of wasting time — precious and perilously fleeting time. This leads to quirky behaviors, such as spreading thick layers of personal "wisdom" everywhere — often where it's not really welcome. For that, I apologize to one and all. It also leads to impatience, especially with young folk who rush about in a frenzy and yet paradoxically, feel as though they have all the time in the world. Maybe they do, but I have learned that I do not.
There is a growing selfishness within me that drives me to pay special attention to anniversaries. My own birthdays have become mile markers on my personal highway. I don't fear them, or ignore them as many do: I treasure them and measure them against my accomplishments; always finding the latter wanting by comparison. It's an unfortunate habit, and a waste of precious time.
The GiftThe gift of my leukemia, its subsequent treatment, and my close approaches to death's threshold has been learning to live one day at a time. Living as much as possible in the moment, gives one a new perspective on time and its value. I try not to waste it, but I no longer worry about saving it.
Goodnight and God bless,