it’s been two years since L’s bone marrow transplant. sometimes it’s hard to believe it ever happened, sometimes it’s hard to forget. this last year went a lot faster than the previous one.
i’m sure it felt a lot faster to me than it has to L, considering that i didn’t have to go through the nightmare of the disease and the treatment. still, it changed me. it changed our family. it changed a lot of previously held notions and future endeavors.
a year ago i couldn’t imagine re-reading entries from the journal i kept, but strangely, this year i’m drawn back to it. probably because i know that l is fine, more than fine, she’s thriving and the cancer is gone. it only took a couple of sentences before i once again felt the heat, the smell of mildew, sweat and bug spray that constantly hovered in the humid south texas air, remember how hard it was to put on a strong face every day and walk into that hospital.
the actual anniversary date of L’s transplant is august 27th. it will be hard not to relive some moments from that day, and i know there’s no way my thoughts won’t go there on monday.
but this year there’s a twist. we know the name and other contact information of her life-saving donor. it was a very emotional moment when L told me his name, there aren’t enough of the right words to say to and about him.
maybe the most important way to thank the donor is to find out why he did it. what made him sign up for the registry (and more importantly), say yes when asked? (only about half of people who sign up for the registry agree to actually donate when they are contacted) the potential donor who would have been the best possible match for L was unavailable (or maybe said no). there were two more potential donors who were less of a match. the donor who said yes was one of the two.
i wonder whether he was told how high the stakes were for her, that he was part of a tiny pool of people with the power to save her life. i wonder whether he didn’t need to be told, if when contacted he said ‘yes, i made a commitment and i don’t need to be convinced’. doesn’t matter. he said yes to the needle harvesting method, the one that people hesitate to follow through with. i wonder whether more of them would say yes if they knew all the pain and discomfort cancer patients endure, and that their discomfort would be minimal by comparison.
i really hope to be able to be called to donate one day. i would not hesitate, but then i know what the stakes are, i’ve seen first hand the miracles and the tragedies. i didn’t even have my name in the registry until L got sick. i try not think that there may have been someone i could have been a match for all those years before i was in the registry.
i posted my journey entry from the one hundred days on the blog here (look under the 100 days tab) if you’re interested in reading the details of that day. knowing the name of the donor and where he was that day makes the entry that much more moving.
on transplant day L asked where the donor was from and the team replied that he was a resident of earth. doc talked about how the cells were being flown in, though we were never sure whether that was a cover-up or the truth. now we know the cells were flown halfway across the country like one of those doctor shows on tv. precious cargo. i get choked up.
i certainly hope we will have met the donor before the next anniversary. i’m trying to imagine something articulate to say. i told L to tell him that we’ll all show him a great time in philadelphia. it’s the least we can do until we find a proper way to show immeasurable gratitude for the man that saved our daughter’s life.