Delirium is precisely the word I would, if pressed, apply to today.
This morning P and I
Let's get the boring stuff out of the way: all is well on the bone marrow front (fist pump). My counts are relatively stable, I'm being taken down to a minuscule dose of steroid (1mg every third day) and taken completely off of Detrol (turns out my episode last week was not that virus, just a simple bladder infection) and tapered down significantly on a mouthful of other drugs. Next Friday I will receive (after some intense negotiation) all of my "1 Year" immunizations, the same ones a baby would receive, and another infusion of IViG to boost me up. My feet are healing up and I have enough hair to make an actual hairstyle (OK, so Dr. Porter didn't tell me that last one).
Now for the interesting stuff. A deeply loved and respected friend, someone who has been meaningful in P's life and his family's lives (and for a long time mine too) is now receiving cancer treatment at UPenn and happened to be having an infusion this afternoon, just after my appointment ended. Because this person is like a love magnet, powerfully drawing you in with their positive and beautiful light, not to mention just a damn good time to be around, I asked if I may stick around and keep them company. They accepted and, my god, what a blessing this turned out to be. One of the greatest lessons I've learned over the last few years is that experience and knowledge is always a choice. Things can happen to you, or you can experience them. You can see things, or you can open your eyes and heart wide and take them in. Those that possess the greatest wealth are the ones who have done this and THESE are the people who have the most to teach. They teach in every moment, in the smallest and greatest ways.
Sitting with this friend today and listening to them talk about their path, their outlook, their experiences, watching them laugh while poison (a heeling poison, somehow) is pumped into them, smile with family members and be completely open, left me absolutely in awe. This person is the embodiment of both ferocious fight and absolute surrender. They are stunning in so many ways and have taught a thousand lessons in only a few moments. These hours spent sitting by them today are hours I will cherish forever and that I am honored to have been given the opportunity to experience them. There were a few moments today, while listening to their stories, that I could feel their impact on my life, on how I want to live my life. That is...well, that is a damn special thing. Writing this last paragraph has me emotional and feeling protective of these memories, so I may stop here.
To wrap up this post, because this year has been too effing serious to leave blog posts on an emotional note all the time (Dancing Dror being the exception...though I'm fairly serious about that...), I will share with you the mindboink that happened while hanging out in a waiting room today. Ready? No, I don't think you are. If you choose to skip this part, good. I'll let you know when to stop scrolling down. Read on if you dare.
I will first draw your attention to this picture:
"Laura, those are just chairs and some dude's legs, what's your damn problem?"
I WILL TELL YOU WHAT MY DAMN PROBLEM IS.
Notice, friends, the gentleman at the top right of this photograph (that is my left leg on the bottom). This gentleman, carrying a stack of papers, a bag of patient-y stuff (binders, pill bottles, magazines) and a few other random things, sat down a few seats away while I was waiting for my friend. He quickly struck up a conversation. Normal enough, yeah? Yeah. It became very clear VERY rapidly that he was thoroughly zonkered out of his mind on, what I presume to be, pain medication and this pain medication had the wonderful effect of lowering this man's inhibitions...significantly.
Sure, it started innocently enough. He informed me (the only person sitting within conversation range) of the various VERY TRUE conspiracy theories currently ruining the world. The standard stuff we all know about, delivered in a deluge of totally coherent sentences: something something Arabs something something 18th Century scrolls something Hitler mumble NIXON. No big deal. Although, he was really mad about Nixon. Look, I've spent my fair share of time whacked out on pain meds and this gentleman had a brand new PICC line in (and we were in a damn cancer center) so I'll totally understand all of this (I shared drunken college stories with my nurses on pain meds). However, friends, it is what happened next, or rather what I finally noticed on the empty chair next to him, that takes the crazycake.
On that chair, with his stack of papers, in the middle of a busy waiting room, on a sunny Friday in July, looking at first no more menacing than a hamster in a top-hat, was a blue-capped specimen cup. A blue-capped specimen cup unmistakably and containing this man's spunk. Yes, his jizz. Baby-batter. Sperm.
I'll wait right here while you process that.
Ok now? Good. Try as I might, I do not think that I managed not to react to this, though if I did, he didn't notice. He was far too angry about sidewalk chalk, bless his heart. So, you know, there it sat. There he sat. There I sat. The group on the other side of the room grew very quiet so clearly we were all in this together. At this point the good gods of the universe told him that the cup of goo would really punctuate his point (and after all, why wouldn't it) so he scooped it from its throne and began waving it around in his hand again as if it were a mere can of cola. This is the point where I made the very important decision to take a super-stealth picture, because, well, basically it was all I could do at that moment. You're welcome. In fact, you can even play a really fucked up version of Where's Waldo, because it's in there, dare you to find it.
After some time of this (who knows how long, time tends to slow when these things are going on), a nurse RAN over (I think after his daughter/niece noticed his chosen presentation tool), snagged the cup and his paperwork and bolted away. He then mellowed out and started leering at the carpet. At about this time my friend showed up and I suppressed the memory until I could post it all over the internet.
This photograph required the advanced iPhone technique of pretending to text message while actually taking a photo and not capturing this man's face or giving myself away and upsetting him. Please understand that I have an enormous amount of empathy for what this man was probably going through today BUT I can't make this shit up, people. Tarantino couldn't write this shit. That is life in the cancer center trenches y'all.
STOP SCROLLING IT'S SAFE NOW:)
On a completely different note I would like to send a big wave of love and positivity to Sarah D. down in Houston, who is twenty-some days post transplant and kicking butt. Much love to you, friend:) Also, a massive 'thank you' to the universe for the fact that my Nan is doing a-OK after a scary medical moment last week. Gratitude and love abounds.
Thank you, friends, for following with me through this journey and leaving some of the best encouragement and advice I've ever received. The next month may prove to be exceptionally emotional as my first 're-birthday' approaches, mostly because I know the time when P and I can thank my donor in person is drawing closer. It's a breathtaking idea...
Much love and STAY COOL!