I don’t know where in the world my donor may be. I do know that I woke up this morning, next to my beautiful wife, my wonderful little 4 year old soon slipped into our bed to “share some cuddles”. I took a few minutes after the cuddling to think about this year. Today is my transplant day. A year ago I woke up in the University of Washington Hospital. Tired and starting to feel the full effects of the ablation chemotherapy which hopefully wiped out my stem cells, the trouble makers, the cancerous clan which dragged me into this battle. I think those cell are all gone, I hope with all my heart they aren’t around. I spent the majority of that day waiting around wondering when the new stem cells would arrive. It would not be until much later in the evening but I still tend to use today as my true second birthday.
A year has now slipped by. At times I can honestly say I didn’t think I would be here. I can say there were even times I wasn’t sure I wanted to stick around to see if I could be here. Amazingly now it feels like it flew by in an extremely colorful blur. I wish I could say that I have channeled all the strength I was given, the second chance at life, the well wishes, the free time, the open mindedness into something wonderful to change or improve the world. Yet, I don’t think I have. I say this with some reluctance and no regret because I am not sure I haven’t. Maybe I have battled this far to keep my mind and my body going and that still may hold the possibility of greatness. I do know that I have no regrets because I am still here and the possibilities are still an option.
I may never come to some world altering thought, but I am too worried about that. I do know that each and everyday I get to interact with amazing people, I get to see wonderful kids growing in front of my eyes, I get to see all the color and the beauty the world around me has. I do not know what the alternative is. It may be far better, it may be far worse, it may even be similar. I do know that what ever the other side holds it is not what I have here. This is where I want to be. Sure I could maybe do more, but I could be doing less. I am happy and growing with everyday just like a one year old. Only I have the advantage to reflect and see where I have been and recognize that I am very lucky despite the unfairness which is life.
Where I am right now is fine with me. I don’t know where in the world you are my now partial twin sister. We were close enough with all the little proteins and molecular structures to make our blood almost the same. Close enough that your stem cells, although they are a little rambunctious at times, still haven’t finished off what my cells tried to do. I sometimes believe I can actually feel them, carrying their loads of oxygen, fighting off the infections which do get in, moving around the necessities of living but more than anything I can feel them flowing through my heart and brain and that is a very powerful feeling.
You saved my life, you gave me more of my own existence. You helped my wife, my sons, my parents, my brothers, my in laws, my extended family, my friends, their kids, my communities, and all the people whom I have yet to meet in the life I still get to live. When you think about the impact of that combined with the feeling I get with your cells I can only hope that you feel like one of the most powerful people in the world today. I hope you feel that power everyday. I may never change the world but you already have.