Thanks to my transplant…

Posted: September 3, 2015 in cancer, Life, Medical, transplant
Tags: , , , , , , ,

On Aug. 12, 2015, I underwent a stem cell transplant, the goal of which was to push my multiple myeloma into remission. The procedure had some unexpected benefits.

Spam, of the non-blue metal can variety.

Spam, of the non-blue metal can variety.

There are 3,277 less emails in my in-boxes.

I have several email accounts, some that I review on a daily basis, others less often. Recovering from my transplant has given me ample time to cull thousands of unread emails. Among the keepers were guidelines on a new writing contest and a chocolate caramel brownie recipe I’d begged from a friend. Long gone are pleas from the Russian brides to help them find rich American husbands, 120 different secrets on how I can be as thin as Jennifer Aniston, and 294 delivery notifications from UPS for packages I never ordered.

I have a new light fixture in my kitchen. 

The fixture itself had been gathering dust in my basement for five years because the house needs new wiring, the ceiling needs re-painting, we’ll wait until the kitchen is remodeled, etc. Prior to my coming home from the hospital, our house underwent a deep cleaning to protect my weakened immune system. I’m not going to question how the light fixture became a part of that project. I’m just going to smile and bask in the inviting glow now emanating from my kitchen ceiling.

Katie, Andy and Bethannie, members of my amazing transplant team.

Katie, Andy and Bethannie, members of my amazing transplant team.

My faith in people finding their true calling is renewed.

It takes a special kind of person to work in a transplant unit. And they don’t all grow up knowing that’s what they want to do.

Barb was an accountant for 20 years before her stepmother had a stem cell transplant. Barb was one of her caregivers, which was enough to convince her to devote her professional life to caring for transplant patients. Glenda’s bank customers often remarked on her compassion and sense of humor. She thought she could use those skills to do more to help others and now she does as a nurse technician in the transplant unit.

Many of the incredible people who cared for me during my transplant had similar stories. It convinced me that we all have a place in life where we’re truly supposed to be and no matter how long it takes to find it or what circumstances will ultimately lead us to it, if you want to get there, you will.

I no longer think every day about having cancer.

Because I don’t know if I do. And I won’t know for sure until Day +100 when I have another bone marrow biopsy. That means for the first time in over a year, I’m not on chemo. Sure, there are plenty of other new meds to get used to, but mentally and physically, that break from chemo, no matter how short, is huge to me.

Little victories. We all have them. Thanks to my transplant, I’m finding something to be grateful for every day until the anticipated BIG victory arrives on Day +100.

What little victory are you celebrating today?

  1. Becca says:

    Rock on Kelly!! You inspire me daily.

  2. Moisan says:

    The victory I’m celebrating today is having my friend, Kelly Thompson, on the down slope of a huge mountain. All of us have mountains to climb in our own life; some are just bigger than others. Sometimes, we need God’s help to get to the top so we can hit that other side. Ski hard!

    • Back at you, friend, and thanks. Hope you’re doing well. I’m a better cross country than downhill skier but I’ll find my way down the backside of that mountain – count on it!

  3. Denise says:

    Another great article! I am grateful each day I wake up! I may not be happy every minute of every day but I try. I try because of people like you that inspire me because all I have to do is get up and live. You and many others have so much more to deal with on a daily basis.
    There are angels among us and seems like you have met a few. God bless them and you!

    • Thanks for the kind words on the post – I’m enjoying writing more these days. And what an inspiration YOU are, Mrs. Harford! Think of all the amazing things your kindergarteners have grown up to do over all these years because they had a teacher who believed in them and looked for the good in each child…even in those kids where it wasn’t easy to see. God bless you, Denise!

  4. Keep on writing, Kelly! Your strength is an inspiration to others! Prayers for you!

  5. Teri says:

    Your Mom would be so proud of you. You truly have a large share of the Reiter fight in you.

    • Thank you for saying that; during the week Dad took care of me we often talked about Mom but it wasn’t with sadness. More with hope and fondness. Reiter fight is right – one of our family’s best qualities!

  6. kvalleryy says:

    Kelly–so very happy to hear you are progressing so well–and waiting for the next good news on Day + 100. My victory? Finding out through a nuclear stress test that my heart is really good and strong–it’s my panic button that needs disabling. I think I always knew that, but now I’m going to do some research on getting it done!! Love you, girl–you’re an inspiration and I love your writing!

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