I think Saturday was the most bittersweet day of my life. I got to spend time with my family and Bradley and we had a beautiful day with beautiful weather. But I knew it was my last day with them for a while. Every time I walked outside I was reminded that I won't feel the Oklahoma wind blow for four months and the only time I will see the sun is through glass nine stories high for a month.
The day went on and the realities sunk in hard that this transplant was coming whether I was ready for it or not. Brad and I went bowling and went to our Johnny Carino's then came home and played video games to try and enjoy our day together because no one is guaranteed a tomorrow.
I think the most memorable moment for me yesterday was when Brad had his arm around me and was playing with my hair. My real hair. My hair that stays on even if you tug on it. My short brown curly hair. It's really not that cute and is kind of at that awkward too long to be a pixie but too short to be anything else stage. So it's like my very own curly mullet. That I love. Sweet Brad ran his fingers through my curlies and didn't even realize he was doing it.
For cancer patients who have lost their hair multiple times (I'm a three timer) the state of your head is indicative to the state of.. all of you. New growth is a victory. Long hair means you haven't had chemo in a long time. And that is certainly a victory. But as Brad ran his fingers through my hair it was just another reminder that things were about to change again.
The next morning my mom and I packed our lives for the next four months into my Ford Fusion. I hugged and said goodbye to Hannah, my dad and Bradley and I felt the weight of their absence and they were still in my arms. I am so grateful to have the father that I have. I never doubt his love or willingness to sacrifice. I feel the warmth of his prayers for me and his hugs always say "I would take it from you if I could." I am so grateful to have a bone marrow match in Hannah. Perfect match. That's pretty much because there isn't anything Hannah does that isn't perfect. What a sacrifice both physically and emotionally to donate stem cells to your baby sister. And Bradley. Bradley is my smile, and my laugh. He is my best friend and my rock. He challenges me and is probably the only one that can get away with that on my hard days. He leads me and encourages me and I am so blessed to have him by my side on this journey. Gretchen stopped by for a little while again tonight and gave me a necklace that was the shape of Oklahoma and had a blue heart right in the middle. It also had an orange lightning bolt on it. How perfect.
And then there's Bub. My brother Dustin. He's deployed to Afghanistan now and I kind of feel like a jerk for being all torn up about four months when he will have been gone over twice that. He is so strong. What a role model. So now that you all are overly convinced with how incredible my family is, you see how hard it is to leave them behind to a place where hours drag and claw their way by. Where you eat three saltines and are like "wow I'm eating awesome today!" (Literally that happens). I know this sounds dramatic but anyone who has spent time away from their family knows that you can coast by until something happens and things get hard and then you can barely carry on without them. Knowing that and knowing there aren't days that coast by where I'm going, there are only days where I puke a little less and are a little less hard, makes leaving my family the hardest thing I have ever done. Anyway, we prayed together and on me and my sweet mom went.
It's morning, but it is dim. I had a feeling this whole day would be dim. It's starting to rain and I could feel the pressure of the sky and the inevitable on my shoulders. Literally, I felt it. Wrapped up in my blanket with my legs folded up underneath me, rested my head on the headrest and looked out the window. Constantly reminded I was leaving everything I knew and everyone I loved by the blind spot detector light on my side view mirror. Every car we passed, left behind, that stupid yellow light would blink. And then we would leave them behind and the light would turn off.
I don't know how this transplant will work out for me. I don't know the blessings or the complications I will face. But I do know that if I have to leave the majority of my family and loved ones for this long, I am going to fight as hard as I can to make it worth it.
Posted on Tue, July 16, 2013
by Lorelei Decker