It’s been 198 days since I received my Leukemia diagnosis in the ER. It’s been 115 days since my stem cell transplant. It’s been 14 days since my mom passed… all while being only 25 days into 2021.
People often ask, how are you doing with everything? Truth is. I don’t know. How is one supposed to recover from their own cancer treatment while grieving the loss of their mom/best friend? There’s no book on this. I wish there was. So to update you all, I figured I’d talk about how I’m recovering from my stem cell transplant vs. how I’m adapting to grief that hit my family on January 11, 2021 as separate topics of discussion.
Stem Cell Transplant Update
I just had my 100 day survivorship meeting with my Dr.’s and they said I’m looking fabulous. They explained all my test results came back from my 100 day bone marrow biopsy and they couldn’t ask for them to be better. This means, my counts are recovering and no cancer was found. Yay! I was sincerely happy to hear this but my mind continued to race during this appointment. What if they’re wrong? Are they missing something? What are the chances my cancer still comes back later down the road? What if I get another cancer later down the road? WHAT IF. WHAT IF. WHAT IF. Besides the physical recovery of my cancer treatments, mentally I still need some work. Remember my “what if” post I wrote when I was initially diagnosed? Yeah, well it seems as though I threw that out the window post transplant. Truth is I’ve struggled a lot with worry since my transplant. I’ve talked to other survivors and they also feel they continually struggle with what if’s and worries. Cancer can do that to you.
I have also continually struggled with survivors guilt. Cancer is weird in that way. You fight so dang hard to stay alive during treatment but then if you do survive you feel immense guilt for surviving something that takes peoples lives daily. You make your “cancer friends” that you share a special bond with and when one of them passes the guilt strikes you like a truck. You ask yourself why them? Why me? Why anyone? That then spirals into trying to find your purpose in life and make your time worth it. Makes you want to live life to the fullest and trying to do so during a pandemic as an immunocompromised individual has sucked me dry. I miss my friends. I miss normal life. I am struggling.
But don’t worry. I know all of that makes me sound like I’m not in a good place. Truth is I have my days. Some days I wake up, try to drink a gallon of water, meal prep and go on my walks. Other days I’m too exhausted to function and eat pizza. Balance right? On a positive note, I would say I am getting stronger which I am so thankful for. My mile walks are getting faster and I can now officially do girl push-ups. Dr.’s have continually reminded me that most people don’t feel back to “normal” until a year after transplant. I only have 8 months to go. Wahoo!!!!
Momma Blick’s Passing
My mom was my absolute best friend. Yes I do have other best friends but Momma Blick would beat them out any day… I mean how can anyone compete with 26 years of friendship? They can’t. She’s who I called when boys were being mean, when I needed to figure out how to get a stain out of my clothes, what temperature to cook my chicken and when I needed to have a solid cry. My heart is shattered into a million pieces and I honestly believe I will always have a hole in my heart. People always say, “it’ll be okay.” And to be honest, that’s what I used to say to people who were grieving too. Now I know it might not be the right thing to say. For the rest of my life I will have a hole in my heart where my mom used to be and won’t feel okay. When I go wedding dress shopping. When I get married. If I have children with my 31 eggs (haha trying to add some humor). When my kids ask who their grandma is. When I’m missing that shoulder to cry on. I won’t be okay. I’ll be the farthest thing from okay. My psychiatrist says grief does get easier with time which I am thankful for. He also said something that stuck with me. “Think how blessed you are to have had a mom that makes losing her so painful.” He’s right. Children grow up without their mothers all the time. And I not only had the most beautiful, selfless soul raising Braydo, Kier and I but I was able to have a solid 26 years with her. I am forever grateful God blessed my family with Momma B. Now my guardian angel.
So all in all. It’s been a rough start to 2021. But I also have a lot of things to be thankful for. I’m thankful my cancer hasn’t returned. I’m thankful I was able to return to work part-time. I’m thankful I have co-workers who understand after 1:00 pm I need to take a massive nap (even though it’s the middle of busy season). I’m thankful I have slowly been able to gain back my strength. I’m thankful for the support system that constantly showers me with love and support. I am thankful my mom is no longer suffering. I am excited to see where I am in the next three months when I’m six months post transplant. For any of you struggling with hard times, know I see you. When you’re broken down and tired keep fighting. Life WILL get good again. It’s just testing how strong you are. So don’t give up. I love you all. I hope you’re all staying safe and healthy. Let’s make 2021 the best year together. Because let’s be honest, we ALL deserve it after a year like 2020.