I’m feeling more and more like my prick (pre + sick) self lately, and my last visit to City of Hope’s Main Lab waiting room confirmed it. Putting my new vision to use, I surveyed my fellow patients, all there for AFBT – Another F-ing Blood Test, and I realized I was the ONLY one without a wheelchair, dark glasses, beanie, barf bowl, PICC line, heart monitor, hospital gown, cane, oxygen, head scarf, nurse attendant, eye patch, IV tree, or bandage. I gave the stuffed room a thorough recon and failed to glimpse a single patient without at least one of these accessories. Most had more than one. I had every one of them at some point during my brawl. It struck me – how far I’d come in the last 18 months. Damn close to a prick full circle. You could almost say I was… normal.
My vitals from that last visit were: BP: 122/78, Temp: 98.6, Weight: 56.5 kg. normal.
My bloodwork (about 20 tests) was in target ranges. normal.
Today I was driving around, doing errands and sh*t, and I remarked to myself, “Hey self! Wow! You are doing normal errands and sh*t!” I noticed, however, that my new normal has a different mindset than my old normal. Someone (my former normal self would have used the phrase ‘some a**hole’) cut in front of me in line, and I smiled, appreciating the extra minutes of air conditioning. Someone (same as above) merged wayyyyy too close to me on Laguna Canyon Road, then flipped me the international bird, and I mouthed, “Have a nice day,” as I gave a little wave. I took a tad too long communicating my Starb’s order to the (former normal self would have added a prefix that rhymes with the word, ‘witch’) barista: ‘tall decaf coffee frap no whip’ – no, ‘grande decaf coffee frap no whip’ – no, ‘tall skinny decaf coffee frap no whip’, no- ‘grande soy decaf coffee frap no whip!’ She was way over me and my frap and let me know it, but I smiled and put some bread in her jar and said, “Man, what are you doin’ here?” No, not that last part. That last part is from a Billy Joel song. I just enjoy messin’ with ya. normal.
I’ve been able to get back to some normal adventurous sh*t, too. Todd and I recently got away on a trip to the Exuma Cays in the Bahamas, where I was thrilled to return to the water and make some new friends 🙂 normal.
I’m seeing very well these days and I no longer have to adhere to my post-surgery eye drop schedules. normal.*
*footnote ~ I will prob have to endure a couple more minor procedures on my eyes to off some growths that are prob going to start f-ing up my vision. This condition is called Posterior Lens Capsule Opacification, or PCO, but I can prob think of a more fun acronym. It is treated with a “frickin’ laser” – go ahead, make air quotation marks with your fingers, and say it like Dr. Evil – “frickin’ laser.” Ya, baby! It will be outpatient and cinchy. Dr. K assures me this complication is – you guessed it – normal.
I’m back to being a normal neighbor, too. Todd and I hosted a Be The Match bone marrow donor drive in our community on the 4th of July, where, along with some radass volunteers (Mary, Kathleen, Cindy, Michael, Scott, Jeff, Diane, Mychaela, Hailey, Gary and Nancy) we were able to add over 200 new SEPDALS – Stupendously Excellent Potential Donors And Life Savers to the Registry! I made sure that a little Bud or JD on the swab was okay, just in case one or two (wink wink) volunteer donors celebrated the 4th with vigor. Shoulda asked about Cheetos 🙂 Huge kudos to Mary for her suggestion to have the drive! We were overwhelmed by the eager willingness of these mostly 20-somethings to step up and commit to giving their marrow to otherwise terminal patients. Hip Hip Hooray! Get it? – marrow comes from the hips? I may have chemo brain, but I can still produce some astoundingly mind-blowing word plays, right? Just like if I were… normal.
If you are interested in possibly saving a life, go to bethematch.org or join my team by going to my team page. Perhaps you could be the lifesaving cure that gets someone back to their normal! Todd and I made a house call yesterday to get 6 more terrific SEPDALS on the Registry. Thanks Clayton, Andy, Justin, Devon, Chloe and Katie for supporting Be The Match and swabbing your cheeks 🙂 One or more of you could be the return ticket from sick to normal!
As I return to normal, I can’t celebrate completely, as Louisa, my next door neighbor at City of Hope’s Helford Hospital, who had her transplant 4 days after mine, is struggling greatly with her recovery. She’s still suffering with some major Graft vs. Host eye problems, causing her sight to be very poor, she’s got large Graft vs. Host lesions all over her body, she’s been told she will have to have all of her teeth removed, and her hair isn’t growing back. She’s a brawler, don’t get me wrong, but she’s been hit with some tough sh*t, and I’m anxious for her to get back to her normal.