Wednesday, February 4, 2009

"The Shift"

About a week ago, I experienced a real shift in my life. There had been, of course, the "before" breast cancer and the "after" breast cancer. Then there was the "before" leukemia (that one whole month....) and the "after" the leukemia diagnosis. Somewhere the "before" transplant had begun, but not really hit me. Suddenly, it's a "now" thing. It's transplant time.

Nothing in particular happened. Yet instead of being in a little while, it was in a number of days. A countdown, I guess, to leaving for Seattle. Somehow the leaving home really defines it.

My endless projects, preparations, and to do lists became more of a "what I absolutely have to get done before I leave list". Some of those things I can take with me to Seattle and work on during the free time during the first two weeks of tests and meetings. The best analogy I can give is that it's like getting ready for a vacation. There's all this stuff to do to get ready to go. But when time runs out, you pack, check your purse for your tickets and i.d., and go. Does that make sense?

It is an interesting position to be in, half living and half dying. The long list of thinds I wanted to get done before I left? Hey, I can get it done when I get back. Then there's that fear that I won't come back and I will regret that I didn't get it done before I left.

The last few weeks have felt like the long goodbye. It has been wonderful to get to talk to and visit with so many people. But there seems to always be that elephant in the room. Is it a "see you when you get back thing", or is it a goodbye? I suppose it's a little of both. The silver lining is having had those opportunities with people, to say some things I may not otherwise have said. And to get to experience that deep connection and love is a blessing.

Yet sometimes I just want to cry or scream. I don't know if I will be back. Have you ever had the experience when you look around you, at all the people in a crowded place, and wonder what's going on in their lives? Sometimes I do that, and wonder if any of those people are saying goodbyes and wondering if they will be alive in a month. Okay, I know I'm weird. However, my behavioral health people assure me it's all normal. But it's still weird to me.

Without a doubt, the hardest part is interacting with my kids. I want the warm fuzzies, cuddling, holding hands, kisses, and hugs. Yeah, right! They are boys, through and through!

Time is certainly running out before I leave. There are many phone calls to return and make and I hope to use some of my initial Seattle time to connect with many of you. And if you don't know what to say to me, as I have been told by some of you, the answer is: Just be my friend. We don't have to talk cancer, leukemia, transplant, death, the meaning of life, and so on. Let's just say hi. Share with me what's going on in your life. Although my current occupation is sick person, I am still Sally.

Well, with all this emotional upheaval I've just written, it's time to end this post, with thanks and love. And I do believe in miracles.

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