Today, Saturday, July 20, 2013 at 10:25 am I was born again. I received my unrelated bone marrow transplant and my second chance at life.
Now, one would think that it would entail some kind of surgery or lengthy procedure, but it was quite the opposite. The actual transplant was pretty, well, simple. The cells arrived in an igloo cooler and were placed on the bed table in front of me. I stared at the cooler thinking, this looks like a beer cooler, not a life saving stem cell cooler. I had my family, all wearing our Team Tara "Losing is NOT an Option" shirts, as well as Lynn, and my two aunts. Dr. Lum came in with the nurses and read off the labels making sure these were, in fact, my stem cells. Then he took the small pouch of stem cells and hung them from my IV pole. The machine began to push the stem cells down the clear tube into my heart and the rest was history. My rebirth took all of about 20 minutes.
I never thought that it would feel like something changing or happening inside my body, or for the procedure to be more that what it was, but it was one of the most important days of my life. I have waited and dreamed of this day for over a decade. And still the journey is just beginning. Now I must wait for the stem cells to magically find their way to my bone marrow and begin my new blood cell factory. I will then be able to produce healthy cells, FINALLY. I can't even begin to imagine what having healthy cells is like; cells that will correctly do their job and allow me to live cancer-free. It seems so far fetched after 10 years living my life in and out of the hospital. It's as if the hospital and cancer has just become a part of my life. I am excited to kick them out!
This has been a fight, especially as of the past few days post chemo. I have never felt such fatigue, nausea, pain, and more. It has truly been a test of my inner strength. Yesterday, when it took me until almost 3pm to make it out of bed, determined to shower by myself, I was reminded how tough this whole process is. It would be easy to just lie in bed and give up. I didn't want to do that to myself; I have come to far to let this take just one day from me and the goals that I have set for myself.
So the next path of this journey is beginning, growth of new, healthy cells and the battle of GVHD. I will not lose. Losing is NOT an option, why? Because I love living life, not just existing in it and that will make all the difference between victory and defeat.