Day +1000. Quadruple Digits.

Day +1000. Another major milestone on this post-transplant life. To be completely honest, I must admit that lately (as in the past few months) I’ve been taking every day a bit for granted. The gratitude I once felt for every single day of being alive has, well, waned. I’m not saying that I’m not grateful for still walking this earth, because I truly am. What I mean is that the acute thankfulness for waking up each morning healthy and relatively able-bodied has normalized out significantly and each day is just, another day. I think this speaks to a normal human response of acclimation to repeated exposure to stimuli, as is seen in nature and society.

Either way, I’m here. I’m alive. Some days are great, some days are terrible; most days are pretty average. I was hoping that with such a milestone as +1000 days I’d feel more of something, but again, honestly, it feels like just another day. I suppose this is a good thing. This is an indicator that indeed I’ve come back to normalcy in my life and thankfully my health is stable.

For the entirety of my recovery, I longed for normalcy again. I reflected fondly on the days when I could get up and go for a run, dance all night, and eat whatever I wanted with little to no harmful consequence. And for the most part, I can do all of those things again (except the eating whatever I want because my metabolism has slowed way down with my age).

I still remember the first time I went to a bar months well into my recovery – the paranoia of germs and catching any sickness was constantly at the forefront of my mind and it left me socially debilitated and unable to talk to people. I remember the first dance party I went to – I avoided all contact with people and left after I felt the air tense up with humidity and artificial fog. I remember the first unwashed strawberry I ate at a park – the irrationally logical fear of “oh God am I going to get sick from this” clouded my mind all day until I woke up the next day still alive without some foreign infection.

I’ve forgotten about those times, but I’m glad I still have those memories. They remind me of the harrowing experience of stem cell transplant and recovery, which actually wasn’t that long ago. There were times in the past 1000 days when I really didn’t expect to make it. I’d accepted my lot and was preparing for the inevitable. Let me tell you, emotionally and mentally bracing for one’s preemptive passing is incredibly sobering to say the least. As cliché as it sounds, the truly important things in life become crystal clear and the rest fade into the background.

Even still, however, these ‘enlightened’ perspectives on life, normalize out over time and they too become subject to falling into the noise. And as time moves on, you again just learn to… live. Live your best life. Live your best life and make mistakes. Make mistakes and forgive yourself because you’re still incredibly human. Forgive yourself and hope you learned a lesson, and if you didn’t, allow yourself to make the same mistake and forgive yourself again. Keep forgiving yourself and hopefully through every experience, you gain a clearer understanding of who you are, what you’re willing to stand for, and what is an absolute no. But most importantly, learn to love yourself, flaws and all. We are perfectly imperfect, imperfectly perfect. This human experience is a loud, messy, tragically beautiful one. I can say from my experience that the sooner one accepts this, the freer one will be. Just some food for thought.

Today’s a special day. Even though it doesn’t quite feel like it, it’s a huge milestone on my journey. Thanks for being here with me for the ride.