Dear Izzy, my Immune System,
Happy 3rd Birthday. It’s been such a wild ride the past three years, and I’m so grateful for you every single day. The gift that you were to me from a (still unidentified) donor, which has allowed me to breathe deeper, dance harder, climb higher, and love fuller than ever before is one that will always bring me to tears of gratitude.
As I reflect back to the time before I had you, it was naive of me to accept death without wanting to put up more of a fight. I had resolved to accept the inevitable, because, well, what could I really do? At the time, I was so, so tired. Tired of waking up feeling groggy, tired of thinking about getting up to do anything, tired of being tired. The realist in me had collected all the facts, looked at all the options, made a reasonable predicted outcome, and had begun to process the potential impending reality.
But you. An unassuming, small bag of undifferentiated, pluripotent hemopoietic stem cells, shipped all the way from somewhere in China, came to save my life. I very clearly remember the moment when you made your entrance into my stratosphere. Coy, cool, and in a petite, sterile bag. It was a calm, brisk fall morning. You didn’t say hi to anyone in the room but me (because I waved at you). From the moment when we made contact, I knew I was in safe hands. Oh, the preparations we made for your arrival! The days of chemotherapies, the hours spent on the toilet, the numbers of opioids to calm the serum sickness. And let us not forget all of the emotional anguish, too. But, it was all worth it. Every battle, every fever, every tear, and every drop of blood; all worth it.
What a wild ride the past three years have been! We’ve been through two new jobs, three new apartments, six different countries, and so many dance parties I lost track of the number! I’ve gotten to share with you my love for baking and music, and so many delicious meals and drinks with my amazing friends. We’ve seen some of my dearest friends commit to sharing their lives to their partners, and we’ve seen other friends’ children grow to be amazing toddlers. You’ve supported me through some of the toughest heartbreaks I’ve ever faced in my 30 years of life, and you’ve also been there as I’ve received and practiced grace and forgiveness.
Izzy, I’m so thrilled and honored that we get to keep each other company for the rest of this journey. You’ve been nothing but supportive to me despite having put you through the ringer at times, and I am forever grateful for you. Thanks for being here through my happiest and darkest moments, and I promise I’ll do my best to hydrate better.
Onward, to the next adventure.
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