Thursday, October 27, 2005

trading places

My first day of chemo infusion is over now and Melanie, my daytime nurse, just infused me with day’s two dosage. She said I tolerated the first day quite well, but I might begin to feel tired with this latest fusion. We’ll just have to wait and see. So far, the only real discomfort has been the persistent hiccups. Ever since I woke up for breakfast at about 7:30 this morning, the hiccups began and have grown in intensity throughout the day.

Melanie is a pleasant looking nurse, who takes care of Nick and me from about 7:30 in the morning to about 7:30 in the evening. Stephanie cares for us during the other hours. Today Melanie revealed a bit about her own past to me. In fact, I can’t recall how the conversation started actually, but the end result is that I learned that she herself suffered from leukemia at one time. At age 22, she was diagnosed with leukemia. She, then, underwent several months of chemotherapy, which was followed by a bone marrow transplantation. None of her siblings were a match for a bone marrow donation and to make matters worse her medical staff seemed doubtful that she’d find a suitable match because of her ethnicity. However, Melanie did in fact find a match! The person was a total stranger, but he was a perfect match Melanie told me and it’s been 8 years since then. She's well and living her life.

I asked her about her transplant experience to which she responded with no effort to hide the seriousness of the undertaking. She told me clearly that it gets tougher before it becomes easier, but it will get better. Looking at her now, however, no one would ever guess that she had leukemia several years ago. I felt so inspired by her story and her willingness to share it with me. I, then, looked at her intently and encouraged in the hope that I'd become a success story like her own.

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