Thursday, August 21, 2008

day +366: allo transplant anniversary

I'm one year old today. That's right. Today is the anniversary of my allogeneic stem cell transplant. Originally, I had marked today's date on my calendar as Day +368, but after review I realized that I had made a mistake dating back to June 4th. On my calendar, I had marked June 4th as Day +290 when it in fact was Day +288. Consequently, since then I've mistakenly considered myself two days ahead of the curve. So, today - the date I celebrate having survived a year that wasn't always assured - is Day +366 (because this is a leap year).

For the past three days, I've been absorbed in the tiring effort of trying to get my primary computer, my laptop, up and running again after it crashed but with no success. So, I'm composing this post on my much older and rarely used desktop.

Exhausted by hours spent on the phone with tech support over the past few days, I refused to spend today - of all days - inside again. Moreover, with the temperature hovering in the high 70s and with clear beautiful skies, I had to do something enjoyable even if but for a short while. In preparing for today, I didn't have any specific plans. There was no grand fête scheduled. I had contemplated heading out for a dawn or early morning photo shoot, but went to bed too late last night because of the Olympics to do that.

In reading the gripping descriptions of seventeenth century Dutch high culture and political-economic prowess in The Island at the Center of the World, increasingly I had been itching to reacquaint myself with some of the Netherlands' most famous artistic expressionists of this period. Vermeer, van Ruisdael, Hals, and of course, Rembrandt, are its most notable masters during this Dutch Golden Age.

So, I decided to spend part of today at the Met where I looked at the works of these and other European artists. It was great. I'm a fan of Dutch still life and landscape art, the latter of which has some similarities to the Hudson River School.

A year ago today, I was isolated in a hospital room wondering how my life would change. Today I was walking the populated streets of Manhattan enjoying the late August sunshine and admiring centuries old art. What a difference a year makes.

In light of the continued challenges to my health, life presses on. And that's the beauty of it all, because life is a series of movements. And where there is movement, there is possibility. There is opportunity. There is hope. Some times it is very difficult to see such positivity when one is engulfed by the immediacy of their seemingly all-encompassing problems. I can attest to this. But I must remind myself, as someone very wise told me very recently, that challenges are like clouds . . . they pass by. This doesn't mean that these same challenges won't be replaced by new ones. They surely will be. That's life. Yet, the understanding that the parameters of life aren't stagnant but are in constant flux means that there is always the possibility of a better, brighter tomorrow. So, we must take heart in the knowledge that in light of whatever challenges we may face, circumstances will change for change is the universal constant. They must change even when that change is difficult to perceive.

We are strong enough to endure whatever comes along and press on.


Comment Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi my favorite non-fundamentalist born-again, You are such a breath of fresh our shared city, where fresh air is in limited supply! Happy birthday, Duane!!! According to Lacan, you're entering the mirror stage; a massive ego should follow shortly! Best wishes, Dina

10:23 PM  
Comment Blogger Duane said...

Hey Dina,

I love it: "favorite non-fundamentalist born-again." LOL :)

10:27 PM  
Comment Blogger laulausmamma said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY Duane - Glad you got to spend this day out in the world doing something you love and enjoy. Wishing you many more years of celebrating this special re-birthday in style and good health.


10:27 PM  
Comment Blogger Stratman said...

What a great day it is! Congrats, hope we're both around to celebrate many more. Salud.

11:27 PM  
Comment Anonymous Anonymous said...


Yay! Happy Birthday! Congratualtions! Hope you are feeling great! Talk to you soon!


3:09 AM  
Comment Anonymous Anonymous said...


Happy Birthday to you! Enjoy!

11:38 AM  
Comment Blogger Tom (dB) said...

a hippy pappy buthuthduth to you!

12:09 PM  
Comment Blogger Michelle J said...

Happy birthday duane, what a great day for you!!!


7:57 PM  
Comment Anonymous CalifGuy Brian said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY PRIZEFIGHTER! Each day you continue to inspire!


12:44 AM  
Comment Blogger Summerbead said...

Happy Anniversary!
Beautiful post. I admire your spirit; and sheer determination. Isn't it funny how we begin to l.i.s.t.e.n to the words and advice of our friends. It's amazing how we find ourselves in the friendship and words of other's.
I wish you the best ~ in life! A year sure can make a difference. Time is only, of the "essence". Make the best of it all.
I wish you peace and strength.

9:13 PM  
Comment Blogger Ally said...

YAY!!! Happy Birthday! You are an inspiration :)

Love Ally

11:53 AM  
Comment Anonymous Emily said...

Congratulations on your anniversary! I have been remiss in checking your blog for a while now and I'm sorry for that. What a post for me to return to, great news!

12:17 PM  
Comment Blogger Scott said...

Happy Birthday Duane. That is awesome. It's amazing that a year has gone by. And I agree "what a difference a year makes" Everything for me is framed in anniversaries now. 5/18/08 was one year in remission. I feel the same way. Stay well and God Bless.

15 months and counting.

(taking life one day at a time)

4:41 PM  
Comment Anonymous erin rongers said...

You are doing so great, Duane! You continue to be an inspiration to all of us....happy re-birthday! Leos are the BEST! Yes, I am one, too. =)

9:35 PM  

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