I am not sure who coined this phrase first. It was either Gandhi or an eccentric guy I coached football with. Last night, I got to see with my own eyes the change I wish to see. I met a lady who had the stem cell transplant 4 years ago. She explain how she had gone from being so weak that she was having trouble swallowing to recently signing up for surfing lessons. Sitting there listening to her and her husband explain to us their experiences made me realize that although the toughest part of the journey is still in front of me the results are worth it. As we said our good-byes for the evening I took away some valuable advice from this lovely couple.
They stressed repeatedly to Ann and I how important it is to keep a positive attitude and to surround yourself with only those who are supportive. I figure we have this one covered as we have so many people following our journey and already offering words of encouragement.
The second piece of advice was to always carry a pen. Think about how many people have touched the pen at the bank. Gross right? You know that pens in banks or restaurants are never cleaned and have been touched by who knows how many people.
The last one, and probably the most difficult one for me, was to allow your body time to heal as much as possible. She told us that she did not really leave her home for a solid 12 months. She talked to her friends and family on the phone. Absolutely no one who was sick or even around someone who was sick was allowed in. During the first year after transplant is a time where a lot of healing is taking place and it only takes one minor cold or infection to setback the healing process. By sticking to her strict regime of hand sanitizing and keeping people at a distance she went 18 months before she had to go to her family doctor for a sinus infection.
It was an honor to be able to sit down and talk with this couple. I have been amazed at the love and support of those who were mere strangers just months ago. As my tests continue to return positive results, the path to being the change I wish to see is becoming clearer.