This is what remission looks like.
I'm swollen and much rounder, with far less hair, but I still have my smile and the music in my heart beats louder than ever.
Here's what I found out I can endure:
Bone Marrow Biopsy (2x)
1 month stay in the hospital without visitors
Port placement surgery
Oral chemo seven days a week
Intravenous chemo five days a week for two hours each, at the clinic
3 visits to the Emergency Department
Weekly blood tests
A spinal tap
A CT Scan
Vision and hearing tests (1 hour each, 2x)
Loneliness, depression, and anxiety
Changes to my vision and hearing
My last day of chemo just so happened to land on Halloween. Since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I figured my best choice was to don a nurses outfit. I wore everything from scrubs to those incredibly comfortable nursing shoes, and even found a badge for a finishing touch of flare. The holiday also made my means of expressing gratitude toward the team of healthcare workers that saved my life a no-brainer. I decided to use an old real estate A-frame to make a giant, two-sided candy card poster. The end result was bright and colorful, and I'm told even made it's way into Kaiser's internal newsletter. My doctors and nurses all gathered around with me and my THANK YOU sign, taking pictures and laughing. The A-frame was displayed outside the clinic until just before the Thanksgiving holiday, when everyone tore into it to enjoy the candies they each had claimed when they saw me walking in with it originally.
I am deeply grateful to the brave and caring human beings that showed up each day to make my continued existence on this planet possible. These were particularly trying times, as the world was facing the uncertainty that comes with a pandemic, but your time, care, knowledge, experience, calm, understanding, optimism, and smiles are to be commended and are undoubtedly what got me through 2020. Words cannot express my gratitude deeply enough.
To my family and friends, and everyone out there silently rooting for me: thank you. I am better for the energy you were kind enough to shine in my direction and promise to pay it forward by shining my own light as brightly as possible in order to illuminate the path for those unable to perceive a next step.
"I will keep reflecting all your love.
I'll shine my light because that's what love does."
-Allison2020 | Reflections