Just thanks…

Today I had a check up at the hospital where I wrote the following…

In the waiting I sit, nervously, anxiously waiting. I sit and see others come and go one who is told the news transplant is the next step, another looks weeks out from transplant still tired and weak.
You see the same faces from the staff who have spent decades serving this nation. Trying to fit in the ever-growing case load of people. Sending for bloods, then checking your obs. These people reach out to see how you are. They have the answers or go to find them out, they see who you are and what your about.

As I sit 7 years on I still get this fear that today is the day I hear bad news. I see a familiar doctor, I’ve not seen in years yet now she’s a senior. I feel a sense of pride as I’ve seen her grow. she’s worked hard and boy does it show.
I glance and see my notes- sat on the pile with a post-it note. I know what it is I’ve seen it before it’s my protective consultant saying she is mine stay clear, he wants to see me again but still I ask why? Maybe there’s news.

A guy who is maybe 10 years older is the closest in age to me today. I sit and i wonder if his life-like mine has been impacted and changed. He gets called through and I sit and wonder what news will he receive.

As I wait all becomes quite, still and peaceful I look around and contemplate those missing faces- the ones I know I’ll never see yet still miss so terribly. I question why me, why was I so lucky. Why did it work for me but not for them.
The guy comes out smile beaming and I breathe a sense of relief knowing he’s happy. Knowing he to is one of the lucky ones.
Then the finger beckons, I stand and my heart races the steps into the room feel heavy and weighty. Despite knowing I’m fine there is still that chance. I stop for a second and take a big breath. I sit and he opens “well who’d have guessed your 7 years old!” I breath, today is not the day I hear bad news. I settle and begin to answer his never-ending questions, the ones I’m sure he doesn’t need to know as well as those I know he does.

I tease and he teases my consultant is not just a doctor, he’s a friend and a father. He knows me so well. He knows when to delve to ask the questions that make me squirm and when I need him to lay off and back down. I’m so grateful for him and I’m just blown away as without him I’d never have made it this far.

The questions are over and it’s now my turn. I talk life, my future my world for a moment he’s there protecting it all. We reminisce we laugh and I well up knowing that Thank you will never be enough. It’s more than just me it’s the thousands of others. It’s that thanks that’s unsaid, unheard or forgotten. It’s for those who we’ve lost but that I know you’ve not forgotten. What can you say to the man who changed everything. To the doctor that I know I’d be nothing without. I say all I can and again I say thanks.

Today I was told I’ll never be discharged that I’m there for life. For some this would be bad news but for me I breathed a sigh of relief because I know they will always be looking out for me. I was also told that travel is limitless and I could go anywhere again it’s like a door being flung open suddenly places I’ve only dreamt of could become a reality. (Now would be a great time for that lotto win). Who knows.
I’ve come so far yet still I know just how far I still have to go. I leave behind a man bursting with pride he did this, he’s the reason I’m alive. We hug and I leave thanking again as I walk out with a smile and a grin. I chat to the nurses who all played their part.
I tell them about how now I’d do it different from the start. That the 20 old me knew nothing and no-one. I wish at the time I’d had some more fight. I wish at the time I had some more life. Now I look back at the years that I wasted. I could have done more but instead I just … wasted. Instead of fighting for more I just didn’t want it. I wasn’t focused on living or striving for more. My life was over, no hope a disaster. I couldn’t see out and didn’t want different. I’d just moped and I moaned, I wallowed in pity. With no hope in recovery I settled for less. Until one day that changed and this I addressed. I now see things different and I hope for the best. I see the progress I’ve made and the miles that I’ve distanced. It was slower than most and I made that hard. It’s not simple or easy but I know I’m far from done. My life’s worth living I’m no longer a bum.

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Legacy Ball.

Its been a while, but i felt the need to write. I’ve started this blog titled Legacy Ball but we will see where it ends up. As many of you know last weekend was the #LegacyBall in honour of my wonderful friend Emily Clark a girl who I miss every single day.

Most people look forward to fancy dresses and getting all dolled up and getting to wear pretty shoes. Me not so much, I don’t know what it is but I don’t like to fuss, I dislike shopping rarely wear makeup and shoes well lets just say your much more likely to see me walking around without them than with (I’m currently sat in Sunflower & I a coffee shop come florist in cardiff bay shoeless). However it was #foremily so I couldn’t not go. It was an amazing night and I was so grateful to see many of my cancer friends who had brought their own tables of people along with them. The food was incredible and Em would have loved every second! It was a fantastic evening and I was super grateful that some of my family came along to.

But its so much more than that- Currently our Bone Marrow Transplant ward in Cardiff is well- dated and we don’t even have en-suits now you may think why do they need en-suits?? Well a bone marrow transplant is basically a new blood system and immune system so while it grows your super prone to infections so your not aloud to leave your room. Some are in for 2 weeks others for 3months+ (depending on how fast you graft and how many complications you get). I’d like to ask you how long have you been without privacy? How long have you gone only using baby wipes and a bowl to wash? How would you cope using a commode every day for 3 months? We need a new unit so more people can get a second chance at life like I have. The #WilsonWard need £1 million… so far the incredible remission possible team and supporters have raised £52,000 but there is still a way to go. Can you help? Do you want to be involved in something amazing? Did you go but left with money in your purse why not make a donation? Why not sign up for the next event?

Im now sat in a cafe in tears because I’ve just heard the song Piano Man- I’m instantly transported back to Michigan to summer camp- to the life I had. Many people (sometimes my family and friends included) don’t understand what a huge impact a bone marrow transplant is… Im reminded of the conversation I had with some of my amazing cancer friends on saturday night as we sat and watched people dancing feeling comfort in the fact we all understood how each other felt. I remember the way my consultant by just being on the stage on Saturday night made me cry- because without him I wouldn’t be here, he pushes and never gives up. Hearing how he had to break the news to my friend that they were out of options was heartbreaking but inspiring at the same time because I know how hard he fights for every single one of his patients. (He’s the guy in the pictures below [the others are some of my cancer friends])

I’ve spent pretty much the whole of this week recovering from one night. Sometimes one night out has no impact on me other times it could have a huge impact. I never know. I can’t plan, I can’t think ahead to a year from now or even 2 months from now and this is all thanks to my transplant. Not that i’m not grateful because believe me I am! Life is very different for us and it may always be that way it may not, but for now I will forever be reminded of it because despite my progress this big thing happened and it effects me every day. However, we don’t need limiting because of it in fact we need the push we need to go to things like the LegacyBall to be reminded of how far we have come. We need the challenge because without it we will be stuck. We will not be more like Emily who is was always pushing forward. So while you may think sometimes I’ve moved on (i haven’t), or I’m still stuck in cancer world (because I’ve no choice) or that I’m still really ill (no this is me now) remember I’m different now because of it and thats ok- because boy am I a better person thanks to it. Please remember how far we have come and that we like you don’t want to be limited to anything. So its for this reason I’m begging you to dig deep and donate to the #wilsonward help give others that chance to be a better human! Give them a second chance at life let them thrive!

When I was at the ball I was reminded how much I’ve changed and achieved yet I only saw this when I was with those who ‘Got it’. I see how different I am from my family and others my age, so it was such a mix of emotions being there. I’ve missed Emily and thought about her every day which is something I sadly didn’t do when she was alive. I looked forward to our catch ups but I’d say she has impacted my life even more since her death than when she was alive. Emily was the sort of person that just hearing about her would make you want to meet her. She was the crazy patient who kept up with her studies whilst going through the craziest time of her life. She would chat to you about everything and anything and you’d leave feeling happy, alive and inspired. She would laugh with you, laugh at you when you cried whilst remaining compassionate. She never complained or moaned even when she had reason to. She had such a strong faith and was so driven and determined I’ve not met anyone like her. But for me Emily was life changing! (So life changing it needs a whole other post for it). Emily’s plans were bigger than just her- she wanted to help others she wanted to inspire people to do something. I would absolutely love to do more and believe me Ive tried! But as I’ve explained above my complications complicate things so I can’t plan a big event or run a half marathon. What I can do tho is inspire and encourage you to do something. So why not ask me more about this amazing Emily, what the Haematology ward is really like and let me inspire you to do something.

Emily wanted more to have a second chance at life so for now i’ll leave you with the link to Emily’s/WilsonWard just giving page… Go on empty your purse there…https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/remissionpossible