Charles de Gaulle International Airport in approximately 20 minutes” a flight attendant informed us.
It is still hard to believe that my children and I – Midwesterners in all of our travel naivety, actually went to France. My friend, Alex and her brother, Fredo were waiting for us and what followed were two fabulous weeks of being escorted around Paris and the French countryside. I used to say I was afraid of flying....but I had something much bigger to be afraid of and I didn’t let that minimal fear of flying detour me and my children from having a trip of a lifetime.
We got back to Chicago knowing that I had an appointment with my oncologist - to find out if the cancer was gone or not. They sent me first for a PET scan and the tech administering the test, in-an-unheard-of-breach-of-protocol, excitedly showed me the scan results – it had shrunk by a lot. I remember it vividly - looking at the tumor and knowing there was suppose to be nothing there.
So at my appointment, already knowing the results – I told the doctor – instead of waiting for him to tell me.
The next several months were a whirlwind of gearing up for a stem cell transplant (because the cancer had not invaded my bone marrow – I was able to give myself my own “saved” stem cells after being taken down to ground zero) – family and friends did most everything for me and my kids, including the cleaning of my Mom’s house in preparation for me staying there during transplant.
What was unheard of years ago – is now doable – a stem cell transplant as an outpatient – going into the hospital each morning and coming home each night – including, at-the-time-much-hated, exercising twice a day for 20 minutes and daily bathing. Dr. Patrick Stiff creates an environment where you just don’t lay in bed – he makes it very physically interactive and I am happy to report – it WORKED!!
30+ days in transplant and me reading aloud my handwritten-chemo-brain-laden-thought-up “Top Ten List of Reasons Dr. Stiff Should Let Me Go Home” – he finally released me.
After follow-up visits, scans, blood draws and a very-very-long-time of recuperating - a friend, whom I admire, nudged me to start back to work – part-time – so with hardly being able to walk 20 feet without resting – I got on the train and headed downtown.
my strength unfound