Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Pre-transplant, my bone marrow was destroyed by chemo in what was called conditioning. Following day 3 and 4 post transplant, more chemo was dripped into me IV to kill my donor's aggressive T-cells in hopes of softening the host vs. graft response that is sure to come post engraftment.

I rose from my bed when all the chemo was finished, washed my hands in the sink and let the water keep running while I sobbed. My body felt like a killing field. The doctors had told me that I would not be able to touch or sit on the dirt for a year following transplant. Following the chemo rounds, I felt as if there was no earth to touch because killing was beneath me, all around and through me.

I rang for the nurse and told her that I had to get out of here. I had to go outside. The nurse said we needed a doctor's order. The doctor said "ask the nurse." Somehow, someone said yes, or looked the other way. Kathy LeClaire bundled me in a wheel chair. I put on a mask and a big hat, long sleeves and blankets and she took me down the transport elevators to the ground. She wheeled me out into the sunshine. I could feel the air and see the sky. I stood. Kathy and I held hands and we walked through the park on the Montlake side of the hospital. A squirrel ran across the path in front of my feet. A crow swooped between the trees. Kathy held on. I could see my shoes touching grass. My body told me it was time to go back and lay down. Sitting in the wheel chair again was relief. Kathy turned the chair toward the hospital. A man interrupted what he was doing to open the hospital door for us with a big smile. Kathy pushed me through in the wheel chair, into the elevator and back to 7212.

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