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Post 1 year

August 4, 2013

A new phase has begun.  It’s both a return to “normalcy” and a new beginning.  I’ve graduated from living life on a day to day basis and now I’m dealing with all its long term challenges.  But I have a different outlook, a different attitude than I did before the transplant.  I’ve changed.  I have existential questions that sound like cliches from the 1960s such as what is the meaning of my life?, what path do I want my life to go?, how can I reach my soul’s potential, how can I give back, etc…  It has been a slow vague visceral progression over the last 2 months without clarity but it became acutely crystalized and was brought to my awareness, by a dramatic incident about 2 weeks ago.

I went to an annual chamber music workshop in Arcata 3 weeks ago.  I’ve done this yearly for about 9 years except for last year where I spent July at the COH.  It’s a wonderful experience of playing music and spending time with friends.  This year was extra special.  A dear friend introduced me to a women, Carolyn, about 9 months ago who also received a bone marrow transplant.  We’ve only communicated by email but we finally met each other 2 weeks ago.  It was very moving and intense.  During the course of the evening, I had an explosion of thoughts and feelings.  Since then, I’ve had a couple other encounters via telephone, personal interactions, and books that have reinforced and accelerated this process.

There is a lot of information and support for pre transplant,  hospitalization, and immediate post transplant life.  But there is much less support and information concerning chronic post transplant life challenges.  The last couple of days, I’ve begun to explore this subject for both my own personal needs and also because I know there are lots of people who like myself are also dealing with this issue.  I want to get involved with post transplant psychological and emotional support groups.  This afternoon I talked to another post transplant person and we talked about exploring the idea of spear heading a regional bay area conference with “experts” and transplant patients and their families regarding medical, psychological, nutritional, and emotional challenges.

I’ve contacted COH and have looked at some internet sites and have talked to the Dominican’s Cancer Center.  I believe the need is there but like so many things, the devil’s in the details.  I need to find out exactly what is needed and what already exist and what I can do.  One step at a time.  I’m open to returning to a medical practice part time in the future but I’m still a year away from that.  I’ll have to wait and see what opportunities will present themselves to me.  There are a lot of unknowns that I need to contend with but I know if I can transcend all the fears, things will work out.

The immediate future holds exciting promises for me.  In addition, I’m going to be a grand father in late December.

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6 Comments
  1. bzjohnson@comcast.net permalink

    Grandparenting will also change your life! For the good, of course. We just got back from a week in Maui with our four grandchildren, ages 3 to 9, and their parents.

    I’m happy to hear of your progress and the program you are envisioning which I’m sure will be a big help for people.

    Best, Barbara Johnson

  2. Alexis permalink

    You sound like you are doing fabulous on your way back to ‘normality ‘

  3. Holly Bengtson permalink

    YES, YES & HELL YES!!!!!!!!!

    Sent from my iPad

  4. Esther Levandoski permalink

    Great idea about organizing a support group. This could lead to a new focus for your medical practice. Enjoy Washington.

  5. Chip Goldeen permalink

    Congratulations on all your news!!! Stay Strong.

    Chip

  6. John McCulloch permalink

    I am a friend of Corky Bamford. In addition, I am in day 65 of a stem cell transplant at Stanford for double hit lymphoma. Love your blog. I should have started at the beginning, but started at your most recent entry to see what could lie ahead for me. I, too, am struggling with WBC at 1.3 but also Hgb falls below 8 (Stanford’s cut off before transfusion) every couple of weeks.
    BTW, if your post transplant nurse coordinator is Gayla, your doctor is probably Dr. Laport who is also my transplant dr.
    Keep on Travelin’

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