I feel myself slipping. My eyes close. I’m finally numb to it all. I’m not asleep but I’m not awake. There’s nothing but darkness until I see this light. It’s in the distance. I start going towards it. It’s inviting. It’s warm. Somewhere in my conscious I know what’s happening…but I follow it through. I wanted it to happen. I was accepting. I just wanted it to be over.
I hear a voice. It’s my mother’s voice saying my name repeatedly, “Shelly”, “Shelly”, Shelly”. It was so strange. I knew she had to have been right next to me but her voice sounded so far away. I was getting closer to the light or the light was coming closer to me. I don’t know which it was. I was too weak to do anything so I can’t imagine I lifted a finger in my coming to Jesus moment. I knew I had a choice; stop fighting and just let go or come back and continue to face the cancer devil.
My loved ones faces popped into my head combined with my mom’s voice in the background; I chose the hard path. I chose pain and life. I fought my way back to the coldness of my hospital room and my reality with my mom still calling out “Shelly” as a guide. It felt as if I regretted my decision instantly almost as soon as I came around. I was no longer numb. Mere words cannot explain the pain one feels under these conditions. I woke up to worried faces and the nurses putting oxygen on me. Aside from the day of the transplant and those first few crucial days in the hospital before my cancer diagnosis, this was the closest call we had. It was just five days after the transplant.
2nd Re-Birthday Cord Blood Stem Cell Transplant
I was fortunate enough to celebrate my 2nd re-birthday on July 31st of this year. I am so grateful to be alive. I’ve tasted death. I’ve survived cancer. I’m a double cord blood transplant recipient. There are so many obstacles I’ve had to overcome over the last few years and I am a stronger woman for it. These are accomplishments that I am proud of. I no longer have rose tinted glasses on…my eyes are wide open and I see everything. Well, maybe not everything. But I certainly see more than I use too. I now know what’s important in life.
I often don’t know how to look at leukemia. Is it a curse or a blessing? I’ve never felt more alive than I do now. I’m more true to myself. I know I don’t ever want to settle again for anything. I have a voice and I want to be heard. I actually have begun to pay more attention to my gut feelings. You know what I’m talking about, that feeling you get when something is wrong but you choose to overlook it and inevitably regret it. The main thing I learned from my near death experience is that life is too short. Carpe diem. “If only I could live, I would do things so differently.”
Little Reminders For When You’re Just Trying To Survive
- Almost everything that you worry about is created in your head.
- Overthinking is the biggest cause of unhappiness.
- Healing takes time. You never need to pretend to be okay when you are hurting.
- Someday, all the love you’ve given away, will find its way back to you and stay.
- Remember to take care of yourself. You are important too.
- You are already stronger than you think simply by surviving.
- Your present situation is not your destination.
- Beautiful things come into your life once you get rid of all the negativity.
- You have to give up on people. Not because you don’t care, because they don’t.
- Life is too short to worry about stupid things. Have fun. Regret nothing.
- Always be thankful. It could be worse.
One of the hardest things I’m having to deal with right now is knowing that you have no control over other people. What they think about you. What they say about you. They may not even know you at all. Complete strangers. Forming an opinion of you. Me. It’s not personal, right? People are going to talk no matter what you do, so might as well give them something to talk about. Besides, the truth has a way of coming out and there’s always two sides to every story.
I Will Rise
Now that I’ve been given a second chance at life, what am I going to do with it? ‘I won’t just survive. You will see me thrive. My story can not be written by no one other than me. I’m beyond the archetype. I won’t just conform. No matter how you shake my core. My roots run deep. Oh ye of so little faith. Don’t doubt it. Victory is in my veins. I know it and I will not negotiate. I’ll fight it. I will transform. The fire’s at my feet once again. The vultures all start circling. They’re whispering, you’re out of time. But still, I rise. This is no mistake, no accident. When you think the final nail is in, think again. Don’t be surprised, I will still rise.’
No matter what is happening in your life, know that you can rise above it. We all have the power within us. Just two years ago, I considered letting leukemia win. I’ve had to fight so hard to get to where I am today and every single day is still a struggle in more ways than one. I fight depression and panic attacks. I’m having issues with asthma and breathing trouble. My body has betrayed me in every way possible and I’ve slowly started building up my endurance so that one day it will resemble the body I once had. I’ve already gone through menopause. I’ve lost more than I could ever have imagined at such a young age. But I’ve gained something amazing. A New Beginning. Even though our plans may get blown to hell, we can start over at any point in our lives and start again. Don’t ever give up. Keep fighting and rise.