Today is the culmination of weeks of deep reflection for both Steven and me! May 27 marked his one year anniversary of his stem cell transplant, and the days following mark a collection of all the unimaginable ups and downs that followed that auspicious day. I vaguely remember posting photos and updates to Facebook for our friends and family. But it’s been shocking for me to see them all again compliments of Facebook’s “Memories from 1 Year Ago” function. There have been days where I wanted to find Mark Zuckerberg and yank out his nose hairs so he has something unimaginable to remember next year!
This biggest difference today is that for the first time in many years, Steven is driving us to Gainesville for his one year follow-up appointment. His stamina is slowly increasing and his confidence is re-building. I credit much to our weekly drives to babysit Lil’ G, the most handsome grandson in the world, There’s nothing that builds stamina like a teething 6 month old, and there’s nothing that builds confidence like finally getting him to sleep!
We have no reason to think anything bad will come of this visit, since all his blood tests have been showing improving numbers each successive time. But unfortunately, Steven did make the decision to forego the 6 month PET scan thanks to the crappy Obamacare insurance we have. Our particular plan comes with a retail value of over $1200 a month for insurance. If we hadn’t been governmentally forced to sign up for insurance, we could have just saved the monthly fee since it barely pays for any of our medical needs right now and then we would have had the $1200 to pay for the PET scan. Unfortunately with a job that is no longer lucrative, we couldn’t have both. And, since my employer doesn’t HAVE to provide health insurance…well I think you’ve got the picture. I’m just abundantly grateful that LAST year I worked for a large corporation that was able to provide the option for coverage that mostly covered the enormous expense of what turned out to be a million dollar make-over for Steven. Even though we drained all our reserves and then some, we’re here…Alive and bitchin’!
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Steven’s old “treasure chest” of medications is empty. For the first time in years, he’s only taking 3 medications and none of them are meant to put him in a coma. He’s been able to manage his pain with over the counter options, and the other side effects of the chemo have somehow evened out to the point when he can control them. It’s awesome to have hime back at 93%…I can’t give him 100% because it’ll go to his head if he reads this! And he’s gotta lose some points for the chemo brain.
We’re making great time driving through the Ocala horse country. The grass is green and the sun shining on the few rolling hills you can find in Florida. On this beautiful day, it’s hard to believe how our life has changed in a year. Steven is literally a new man. We are grandparents. There’s a 1975 Corvette Stingray in our garage that thus far hasn’t moved on it’s own power, but Steven has been making progress in that direction and is enjoying the hell out of the project. I know we’re on the brink of a whole new life and I’m excited to see what comes next. As usual, I wish whatever is coming next will hurry up and get here, but just like Christmas, it’ll be here when it gets here. And until then I’m just trying to limber up for all the bigs hugs we’ll be getting and giving when we arrive at Shands.
Hey…It’s been nice chatting with you again! I hope we can do it again soon!