Thursday, June 17, 2010

I Can't Believe It's Happening!

Every week the EtsyBloggers Team has a carnival with the theme suggested by a member. This week, Rainy Day Art has asked us to write about an accomplishment or goal reached. I am going to share with you a long story that will lead up to a goal I have had since September 28, 2006.
I haven't written about my health lately, so if you are a newer visitor, you can read all about my Cancer Journey in these older posts. Here's a quick re-cap, and a picture of me with my donor's bone marrow cells. After a bone marrow transplant a patient no longer has an immune system. This has to be rebuilt, just as it is in a newborn child. Even all of the standard childhood vaccines have to be given again. Something that delays this process is the side effect of certain medications which halts the growth of the immune system. So for almost 4 years, any small germ, could have become a catastrophic illness for me, and larger ones could have killed me.
Being a teacher has been my passion since I was a small child, so being unable to work, and the possibility that I would never teach again has haunted me more than any fears of long-term chronic illness or even death. Children are major germ carriers, so a school is no place for a bone marrow patient. Long-time readers know how I love to teach something in my Vintage Thingies Thursday posts!
For these 4 years, my world has shrunk to my townhouse, where I live alone, the television, and the internet. I have friends and family who would come by, but I pretty much went nowhere except to the doctor every two weeks. Side effects from the transplant and various medications caused me to be on oxygen, develop cataracts, have constant shaky hands/feet, and my face became a giant prednisone pumpkin-head. I was even using the motorized carts if I absolutely had to go to a store. (The picture above was taken November 2008, 18 months ago.) Almost everything I bought was online, including groceries and prescriptions. However, in the last 9 months my world has become larger. I have the strength to do my own errands, I can see to drive and read, my hands no longer shake, and I am able to breathe so that I can actually walk and talk at the same time! (That's not a joke.) You may even notice that I do not post as often, nor do I get to all my blog visiting, because I'm out in the real world. I have even returned to working, two days a week at the school department's central office.
I still take 29 pills a day, 2 liquid doses, and 2 injections, but I have not used my oxygen tank for 2 months! And, because of the breathing problems I've lost over 100 pounds in the last 18 months!
To the world I look fabulous, a new woman with a slightly pumpkin-face, but inside I am still vulnerable to any germ out there, until I get my full round of vaccines this autumn. My mom took this picture 3 weeks ago.
September 28, 2006 was the last day I was in a classroom. Since I was 4 years old, I have only missed 4 "first day of school". I am excited, nervous, and thrilled to announce that September 1, 2010 will be my 36th First Day of School!! Maybe I'll even take a dorky picture with my lunchbox to share with all of you! So, thank you Rainy Day Art, for choosing  a topic for this week's EtsyBloggers Team carnival that fits perfectly into my life right now!
Photobucket

17 comments:

Coloradolady said...

Wonderful, wonderful news Elizabeth!!! I know you are just simply thrilled! I am so happy for you.....congratulations!!!

DollZandThingZ said...

How wonderful! And may I add that you really look lovely in your photo?! I hope you WILL take a back to school photo! I will look forward to it! Meanwhile, have a wonderful, happy summer!

tilden talks... said...

You look Mah-velous! I am so happy that you will be returning to school in the fall. Although you still have some challenges ahead, I do believe you are on your way to not just good health but great health! I'm very excited about the New England Bloggers Carnival and would like to thank you for inviting me...
Nancy

Mary said...

Elizabeth, I'm doing the happy dance for you!!!

Anonymous said...

Yay! Yay! and Yay! Elizabeth, I am so happy for you... when you first emailed and said you had been diagnosed with cancer, I cried. Now, I'm all choked up again because I know first hand how much teaching means to you and how wonderful of a teacher you are. I couldn't be more thrilled with this news... L'CHAIM (to life)! ~Kari

Tammy said...

Oh Elizabeth, it is so good to hear that you are stepping out into the world again. I am sure it does your heart good to get out of the house and mingle with some old friends. You do look fabulous in pink, I must say. I wish you well and am delighted to read your post. Sending a great big hug your way,
Xo,
Tammy

Buttercup said...

What fabulous news! Have missed your book reviews, but what a wonderful reason for not blogging. Can't wait to see your back to school picture. You look so pretty.

jeff said...

Amazing. I'm smiling reading this. Your passion for what you do has always been inspiring, and it's freaking awesome that you can continue with what you love. Yay yay! Feeling better, a bigger world and doing what you love sounds pretty sweet. :)

P.H. said...

Congratulations and I am looking forward to that lunch box photo in September.

Bea said...

I am so excited for you, Elizabeth! You are AWESOME!

Jeannebd said...

LizzY!!!!! I am so excited for you...what wonderful WONDERFUL news!

jewelknits said...

That is so awesome! I'm so glad that you didn't just give up and give in to the illness and it's after effects. Your own fighting spirit is what pushed you on the path to recovery and health, and I couldn't be happier for you!

Julie @ Knitting and Sundries

Cindi @ Moomette's Magnificents said...

That's wonderful! Sending positive vibes your way and looking forward to that photo!

Lisa West said...

Wow girl!! Horrayyy for you. You are a fighter and determined. Blessings. Lisa

RainyDayArt said...

Congratulations on your recovery! I'm happy to have been an inspiration in sharing your story!

Sandi said...

I am so glad that you will be able to go back to teaching - what a terrific goal and you are looking better and better dear lady!

tamdoll said...

This is so amazing, and inspiring! Congratulations on such a wonderful achievement - I hope next September turns out wonderful for you.