Happy Birthday Little Stem Cells

Today is a good day….it is my Stem Cell Birthday. Two years ago today, I was sat in the Royal Marsden Hospital in Sutton receiving my stem cells back after a massive dose of chemotherapy that would have rendered me useless had I not been given back my lifesaving stem cells.

I can’t really believe that it was two years ago….although that said, in some ways it feels like far longer than that as so

A shocking photo of me on ‘release’ from hospital post-transplant – August 2011

much has had happened in that time. But two years ago, my life went through a change that I find hard to even explain….I’m not sure how to put into words what happened back then and how it felt and how it affected every little bit of my being. It was a strange period…I had thought about rehashing it all here now, but then I wondered why I was doing that….after all, it is the past. And I’m not one to live in the past…..it’s not healthy and it’s not good for keeping up morale!

But safe to say, post transplant, it was a 6 month period that challenged Nick and I massively. We had to learn to work together to get through a period that made us look at our life and make sure that we knew what we wanted moving forwards. Strangely, in the short term that was easy. It was all about us….the family….being selfish. We looked after the four of us and made sure that WE were our priority. I think that we did that well. And even now, when life is so different to how it was two years ago, our life is different to how it was pre-myeloma. Despite being massively busy with jobs and commitments outside of the family, the family is still key to us. I know to some people that is always the case, but I think that there was a time before my diagnosis that whilst my family meant everything to me, I would allow what other people needed, to take over. That is no longer the case and I hope I won’t allow us to drift back to that (and when I say ‘us’, I really mean ‘me’!

I am lucky. I am so lucky. I know of so many people who had their transplants after me but who have since relapsed. Sadly, there are even a couple who are no longer around today. These sorts of ‘anniversaries’ for me are always tinged with an element of sadness as you remember the friends that had supported you throughout, but who are no longer here. However, those that I am thinking of, I genuinely know wouldn’t want me to be sat here mourning them, but would want me to be living my life as positively as I can do. So I will try to do that for them (with a bit being for me too of course ;-) )

So today, 2 years post transplant and 4 years post diagnosis, things are looking good. I am back at work, with a new career that I love! (For those of you who have been following me, they were amazing when I explained about how things were too tough and have been so supportive in ensuring that the workload is correct! I am one lucky person working for a charity that truly cares so much for its team). I play netball on a weekly basis. And more than any of this, I truly believe that myeloma no longer dictates my life. It will always be a part of me….there will always be an element of fear when I go for monthly appointments, but it no longer dictates my life. There are days and weeks now where I don’t even think ‘myeloma’! I even had an appointment with a financial advisor yesterday and whilst I had to clarify my situation, I was still talking about working for the next 20 years….we can only hope! It is a far cry from my early diagnosis when I didn’t think that I would ever see my children reach secondary school (only 3 years away now!) and to be honest where I didn’t even know that I would be here today writing this blog.

So I am a happy lady as I write this tonight. And I hope that I have many more anniversaries to regroup and remember how far we have come since that diagnosis in 2009.

My gorgeous family in 2013

My gorgeous family in 2013