It's a Mess: Birthday Bash

Today is Day 0 -- no, this doesn't mean it's the end of the world. It means I get my stem cells back! My immune system is starting over and getting rebooted, so they refer to Day 0 as my "new birthday." New stem cells, new me. I wake up to, "Happy Birthday, Ivy!" on the big white board on my wall.

Mark your calendars: July 22 Ivy's second birthday

Part of me thinks that maybe I'm only doing this stem cell transplant because that means I get a SECOND birthday. I get the attention and spotlight for TWO days a year!? Count me in. (Um yes, I will be taking FULL advantage of these two birthdays. C'mon, I feel like I deserve it.)

Today's birthday party is like no party I've ever been to (although there are a lot of drugs involved). There are almost a dozen people packed into my room -- the stem cell team, nurses, and my family. I feel honored they are all here to celebrate me (or maybe they're in here to do their job...but I think they're here to celebrate me).

Of course, I get pre meds before I can get my stem cells because how can you have a party with no pre gaming? This is where things get funky, and the party takes a twist. My stem cells are wheeled in, in a giant freezer -- they are like a delicious, summer popsicle. The stem cell team opens the freezer and fog comes billowing out (all great parties have fog machines). I was waiting for the light show to start and the DJ to show up.

Unfortunately, frozen stem cells have a smell. Whatever you're thinking it smells like right now in your head, you're wrong -- it doesn't smell like chemicals or a cadaver lab (I almost WISH it did). It smells like you just walked into grandma's and she's cooking a classic grandma meal -- CREAMED CORN. I'm gagging even remembering the smell oh my gosh we have to move forward right now I can't bare to think about it for another second!!!!

(Actually, one more note on the creamed corn stem cells -- you SWEAT out the smell long after your stem cell transplant, and not only are YOU sweating it out, EVERYONE on the transplant floor is sweating it out. It's a smell that will curse me forever. Please never invite me over for creamed corn.)

There's an exciting, electric feeling in the air -- maybe it's the prospect of getting a new immune system. I can feel that this is a big deal -- that sounds stupid typing, because of course it's a big deal, but I'm so caught up in everything else that I really haven't had time to actually think about it. This is a real chance for my body to start over; not just my body though, I can start over too.

I've come to the realization that I can live life on MY terms. It's kind of a forced realization though because I've had to reprioritize, slow down, and find my "new normal" -- but regardless of forced or chosen, I needed it. I don't have to be the person that everyone thinks I am (or how I perceive they think of me). I can do life at my own pace with my own rules, which like DUH, of course I can do that!

Can you only come to this realization through devastating, life-altering events? I can't say because that's what it took for me, but I'm going to make a safe bet and say that you don't have to wait around for something awful to happen -- you can just choose to reinvent yourself and draw a new path. So if you need a "new birthday" in your life, today seems like a great day. Happy birthday to you!


  1. As much as I loved the "old" you, the new, reinvented "new" you sounds awesome!! Love your writing and your spunk. Forge on!!

  2. You're the cutest. I love your writing style.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts