We are the dreamers of dreams
Today we got the news that I have been officially cleared by Dr. Samstein (the living donor surgeon) to be Ana’s donor. They were missing a couple of tests which I am going to get locally tomorrow (these should’ve been done during my initial screening, but for some reason were not in my chart). I’ll do that tomorrow at my local doctor’s office in New Paltz. The surgeons need to convene and figure out a date for the transplant – it will likely be scheduled in 4 to 6 weeks. This will hopefully be enough time for a cadaver donor to come to my rescue, but not enough time for the tumor to grow much more (and it is growing – as evidenced by the size of Ana’s stomach).
Processing this is difficult to explain. It’s not an understatement to say that the first hour after I got the call, I had vastly wild mood swings. But the primary feeling was (and still is) RELIEF. When the coordinator started talking about pre-surgical screening for both of us, and said they wanted to get us on the schedule in four to six weeks, my normal brain function sort of screeched to halt.
It’s really happening. We’re really scheduling her transplant.
This is the first time since that awful day in August when we learned about Ana’s cancer that I’m able to visualize an end to this nightmare. It’s not an easy way out. There are no free rides here. I’m scared for her, and for myself. I’m scared of things going wrong, and medical errors and infection. It’s a weird kind of breathless fear that feels familiar – like the first time I went down a really steep hill on my road bike, and I hit 30 miles per hour, and I felt like I wasn’t quite in control, but I was doing it! Part of me feels reckless and wild, and somewhat selfish because it means Emily will go without Jim and I for a while.
But then I look at Ana and know that this is the right decision. We are blessed that I am healthy enough to do this for her. We are blessed that transplant is an option for her and that some day, maybe not too far into the future, she’ll be back to her old self, and getting back to the important business of growing up.
I’m balancing on the edge of reality right now, not quite able to comprehend that this is my life. I feel like every song I hear is part of a sound track for some Hollywood drama that I’m riveted too, like a train wreck – and somehow it’s become my family’s story. Sometimes I wonder if this is all happening because I’ve been so damn arrogant all my life – thinking that I can get away with living under the radar of fate. Watching earthquakes and war zones in far away lands, and crying for the lost children there – and donating to my favorite charities as if that’s enough. I know that’s crazy talk. But…it’s there, percolating with the rest of the many feelings that are raging around in my head. Life is upside down and once again I’m in Wonderland trying to find the way home.