How will we tell the story of today?
Ian and I have often asked ourselves this over the last years. We are aware that we are living through a time in our lives that will shape us forever. We think of how we will explain it all to Tyler when he is old enough to understand.
Today was the biggest day so far. Transplant day. The doctors call it Day 0, as in the beginning. Every day afterwards is day 1, day 2, etc., but today your new life starts. Many survivors call it your new birthday because every year afterwards you celebrate the miracle of life on that day. I’ve never met a survivor who can’t tell me their age post-transplant.
As I thought about today this morning, I thought about beginnings and it took me back to the beginning of our journey with cancer. Ian found his diseased lymph node in February 2013 but our story actually began in October 2012.
I had just finished a doctorate. Ian and I were both working in jobs we loved. We had friends that we went out with and had plans to travel and just like that (boom) I was pregnant.
It was so utterly surprising. We had not planned it by any means and I remember as we stared in disbelief at one, then two, then three positive pregnancy tests.
We had wanted kids but like in the sense that you want to retire someday. There was no sense of urgency. We watched as what we thought we knew of our lives turned into nights researching cloth diaper brands and reading about the phases of labor.
As somebody who likes to stick to a plan, it took some getting used to on my part. It just did not make sense. When Ian got sick it took us a few months to realize the miracle that this pregnancy would be. Before Ian started treatment he had to sign consents that detailed the effect of the medications on fertility. We realized that we may never be able to have kids again and that the surprise of Tyler was really an unimaginable gift. The kind you could have never known to ask for, but that you so desperately need.
We were a sad sight those last months leading up to Tyler’s birth. I was a big pregnant beast in the blistering heat of an Arizona summer and Ian was bald and eyebrowless. We definitely turned heads at the mall.
Tyler was born on July 2, 2013. I was actually induced because Ian was scheduled to have chemo on July 5th. Having Tyler born on a chemo weekend would have broken me. His birth and life has been a miracle. He fiercely loves Ian. He is a daddy’s boy. I don’t know if we would have been able to keep going if it weren’t for him.
So as I sit here in Ian’s hospital room and reflect on these last 2 years I wonder, how will I tell the story of today?
Will I tell Tyler that we met daddy in the lobby this morning to give him an “it’s a boy” balloon and sing him happy birthday on his new special day? Will I tell Tyler that daddy had so many pastors, friends, and family who came and prayed a blessing for his transplant and for his new life ahead of him? Will I tell him that daddy received back cells through the miracle of stem cell transplant that will cure him and save his life?
I will tell him that so many people who love Ian told him that he has more to do. They told him that they look forward to the great things God will do with his new life. I will tell him that his Nani, Kit, felt “aware of the miracle she was experiencing”. I will tell him that his Uncle Colt cried.
We are grateful people. These last few years have had darkness but there has also been the soft glow of the light of hope that cannot be extinguished. We cling to that light.
Thank you for your prayers. Thank you for loving us in this time. We now start the first days of Ian’s new life. His hardest days are ahead of him as the chemo goes to work on his body and his stem cells begin to incorporate into his bone marrow and engraft. Ian still asks for visitors. You all bring him so much joy!
We love you.
The stem cell blessing ceremony
Getting annointed with oil
Stem cells arrive
Getting Benadryl which made him super sleepy…
Taking out stem cells
Checking and double checking stem cells