Wow! It amazes me how fast time really does travel. Here we are on June 16th...only 1 more month away from the finish line. It is in view. I can see it. I am picturing it. I am running for it. I will not give up! It's amazing! I see incredible things. Though it is slightly blurry and I can't make out everything...I know it will be so overwhelming and tears of joy will fill the eyes of those present.
In my last few blogs I have talked about this strength that we must search deep within ourselves, grab it and pull it out. How we must find that passion and desire within us and allow it to rise up against obstacles and challenges that come our way. Finding peace in the midst of storms. Building perseverance when all hell breaks loose. And CHOOSING to fight with all that we have.
As challenging as a few days were (mentally), it has paid off. Yesterday was like passing the biggest test I've ever had to complete in my whole life. When that stem cell machine beeped marking the end of the collection process this massive wave of peace and a big breath of fresh air filled my lungs. It's almost as if this whole time I've been fighting, fighting, fighting and just kept fighting with all that I have and just when I felt like taking a break and just pausing for a second the horn went. The battle was over! We conquered it. We beat it! Yesterday was filled with so many emotions. Excitement, tears of joy, feelings of strength and courage, a peace.
So here is a recap of how everything has gone this past week:
Why was I even admitted to hospital anyway this week? I felt great! I was eating lots, doing a relatively good job at maintaining my body weight. Haven't been sick...so why the heck am I hear. I get these day passes and then have to come back at 9PM to sleep in some bed that I feel 10feet high in and then wake up and come home. I'm not hooked up to anything except for 30mins at 11PM, 5PM and noon. Knowing not to go against my doctor's knowledge (unlike Mr know-it-all who thought I had shingles...pff) I thought I better dare not question her doings. But finally, I had enough. This was becoming challenging on Christa and I since it's our second week of marriage and I feel great. I want to be home with her. I don't even know why I am in hospital, and I'm starting to get pretty bored...Oprah and Dr. Phil can only do the trick for so long...and even then I feel like they are my best friends at this point for I know them now oh so well thank God for television, friendships are enhanced to even greater levels. Updating my facebook status and checking updates only becomes exciting once and then die's off pretty quickly...and those scuff marks I was talking about on the hallway floors...they will always be there.
So getting back to my story, I said to the doctor - Listen, I don't want to mess anything up and I know I am here for a reason, but can you explain to me what's going on. I want to go home. Turns out I'm neutropenic (no immune system) so I had to stay there on antibiotics just as a precaution so that I didn't get any infections or viruses, after all I've come so far and was on schedule with everything with NO side effects or any symptoms...so why screw anything up.
However, even though I haven't had any side effects from the treatments you have no clue how much opposition has come our way pressed on every single side that the enemy is using to try and get me off track. He knows I've been through this before, cycled across Canada, spoken to thousands if not million's through media and speaking engagements and am now battling cancer again. The enemy knows that I am out to make an impact and will do whatever it takes to get in my way and interfere with my 'I Must'. But I tell you, nothing will shake my grounds! I am built on a strong foundation. I am not built on sinking sands. My feet do not waver. My eyes are focused. My autopilot is set. Fear does not consume me. Worry does not come upon me. When doctor's and/or nurses told me that I would not be ready for collection and that I probably wouldn't have enough cells and would have to do the test over two days. When I was told I would be in the hospital for at least 3 weeks. When I was told I would have 6 - 8 months left to live...I sat there in that doctors room, hospital bed or where ever I was and CHOSE to accept the facts but rose up and said NO! NOT ME! I am different. There is something different in me! Watch me. Get out your history books docs, because I am in there. Statistics...pff...who are they?
Sunday night Christa took me back to the hospital and we both walked into that hospital prepared and ready for battle because we knew that the next day would require some armor and lots of battling gear. The nurse came in and said - so doesn't look like we are going through with the collection tomorrow...your counts just aren't coming up fast enough. This is when I felt like saying Lady...I'm not normal. We know that. Doctor's always tell me they can't figure me out. I'm crazy. I just baffle their minds. I am not normal. But instead I choose to just lie there in my bed and put everything up to the big guy who is in charge.
At the last minute the doctor decides to up my G shots and see if they can help my body a bit. What do ya know? 8AM Monday morning...my doctor walks in and says Tim - Your ready! The team is waiting for you...let's go.
People I am telling you no word of a lie...yes I had a little help with some medications but these doctors do stem cells transplants every week. Tom Baker performs over 70 stem cell transplant a year. They are experts. When they say your not a go and things aren't coming along fast enough (there coming along...just not quick enough...this is still good news...it's not bad) they are usually if not always right at predicting and saying your not ready, the test isn't happening yet. There are people who are still on the ward and have been waiting for 45 days for their stem cell to happen and their body is still waiting!
I went down for collection - they hooked me up to the machine which was supposed to take 8 hours and possibly 2 days. The nurse who did my collection said she has been doing this for a long time - and she said the color of my cells looked amazing. They looked strong and healthy. They needed 365 million cells and within 2 hours they had over and beyond what they needed! I was unhooked and on my way home.
Not only was it my birthday yesterday but it was the day to mark the beginning of a new life. Stem Cells is what feeds our body. Life flows in our cells. Seeing my life flow out of my body and into a machine which then flow into a bag and is frozen for weeks and matured before given back to me - is so powerful. To express how I felt seeing my life flow through lines and through all these pumps and machines and dials and to know that they are clean. They are being restored. No cancer flows in those cells. It will come back to me free of cancer, free of disease, free of any defects or illnesses and come back into my body and give me life once again - would be like trying to explain outer space and our solar system. It's so complicated but yet such a connecting emotional experience.
I am home now well and alive! I had an amazing birthday dinner cooked by my one and only Christa Harriman followed by friends and family for cake and time together with laughter and joy!
The next few weeks will be spent camping it up and enjoying the outdoors, living life and soaking it up, and will probably include the first writings of our first book together which we hope to see on shelves in the near future!
We received an email the other day from City of Airdrie who was hoping to stop by and visit us and deliver a bulk order of magazines to us but the lady told us that since they published the story, the emails and phone calls have not stopped about our story.
It is our hope that our story brings a message of hope. That it can counsel those who are going through some horrific or to someone who is yet to experience something tragic in their life. We all have things that come our way. Life doesn't always deal the cards we were hoping or expecting but we must choose to play wisely because how we play this hand can really determine the next hand and how we will play that one.
Stay strong, press on, and keep on keepin on!