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  • Writer's picturebridget snell

Let's make a happy little tree

Updated: Oct 22, 2019

Day +201

Two weeks ago, I found myself singing "the sun'll come out, tomorrowwwww!" Not sure why I was singing it.

Maybe it's because I looked like Little Orphan Annie. In monochrome.

Maybe it's because I was days from my first glass of wine since March.

Who knows. But flash forward to October 31, and I have no more chemo curls and no more wine. Both of these developments come with the reality that I have no control right now.

The curls: I couldn't figure out how to make them work. My curly-haired friends make it look effortless--the way the curls just looked shiny, big and falling where they should. I do not exaggerate when I tell you that I looked like my mother's Shitzu-Poodle. Bob Ross would paint me as a happy little Bob Ross. I could be a double on Joanie loves Chachi. Are you getting the picture?

I YouTubed every video I could find on how to control them. I used product. I stopped using product. I used a brush. I stopped using a brush. I took extra vitamins. I put on a hat. Finally, I cut it off.

Starting again.

And then I poured myself a wonderful glass of wine to celebrate 6 months since my transplant. 6 months since my last chemo. 6 months since I reset the clock on my faulty immune system.

Six months since I started again.

I hear a lot of my HSCT warrior friends talk about the year after treatment and how it's defined by more than just non-linear healing. It's also about celebrating new abilities and milestones. But now I am noticing discussions about the mental struggles-- of finding a new purpose now that the elephant has left the room. I admit, I really thought I was immune to this part of the aftermath. Immune to the internal struggle.

I mean, how could I possibly be struggling with finding purpose while enjoying a semblance of normalcy? Normalcy with thicker hair? Normalcy with thicker hair and the a clear mind? Normalcy with thicker hair and a clear mind, while running? Are you getting the picture?

My pastor says if we think about something for more than 10 minutes, the problem isn't the problem, we're the problem. We're obsessing. We need to let go.

And start again.

So I very purposefully prepare for the next hour and being prepared for imperfect implementation.

This week has launched with great purpose: New purpose. While I still can't go back to volunteering in the shelter with the kids, I can provide administrative help. While I need to be careful about going to the petri dish of germs that is the elementary school, I am doing flashcards and reading in the girls' classrooms a few times per month. I can't balance on the ladder, but I am working on some easier house projects. I'm even writing and painting a bit. There's lots to do!

Update my blog, maybe. With pictures.

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