Monday, February 16, 2009
Today marks six months since I received an new heart and a new life. Fittingly, my favorite candy bar is Rocky Road and there clearly have been a few bumps along this path, but overall, I feel wonderful. When the decision was made a few weeks ago to proceed with the stem cell transplant, I knew that there would be much to do to prepare for this new challenge. Tests, blood-work, education, logistical planning for Barbie and Caitlin and getting myself psychologically prepared. After considering this daunting task, I exclaimed to the family, "We're going to Disneyland". Since I will be down for at least the next three months, I figured there is no time better than the present.
Caitlin, Rebecca, Barbie and I drove down on Thursday and stayed at the Hilton Suites in Anaheim (I love to Priceline; we got a great deal) We had a wonderful time. It did rain on Friday, but cleared by Friday evening. Everyone was cold and tired by 4:00 PM so we went back to the hotel. I kept saying that I was going to go back to Disneyland that night, but they all thought that I was joking. I assumed they knew I was going back after I dropped them off after dinner, but they just thought I was slow getting back to the room. After looking for me for 45 minutes, a very concerned Barbie tried to call me, but I was on the Indiana Jones ride and couldn't hear a thing. Finally, I got the message and called to reassure her that I was alright.
Saturday, Valentines Day, the weather was clear and we took it a little slower. I did, however, go on California Screamin' three times. (A seriously awesome roller coaster). Not having nerves to my transplant has the advantage that by the time my heart realized that it was moving upside-down at 60 MPH, the ride was over. My heart-rate never went up.
I am not done making memories. There is so much left to learn. The last six months has taught me things that I could not have learned any other way. While I was on the ride called 'Soarin' Over California' a flood of memories came over me in a wash of emotion as I realized that I have been every place depicted on the screen. Whether it be backpacking through Yosemite as a Boy Scout or surfing in La Jolla during medical school, I have a lifetime of vivid memories that I can checkout, like a favorite book from the library, and re-experience the joy anew.
This weekend reminded me of the three words that continuously weave themselves through my consciousness: Gratitude, Hope and Joy. Gratitude for gifts and experiences of my past that have shaped whom I have become, hope for the future that lies ahead and joy in the beauty that surrounds and fills me in every moment.