Monday, May 9, 2011


Well, here it is, beautiful readers. Spring has finally sprung in all its (almost) warm weather glory, the West Village is full of (almost) graduated seniors who are all-too-ready to revel in the (almost) finished school year, my shorkie is looking (almost) skinny in his new summer haircut, and I've (almost) hit another milestone in this crazy, winding, wonderful and (almost) mind-blowing journey that we call post transplant life. By which I mean, of course, that as of this week I am (almost) at my 11-month transplant anniversary.

And, oh! readers, what a difference an (almost) year makes!

Because (almost) 11 months ago today I was still trying to recover from an (almost) transplant (aka the infamous "bad dry run") and was spending most of my time just struggling to breathe on (almost) destroyed lungs. The remaining hours were a toss up between the sleep that was my (almost) favorite activity during that period of my life, the treatments that took up (almost) 6 hours of every day, and the desperate attempts I made every so often to keep up with something that was (almost) like the life I had known before CF got the best of me. And, when I got really lucky, there were even one or two moments out of every day when I could (almost) forget what was happening to my body, thanks to the amazing community of friends, family, and yes, even doctors who (almost) always knew (almost) just the right things to make me feel (almost) better.

Or, to put it another way, life back then was (almost) all about the uncertain: those all-consuming goals that seem to lie almost within our reach, the destination that is almost around the next bend, and that pesky arch of pure color in the sky that promises a pot of gold if we can make it to that spot just almost right ahead of us. And it was, in a strange sense, an (almost) perfect way to live -- if only for the fact that it forced me to keep my heart in the moment and my eyes on the constant "almost" that was always just a little bit beyond my own horizon

Oh, yeah, and it was also (almost) 11 months ago when I sat down and wrote this:

In all seriousness though, I'm sorry for being such a bad blogger. I never meant to be gone for almost a month. I promise it started off innocently enough and with the best of intentions -- by which I of course mean that I got sick and decided to spare you all the invite to my personal pity party. Not to mention the fact that I also started high-dose prednisone to combat said sickness and, well, let's be honest: blogs written on steroids should probably come with their own special warning label. So instead of going through all that, I decided to take a little break. And gosh did I ever spare you guys a lot. Seriously, you can thank me later. ("It's My Party", posted May 12, 2010)

Wow. I guess sometimes 11 months can make (almost) no difference at all, huh?

Because the truth of the matter (or at least my truth, because that's an important distinction), is that while transplant has been (almost) unbelievable and sometimes feels like (almost) a cure, there are still times when I think that maybe almost just isn't good enough. There are times when I still --- even (almost) a year after receiving my beautiful, gorgeous, miraculous gift of life -- have difficulty writing on this blog. It's as if I'm (almost) afraid to share the fact that I've been back on IV polymyxin for (almost) an additional month now, or to admit that this means I've gone (almost) the entire time since my transplant still soaking up heavy-duty antibiotics like it's my job. And sure, I could mention the fact that my lung function right now is (almost) as good as I've ever seen it or that or that most days I wake up feeling (almost) "normal" (whatever that is, anyway). I could go on and on about how I'm (almost) able to feel like a dependable human being again because my 4ish-hour medical appointments are dwindling in number to an (almost) tolerable level where I (almost) don't leave in a murderous rage and am (almost) able to imagine that I have a life outside being a full-time transplant patient. Or, of course, I could let you in on the flip side of all that, which is that I (almost) always get home from even a few hours out exhausted because of all the side effects that come with my (almost) overflowing medication cabinet.

And believe me guys, I almost sat down to write about that all about once every single day for the past month. Almost.

I think the real truth of the matter is that there are always (almost always?) at least a couple of "almosts" in the mix when you're dealing with chronic illness -- or even with a chronic illness brought out as a sort of Hail Mary pass at a "cure" for the original chronic illness, as I'm now learning. There are always going to be issues -- some that are (almost) ignorable and others that are much more serious -- surrounding my own health and the health of those who share my disease. There are always going to be questions that don't have easy answers, or days when it all seems to come crashing down on top of us, or even those where we seem to come crashing down ourselves. There will be moments when we are overwhelmed by how much things have changed for us, and moments when we are equally as overwhelmed by how much they really haven't. And when it comes to all of that, I can say with absolute certainty that these are universal truths of human experience, every one of them. There's no almost about it.

And so tomorrow I will go to my transplant clinic, where I am (almost) sure that my doctor will stop my IVs and allow me to wait it out until my upcoming appointment for with my ENT -- which, by the way, is actually on the 12th and therefore explains why it would have been (almost) impossible for me to post this on my actual 11-month anniversary with my beloved Donor Bob. I am (almost) positive that the ENT appointment will lead to sinus surgery, itself another fun fact that (almost) everyone living with CF can look forward to at one point or another. And after that, if everything goes smoothly or at least (almost) according to plan, I am looking forward to maybe casting off this (almost) never-ending cycle of IVs and looking ahead to the next phase of this (almost) unbelievable experience of learning to live with (almost) perfect lungs in an (almost) never boring CF-meets-transplant-meets-Piper kind of life.

And I think I'm (almost) ready.

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