This morning was hard. Running late, crying toddler all the way to school, cut off in traffic (yes, I know who you are and it didn't really save you any time, did it?), everything pretty much not going my way. I walked into work doing that thing where I beat myself up for being 36 years old and still not knowing what I want to be when I grow up: "I'm not that smart or that talented. I feel like I *should* be, but the reality is that it is just not the case. Poor pitiful me." Generally feeling unfulfilled and uncaffinated. To say the morning was off to a rocky start would be an understatement.
And then Susie called. Susie--my Be the Match coordinator--was calling to give me the (little over) six month update from my transplant recipient. Today, he is alive and well, and showing no signs of Graft vs. Host Disease. Resuming pre-transplant activities.
And the enormity of the circumstance hit me. Emotions that had been bubbling under the surface all morning long came out. I am thinking about him today, sending good thoughts and prayers out into the universe for his continued recovery. At the year-mark, I can request to connect with him and his family. I really hope that they are open to doing so. I would love to be able to know the person who was given new life from my cells. Maybe he is the super-smart-and-talented one.
I am thinking about his mom. As a mother, it is impossible for me to see the world, see people unrelated to their mothers. When I had doubts about going through the procedure, I steadied myself with thoughts of the recipient's mother, knowing that she was putting the life of her child in a complete stranger's hands. How could I not do this, knowing that if it were my own child in that situation that she would be me, hoping against all that is holy for that same miracle.
I am thinking about my friend April, whose battle with cancer motivated me to join the Be the Match registry last year. April passed away this spring, leaving behind two kids that aren't too different in age from my oldest. April had a bone marrow transplant, but ultimatly was ravaged by the graft vs. host disease. She was too young with way too much ahead of her.
I will press on knowing that the running late and negotiating toddler tears are frustrating, but also balanced out with absolute miracles every day. It is easy in the mundane drudgery of day-to-day life to chastise yourself for not making a difference to impact the world. What I will endeavor to remember is that making a difference doesn't have to be done in a huge, splashy, YouTube-worthy spectacle. Making a difference in seemingly small ways can carry tremendous meaning, even though they may be behind the scenes.