So I have never really been a David Bowie fan, although that may be because I really don’t know much that he has done other than the movie Labyrinth and even than my recollection is fuzzy. This should be evident considering I genuinely believed that the name of the song or at the very least the lyrics contained the phrase Countdown to Major Tom. Although he was beloved by many as shown by the out pouring of emotion from his fans after his recent passing. However, the song Space Oddity came to mind, not because this post has anything to do with the moon landing that occurred in 1969 or A Space Odyssey, the movie that came out in 1968. Nor does it have to do with drugs, which some speculate the song has some connection to or at least not those drugs. The title or at least what I initially thought was the title seemed fitting for this post because I am counting down to Major Tom or my anonymous 9/10 donor match who I have now assigned this awesome alias.
I have exactly forty three days until the week of April 9th, which is my tentative week of check in for my allogenic stem cell transplant. Now I have to tell you, I envision something from outer space when I think about the actual medical procedure that is a transplant. I’m pretty certain I won’t attempt to wear tin foil on my head to ward off mind control as these new alien cells embark upon my body, through what is pretty much a blood transfusion. After that, what they in the medical profession call Day 0, I have no idea what to expect which in my world is terrifying. I am a planner. I plan for everything, even things I can’t really plan for. My various Pintrest boards (public and private) can attest that as can my Erin Condren planner obsession. At this point I have a various personal planners, a teacher planner, and now a transplant planner. I have been creating lists of doctors and medications, appointments, and people to contact, and paper work to file, and to do lists to accomplish all of those things. This makes me sound like an obsessive compulsive Type A personality and that might not be untrue. What may be more true is my love of stationary, planners, and paper. And yes I know that is insane, but there are others like me who get oddly excited when Erin Condren comes out with a seasonal box or your new address labels have finally arrived in the mail. So back to my original point before my planner love took me off on a tangent, I have a need to plan. I have forty three days to plan and then the abyss for at least the incubation period while Major Tom’s cells take hold.
I never anticipated how much planning could really be involved. I had to get all of my legal affairs in order. And I do want to say that there is nothing worse than having to talk to your parents and your boyfriend about your last wishes at thirty four or having to ask your best friend to be your Healthcare proxy because you know the previous mentioned parties couldn’t possibly respect your wishes (not that it will be any easier for her). I have to figure out the logistics of how to leave my teaching career for 365 days (worst case scenario) after thirteen years and not worry about my current classes, my future classes, money, etc. I have this need to plan all of it, make videos for the days I’ll miss before my AP kids have to take their exam, write their letters for the day of, all the little things that I want to make sure they don’t miss out on. It’s not just school. I want to see as many people, sneak in as many road trips, and spend time with the people who have made my life so beautiful and there are only so many weekends in forty three days (because after that, I can only see them as ninja wearing hospital masked faces for a very long time). It’s a lot to take in. All while prepping my house for transplant, redoing our mildew ridden bathroom and cleaning out… well everything. And I can’t forget packing for my 100 day stay in Boston while the transplant process takes place. Did I mention continuing another cycle of chemo, dealing with a slew of other medical related appointments and working and my actual everyday life. It’s a little overwhelming (and the transplant piece is in itself is the same and terrifying and exciting). I may need a planner for my planner as I countdown to Major Tom.