Happy LDW as we call it in the US of A. Lately it has been quiet around these parts as my parents are sailing somewhere off the coast of Cuba and my twin brother has returned to work. I have had a lot of time to catch-up on all sorts of fun things like: insurance claims, doing my own laundry and taking care of my 13 year old Jack Russell Terrier, Louie. Adulting after transplant is actually quite fun these days. It reminds me once again that I am moving forward past this difficult time in my life and on to brighter, cheerier, cancer-free forever (but for real this time) days.
I still have my days where I feel I am not out of the woods yet. It is mostly triggered by coming in close contact with children (really only at the Grocery store or if I go out to dinner), as kids here are back in school so the germ factory is open for business! It also happens when I wake up at 4 am and lie awake for another 1-2 hours before my mind stops going in circles and when I google chronic GVHD. This my friends is called Post Transplant Stress Disorder. It is real and there is no time like the present to tell the truth to all of you about how it has manifested in my body and three things that help in moving past it.
Actually, a fun(ny) fact for all you fearless followers, I visited with a local OBGYN as told to by my transplant doctor for “add-back” therapy (ie. estrogen), as the hormones that put me before transplant were to protect my ovaries during the very heavy conditioning chemo and they wiped out almost ALL of my estrogen. The Doctor was absolutely lovely and did not agree to “add-back” therapy as I am at high risk for secondary cancers specifically within the first year after transplant. She does not think I have chronic GVHD of the vaginal tissues (yes, I self-diagnose regularly, it is getting better), but in fact I am holding all my PTSD in my bottom. This would explain why I feel like a pre-pubescent teenager, acne included. What is a girl to do when she is holding all of her PTSD in her well, VAGINA? Well, she has to go to rehab. Vagina rehab. 🙂 More to details to come…..
After this diagnosis from my OBGYN, I realized that this is very real and possibly detrimental to my future health overall…… I immediately scheduled 10 more sessions with my Therapist guru Monica Parikh. Therapy would be my first T, of how I would manage and tackle my PTSD. She has coached me since the first battle with leukemia, helping me rid my life of anyone or anything no longer serving me or giving me love. She thoughtfully helped me through many dreadful Doctor appointments at UMD post remission and once I was re-diagnosed, I quickly called her and scheduled bi-weekly sessions. I needed her as an objective voice but also as a spiritual advisor (which is her forte), as I was about to go through the biggest transformation of my life. I did not realize post V.O.D. and post Hope Lodge, how much I still needed her in my life to coach me through the day to day dramas that live on in my head as a result of this transformation, but also to help get me to the other side mentally. There is no one better than her. If interested, check her out at schooloflovenyc.com
As most of you know who follow the blog, I am extremely spiritual. Not only do I believe in Jesus, and as a good Catholic girl once, love myself some Mary, I also love the planets. Astrology, the idea of the I am, and finding your soul first (mainly for me through meditation) in order to heal your body, have all been part of my spiritual transformation over the past 2 years. My second T is for Tarot and it is so fitting because last weekend one of my Tarot reading “soul sisters,” flew down from NYC to drink tea and tarot the nights away. We both gained a thorough interest in Tarot through our healer Ariel Vega, and now have taken it upon ourselves to “ask the cards.” So this past weekend we forced ourselves to dig a little deeper into things that are bothering us and ask the Universe for some spiritual guidance. After this past soul-sister weekend, I feel not only refreshed, but like some of my greatest fears and hardest wounds to heal are fading away. Life is just lighter already….let’s hope my Vagina feels the same on September 27th. 😉
My 3rd and final T is my twin brother Tony. Not only has he saved my life with his healthy stem cells, but he is constantly saving me from myself. He always keeps me positive and is always pushing me to be my best self. We try to get to the gym together at least 3 times a week, as this is a new journey for him too. #bettertogether I cannot express enough how proud I am of how he is handling life back in Bonita and his want and need to continue moving forward towards a healthy and happy life. It is inspiring.
I hope you giggled instead of gagged this week, but once again, this is reality and I am thankful everyday to be able to share it with all of you. To my steadfast survivors reading, this is my journey to the One and Allie and it just keeps getting better! ❤
A plus tard mes amis!