NaBloPoMo, ICLW AND Time Warp Tuesday? Boy howdy there’s a lot going on today! So let’s get right to it.
Today’s Time Warp Tuesday theme is Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is such a loaded term for me. It’s my favorite holiday. But it’s also the time of year I associate with what I believe was the chain of events that led me to my eventual infertility. And this chain of events started 11 years ago, when I had my left ovary removed in emergency surgery.
It happened the day after Thanksgiving when I was 18, during my first semester of college. Here’s a short excerpt from that post last year, when it was 10 years since my surgery:
I always get a little nervous this time of year. Thanksgiving is by far one of my favorite holidays (next to Passover, which may as well be Jewish Thanksgiving) and so I’ve always been conflicted as the holiday approaches. I love me some dry turkey and cranberry wine, but I’m always reminded of the tiny scars on my belly: 2 half-inch incisions just at the waistband line of my underwear, one on the right, one on the left, and a singular tiny scar inside my belly button. Even 10 years later, I’m still amazed that both an internal organ and a tumor were removed somehow via these tiny exit points.
You can read the rest of the entry here.
So what’s changed in the last year since I wrote this?
This year feels like the first year where the memories of that weekend don’t feel so near, like I’m finally putting some distance between me and those memories. I picked this post because that experience makes the idea of being thankful a very real and tangible one; I could have died 11 years ago had my ovary not been removed sooner. There’s nothing like the most excruciating pain in your life and the possibility of dying to make you a little more cognizant of being thankful at least once a year, if not every day, for the rest of your life.
I also chose this post because I know how much it sucks to be in the hospital. Thanksgiving 2000 wasn’t my first stay in the hospital, either. Eight years earlier, I was hospitalized for 11 days following complications from an emergency appendectomy. That also fell on a holiday weekend: Easter 1992 – I was in sixth grade.
I shared a room in the PICU with a girl named Morgan, who couldn’t have been more than 7 or 8 years old. Morgan had no hair. She had leukemia. They installed a pick-line in her shoulder while I was there. It was awful – she just screamed behind the curtain next to me.
Hospitals kind of suck like that.
I was on a fairly heavy demerol drip and had hallucinations a lot when I was there. I kept dreaming/hallucinating that my hair had turned to spaghetti and would fall off my head onto the pillow. I think this is because I was unnerved by the site of Morgan’s bald head. I was 10; I wasn’t exactly a pillar of love and understanding at that age.
She became my roommate a few days after I had been there and one day, as I was wheeled back up from a barium GI scan, she was gone. All the balloons, cards, teddy bears – just gone, like I had never had a roommate in the first place.
To this day, I have no idea what ever happened to Morgan.
I am haunted by nearly a 20 year memory of her.
. . .
I share this story because so much of it reminded me of Sam’s story, as JW Moxie shared recently that her beloved Sam has been diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. A little backstory… Sam is the intersection of love, infertility, generosity, and all around awesomesauce that is JW. She was his gestational surrogate, and Sam was born to his parents Stephanie and Terry in 2007.
Sam is 4 years old and just two weeks ago, found out he has cancer. His doctors anticipate at least three years of treatment. When I read about this at JW’s blog, I couldn’t help but think of Morgan, and the time I’ve spent in hospitals. And I couldn’t imagine having to do all of this when I was 4 years old.
This is where you can help. JW has created a fantastic support site for Sam and his family: Save Our Sam! It launched this morning and you can help Save Our Sam by organizing events local to the Savannah, Georgia area or organizing an online support event. There’s also more information about ALL, Sam, and how you can even sign up for SOS Care Mail so that Sam receives a package every other week, beginning in January 2012.
So this week, as we all take few minutes to pause and reflect on what we’re thankful for, take a minute to go check out Sam’s site and show a 4-year-old just how much he’s loved. He’s got a long road ahead of him and he’s going to need all the support he can get, whether you know Sam, his family, and JW or not.
Help us Save Our Sam!