La La How The Life Goes On

Blessed and Unlucky

Posted on: November 24, 2011

It’s true. No one in Vegas is flying me in to blow on their dice. No one is impatiently waiting to hear my lottery number picks. No one is filling my inbox with requests for interviews about my secrets to good health. Nope. It’s rather evident that I am not so lucky in the grand scheme of luckiness. In fact, if you survey my entire existence you will more than likely be forced to concede that–holy crap–that chick has had some bad luck!

But save your “oh, honey” pity-filled face for someone else, darlings. Because although my luck may be for shit, my blessings runneth over. I know the story of my life is one illustrating the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, rather than radiating the warm sunlight of great good luck. The Babydaddy has more than once heard me wonder aloud, “Who do I have to fuck around here to catch a break?” To be sure, you can never consider me lucky. But please always consider me blessed.

Yes, I carry a deadly bone marrow-killing gene that I could not risk passing to biological children. Bad luck.
I am Mama to two girls who are the center of my universe, who teach me daily to be a better person, and who–I know for sure–were always meant to be mine. Blessed.

Yes, I languished near death for a few months there, hanging on, praying I’d see Bambina turn 3, preparing myself that I wouldn’t. Bad luck.
I received the stem cells of a selfless 26 year-old school teacher who agreed to donate, like, yesterday. Took some days off work, took the shots to stimulate her marrow, sat at Dana Farber for hours to donate…to a total freaking stranger, sight unseen. Just because she felt it was the right thing to do, however inconvenient. Blessed.

Yes, I have had almost every post-transplant complication ominously foretold in the “risks” section of the 75-page consent form that at the time you shrug off because–hello?–you are one stranger’s sneeze fom being tits-up; what’s a little potential osteoporosis and systemic immune suppression next year when you might snuff it this weekend? Bad luck.

I have learned numerous important things from these complications. First, that we surround ourselves with possessions and activities and images of ourselves that seem indispensable. Until they must be relinquished. Which is when you realize (sometimes bitterly) that you wasted many, many hours of your life on things that amount to nothing. Which is when you are forced by sheer necessity to lean on and gain strength from the things that mean everything. Blessed.

Second, I learned that, however shitty I may feel my situation to be on any given day, that there is always someone who would gladly trade places with me. Just as I am moping to myself at my weekly pheresis appointments about being fat from meds and my face looks tired, and my goddamn Sports Illustrated Swimsuit career is fucking over before it began, in walks a teenager with GVHD so bad that his skin is peeling like a 3rd degree burn, his intestines are shedding layers, and every minute he is awake he is in constant, unrelenting pain. And I feel like an ungrateful ingrate bastard to confess that I momentarily lost my appreciation for the life I have. Blessed.

Finally, I learned that sometimes its okay to not be The Woman Who Can Do Everything, even in front of my kids. 98% of my life I am all about demonstrating, illustrating, showing by example that no matter what ill wind knocks you down, that you can and will get up and keep going. I once saw a funny cartoon in college with the title Press On Regardless. It has been my motto–and my primary hope for my girls–ever since. If you get knocked down, you get up. If life hands you a big steaming pile of dog shit, you make some aerodynamic dogshitballs and you hurl those mothereffers right back in its face. You press on regardless, come what may. Except for those few days in the middle of dogshitball-making and pressing onning where you just…can’t. And so you don’t. Which means your kids sometimes have to man up and get their own damn cereal. Sometimes dear friends’ birthdays get lost in the haze. Sometimes you just have to let your family see you sweat. And only then do you realize that nobody cares if they have to get their own cereal, or remind you to send a thank you, or whatever. They are just glad that you are here. Blessed.

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