(PLEASE NOTE: this is posted out of order and is the celebration note I sent to friends and family in November 2012)

Dear Family and Friends,

It’s true! Yesterday (November 18, 2012) marked the three year anniversary of my bone marrow transplant. Thank you to everyone who has already celebrated with “likes” and comments on Facebook.

The three year mark is quite a significant milestone as far as bmt’s go. And like any significant milestone, I have had time to reflect on what has happened in the last few years in order to put me where I am today. I must admit to you that my own expectations for reaching this milestone are very different from where I am. I had thought that once I hit the three year mark that it would be clear sailing with just a few doctors visits scattered throughout the year. As you know, this has not been the case. I am still battling with graft-vs-host disease and am regularly down at the hospital 4 days/month for appointments, tests and photopheresis treatments.

That said, I do CELBRATE! I AM celebrating! My heart is FULL and OVERFLOWING with thanksgiving to God. This life saving procedure has been life changing for me. And you, my family and friends have all been an important part of this transformation.

I could go on and on (I really could…) but I want to share just one story with you that has radically changed the way I understand my own cancer/bmt story and the roles that you have all played. This year, in a way like never before, I have had opportunity to pray for some of you who are in the very middle of your own stories. I have “yippee-yahoo” celebrated when good news has been communicated and at other times I have had the breath knocked right out of me at what was happening, completely heart-wrecked. My prayer this summer and fall has been “grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console.” -St. Francis Assisi. And God has been answering that prayer in a variety of ways. Praying and dialoguing along side others in this way has given me a keen awareness of the roles that you have played in my own story. Some of you have been walking along with us since my transplant, for some, since my diagnosis and some of you, my entire life. I am humbled that you would journey alongside me, Jeff and Nathan for so long.

I was encouraged yesterday by the following reading so I will leave a portion of it with you. It comes from Streams in the Desert, November 18 reading.

“I may find myself confined to narrow areas of service, or isolated from others through sickness or by taking an unpopular stance, when I had hoped for much wider opportunities. Yet the Lord knows what is best for me, and my surroundings are determined by Him. Wherever He places me, He does so to strengthen my faith and power and to draw me into closer communion with Himself. And even if confined to a dungeon, my soul will prosper… So, let come what will come, His will is welcome.”

As I approached the three year milestone, I had certainly hoped for, even expected much wider opportunities. But I believe with all of who I am that God knows best and that I am here in this place for a purpose, to strengthen my faith and to be drawn closer to Him.

With joy that triumphs,
Heather

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