The Big Blog ‘o Love

“Love is all you need”

I strongly believe this.  I think people get confused on what love actually is, so I think that can cause some problems, but the actual statement holds true if you know what love is, & live up to it.  I’m not sure I understood love until my battle with cancer.  I knew caring.  I knew passion.  I knew intimacy.  I knew affection.  I knew attraction.  All components of love sure, but not love, even all combined.  So what is love (baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me…)(sorry, got off track)?  I’m not sure I can do it justice by attempting to define it.  Instead, I will tell you a story of recent events, where love changed everything.

If you read my last post (you must have been very bored), you know that I was having bad stomach issues I was hoping would subside by the time I was due to leave for a trip to Reno, NV with my wife, for her best friend’s wedding and to visit family & friends.  Well, my stomach calmed down (temporarily) but the day before we were due to leave…an infection popped up in my leg, forcing me to stay home and go on a course of two IV antibiotics.  Aside from not getting to go, I would be away from my wife for a week which is not easy for me at all.  Still, I’m a big boy, so I wished her a good time, told her not to worry about me (impossible for her, but I wanted her to enjoy her trip as much as possible), & sent her on her way while I spent the next couple weeks in and out of the clinic getting labs done & my IV changed for home infusions of the stomach killing antibiotics.  At a couple days into her trip, I had a routine clinic where my doctor dropped a bomb on me.  This latest infection was a final straw in a huge pile of concerns that had (unbeknownst to me), been building among my doctors for quite some time.  They told me no case they had ever seen, where it had taken this long to recover, continued recovery.  They said they believed my immune system was likely destroyed by the drugs used to fight the severe Graft verses Host disease from my first stem cell transplant.  My last two bone marrow biopsies had remained flat at 20% & they were certain I was no longer building marrow cells.  They told me, while my wife, my love, my support who had been with me through everything was out of town-they told me I would need a 2nd transplant.  Since I barely survived the first, & my kidneys are far more damaged, I was petrified!  Without my wife there, I was more lost than I’d ever been.  Until I got a hold of her on the phone, I really couldn’t function.  Once I did, it’s not like everything was great, but I was able to breathe again.

After my family was told, I decided to post the news on Facebook.  Immediately I was met with an outpouring of thoughts, prayers, and well, love.  I felt different, like a new found energy was surrounding me, and I was going to take this head on, & win.  Yes, the fear crept in every so often, & then I’d get another message from family or friends, or a call from my wife, & it was gone.

So they began the tests to determine if I was even strong enough for another transplant.  My wife got back in time for the first.  Pulmonary function.  A very exhausting uncomfortable test I always seem to have scheduled during a bout with seasonal allergies.  I was tired, but as predicted, my lung function isn’t bad.  One down.  Then the next…the bone marrow biopsy.  This would be done under conscious sedation because the first two I had were not done under sedation and is pure unnecessary pain.  Unfortunately, this time I had developed quite a resistance to narcotics & it hurt.  Bad.  Not the worst pain, but more than expected.  This would confirm the cancer is still gone, the cells are still all donor cells (that usually doesn’t change after they find they are), & most importantly, that I was not miraculously starting to build more cells after remaining flat the last two tests & months apart, & after a longer period of time of no recovery than my team of highly experienced doctor’s had ever seen.

But it didn’t.  In fact, it confirmed that I had jumped from 20% cells to 60% cells.  A miracle had happened!  I AM recovering.  I will NOT need a second transplant!  And I’m not religious, but I will believe as long as I continue to live (a long, long time) that it was the love from everyone that kickstarted my marrow growth, & spared me the hell of a second transplant.  And I love everyone who sent that love to me right back.  Love has saved my life.  All I need is love.

So here is what love means to me.  Feel free to apply it to your own relationships of any kind.  Love is simply a desire to see the object of your love be as happy as possible, and the actions you take to make that possible.  This fits for romantic love, friendly love, family love, love for animals, anyone you want to be happy and are willing to take action to bring that happiness.  But notice there are two parts to what I said.  It isn’t just the desire that matters.  You MUST take action to attempt to make it happen.  That is loving.  If you claim to love someone and don’t do anything to support their happiness, their growth, their dreams…you don’t love that person.  You may feel for that person, you may have affection for that person, but you don’t love that person.  If you keep someone in a box for your own selfish fear of being alone…that is not love.  Love is doing what you can to make that person happy.  You don’t have to succeed.  You DO have to try!  They won’t always love you back.   You don’t need that.  All you need is love.  Love is all you need.

So love the people you love, love the people who love you.  Let the people who don’t love you go, you don’t need them.