Saturday, April 20, 2013

Still Making

Daddy-O surprised me with a Fire Island Bakery double-decker ginger  cookie with creamy-lemon filling. Instead of continuing our walkies with cookies in hand, I decided to sit and savor the sunshine with this  finger-licking delicious treat. Nigel and Olive-Dog are on crumb patrol!
I realized this morning that it was 12 years ago this week that I returned alive from the University of Washington Medical Center from being treated for months for AML Leukemia. There are many memories but two remain clear; my youngest son's first reaction when his mom finally was able to return home and my anonymous matched donors. Feeling grateful doesn't quite describe my gratitude for everyone who helped us through that chapter in my life.

Leukemia patients from Alaska are flown to Seattle for treatment due to our limited population, limiting the number of potential matches for blood and platelets, especially when donors need to be "matched" like in my case. There isn't a day that goes by when I don't reflect on those TWO DONORS who were the ONLY ones in the entire Puget Sound area that matched my platelets when I needed life-giving transfusions from the Puget Sound Blood Center. THANK YOU. I had a condition that required me to receive only "matched" donor platelets after the monthly rounds of high-dose chemo and Leukemia killed my platelets off. During one particularly difficult round and my blood not clotting, this donor was called and drove for two hours to the Puget Sound Blood Center to donate their precious platelets that restored my levels. When the bag was rushed into my room the team and I referred to the platelets as "bags of liquid gold" not only for it's beautiful golden color but the life-giving properties it held. Due to privacy laws we don't know who these heroes were, but as a blood donor this may have been you.


When I nervously got off of the airplane on my final trip home, Gus, who was only four years old saw my baldness for the first time. Before anyone could give any explanation, without a concern Gus brightly said "don't worry Mom, you can get some new hair at Walmart they have everything!"  


It's good for me to reflect on this time because as life, deadlines or my art making may start to feel overwhelming, sometimes I'm quick to take life for granted -hard to believe after my ordeal but I admit it's true. So today I'm taking pause, reflecting, feeling grateful and sharing. I wish to be a light of hope for others currently being treated for Cancer and serve as a gentle reminder that wherever you are, please GIVE BLOOD because the life you may save was mine 12 years ago.


Blood Bank of Alaska
Puget Sound Blood Center
Sunset in Barrow, Alaska in February

5 comments:

angela walford said...

12 years thats some milestone cindy! congrats and here's to the next.... hows the plasma torch going??

Linda Starr said...

words of wisdom from the mouths of babes, so glad you're here enjoying life today.

cindy shake said...

thanks girls! xox

Not quite torchin' enough yet Ang -we just got more snow arrrggh! My garage isn't set up yet -just kinda-sorta but I need way more power and it's getting rewired this summer. Might get fired up Saturday though becauase I'm ready!

angela walford said...

awesome!!!

Tracey Broome said...

I'm just getting to catch up on my blog reading after a week of slovenliness at Shakori. What a great post. This thing I have been going through with the rf waves and my smart meter has really put life into perspective and has me thinking how precious and short it really is. You set the bar high for good living up there in the land of magnificent beauty! Good for you, live and love well!
xoxo