Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Conversation With My Bone Marrow on Her 10th Birthday

"I suck at being an adult," I said to my bone marrow while we ate our breakfast today: oatmeal prepared on the stove top with ground cinnamon and sliced banana.

"Don't be so hard on yourself," my bone marrow replied. "You're a good host, except when you refuse to buy me push-up bras to impress the boy bone marrows."

Ten years ago today, on April 24, 2003, I received my umbilical cord stem cell transplant to treat myelodysplasia, my second cancer. My bone marrow donor was an anonymous girl, so my blood has two of the same sex chromosome, XX, instead of XY.

I have reared my bone marrow as my child, and my only complaint is that she's a brat. She is also a prodigy, teaching herself advanced calculus when she was four. Usually we bicker, but sometimes we have real conversations. It's complicated.

Her birthday today led to self-reflection. "I try so hard to do what adults are supposed to," I said to her. "Succeed at my job and hobbies, contribute to my 401(k), look out for my friends and family, reach out to people who seek my strength and guidance, and stay healthy. But when I scroll Facebook and all I see are pictures of weddings and dogs and babies..."

"Don't talk about Facebook," Bone Marrow interrupted. "Mark Zuckerberg didn't even respond to my letters asking to allow bone marrow profiles. I'm so pissed about that."

"Sorry, I didn't mean to stir things up. It just seems that is really what adulthood is about, and I know nothing of it. And here I am feeling all mature for buying my first car last week. I'm getting so far behind it is scary." Keep reading, here.


Catherine - Facing Cancer Together said...

I adore this post. Cheers to you and Marrow for pushing forward, having fun, making us laugh and all the good you've accomplished. As for the growing up - I know what you mean, and I know other people who would know what you mean. It only feels weird because we're trailblazing life and it is yet to become 'normal'. But I guarantee you aren't alone!

Benjamin Rubenstein said...

Thank you for the props and comforting thoughts. Marrow especially, enjoyed "trailblazing," an underappreciated word. I'm also glad that you continue to enjoy my stories. Good luck to you as well on continuing or beginning your journey towards your own "normal"...and your ability to speak with your bone marrow.