Well, it’s time for a new year and I can’t say that I’m sad to put 2011 behind me. This is the year that my biggest fears manifested in front of my eyes like some sort of sick nightmare that lasted for 7 months. This is also a year that brought me new friends, adventure, and a fresh perspective on life.
My year started off alone behind a beer tub at a job I hated, crying. Those would the first of many tears shed this year. My mom always told me that the way you start your year sets the tone for the rest of the year. Even as I was standing there cheers-ing to no one, I was thinking, I hope this isn’t the worst year of my life….because this is the worst New Year’s Eve that I have ever had. Ever!
The first two and a half months of the year were relatively mild in comparison to the next three. I totaled my car in February, luckily my best friend and I walked away injury-free. I remember going out with some friends in March, the weekend right before St. Patrick’s day and having the BEST time the entire weekend.
I also traveled to Austin the next weekend for SXSW. Holly and I drove down on Friday and went out Friday night. I can recall calling my mom really late that night and my aunt answering the phone and telling me that she was asleep. I thought it was weird, but I figured I would try my mom the next day. Saturday afternoon around 2 I picked up my phone to call her and found three or four missed calls and some messages. In my heart, I knew they were about my mom. After finding out she was in the hospital, I made a few more calls and arranged a flight to Chicago that night at 7. I drove like a bat out of hell from Austin to Dallas, packed for 10 minutes and high-tailed it to the airport.
Seeing my mom in a coma is an image that will be forever burned into my memory. The rest of March was spent at her bedside. I didn’t want her to ever be alone and I rarely left her side. She did get well enough at the beginning of April to talk and her prognosis was good. After being in Chicago for 3 weeks I came home to take a break. Sadly, she took a turn for the worse while I was gone and I had to rush back to Chicago five days later. Three days after that, I watched her take her last breath.
I love my mom so much, it’s indescribable. Saying goodbye to her was the hardest thing I have ever had to do.
At the very end of April I returned to Dallas for about a week before I was to leave for California for a long stay with my brother. The night before I left, my brother called me and told me he was in the hospital. I flew out the next day and remained at his side for a little over a week until the doctor finally had a diagnosis.
As it so happened, I was struggling to find sleep one night in California and my phone rang. I ignored it, initially, until it rang again and again. I called back and found out my best friend had been in a horrific car accident. I consider my best friend, Holly, my sister. So I have two siblings in two hospitals in two states. I am overwhelmed at this point so I call my dad, and I know he considers Holly a daughter, so he went to visit her while I stayed with my brother.
The next day my brother was finally given the diagnosis of Aplastic Anemia. I can’t even describe how scared we were. We knew nothing about this disease, why would we? The good news was that once he was on a regimen of regular transfusions, he could leave the hospital. After he got released, we both came back to Dallas.
As my brother explored his treatment options, I spent a lot of my time at the hospital with Holly during those three weeks in May until she got released as well. The good news is, even though I was sick of hospitals at this point, Holly is still my best friend and we were still able to have a couple laughs here and there. I also got a few free calf massages out of the deal.
My brother ultimately decided that John’s Hopkins was the best treatment course for him. Once he was accepted, we both moved to Baltimore as patient and caregiver. Having never even been to Maryland before, I had no idea what to expect. Luckily, once I got there, I was pleasantly surprised.
More to come about the second half of the year tomorrow, in part 2 of my year end review 2011. Stay tuned…