From Stephanie Waxman
October 2, 2013
Happy Birthday to Me
As many of you know, today is the one--year anniversary of my stem cell transplant. Many call the transplant day your new birthday, and that is what it feels like to me. I received new stem cells to replace my old diseased cells. New blood. A new lifeline. A new birth. It was the day I turned into a boy (well, my chromosomes anyway) and changed blood types. One year ago today. The day that gave me hope that I would live many more years free from my old cancer-ridden blood.
Last year on this day, the TNT team in Santa Barbara celebrated my birthday with a party and cake. They made a video, which I watched from my hospital bed that day. This year, I will celebrate with my new friends on the TNT team in San Francisco. TNT has become my family, my support, the place I feel most comfortable as I try to adjust to ‘normal’ life again.
I have met many people in the past year who are about to go through transplant, and many who are recovering from transplant. I think of them every day and send them all my love and hope that they will soon be celebrating their one--year birthdays too.
I have also met too many people who did not survive, and people who have lost loved ones when transplants have not been successful. It breaks my heart to hear their stories and feel their grief. It isn’t fair. Why am I here and they are not? I can only be grateful that I have survived, grateful for everything, every second of every day. I continue on not just for myself, but for those that have been lost, and I raise money and awareness in hope that no one else is lost to blood cancers in the future.