I'm in a Good Space in This Part of My Cancer Journey

This time last year, I was a patient at the BLK Hospital in New Delhi. I had just undergone my bone marrow transplant and was taking each moment, and each day, as it came.

I’ve struggled to look back at the photos, videos or posts that emerged during that period of hospitalization. I don’t know why. Maybe I just want to move on and keep on living and enjoying my health, or maybe it’s hard for me to go back to that place where I was a cancer patient.

Perhaps it’s because it was first time in my life I was that vulnerable.

I had to let go and trust the medical team at the hospital– trust their methods and, more importantly, trust my body to fight and to heal. I had to surrender my independence and agree to be “nursed” by my family. I had to admit I was a patient and I was at my weakest ever.

I had gone through nausea, mouth sores, endless diarrhea, some fever, poor appetite and my hair loss. My body was at its weakest.

Then, my platelets had grafted, and that was a good thing. The transplant had been successful. However, every day was a filled with anxiety as I hoped and prayed for the platelet count to get to normal. I was starting from zero. I kept on urging my body to heal, for I needed a win. I think we all needed that.

My friend, Paul, asked me the other day whether there were any dark moments while in India. I said no. They were more fearful than dark. I was at a point where I had to trust, rest and hope.

Even as I write this, I’m a mixture of emotions, although the overriding feeling I have is gratitude — overwhelming gratitude. I tell folks that India healed me. As I look back at the seven weeks on the sub-continent, I recognize I had to be taken outside the comfort zone of my home, a medical system I was familiar with, my culture and Kenya in order to trust, rest and hope.

There are many tough, humbling and memorable moments that will stay with me. I can only say thank you, India, for you opened my eyes to many new things and to parts of me that were latent. In being reflective, I find myself smiling at the kindness I received from various quarters.

There was that moment I received a Hijra blessing while stuck in the capital’s traffic, making a silent prayer at a Buddhist temple in Majnu-ka-Tilla, and sitting on the floor on the metro and enjoying the commute alongside other Delhiites. Namaste!

That was a year ago. I’ve thought about India every day this month, and I know May 2015, October 2015 and June 2016 will forever be milestones in my life. That was a year ago. I’m in a good space and taking each moment as it comes and still hugging life.

I’ve just finished another round of maintenance treatment (number 10 to be precise) and have a week off before I resume another round. This is my new new normal. I still have a year of monthly calcium shots to do and consider my monthly blood tests kawaida. I’m still learning about this disease and accepting the fact that my body is not what it was before May 2015. That is disheartening, but it hasn’t stopped me from moving on.

I may not always have a spring in my step, but I’m still walking and appreciating the things that make me me and that I am passionate about.

Two weeks ago, I was at an LGBT and sex workers’ conference, and I marveled at the passion and freedom that was being shared by other African activists. I got a little emotional because I was “home” and back in the throes of a movement that is close to my heart.

I am moving on.

A year ago, I was in a different place fighting a different battle. I’m back, with new eyes and a new appreciation for life. I do feel vulnerable now and then, but more than anything  —  I’m in a good space.

This post originally appeared on Medium.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Multiple Myeloma

How My Cancer Diagnosis Helped Me Recognize Birthdays Rock

“Forty?? There is no way I can be 40!  That is how old old people are!” That’s what I thought five years ago when I turned the “big 4-0.” My colleagues were amazing and went all out decorating my office and helping me celebrate, which did take some of the sting out. I generally love birthdays. [...]
dark profile of a woman laying down

Fighting the Dark Thoughts I Have as a Cancer Patient

Looking at me, I look like a regular mom. If you passed me on the street with my short, curly hair, you wouldn’t be surprised to know I am (now) a stay-at-home mom with a husband and three young kids. I have a “mom haircut” (mostly grown back to its pre-chemo length) and, most days I’m [...]
family walking on the beach

5 Lessons We Learned After We Told Our Kids About My Cancer Diagnosis

Two years ago, my husband and three kids dropped me off at the emergency room with an eye infection — and I didn’t come back for two weeks. During that time, a lot happened to me, not the least of which was getting a diagnosis of multiple myeloma, a cancer of the blood. For kids who were [...]
portrait of ill business woman at work

To the Sick Person at the Office Powering Through the Day, Please Stay Home

Dear sick person at the office, I understand what it feels like to think you are indispensable — that, no matter what your profession is, no matter what your job or level, if you don’t show up for work the whole operation will just. fall. apart. Whatever will they possibly do without you if you [...]