I discovered a new book a couple weeks ago called "Marrow" by Elizabeth Lesser.
I was hesitant to read it because I know the outcome is not the one we are praying for and sometimes it is so scary allow myself to crack open enough to read about my greatest fears.
Yet something kept pulling me toward this story.
It is the story of " Maggie-Liz", they name themselves, as these sisters journey through the experience of a bone marrow transplant.And becoming true soul and marrow sisters.
Maggie is in need of a life saving Bone Marrow transplant , and Liz is the one (out of three sisters) who is a perfect match for her younger sister.
Of course all things and stories BMT and Leukemia strike a love /hate passion for me now , so I bought the book.
Liz's story is nothing like anything I have read before. It is all things that have been on my heart for the past almost three years and her words have been God's grace to me.
I believe we go through these things in life and become better or bitter. We should share our stories with the hope of helping someone else. Darkness is universal and in all of us. We are here to be the light for the next person that will fight the battle we are walking. We are here to find purpose in our lives and to be a light for others.
There are so many words and pages I have underlined in this book . It gives an incredible point of view from the donor side of the transplant, explanations of the actual stem cells and graft verse host disease, and all of the fears of rejection and attack of the transplant.
But what was is so intriguing to me is the healing that each Maggie and Liz feel through what cancer brings by getting to the what they call -the marrow of our souls.
Maggie says in her field notes,
" If it wasn't for the downside, having cancer would be the best thing and everyone would want it. The disease teaches you what's important , and and as it turns out its the things you already have. your kids. your mate. your home. a good meal. a good friend. a good day. but here's my favorite quote from the book , by roger Ebert, who has terrible , face -eating kind of cancer: 'I believe that if, at the end of it all, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier that is about the best we can do. to make others less happy is a crime, to make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. we must try to contribute joy to the world, that is true no matter what our problems , our health, our circumstance. we must try"
I sat with my unbelievably strong friend Emily last week at the hospital. As she laid there in the hospital bed fighting the beast of cancer with ALL she has, with tubes coming from each opening in her body, and drains leaking fluid from her side, with only slight frustration that she could not wear clothes because she was so swollen. As I sat next to her, she said to me these words through tears-
I would do anything to just be a mom and work. That's all.
And as cancer has gripped her body to these four walls , I felt guilty and couldn't even bring myself to leave knowing I had the freedom to go outside and feel the sunshine on my face as they sat in the darkness.
We take life for granted until we have no other option.
I pray you will enjoy the sun on your face, your kids ( your whining kids) , your work.
In the book Liz describes the two different transplants they experienced.
The bone marrow transplant and the SOUL transplant.
She says what she learned is this,
" the marrow of the bones and the marrow of the self are quite similar . Deep down in the center of the bones are stem cells that keep another person alive, perhaps not forever, but for a time, in the case of my sister, for what she called the best year of her life. Deep in the center of the self are the soul cells of who you really are. Dig for them, believe in them, and offer them to another person, and you can heal each other's hearts and keep love alive forever."
She also says- You don't have to wait for a life or death situation to happen to offer the marrow of yourself to another person.
When Emily's mom made it to Augusta to see Emily and Dr. Kota, she said- Dr. Kota does as much for Emily's soul as he does her physical condition. This is the healing Mike has felt, we have felt, and I have tried to put to words. I feel Liz describes this in her book.
This is the kind of soul transplant I have been trying to describe since Mike's diagnoses and transplant. The love , deep in the marrow of life is healing , if we can only get there.
So like Maggie, I wish we could all experience this kind of transplant without the heartache of cancer.
It is where the meaning if life is experienced and felt. It is where GRACE, HOPE, and FAITH lie.
Love is the CURE. Don't wait for a life or death situation phone call to come... LIVE TODAY.
KEEP SWIMMING !