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Journal entry by Corrine O'Day Hanan

One week from today, Scott and I will be heading to Rochester, MN, to start my pre-transplant evaluation.  For days since I received the call, I've been excited.  I'm still excited, but I'm also aware of feeling an intense need to settle things before I leave.  I must have spent more than two hours yesterday changing all the autopay accounts to our primary account, so I won't have to remember to transfer funds.  I was getting all the bills together, to get them paid before we leave.  I have been online creating a Sam's list of things I have to take the transplant house.  I am still finalizing my will and Advance Directive, and I still have to set up the consents so our children's caregivers here will be able to obtain medical care for them.  I am figuring out how to see people before I go.  Trying how not to make anything seem too morbid.  Inside I am thinking, "this could be the last time you see me, so let's make this good"; I am also thinking I want just to take the next step as if that next one is like any other.  I want to prepare my children for our absence, looking for that moment of perfection I can explain the circumstance clearly, neatly, calmly.  I am trying to figure out the most eloquent way I can thank all of the people who are rallying behind me, doing all they can to get me there and to make sure my children are okay.  There are no words invented yet that can possibly convey the magnitude of my gratitude to them.  I am standing firm on my commitment to God to endure this trial with grace, perseverance, joy, and absolute faith.  Sometimes I feel a few tears at the corners of my eyes.  I usually take a deep breath and remember my path.  I'm sure it's going to be okay at some point to cry; crying doesn't mean I'm murmuring or complaining.  I don't even know what's "normal" at this point. I don't feel sad or angry that I'm sick.  I'd be misrepresenting the facts if I said I didn't have some fear--what's coming up is going to be dreadfully difficult and it will make me sick, and weak, and will make me work hard to stay alive.  That's all scary to me.  I also feel somewhat embarrassed, like somehow if I had put more value on my life before now I wouldn't be.  Now I'm one of "those cancer patients."  I don't want people to feel sorry for me.  I feel worried sometimes, but mostly about how my children will grow up without me if I die.  I've always said death is hard on the living--the dead are perfectly content.  Well.  At least the Christian dead.  I don't know enough about the other religions to know their views of the afterlife.  For me, I'm strong in believing I will go to heaven when I die, so if this illness claims me, I will be with God.  I'm not sure, but I also think I have a certain amount of feelings directed toward the idea that, if I endure this illness and stay strong and faithful, I won't still die anyway.  I think I might hate the idea of doing everything I can, and being sick for months, only to succumb to my disease.  I haven't quite named those feelings.  They are still percolating below the surface, still being sorted out in this contemplation of my life.  For all the things I may regret, or wish I had done differently, or better, or even not at all, I will never regret loving any of the people I have loved in my life.  I am happy I found my relationship with God on this side of heaven.  A busy week awaits me.  I'm sure I will spend many more moments in contemplation.

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Journal entry by Corrine O'Day Hanan

I am beginning my blog with the recognition that I am about to trade a zero percent chance of living for a 15-20% chance.  Added to that is my knowledge that 15-20% might just mean for a few years.  Because my faith in God is strong, I suppose I believe I only need a one percent chance to go for it. 

I had never heard of myelodysplastic syndrome, a form of cancer, before I was diagnosed with it in March of 2018.  It's a bone marrow cancer.  And my particular form of MDS is related to the treatment I received for Hodgkin's Disease in the 1990s, when I was given a regimen of MOPP/ABVD chemotherapy and then radiation, to cure the cancer.  Now I am preparing for a bone marrow transplant at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.  A transplant is the only cure for my disease, so there is no question in my mind this is what I'm going to do.  I keep telling myself that God wouldn't have given me four beautiful grandbabies to raise if He didn't intend for me to raise them.  I believe God is going to perform miracles in my life.  I believe my journey and my healing are going to glorify God in every way, and I'm excited to see how He works things out.  Right now I am telling myself that I am awake at 5:00 in the morning not because I am anxious but because there is so much I have to do in the next week to get ready to leave that I just can't sleep.  Realistically, I'm sure it's a combination of both.  Scott and I leave in eight days.  I've been waiting on this trip to come, essentially since my diagnosis in March, but now that I have an actual date I must leave, it feels like there is not enough time to get ready.  I've been keeping a list for a while.  Don't forget this or that.  Be sure to do this or that.  I have this overwhelming need to get things "in order."  How does one prepare to be away from home, from her children, for months?  I try not to get into the cycle of feeling trapped because there is truly no other choice, so what am I feeling? 

I just want the kiddos to be okay while I'm gone.  Not just my babies, but my adult children as well.  I feel sad for them that I will be gone for a while.  I vacillate between wanting to spend every second with them before I go and wanting to keep everything as normal as possible for them.  Then again, our lives changed in March of this year.  We have a new normal.  We're all going to be okay.  Different, but okay.  And I'm at peace with that.

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Corrine’s Story

Site created on June 9, 2018

I'm a grateful believer in Christ who is traveling a journey of high-risk myelodysplastic syndrome (cancer) with complex karyotype and p53 mutations, with treatment to include a bone marrow transplant.  I choose to travel with God, trusting Him and His plans for my life.  I choose to face this illness with faith, perseverance, and joy; I choose not to murmur or complain.  I choose life! Thank you for visiting.

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