In Thomas Edison’s workshop. (Picture, my own.)
Today, I took Zoe to the Thomas Edison National Historical Park in West Orange (N.J.- um, if you aren’t aware by now, I live in Dirty Jerz). While I found the place fascinating, full of actual history (a kinetoscope!), Zoe was much less interested. In fact, she doesn’t want to go back. While she liked dressing up in old tyme clothes and playing with Tinker Toy blocks, she was sorely disappointed to be the only child there. A museum with ancient artifacts is one thing, but with ancient people, too? Nope, fail.
One of the park rangers there, Gage (true story, that’s his actual first name… Ranger Gage is a superhero-in the making, just wait for it), spoke to us about Edison’s inventions, legacy, and rivals (ahem, Tesla, ahem). After I mentioned a “Bob’s Burgers” episode about Edison and Topsy (fair warning, the real-life story is hella grim, Guys. If you want to check it out, start here, but you were warned!), he even discussed the history behind that. I thought he may try to give me P.R.-approved answers to such non-flattering questions, but Ranger Gage kept it real.
Ranger Gage, Zoe, and Thomas Edison, the standee. (Picture, my own.)
As we were leaving, Ranger Gage said he was happy to have met us and hoped we would return… and then, “Congratulations on coming through that stem cell transplant last year. That was a lot, but you did it!” Those words surprised me, and I told him as much. “Well, I’m glad to have said it even more!” I smiled at his kind words. About 20 minutes earlier, I had mentioned that I went through the transplant in a midst of a conversation about hair (his kind-of a faux hawk-fade, my teeny weeny afro), but I didn’t go into details of it. Yet, he still managed a parting word on it… and he congratulated me.
This touched my heart. Everyone close to me, and I do mean EVERYONE, speaks about the HSCT in either a resigned, not-so-optimistic-anymore, or even downright negative way. It’s been 10 months and I have experienced no positive changes in my health. My sensory neuropathy is still awful, as is my gait and balance. I’m actually more dependent on the rollator outside of home than I was before (I don’t think my nerves are further damaged, but the extended hospital stays and convalescing worsened my mobility; or, don’t use it and you lose it). I’ve personally come to feel it probably didn’t “take” and am planning on other treatments soon.
In thinking over Gage’s “Congratulations”, I realized how in my planning for “next”, or pushing onward in my present, I haven’t taken time to fully appreciate the very recent past. I went five rounds of intensive chemotherapy in a matter of weeks, had three additional ports surgically placed and then pulled, millions of stem cells pulled from my blood, went through several blood transfusions, caught c.diff… well, I went through a lot. Yet, I’m here. Cue “Survivor”, throw on the “Nevertheless, she persisted” tee.
Yesterday, I thanked God for My Loves. Today, I thank God for my life.