Sunday, September 16, 2012

new attitude

My life has brought a lot of (awesome) changes in the past few months. More a new attitude more than anything else, but wow do a new set of (rosier colored) glasses change everything about your life.

Last weekend found me happily frying falafel. That was great.


A few weekends before that- sitting in on a master’s level communications course at the MPH/RD combined program at UNC (for those of you not as well-versed in nonsensical acronyms, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has a program that allows you to simultaneously earn a master’s in public health and complete the coursework and internships necessary to sit for the exam to become a registered dietitian. It’s BOSS.) I also ended up on a private tour of Duke Lemur Center (it’s a long, awesome story and was one of the best experiences of my life).


A few weekends before that- enjoying the beautiful sights of Berkeley Springs, West Virginia with my awesome boyfriend, who’s just been extra awesome lately. Our first day involved a great deal of torrential rain which was absolutely positively NO PROBLEM, because it allowed me to vegetate in the incredible claw-foot bathtub.


My end of summer days have also involved great times with families, a work situation that finally, finally, at moments, seems to be defusing, and other good things.


But really? Here’s what happened:

It all started with me feeling totally panicky at how I was looking and how much weight I was packing on due to being a big ball of stress. I think it was a pick-your-poison kind of thing- for me, when my head is a mess all of the symptoms will manifest themselves at my body. For other people, maybe they drink/yell/smoke/gamble/sleep/sleep around too much.

And fortunately, due to my own wherewithal (something for which I have given myself too little credit in the past), along with the help/love of the awesome people in my life, I dealt with it. And dealt with it meaning actually started looking at my emotions, and the patterns in my head, and my coping skills, and my support system, and all the stuff that actually matters (and uh, p.s., in a rational world where it’s supposed to be what’s on the inside that counts, how much you weight dooooooesnt matter!).

So I feel like a gazillion times better. Like, holy amazing, SO MUCH BETTER. So much kinder to myself, so much more pragmatic when dealing with other people who stress me out, so much less anxious in making decisions about the future, and so much more confident in my own intelligence/capability/compassion.

So hurray for that.

Also, my cells are kicking ass too- I will in fact be giving some of them to someone with leukemia. Next month! On October 6 (the day before my 24th birthday!) I’ll get my first injection of filgrastim, a drug that’ll make my body start making extra stem cells in my bone marrow and then, once my bones get too crowded, release them out into my veins. Five days of those injections, and on day five they’ll take out my blood, spin it through a centrifuge, and give it back to me sans stem cells (and a few platelets to keep them company on their journey to the recipient in EUROPE).

So many things about the process amaze me- the fact that I am one of the 1 in 540 that’s a match for an unrelated donor; the fact that that person is outside of the United States even though my totally mutt genes (7/16ths Greek, 1/16 Irish, 1/4 English, 1/4 South African) seem like something that only could’ve come together in the US. Thinking about my cells going into someone’s body, then (God willing- and it’s a scary and dangerous process and I pray for the recipient) going through their body and knowing to find their way to this woman’s bone marrow, then growing her a new immune system. If she and I have unrelated blood types, if my cells successfully transplant, her blood type will become my blood type. Crazy! So crazy!

I definitely have big plans for the not-too-distant future related to what my everyday life will look like. It could mean more blogging… or not.

But in the meantime, I am just enjoying life a lot more. I am not perfect, nor will I ever be. My life is not perfect, nor will it ever be (and I am struggling to figure out what are realistic expectations for a career, since unfortunately my current “dream job” hasn’t necessarily panned out the way I would’ve envisioned). But life is really, really good.

As was this falafel!


Made it for some friends/families we had over for a get together last weekend. Just cause I’d always wanted to make it (and cause we had a mix! It incorporated both powdered chickpeas AND fava beans. Just delish!).


Appetizers began with homemade tortilla chips (tortillas sprayed with cooking spray; sprinkled with garlic salt, paprika and cumin; and baked til crispy) and hummus (that I made too lemony, agh!)


Then awesome Steve arrived with amazing cheese from Cheesetique, basically my favorite place in the world; and wine to match from a shop in Adams Morgan. Appetizers WON.

For the main course, along with the falafel was lamb (which I overcooked grrr. I was so delighted to find out that the lamb from Lebanese Butcher is not only halal and organic, it is also LOCAL, from Warrenton, Virginia, probably less than thirty miles away. AND I OVERCOOKED IT AGH.). The pink things are pickled turnips, which are divine.


Made my favorite summer squash recipe- Indian spiced grilled baby squash from Cooking Light- which I couldn’t actually grill due to the tornado warnings outside but was nonetheless delightful made under the broiler.


Annnnd my mom made  a great couscous salad.


Dessert was farmer’s market ice cream (strawberry shortcake and blackberry Cabernet from Sinplicity Ice Cream- so great!) and my mom’s homemade peach cobbler.

All were wonderful, all went unphotographed, but I’d say this is a rather long enough post, eh?


Astra Libris said...

I am in awe of you! Of your amazing, wise attitude, of your insight, and of your bravery and generosity in being a bone marrow donor! You are incredible! (I love Steve's guest post, too... :-)

Steven Alexander Heathcliff Basil Bert said...


I’m so proud of you for finding joy in who you are. Your wonderful outlook lately has been infectious. I’m learning from you as I scurry through potential minefields of stress-bombs. Keep up the good fight.

Also, your lamb was not overcooked. It was juicy and had extremely savory flavor-pockets. The lamb and the couscous joined forces for one of the best meals of all-time.

Shannon ~ My Place In The Race said...

OMG the lemurs! I'm so jealous!