nbmtLINK - National Bone Marrow Transplant Link
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Voices of Hope & Healing
for Bone Marrow/Stem Cell Transplant

Inspirational Guidelines
by Laura Housley

These inspirational guidelines, which stand out in my memory, helped me get through my leukemia nightmare.

Visualize goals. It was helpful for me to think about a place where I felt relaxed and happy. So I would visualize the beach, the smell of the ocean air and the sound of crashing waves. While I was in the hospital, I happened to watch a movie on TV titled "Miami Rhapsody." Seeing those images on screen allowed me to have a picture of what I was thinking. My main inspiration was my family, especially our two children, ages five and three and a half at the time of my transplant. They were the reason I wanted to keep living. I had said to myself, "When all of this is over, we're going to Disney World!" But my most important goal was to walk my daughter to school on her first day of kindergarten. I kept that picture in my mind. My transplant was in March, so I had six months to prepare for it. We have not been to Disney World yet, but I did walk Sara to school that September. I have been walking both of our children to school ever since.

Speaking with survivors gave me so much hope. They were the only ones who knew and understood what I was going through. A peer support volunteer was especially helpful. His words and experiences which he shared with me were encouraging. He was four years ahead of me in the process, and I remember him telling me about his family being in Florida for a vacation after he recovered. He actually went jogging on the beach! At the time, I was so weak and sometimes had to use a wheelchair while I was in the hospital. I could not even imagine myself being strong enough to walk on a beach. A few years later, I sent him a postcard from Florida. I was there with my husband for a long weekend. I am not a jogger, but I did take a walk on the beach. It felt so good. I also remember telling a survivor who lived in North Carolina, "I can't wait until I am on your side of the fence." Well, four years later I was (another goal I achieved!). Becoming a Peer Support volunteer for the National Bone Marrow Transplant Link is very rewarding. I know that I am helping newly diagnosed patients as well as giving back for those who encouraged me along the way.

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