Six Feet Apart

I am practiced at isolation. 
Recovering from a bone marrow transplant can do that to you.
I was isolated from anyone who wasn't my doctor, nurse, husband, or blood-related to me for 100 days.
One. Hundred. Days.
Those first 100 days are rough - physically and emotionally.

All those years ago, I understood why I had to isolate myself from others.  If I ventured out without a mask, went anywhere near wood, went into the ocean, or ate at a restaurant?  It could mean relapse into the Leukemia world.  I stayed in the hospital and then home for the whole 100 days.  I did as I was told.  There was no way around it.  When those days were over, we celebrated with an "all-clear" from leukemia and lunch at my favorite peruvian spot.

I wore a mask for the rest of the year whenever I was out...and if you were sick or hadn't had your flu shot, you weren't allowed near me.  It was hard times, but it was also temporary.  I knew that if I followed the doctor's instructions, it would be better in the long run.  I could get back to "normal".

The joke on me?  "Normal" never happened.  What was normal before cancer was never going to be.  Yes, I went back to work over a year later.  Yes, I went back to drop off and pick up for the kids.  Yes, I went out and did things.  Normal, no cancer, things...but life was never the same.  Now, I was in my "new normal."

Working part-time.
No hugs or kisses until everyone was showered from the outside germs.
Meat and certain foods upset my stomach and skin.
Sit on the sand at the beach, but don't go in the water.
Home Depot was still off limits because of the wood there.
Flowers?  Only fake for me.

I didn't have leukemia anymore.  I was officially in remission and just so happy to be alive.  I didn't have to miss another birthday.  I was in the hospital off and on the first two years because of Graft vs. Host Disease (GVHD), but it wasn't for cancer.  That's all that mattered.

I am almost 4 years out from having cancer.  Only one more year and the doctors say I will be cured.  The first 2-3 years are when the probability of relapse is higher.  Having GVHD is actually a good thing for me.  In these last few years, I haven't thought much about isolation.  Not much at all.

Photo by James Lee on Unsplash
Until...March 2020.
Almost four years of "new normal" and now I have to get used to another "normal".  Isolation, again.  This time? With the whole world.  I would never have imagined that this "newer normal" could happen.  It's those first 100 days all over again. 

This time, though, everyone is home with me.
Three kids.
This time I'm healthy and can do things.  Nothing makes me lose my breath this time and I don't get dizzy this time around.  So that means, I can work from home and make all the meals, be a teacher to my Deaf 4-year-old, and everything in between.  I can do it all!  Or can I?

I do it, of course.  I didn't know that this would be more emotionally exhausting than the 100 days I experienced all those years ago.  Don't get me wrong.  I love my family.  I love cooking and baking.  It's just...

There's no me time.  I can't just turn on Netflix and binge-watch anything I want all day.  Reading a book?  If I hide in my room and it's naptime.  This is not the time to start a new hobby, let alone a business.  See, I was never cut out to be a stay-at-home mom.  That's why I work outside of the home...ha!

I don't know how much longer I can stay home like this.  So, I ask all of the people who are super excited because their favorite restaurant is open or someone tells you that this is no big deal:

Wear the mask.
Six feet apart.
Cook at home.
Learn to make your favorite coffee.
Social distance.
Safer. At. Home.

I know it's boring.  I. Know!  Believe me, I've been there.  Just take a minute - a minute that might last months maybe - and breathe.  You got this.  We got this.

Everything is temporary.  I promise.  How do I know this?  How does anyone who has been medically isolated before know that this too shall pass?

Well, I'm still here, right?



  1. Always putting things into perspective for me. Thank you. Love you.


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