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Voices of Hope & Healing
for Bone Marrow/Stem Cell Transplant

The 100th Day
by Connie Soso Goines

After an allogeneic transplant on August 6th, 1997, I spent the prescribed 32 days in the BMT Unit of Kaiser Permanente on Sunset Avenue in Hollywood, California. When I was released from the hospital, I was instructed to maintain confinement at home as much as possible throughout the "100-day" period. My first follow-up appointment was one week after I was released from the hospital, which was about 40 days post transplant.

A friend drove me to Kaiser Sunset and we waited in the infusion room while my blood work was drawn. The room was busy with nurses, children toddling with their IV poles, parents anxiously following these willful children, and a nicely dressed woman sitting near the chair where I sat. She looked very "pulled together" – It being an early September afternoon; she was dressed in white shorts, a crisp white blouse, and a wide brimmed straw hat. She had a cute haircut peeking out from under the brim of her hat. I supposed she was a post-transplant patient well beyond her days of baldness and prednisone bloat. She looked so normal. I appreciated the normalcy and hoped I would eventually return to my vital self.

I wanted to know how long it would take for me to reach the stage that I supposed she must be at, so I asked, "Excuse me, but how many years since your transplant?" She smiled sincerely and said, "Today is my 100th day." It was not the answer I had anticipated. She looked so normal, so vibrant and healthy. Immediately, I was filled with joy and hope. I couldn't believe that she was only 100 days post transplant!

There was a transformation that took place in me that day. I transitioned from looking at what I had lost during the transplant process, my hair and my strength, to looking at what was ahead, wellness and hope of survival and vitality.

I have come a long way since that September afternoon in 1997. I passed my own 100th day and wore white shorts and a straw hat to my doctor's appointment on that day. I have seen my daughter graduate high school, graduate college, and even complete her Master's Degree. I even found new love at age 44 and married a wonderful man in 2009.

Judy was the woman on that memorable day at my appointment. She was such an inspiration and has become a dear friend. We see each other at the annual BMT events and recognize the blessings we've each received in our lives. This year I celebrate my 13th BMT "birthday" but will always cherish the memory of Judy's 100th day.

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