For the small things: a little gratitude

This week is my Thanksgiving break from work. My oldest is already home, and my son comes home late Wednesday night. We will have a traditional Thanksgiving dinner here at home, and then we are going up to Paso Robles with the other side of the family for the weekend. I’m especially thankful this year that we are spending time with all of our family.

Last May, my brother-in-law was diagnosed with AML – a type of Leukemia. He had two rounds of chemotherapy, went into remission, and was able to have a bone marrow transplant. The first 100 days post transplant are the most critical. Today, if I am counting correctly, is day 97 post transplant. We should be cheering, thankful that he beat the odds, and trust me, we are.

Walt and I are very close with my brother-in-law and his sister, and every time we see them we are both so glad he’s still with us. The one thing I learned this year was just how valuable those two are to me. He may be legally just my brother-in-law, but in my heart – he is my big brother and she is the older sister I always wanted. I need them. Life would change forever, otherwise.

Normally, transplant patients have a bone marrow biopsy (imagine having a hole drilled into your hip?!?) on or near day 100 to confirm that there is no leukemia present. Thanksgiving is day 100 for our family. Thankful? Most definitely.

Today, he is having his post-transplant bone marrow biopsy. We are all hoping for the best. Unfortunately, his platelet count is still very low, and they like to see it return to at least near-normal by day 60. His levels are nowhere near normal. This is worrisome, because even if AML is not present, the fact that his platelets are not recovering is problematic. We’re thankful, but I think it’s fair to say we’re all a little worried. On the flip side, we are also excited to be able to go to one of our favorite vacation spots later in the week to be together. I’m hoping it’s all just a crazy blip on the horizon, and we can go back to trying to convince him to agree to move up to Paso Robles and start the Rivera Family Compound with us.

I know most of you are sticking with this story to find out what this has to do with Duran Duran, or with being a fan. I had a revelation recently as I saw two groups of people I know going at one another. Pure drama. Is the band really worth all of that? In my opinion, it’s not even about the band, it’s just fandom, and while at one point I would have felt like I had something to prove to show my “place” in the community, I see it differently now. It just doesn’t matter.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Duran Duran. I love their music. I also adore each of those guys as PEOPLE. I don’t need to fight about who loves them more, or who they’re going to sleep with next, because honestly – I couldn’t care less. That’s not what it’s all about for me, and it never has been. The rest of you can grapple with what constitutes the best type of fan. Some fans are new to the community and want pictures. They’re making up for lost time.  Some other fans trace back their fandom for decades, and everyone handles their fandom differently.

As for me,  the results of the biopsy that is happening right now as I type is all that matters right now. Fandom has become more about friendship than fawning, although rest assured I have done my fair share. Gratitude is an interesting thing. Sometimes, taking a minute to be grateful makes a difference. This weekend, I convinced my husband to forgo plans to clean up our backyard in favor of meeting his sister and brother-in-law to go to a winter art festival. My argument was that we have to take the time when we can. We had a great time that day, and both of us were glad we went. Chores can wait!

Today I’m thankful that my oldest is home and that my son finally answered one of my texts. I am trying to spend time in gratitude for what I have, rather than worrying about assurances I do not. It isn’t easy.  Duran Duran is the same way. I have no idea what that band really has planned for next year or beyond, but I am incredibly grateful for the career they’ve already shared. It is these thoughts that will get me through until Wednesday, when my family hears the results.



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