The Night Before My Stem Cell Transplant

February 25, 2023

On February 24, 2021, I was on the Cancer and Cellular Therapy Center floor at Jewish Hospital in Cincinnati, OH. I was admitted on February 19th and went through 5 days of vigorous chemotherapy. The point was to give you exceptionally high doses of chemotherapy to wipe out your current stem cells. The next day I would receive my own new and improved stem cells, which had previously been collected and filtered, back into my body.

I would end up being in the hospital for a month. Finally being released on March 18th. A lot of my time spent there I have somehow blocked out of my memories. At one point my white blood count was at zero. People say in this process they bring you as close to death, as to bring you back. I am still learning to cope with that statement and learning to live past it.

Looking back I wish I would have kept a journal or written little things throughout the whole process. I did write one passage I have only shared with my husband, therapist, and a few others. The night before this big event I was beyond anxious. I wasn’t sure what to expect the next day or what my future would look like. My friend Taylor suggested I write down how I was feeling.

This is what I wrote…

Day 5- Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021

Today is the day before the transplant. I can’t believe the day is finally almost here. It doesn’t feel ‘real’ and probably won’t for a long while. 

I currently am completely finished with all chemo!!! AHH!! It feels amazing to type that out and think I could be possibly done for the rest of my life. That would be beyond amazing if that becomes true!! 

This whole journey has been a bunch of ups and downs. I have survived so much so far and I will continue to do so! I am doing this for my husband, kids, family, friends, and most importantly MYSELF! I want to be able to live and watch my kids grow up and have families of their own! I want to be the best version of myself, and that is to live.

This will all be worth it. 3 weeks away from my kids and family means a whole lifetime, sign me up! 

I have had a lot of time to think while cooped up in room 3526. I decided I want to do more with my life. I don’t know exactly what that looks like yet, but big things will come. I won’t just let life happen to me. I will take life and make It happen with me. Be in control of my own happiness and do what I want!!

To read my words is filled with so many emotions. Looking at the past two years I feel like I haven’t accomplished much, but that girl sitting in the hospital room would be so proud. I spoke to my therapist about this yesterday and he reminded me life is about ‘progress over perfection.’ This is so important to always remember. I don’t want to diminish all that I have accomplished in the past two years. The biggest is I’m alive and living my best life!

Things I have accomplished in the past two years:

  • I have been able to watch my kids grow up more. They are both in preschool and I get to drop them off and pick them up!
  • Potty trained both children! If you are a parent you understand what an accomplishment this is.
  • Took our kids to Magic Kingdom along with my parents.
  • Worked for one year as a server at Skyline Chili.
  • Took trips with some of my best girlfriends, kid-free!
  • Celebrated two years since being diagnosed with cancer.
  • Countless zoo, parks, and outside adventures exploring.
  • Gone to therapy to work on my inside from my experiences.
  • Celebrated two birthdays.
  • Gotten two haircuts since shaving my head two years ago!
  • Concerts surrounded by people

There are so many more things that have happened in two years than I listed above. Life is all about perspective. I hope in the next year I remember even the smallest things each day will bring me joy. Focusing on things that make me happy and fulfilled is the best way to live this new chance at life.



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About Katie

About Katie


Welcome to my little corner of the internet! Living Amidst is a Cincinnati-based lifestyle blog. Katie is a wife, mother, and a woman fighting Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. This little space was created when my son was four months old and I lost who I was. Living Amidst became my corner of the internet to find myself again. My Instagram and blog focus on motherhood, self-care, and my journey through my recent diagnosis of cancer. Read More

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