• Alisha Emerald

I am here

Today I got my picc line out. A line that went into my arm, threading itself through to my heart. I have a few new scars, a few new crazy stories to add to my collection, a few more wounds like bullet holes.

Over the last month, I've faced more fears, more complications, more unexpected detours. And while I don't feel like this is "over" (I know better than to think that now), there is an odd rush of emotion and this feeling of a sprinter, after completing a hard few miles, with hands on knees bending down to catch their breath so they can pace themselves and continue the race.

Over the last month, I've heard words like rejection, obstruction, jaundice, failure and dying. I've been given diagnosis' for things like sepsis and cholangitis. I've been in multiple ambulances, an air ambulance, emergency rooms and operating rooms. Today, after biopsies and ultrasounds, CT's and MRI's and more lab work than I can count, I was officially given the clear. The moment where we all look at each other and say, "Are we out of the woods yet?" The moment when we all take off our medical hats and take a deep breath.

I remember when this all began, being taken to the hospital in the middle of the night. While I knew something wasn't right, nothing could have prepared me for the journey I was about to embark on. I remember not being able to walk into the hospital on my own two feet, my vision flickering black. I didn't expect to be flown to my transplant centre again. I didn't expect when I was released from that initial stay to be back not even 48 hours later, in another potentially life threatening situation. They didn't know, no one did, what would happen next. I remember continually asking Cody to watch me while I slept, afraid to even close my eyes if someone wasn't holding vigil. Like we could keep death at bay if we tried hard enough, stayed alert.

My favourite transplant nurse would sit on my bed at night after Cody had gone home, walking me through how to give myself injections, explaining what each new drug meant and how it would work with my body, holding my hand while I cried and reminding me to breathe through the pain. He told me I would make it, and while I wasn't convinced of it then I tried to believe him.

Getting that line out today, I cried. It felt like my entire body caving in on itself. It felt like a tiny sign of hope, that maybe things are getting better and maybe I will be ok. And it was a reminder of every sleepless night, every moment being scared to death, every single ounce of courage and strength and grit it took to get here.

Here. I am here. Alive, human, grateful, terrified, hopeful, struggling, confused, brave, with the ability to begin again.

Being scared means there's still something left to lose. And yet I've seen the bottom, and I know I can survive it. And sometimes you just need to get the wind knocked out of you to remind your lungs how much they like the taste of air.

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