#24 Patience

Amy Rothenberg ND
4 min readFeb 23, 2024
A Recent Page from an Altered Book I Work on from Time to Time

I came home two weeks ago! Today is the one-month mark since I was blessed with my new stem cells. I was able to send a heartfelt, de-personalized note of thanks to my 23-year-old donor who remains anonymous. If she agrees, which I hope she will, we can meet at the one-year mark and I can give her a proper hug and shower her with big love. Apparently gifts of any sort are no longer allowed.

I keep telling my providers, when you need someone to re-write the Stem Cell Transplant Booklet, I’m your gal. While I knew it would be hard, I really had no idea. Paul says I just didn’t want to read the fine print. Maybe that’s true. In any case, the worst I pray is behind me. I have all the right signs of engraftment, meaning that the stem cells are now generating healthy white cells, red cells, and platelets. As is typical post-transplant, it takes longer for the baby reds to bounce back, but I’m moving in the right direction there, too. And better yet, I have no evidence of graft vs. host disease, which I pray remains the case. Indeed, miracles abound.

My main job now is very basic: to rebuild and recondition. I need to eat, drink, move, rest, take the anti-rejection medication (and a slew of others to prevent viral, bacterial, and fungal infections as my new immune system learns the ropes,) and perhaps the hardest one for me: try not to go absolutely nuts waiting for all this to take place! The deconditioning is remarkable. The day before I checked into MGH on 1/16/24, I did a sprint triathlon at the gym. Now I am winded walking to the loo. Yesterday I managed to walk to the end of the driveway and back. Livin’ large!

Everything is going absolutely according to plan in the most excellent ways, and faster than many who walk this path, but I stumble on my own Achille’s heel: impatience! I don’t feel I need more time to process. I don’t want more days for reflection. I am over feeling sorry for myself. I am quite done with visualizing the marrow doing its job, I am bored of strategizing about how to swallow this pill pile without feeling sick.

I want to get back to choosing and preparing my own food, seeing my beloved patients, juggling family and community efforts and gatherings in a busy, full, fun, purpose and people-filled life! I think of myself as a grateful person and someone often acutely present to the beauty, the sweetness…

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Amy Rothenberg ND

American Association of Naturopathic Physician’s 2017 Physician of the Year. Teacher, writer and advocate for healthy living. www.nhcmed.com