Sunday, May 04, 2008

A Body in Escrow

We all have no more permanent real estate than our bodies. We go to school and the gym to make home improvements; we slather on cremes to protect the decks from weather-induced decay; we sometimes find infestations that only professional pest control can heal.

And once in a while, only rarely, we put our bodies up for sale. You've tried everything else, and the only recourse left is to transplant out the current family and hope that a new one will treat your number one asset a little better than you can.

My body had been on the market since February 2006. Despite the nine-million registered home-seekers, I could not find that perfect match. Finally, my real estate agent team suggested that I settle for this European woman who loves busy clashing wallpaper and piles of unorganized clutter. I had to suck it up that the new person running the show at my house wouldn't be my perfect decoration match, but maybe crazy wallpaper is coming back into style?

So we shook hands on April 29 and she immediately started bringing her belongings into the house. We agreed that she wouldn't officially move in nor move in her family and pets until my house and I felt a little more comfortable that they would somewhat respect the way I'd had things for the past 28-years. So, we're keeping some chemotherapeutic controls on her and her polka-dot mauve prints. Then, if we're all ready, she'll move in and start really taking over the place starting around May 14.

In the meantime, this period of escrow has turned my abode topsy-turvy. I'm trying to be the best hostess possible, but I'm operating in Opposite Land. All the things you'd normally be advised to do during difficult transitions do not apply here.
  • "Eat nourishing foods and drinks." I'm not eating anything, food consumption being quite the awkward sacrifice for a gal who loves to shop for, prepare, cook, share, and eat for three squares per day.
  • "Try to keep your blood pumping for both psychological and physical finesse." No exercise. Being confined to one room is rather limiting in the mileage category.
  • "Go soak up some Vitamin D." Sunshine will be a danger to me for the next year because my skin will be very sensitive and Graft V Host Disease often manifests itself in the skin.
  • "Laughter is the best medicine", true, but when you have sores and mucusitis, a peal of laughter can lead literally to tears.
  • "Rely on your family and friends." Friends help people through their trials normally, but without a functioning immune system, I have to restrict the contact I have with people severely.
  • "What's good for the bottle,..." When I see someone nonchalantly toss a glass can into the regular trash, I cringe. Recycling has been drilled into me as an easy civil responsibility. However, at the hospital, the utmost in cleanliness takes precedence and so I am having to retrain my brain to toss out perfectly good items. Ouch.
Sigh. So, here I wait, letting the minutes of escrow tick by, their uncertainty drowning out all other sound. I have grown rather attached to my "home" over the years and I really hope to be on the right and most direct path toward its best laid plans.

Oh, and if you get a chance-- por favor drink a cerveza para mi hoy! Feliz Cinco de Mayo!


Peter said...

I'd offer to help you with the move itself, but I'm sure it is beyond my packing abilities. Though, I can offer my love and support. Rest up, Erica.

Anna said...

Hello lovely E,
It's great to hear directly from you again! You always find a humerous yet poignant way to give us a window into the feelings and experiences you are going through. I'm sure it would be easier if you could just move to another house, rather than get used to a new resident with questionable taste. However I have faith in your great sense of hospitality and patience. I look forward to your reports. Please don't worry about recycling or excercise! There is always time to rebuild, strengthen, renew. for now, as Peter said, rest up.

Anonymous said...

Very moving words, Erica. Ho ho, that was a pun and didn't might want to blog about this next; a nationwide drive for marrow donors, for free. No foolin'.

Charlotte Taylor said...

I can't believe you can take a hit like that and then write such a great post a few days later. You're a rockstar, Erica!

On the no sun thing, I'll be your partner in crime! I get a horrific rash when I'm exposed sunlight (SO annoying) so I own numerous oh-so-fashionable sun proof shirts, pants, and hats. Let's just say the designers definitely didn't have anyone under 50 y.o. in mind...but I'm hoping it will catch on with the 20-somethings eventually!

Keep up the good work, killer!


artineh said...

It's so nice to hear from you. And don't worry, crazy wallpaper can be sorta cool and if you get tired of it ... say around/after May 14th, you can redecorate.


Clif said...

We all just rent our bodies anyway. We came from stars, and we'll go back to that eventually. Give or take a few hundred billion years.

Incidentally, you're one of the biggest stars I know.

Anonymous said...

You are one of the most inspiring voices I've come across in my 55 years dwelling in my own well-weathered house (wonderful image, how infinitely true, for we often take at face value the 'real' estate of our bodies until the plumbing breaks or the walls collapse or the foundation crumbles). I fortunately met you through the AADP website, have been a lifelong friend of Carol Gillespie. Unknown to you, your remarkable story has by now embedded itself in my personal consciousness, and the eloquence and transcendent awareness of your life and its passions, dreams and desires have deeply embellished and affected all who've read your words. I just read the comment from 'clif' about all of us being from stars, and I have to agree with him, you are starlight and laughter and wonder and magic, all spun into one beautiful, quintessential human being. You touch us all, and in return we all will return immense healing energy straight to you. Ahimsa, John Majeski, San Francisco

Abby Wood said...

Ahimsa is right, dear friend! May nonviolence (and peace and trust and hope) reside in you!

I'm so glad that strangers-- no, new friends!-- are commenting on the site. I know that many many of my friends, who you have never met, are cheering for you and praying for you and meditating on you, E. The house analogy is just right. I've often thought of my body as a temple. In your temple, I'm burning sage and clearing out all the bad to make way for the good! (I would burn sage in your bedroom before you return, but Judy might clobber me.)

Dear readers, Erica reads all of your comments-- this blog is a journal of her experience. Please be encouraged to let her know you're here!


Chris said...


If they won't let you exercise by getting out and walking, then maybe you should bring the mountain to to speak.

This is the foot bike Ann used while she was in for her transplant and it worked wonders ( ). Sorry about the "primitive" url link

Keep your chin up and let us know when those counts start to climb!

M said...

Hi Erica,
We don't know each other, but I came across your video and blog by the most peculiar fashion. I was googling stuff on Catholic Relief Services International Fellows Program, and I found a blog about some folks' experiences in the program and other topics regarding international development. There were comments from students/alums of Tufts (Fletcher) and someone had added your video. I read a bit about you and our pasts are strikingly similar. I am 27, lived in France for a year, have traveled across the world, love foreign languages, with French being my fave and Arabic running a close 2nd, and I also aspire for an international career when I finish my master's program. So in short, I resonated with you as if you were one of my own colleagues and today you have encouraged me to register as a donor. I have also forwarded your video to all of my family and friends and hope that we can help to make a difference in someone's life. Lastly, I'm really happy that you pointed out the need for minority candidates because as a minority myself, that really hit home for me. Know that as a global citizen of mine, you are in my thoughts and prayers. Cheers, *Miranda

Anonymous said...

ERICA! I'm so proud of myself, I have to share it with you. Thanks to Adria's post to the Social List today (the one announcing free bone marrow registration), I was motivated to seek out 87...EIGHTY-FREAKING-SEVEN!!!...minority and/or multiracial people in my address book and encourage them to get registered. I think some of them may already be on, but I know they aren't ALL, and I am going to GET them!!! :)

Thank you for being such a powerful motivator, you wonderful, wonderful woman.

Stay strong!

Anonymous said...

Great story you got here. It would be great to read a bit more concerning this matter.
BTW check the design I've made myself London escort