Sunday, April 29, 2012

View from the Cottage

When Dorothy and Toto took off down the yellow brick road, it was their last hope. They needed to find magic at the other end or they would be forever lost.

The tornado that’s been twisting over me and Cecil has lasted for ten years. When hope was all but gone, we came upon the road. It wasn’t yellow and it wasn’t brick, but there was magic at the other end. Not smoke and sound effects behind a curtain, but medical technology and stem cells from the umbilical cord of a newborn infant, all of it unfolded by a team whose professionalism and dedication leave me speechless. 

A stem cell transplant ain’t milk and cookies, as Cecil puts it. All I can say is his team did it up right.

He left the hospital Thursday. For the first time in a month, he walked outdoors. There were no IV lines traipsing from his body, no tubes down his throat and no needles digging into his hip for marrow. He felt the sun on his skin, smiled at the warmth of it, then made his way to where he had to go…the Cottage.

When we learned he would need to stay close to the medical center for two months after discharge from inpatient, I set about finding the right place for him to recuperate. It couldn’t be ordinary or even pretty good. It had to be the sort of place that takes your breath away, a place that soothes anything that comes upon it. It had to be full of life from deep within.

When I saw the Cottage, I felt I’d found the place from which Cecil would come back to me.

Deep in horse country, set in the middle of pastures and rolling hills, the Cottage has views that cause you to stop and gaze. There are flowers and birds and woods and a blue sky that yields only to sunlight. Tall grass waves at your knees while you wander through fields, the breeze whispering across your face, the scent of lavender drifting with you as if by design. Everywhere you look, there is peaceful beauty.

Though our time here will be enriched by fine things, removed from the pace of life catching us up, it will be riddled with complex battles that have not yet been won or lost. Cecil’s white counts plunged over the last three days and we are desperate to know why. Stem cells from the infants are taking on the wicked witch, but she is powerful and they are young. We sit amidst the chaos and wait, ruby slippers at the ready. When ‘Little Cecilia’ waives her magic wand, we will tap the slippers together, three times, fifty times – whatever it takes – because the best view from the cottage will be the one down the drive and back along the road. There is, after all, no place like home.

I’d like to thank those of you who have supported my blogging about Cecil’s transplant. It has been helpful to put the experience into words. I will continue to update on his progress each Sunday when I post, but I think it’s time to move on to other topics. There are so many things to think about. I hope you will visit TigerBird Sunrise each Sunday morning and join me in the discussion. Have a great week.


  1. As it turned out, the wickedness was no match for plain old water--the "ordinariness" of love and persistence and ruby magic. What good news, Donna. I will look forward to your next views from the road.

  2. My slippers may not be ruby, but they will be tapping wildly away in support, nonetheless. What great imagery and analogy, amazing writing.

    1. You are an amazing writer...your blogs are deeply received within my heart! I agree my slippers are not ruby but I too will be tapping away. Sending my love to two most incredible partners. Love and dedication is certainly on your side. Monique

  3. I'll join the group and do happy puppy dances for Cecil's continuing recovery. Thanks, Donna, for the eloquent words you've used to describe the indescribable.

  4. Go Cecil and Cecilia!!!
    Donna, your writings have been so beautiful and inspiring. I hope you will continue to update us on Cecil's progress.
    Enjoy your bucolic setting - what a perfect place to heal.
    Much love to you both,