Baldies' Blog began originally in the UK by a 26 year old journalist with a blood cancer on a mission to inform the world about bone marrow donation.

He has since died, and I took on the cause of making cancer care more transparent for everybody.

Cancer is a disease that will touch everybody through diagnosis or affiliation: 1 in 2 men will be diagnosed and 1 in 3 woman will hear those words, "You Have Cancer."

I invite you to read how I feel along my journey and
how I am continuing to live a full life alongside my Hodgkin's lymphoma, with me controlling my cancer, not my cancer controlling me.

I hope that "Baldies' Blog" will prepare you to handle whatever life sends you, but especially if it's the message, "You Have Cancer."

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

It's a Twin Thing

Maybe it's that I stayed out past my bedtime last night to see the Presidential Debate, and that the fabulous recall of the debate I wrote will be outdated by the time my blackberry releases the final version.
Or maybe, it's that I took an extra 2.5 mg of prednisone and a whole lot of caffeine to do stay awake, so much that I couldn't actually sleep until 1am, walking up at 7am and not getting back to sleep after dropping X off making myself a walking Zombie today.
Last night at the debate, Heather and I met up wearing similar
purple/gray silk shirts and blazers. Even though steroids
have bloated my face, we still put on the same make-up
while dressing apart.
Or maybe even it's that I've had it drilled into my head that I need to drink, drink, drink to stay hydrated and we have nothing in the house I want due to our own personal budget cuts.
Or maybe it was listening to Republican's hypothetical Presidential plans to get budgets back in order by repealing "Obamacare" while I stress more about money than cancer
But I am in an astronomical funk, one I want to medicate into a sleeping stress free oblivion and it's coming down to a phenomenon few understand.
 It's a twin thing.
If you've heard the rumors about identical twins that can feel each others feelings, read each others thoughts, and know each other's decisions before the other one even makes them, I'm hear to tell you those weren't just rumors. It is an absolute truth that identical twins share a metaphysical bond that allows them to connect on a level unable to be experienced with any other person in the world.
I know. I'm a twin.
Celebrating Preston's 2nd birthday with a brownie.
We are what is known as "mirror image twins" or twins that can match up side to side, aligning where the egg split.
Face to face, my left dimple aligns perfectly with her right.
Where she was right handed and footed I desperately tried to be left.
I would even write my name backwards, starting from left and ending to the right, a complete mirror image of what my sister was doing.
As infants and toddlers we had a language of our own and were "talking" with one another immediately.
Growing up we couldn't own the same outfit, color, or style, because each morning we would walk out of our rooms at the same time, stop, and turn around to change when we saw the other had the same outfit on.
Our kids accidentally dressed in matching green shirts.
Just yesterday, unbeknown to us, we dressed our kids in the same green colors, only seeing they matched after picking up X from school.

Believe it o not, that was where the similarity ended. There is only so much likeness when you have a person who looks exactly like you.Or personalities were opposite.
Heather was a bubbly, smiling, social chatterbox while I preferred to keep to myself and listen. I liked to read. She liked music and dance. She'd get the party started while I laid back and enjoyed the ride.
We completed each other. Where she excelled I was weak. We were halves of a whole, yin and yang.
Not only could we complete each other's sentences, we could complete each others thoughts and night time dreams.
When we left each other for college I felt socially awkward because I had to consciously remember to finish my sentence. I had never been in a position before where I couldn't say two words and stop with Heather understanding.
I didn't even realize we had been speaking in half sentences our entire lives until I was 19 years old, even though people had tried to tell us for years. We were always in our little world where "You know Mike. . ." would send us into fits of laughter or "Heyyyyy. . ." would start world war three.
I also had to stop referring to myself as "us" or "we" whenever I did or thought something, because without Heather, I just sounded like a woman with multiple personalities, not one with a bond few others in the world are as lucky to have.
The family pre-steroids. Heather and I looked more similar
then. When trying we were still clearly identical. Our bro, Pat,
with wife Grace sit in the middle of our families.
I really miss those days.
We had plans for growing old together where we would live in a big house where I live now. I would be a professional working woman, a nurse practitioner, and Heather would be the homemaker, taking care of all the foster kids and adoptees we could handle.
It's been since Heather left caring for me after my first bone marrow transplant that we've shared the strong connection we had through our lives, and the bond breaking was intentional.
If it's difficult to be the caretaker, the loved one, or the family member of a cancer patient, it is confounded if you're the twin who is accustomed to calling asking "What's wrong?" and demanding you tell your secret before you've had a chance to dial the phone to tell anyone, or worse, the living replicate that would awake from a deep sleep screaming as an infant while I slept comfortably through my shots.
Heather was always the one who could feel my pain before I did or know a problem existed before I saw it.
Who wants that job if the person is in constant excruciating pain and the problem is an incurable cancer?
No, supporting me whole heartedly through one transplant was enough for a lifetime. It was imperative to break the bond, or at least, control it.
Even though I received Heather's donor cells in that first transplant, which did make me feel and behave more like her from the highly theoretical "cellular memory," we actually lost our twin connection as I continued to battle my disease, and she continued to live her life: moving, getting married, and having children.
Now, even though it's a miserable feeling of irritation I'm having on her behalf, I'm excited to be having it. It's been years since I've been able to relieve the physical stress of emotion from her, and she's had too much to bear for too long holding on to even a little of mine.

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