For me, green is the color of hope.
One year ago, my husband, Roman, was hospitalized at Roswell Park in Buffalo, NY for a stem cell transplant. As Canadians, when we first learned of the opportunity to have BMT at Roswell Park, we had no idea of what lay ahead. We traveled from London, Ontario to Roswell Park for probably the most important meetings of our lives. As Roman met with his physicians and had medical tests, I attended a caregivers’ orientation where an experienced nurse explained my new role.
Until that day, neither of us had realized the many hurdles that lay ahead for us as a patient and caregiver team. While each patient faces many challenges during the procedure and post-transplant care, the caregiver faces the unpredictability of caring for the patient afterward.
Roman was hospitalized right around St. Patrick’s Day. On the day of the parade, I was in the hospital visiting Roman when one of the medical staff suggested that I go to the St. Patrick’s Day parade for a change of scenery. I was so glad that I went! This uniquely Buffalo experience was so much fun.
I remember that day in particular because it made me realize that it’s important to seek a balance between caregiving and your own life. And I had to be open to all of the experiences that lay ahead in Buffalo.
Throughout it all, the medical staff at Roswell Park and the staff and volunteers at Kevin Guest House, where I was staying, were my guides. They helped me maintain optimism and balance, especially during difficult hours. Because of them, I had many people to lean on during the toughest times.
Coming to Buffalo in March, when the weather was rather bleak, also meant that spring was not far away. Since Roman’s recovery required us to stay in Buffalo until June, we were fortunate to experience spring’s ongoing display of blooms in the beautiful gardens of Roswell Park’s Kaminski Park. I really enjoyed this since I am an avid gardener.
But my experiences in Buffalo and Roswell Park provided me with an opportunity to become a different kind of gardener. I had to grow and keep optimism alive, for my husband and myself. Because of this, I learned to be a gardener of hope.
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Editor’s Note: Cancer patient outcomes and experiences may vary, even for those with the same type of cancer. An individual patient’s story should not be used as a prediction of how another patient will respond to treatment. Roswell Park is transparent about the survival rates of our patients as compared to national standards, and provides this information, when available, within the cancer type sections of this website.