Scott died in April.
Last November we headed to Glasgow for the stem cell transplant that was supposed to cure his relapsed leukemia. I rented a little flat near the hospital so I could be close by. The first month or so went well. Then the complications and side-effects kicked in, nothing terribly serious at the time, but they kept him in the hospital through the holidays, then through January, February, March. Sometime in late March, things took a turn for the serious, for the life-threatening. We rallied, full of determination. He died anyway. I came home to Edinburgh exhausted, heartbroken, widowed.
For those terrible last weeks of Scott’s life and the first weeks after his death, I was surrounded by friends and family who helped me get through the immediate hurdles of life. Feeding myself, registering the death, arranging a cremation. It was all so much.
Now I’m trying to figure out what comes next. I’m learning how to be a widow (it’s not something they teach you in school). I’m discovering my new habits, the habits of widow-me. What do I cook for dinner? What time do I go to bed? How often do I see friends? Even little things seem different.
I am so grateful for the years I had with Scott. Just scrolling back through this blog is a wonderful reminder of some of the fun and adventure we shared. We lived in five countries together, and traveled to many more. We ate, drank, hiked, skied, sledded, wandered, zip-lined. We loved each other, and our life together, very much. I am so lucky to have had him.
Remember back when Brexit was our biggest problem? Yeah, I miss those days. A few weeks after the referendum shock, we received news that made us forget all about Nigel and his bus. After three years in remission, Scott’s leukemia has come back.
So here we are again, life revolving around rounds of chemo, infections, and hospital stays. Enjoying the days he feels well, and getting through the ones when he doesn’t. The big difference is that this go-round will include a stem cell transplant, if and when a matching donor can be found.
I’ll post updates occasionally here on the blog, possibly mixed in with some other posts about fun stuff we’ve been up to over the past year or so (since there are still many tales that I haven’t gotten around to telling). There probably won’t be much in the way of news until a donor is found and we are assigned a transplant date. The transplant will occur in Glasgow, which will be an interesting change of scenery, I suppose.
If you happen to be moved to action by this news, there are a couple ways you could help Scott and other folks effected by leukemia:
- Donate blood. Scott gets a lot of it these days.
- Sign up to be a potential stem cell donor. It is really easy and you could potentially save a life. The procedure is different in each country and depending on which registry, but a quick google should let you know what to do in your place of residence. In the UK you can sign up here and in the US here.
- Buy some art. Through the end of 2016 I’ll be donating at least 10% of all my art sales to charities which support leukemia research and patients. You can shop online here.
A huge thank you to everyone who has supported us in ways big and small. We couldn’t do this without you.
When he found out he wasn’t going to be going to work anymore for a while, Scott decided he needed to dye his hair purple. He’s bald now, but looks forward to returning to the purple again someday.
I’ve lived in the EU for a third of my life. I’ve always dreamed of the day when I’ll have my very own EU passport. Unfortunately, it now looks like that day may never come. You see, I’m being dragged out of the EU against my will. It’s possible that I’ll be doing a little kicking and screaming along the way. Continue reading
One of my many sketches of Edinburgh Castle
I was amazed to realize we’ve now been in Scotland for longer than we lived in Switzerland or Italy. I mean, our first year here was so strange that it almost doesn’t count. And the past two years have had a different quality about them, as well – a combination of “WTF just happened to us?”, “Yay, everything’s fabulous!”, and “What if it comes back?”. But the longer we live here, the easier it becomes to separate the Edinburgh experience from the leukemia experience. These days we have a lot of acquaintances here who don’t know Scott was ever sick. We’re just two regular old American expats in Edinburgh, two among many. Continue reading
I have kind of fallen in love with the Edinburgh International Book Festival this year. In addition to hosting lots of interesting book-themed events, it’s a charming place to hang out, to meet friends for a drink. Browsing the onsite bookstore Continue reading
This year I am diving head-first into the Edinburgh International Book Festival, just one of the many festivals going on in the city this month. Conveniently self-contained on Charlotte Square in New Town, the Book Festival grounds consist of several theaters, a big book shop, a couple of bars and cafes, and lots of lovely outdoor seating (some of it covered, perfect on a drizzly day). Continue reading
The Falkirk Wheel is one of those things we’ve been meaning to check out for a while. Some curious houseguests were a good nudge to finally go explore. Continue reading
We haven’t seen darkness in months. Not real darkness, anyway – here the sun goes down and hovers just below the horizon before coming back up in a few hours. It adds to the general feeling of strangeness and anticipation that summer in Edinburgh brings. Continue reading
For the second half of our stay in Orkney, we were based in Stromness, on the western end of Mainland. Smaller than Kirkwall, and oozing a bit more old-timy charm, Stromness proved a good base for exploring the western part of the island Continue reading
On our second morning in the Orkneys, we woke up to snow. It was lovely to look at, but made us wonder about our plan to catch the ferry to Hoy for the day. From what we had read, Hoy was supposed to be very beautiful, but there wouldn’t be much to do there if the weather wasn’t cooperating. While we were at breakfast, the sun came out. Continue reading