Photo shows Donna, a woman with shoulder-length dark curly hair, sitting on a bench with her dog Oscar, a white Jack Russell Terrier cross sat net to her. She has her arm around him and they are both looking at the camera.

* This post was originally shared on my Instagram on the 15th of October but I felt I wanted to document it on my blog too.

I’m only a couple of weeks away from hitting the one year mark since I received my stem cell treatment at Infusio. With this date just around the corner, my mind has been fixating on the things I’d still like to see improve.

Being Really Hard On Myself

I’m being really hard on myself about this and I’m guilty of thinking where I’m at right now isn’t enough. All because I’m not doing as well as I was a few weeks ago.

Sometimes I set ridiculously high expectations for myself. I’ve always been this way if I’m honest. And, it’s something I’m constantly working on!

I’ve had to work on consciously bringing my awareness back towards all the ways my life has greatly improved. And, when I do that it really shows how silly and hard I am being on myself!

The Goal I Set Myself When Receiving My Stem Cells

As an example, when I was lying on the table having my stem cell procedure, Dr Bijan asked what I’d like to be able to do once my health was better. I said I wanted to be able to walk my dog around the park.

Prior to treatment at  Infusio, Frankfurt, I relied on a mobility scooter. And, even then, I wasn’t well enough to make it out every day. A few times a week was a really good week.

I remember that, during those crucial 100 days post stem cells, I’d get so close to being able to walk around the park and then I’d have a flare-up of healing symptoms and find myself feeling so far away from reaching that goal again.

There were many tears shed over the frustration of yoyoing up and down! I think it took 4 months for me to be able to walk the park and it took a few more weeks until I could manage it consistently.

At that point, my scooter was sold as I was confident I no longer needed it.

Photo shows Donna on a wooden boardwalk on a nature walk. She is leaning against a wooden railing and looking at the camera. In the background are trees and a beautiful blue sky.

It’s Easy To Forget The Progress You Have Made

It’s easy to forget all of this as, over time, you slowly adjust to your new normal and naturally set your sights on bigger things. Though there’s still the odd exception, for the most part, taking Oscar for a walk around the park is now something I can do consistently (and even on the days I don’t feel so good).

I always find it hard to judge where I’m at in my recovery. Especially in terms of answering with a percentage.

Sometimes even comparing and thinking about symptoms isn’t helpful because I’m so far removed from how sick I used to be. I might still mention feeling a bit tired or fatigued. But, it’s nowhere near the level I used to experience. And, it feels different.

Taking Stock of Where I Am

I find it’s better to take stock of what you can do and compare this to your previous baseline. When I do that, the difference is actually astounding!

And, when I think about all of the things I’ve managed to do and achieve in this past year, I’m filled with immense gratitude.

Going to Infusio felt like a huge leap of faith. Especially given it’s considered an experimental treatment.

There were no givens and I had no idea what to expect. All I went with was hope and an open mind.

I’ve had to have patience by the bucketload as I’ve gone through healing. I’ve faced many ups and downs that have challenged my hopes of getting better and I’ve been in tears more times than I’d like to admit!

But, it’s all been worth it

If I had told myself a year ago that this would be the result in a years time, I don’t know if I would have fully believed it!

As you’ll be aware if you’re following along with me, I still have things to work through. But, over the past year, so much healing has happened and layers of my illness have slowly been stripped away.

And that is everything.

Read NExt: One year post stem cell treatment Q&A

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