Medically speaking it’s a very peaceful week, one appointment to be drained of blood for routine tests & a dressing change for my Hickman line. I had to go to the dentist for a clean bill of oral health prior to the transplant as chemotherapy damages the mouth, therefore as a direct result of chemo there is a likelihood of cavities and all potential areas of infection need to be nipped in the bud, due to the fact my immune system will be suppressed for some time after the SCT to reduce GvHD. (Graft v Host Disease, rejection in lay-man’s terms) I am still waiting for the phone call to confirm that my donor is happy with the proposed date.
My neutrophil (white blood cell which fight infections) rich break between the third cycle of chemo and the SCT has been a double edged sword. It has been lovely to wake up and hear the birds sing, cuddle my cat, get out and about without worrying too much about my levels of immunity. Conversely, the next twelve months may well be difficult and require significant life changes, the sooner I have the SCT the sooner the hardest part of the journey will be behind me. The prospect of earning some wages is also an incentive to progress with the SCT!
I’m getting fatter by the day! Since I was discharged I’ve been going out catching up with friends and family, the result of which is an expanding waistline so in many ways I’ll be relieved to return to Barts! To make matters worse within a five day period my family had 3 birthdays to celebrate (including my own) so it really has been a period of over indulgence and due to the shockingly poor weather I’ve not been able to stretch my legs.
I’ve been drafting and re-drafting my letter to my donor, which will be passed onto him via my medical team and Anthony Nolan. I believe I’ve finally managed to convey my feelings, I can confirm that it’s a lot easier to write an articulate letter of complaint than to express in words your gratitude for such a simple action, yet one which is, profound in its impact. I don’t like referring to my donor as ‘my donor’, it seems rather impersonal considering I will receive his stem cells within 24 hours of them leaving his body and the aim is that for the rest of my life my blood DNA will be a replica of his. I suppose I ought to call him Superman, after all that is what he is, to me, even if it turns out he doesn’t wear a cape or his underwear over his trousers.
I hadn’t originally planned to celebrate my birthday, as my mind has had a couple of things weighing it down recently but then I kicked myself up my burgeoning posterior and decided at the very least I should acknowledge the occasion. I had a particularly scrumptious meal at one of the local pubs with a remarkable friend, who has been supportive from the moment I felt unwell. She, even, sat in on my initial bone marrow biopsy and when I say sat in, what I really mean is that she witnessed all of it but the bit I love her most for, was her buying me a large glass of vino after or maybe it was the fact she started to donate blood as a result of my diagnosis? She’s just one a handful of people I wouldn’t be without.