Considering the week started with a bone marrow aspiration it’s been a very good week. As per usual the staffs at Barts were marvellous this week, by now they are all very much aware of my failure to cope with the bone marrow procedure in a normal calm manner. On arrival at the day unit ensured there was very little waiting around, slipped in the cannula without a song and dance, took routine bloods and packed me off to the torture chamber where the doctor was waiting with the good stuff, midazolam. 3ml of midazolam and I don’t recall a single thing about the procedure. I believe that is considered the VIP treatment!! As I will most likely have to undergo at least one more aspiration, I feel a little less apprehensive now I know the drug to demand!
Wednesday I was back in my, home from home, to meet with the consultant. He confirmed that as expected there were no signs of leukaemia in the aspiration sample and my bloods counts were all perfectly normal. Every time I have an aspiration there is an infinitesimal amount of fear that the leukaemia has returned, no matter how well I feel. I felt fine when the b*gger was developing in my bones back in January, therefore no matter how healthy I feel within myself I find it hard to trust my state of wellbeing.
The sample wasn’t taken with a view that the AML may have returned, naturally under the circumstances that is one of first things they check. It was taken to provide the consulting team with essential information to help them assess how the transplant is working / progressing. The bone marrow test along with the chimera tests will give an accurate indication of how successful the transplant has been up to this point. The test results take weeks to come through, I’ll probably be onto the next round of ‘significant’ tests before the results are in.
I was incredibly disappointed to hear of the death of the journalist, Sue Lloyd-Roberts, earlier in the week. She was a remarkable journalist who put her life in danger to provide a voice for those who would not have been heard otherwise. She tackled leukaemia in much the same manner, using her status and the problems she personally faced to raise awareness of AML and the need for stem cell donors. She was due to have a SCT in May 2015, regrettably the donor failed the medical. I can’t help but ask myself…. Had the donor have been fit enough would she have survived? Did the delay to her treatment contribute to this sad news? The news motivates even me more to work with Anthony Nolan to raise awareness and hopefully register more potential donors. From a personal perspective as a fellow AML and transplant patient, her death was a poignant reminder of the dangers involved with a SCT and how terribly blessed I have been throughout my treatment.
I also was given the all clear to not return to Barts for an entire week, which is a wonderful sign of my wellbeing as well as fabulous to have an week off. Whoop whoop!!! A few people have asked if I’m bored spending so much time at home when I’m used to working full time during the week and then being a very busy bee at weekends. I’m not bored at all and one of the reasons is that my family has expanded. My cat has a canine step sister who is keeping me extremely occupied and driving him insane. Her presence is a real blessing, it would be very easy to roll over and sleep for another two or three hours most mornings but instead I wake up to multiple missions such as clean up the ‘presents’ she has left me, fed her, persist with the toilet training etc. It’s also marvellous because she brings happiness into the home with her silly antics and excitable nature. After the gravitas of the last eight months her presence has brought a much needed breath of fresh air into the house as well as provided me with a pleasant purpose to the days when I’m not visiting the hospital.