Counting Down to Transplant

Things have more or less continued on an even keel since I last wrote. Now, however, as my Stem Cell Transplant (STC) approaches, everything seems to have kicked up a notch into overdrive. It’s really hard to explain the feeling. It’s similar, I suppose, to the way I felt when this all started. Out of control, moving so fast, unstoppable. Scary. Dictated by forces way beyond my control (at least it seems that way).

Last Friday (September 28th), my father and I went to meet with the transplant team at Methodist Hospital in San Antonio. Because of the last time I spoke with Luis, my transplant nurse, our expectations were that we would be discussing what was to come, what to expect, and the specific timeline of events leading up to and including the transplant. Well, our expectations were correct. It was the timeline which caught us more than a little off guard.

Let me see if I can explain in a way that makes sense, and is relatively quick. Essentially, I was led to believe that following my last round of chemo, there would be a two week window of “wait time” for the chemo to clear my system, after which I would have a bone marrow biopsy (just to ensure that the cancer cells are low). Then, to my understanding, specific dates would be discussed regarding the process of getting my stem cells to mass produce and then harvest them. Then would be the high-dose chemo, followed by the transfusion of my stem cells back into my body (the actual transplant). Basically, we were thinking this was all about a month down the road. I was correct in all of this, except for the month down the road part. As in, the nurse walked into the room with a calendar – MY calendar – of my transplant schedule. It starts pretty much now. The “now” part isn’t really on the calendar, as it’s just a bone marrow biopsy tomorrow. The heavy hitting stuff starts Sunday, the 14th. I’ll insert an image of the calendar below, as reference for anyone interested. The upside, I guess, is that I will hopefully be home before Thanksgiving (something to truly be grateful for), and will hopefully be feeling much better by the time Christmas rolls around.

Man, let me tell ya, there’s a lot to consider when you’re looking at a 3 to ? week stay away from home. Heap on top of that the knowledge that you’re going to be feeling like crap, and anything you’re missing is up to someone else to try to get for you, and it can be a little stressful. I’ve been worrying over what to do with my dogs while I’m gone (although I think I have that more or less figured out). Finding and booking a decent extended stay hotel. And then, of course, the whole “am I going to get sick and have to go into the hospital?/I could die./What if something happens to my caregiver?/Chemo side effects are going to suck the big one./Etc. I’m also worried about my father, the stress and toll all of this will put on him, and his ability to put himself first at times to take care of him, so that he can take care of me. And, just so he can take care of him. I know that stuff like this is every bit as hard on the caregiver (or more so in some ways) than it is on the patient. Also, after several weeks with him, I may have to murder him. 😉

So, tomorrow is my bone marrow biopsy. We’re doing it in SA, because they can do it in a truly outpatient setting, which will essentially be an in and out deal (compared to the all day long shenanigans my last biopsy involved). After that, we plan to scope out three hotels near the hospital and book the dates we will be needing for the transplant itself. Then, I get one more week of freedom. I’ve just moved into a new place, and really like my set-up, so I’m already feeling a little blue about having to leave it behind so soon. But, I also love staying in hotels, so I guess I’ll deal.

That’s pretty much it for now. The “going over the education binder” part of the appointment was big fun. I swear, if the nurse had said “death” one more time I was prepared to rather assertively explain to her that I get it, death is all possible and sh!t and you have to cover your @ss, but enough already. My dad’s stomach was playing its usual “stress symphony”, and I had one of my “shaky I’m not crying there’s something in my eye” moments, but all in all, we took it like troopers. No, actually, we took it like two football players who run into each other during a play and get up and wobble off in the wrong direction. But, what are ya gonna do?

Okay, that’s it for now. I’ll update again soon, just to keep you on your toes. 🙂

Wait, when…?

(I believe clicking on the calendar will give you the legible version.)

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2 Responses

  1. So the transplant is on the 26th and on the 14th you will be released from the hospital? Let me know when you want me to come and I will be there. I’m checking flights now. I’ll call manana.

    Love you so much!

    Tish

    • Well, the transplant is on the 26th, but the 14th (day? At least) would be the earliest that I could be released. That’s dependent on several factors. We’ll talk more tomorrow…

      Love you too. Talk to you. Soon!

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