Monday, August 5, 2013
One month ago today (July 5) I went through a stem cell transplant and was told it was my "new birthday". I had just undergone six straight days of chemo with 4 of those days receiving it twice a day. The effects of the chemo hadn't begun to effect me yet, but the transplant itself was surprisingly hard.
It surprised not only me but my nurses too! The sweet head nurse over the transplant had done "hundreds" of transplants, and had never seen anyone struggle like me. She seemed to really feel sorry for me.
The stem cells were my own that had been collected a couple weeks before and preserved in something called DMSO (dimethyl sulfoxide) and frozen. They are given through the blood stream and the stem cells find their way home back into the bone marrow. Pretty amazing!
But my body did NOT think the DMSO was a good idea at all. I got to be the rare person that had a bad reaction to it. Apparently most people don't even notice it going in...but I sure did.
It felt like I was being tortured. The chemical going into my body caused a pain inside of me that I cannot begin to describe, because I had never felt it before and I have nothing to compare it to. Although it was bad, I didn't cry out in pain. I endured it through breathing exercises, squeezing people's hands and positive self talk like whispering "you can do it, you can do it" over and over again to myself. Good news is that when my nurse was done with the 3 bags of cells, the pain and discomfort started to wear off soon thereafter.
With the help of a great medical team and my mom and husband, I got through it.
Fast forward to today and I am right on track to a strong recovery. My blood looks great and the little stem cells have found their home and are starting to do their job!
I have graduated from doing nothing and needing 24 hour care, to being able to be home by myself and driving my kids so and from school. I still don't do much in the way of house work and cooking due to the indescribable fatigue that I feel, but it will come. Funny the things I look forward to now. Hehe...housework!
I now go on a bike ride around my neighborhood a few times a week to start to build up my strength again. This is so exciting to me and the exercise combined with being outside, really does chase the blues away that try to sneak into my head. Exercise therapy...the best!
Yes, it has been a long, hard month, but I feel like I have come a long way and I am so grateful!!!
Praise the Lord!
Give thanks to Him daily and love life. Whatever your challenges are, you are alive on this earth for a reason. Fight through and find the small things you are grateful for. You learn really fast that they aren't really small...they are precious.
I can't wait until my 2 month birthday so I can report more of my progress!