Chronicle of a Stem Cell Transplant (and on through to the other side)

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Adios, 2006!

I thought I'd better get one last post in before the official end of the year and because I am being harassed for not updating frequently enough. The last few weeks have been a little radiation was put on hold as my counts have fallen too low to continue. The last day of my treatment (Thursday before the Christmas weekend), I got really nauseated on the way to the Cancer Agency and, due to the lack of an appropriate receptacle in the vehicle, I grabbed the touque I was wearing and barfed in that. At the time, I had thought I would just "rinse" it out later on and wear it again. It's quite disappointing though as it was one of my favorite hand-knit ones.

Three more vomit sessions later, I finally arrived at the CA. I was admitted to the Recovery Unit and started to relax in a nice comfy chair when Code Blue was called and all hell broke loose on the ward. Someone was having either respiratory or heart failure and seemed to be sobbing and yelling out in distress. We were never able to totally ascertain what exactly was going on as I was in a room behind a curtain, but there were about 30 emergency people outside of where I was. They were running back and forth and it was very disturbing.

After several hours of fluids, I was able to have my treatment, but while I was on the table, the machine started to fail and make weird noises. This meant I was locked into the mask twice as long as usual and before the treatment was over, I had too intense a headache to continue. I met with my radiologist after that appointment and he advised me that they would be stopping treatment for awhile as my counts were too low and they needed time to recover.

Needless to say, I had a nice, quiet Christmas (my mom, Brian and Edith did everything) and, despite the low counts, I actually didn't feel that bad. However, on Thursday, I had another call from my doctor who was concerned about how I was feeling as my counts had dropped again. On Friday, I went back to the CA to have a couple of blood transfusions which took all day, so unfortunately, the events of the week weren't exactly festive!

However, tomorrow is the first day of a brand new year...exciting! That said, while 2006 wasn't stellar, it does hold many fond memories for me. It also confirmed that I am surrounded by the most incredible family and friends. Happy New Year everyone and all the best in 2007!!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Up and Running

Well, I know this is an expensive time of year, but if you haven't yet bankrupted yourself on Christmas prezies, please feel free to visit my new Team In Training Fundraising Page.

You will also likely receive a spam email from me soliciting donations if you haven't aready. Please donate only if you are pressure whatsoever. Any/all donations are greatly appreciated and will go directly toward helping those affected by Leukemia and Lymphoma.

Last May I was beginning chemotherapy...this May, I intend to be running!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Houston, We Have Lift Off...

Well, it's finally growing back. My hair, that is. All of a sudden, it has really started getting fuzzy up there and it doesn't feel quite so drafty without a hat on. Luckily, I have received a ton of touques, many handmade, to keep my head warm. Also, this new fuzz hides the line of my frontal lobe which was pretty visible without hair, what, big brain and all. I am concerned, however, about my eyebrows, which seem to have gone on an ungodly growth spurt of their own. At this rate, I'll have a unibrow by Christmas.

In other news, I had my first radiation treatment today and, gasp, they had to add wax to my mask to build up the area where they are applying the field. I laid on a table (locked into the mask) while three technicians pulled pink wax strands out of water heated by an electric frying pan (?) and applied them to my neck. It wasn't that bad and my mom got to come in with me; however, said mask was just a little tighter than I remember.

The actual radiation itself wasn't too bad either, with the exception of some additional x-rays that were needed, which just meant I had to spend longer bolted to the table. Also, when I got up, unbeknownst to me, my face was covered in a lizard skin type pattern from the mask, which explains why the people in the waiting room were staring at me.