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

Friday, January 30, 2009

How's It Going?

Good question.

Let's see. I can't believe it's been five months since I came back from Montreal after the MGCD stopped working. When I arrived home, I was in pretty rough shape. Not in a near-death sort of way (in my opinion, anyway), but I was very run down - under weight, over anxious, sleep deprived and extremely itchy.

Thankfully, I can say I am back to a normal weight (that part of recuperating was fun) and I am definitely less anxious. However, I am still fairly sleep deprived due to the itching (which can be a symptom of Hodgkin's or may be related to hormonal or other issues). What frustrates me most are frequent decreases in my stamina. I often feel discouraged by the fact that, not that long ago, I had enough strength, even with cancer, to complete a marathon, yet these past few weeks, I feel winded walking up my driveway.

I know I should cut myself some slack. I have been chronically anemic since I was first diagnosed. My hemoglobin hovers around the 83-95 range and has only been over 100 a few times in the past few years. That, in and of itself, renders some people bed ridden, so I count myself lucky to not have had that happen. Still, I don't like to feel like I have been "benched," so to speak, while everyone else is out there playing.

So, what can I do about it? I am thinking out loud here so bear with me. Well, more yoga for one. I love yoga and we have a beautiful studio with great teachers just up the street. I've been thinking about a little tai chi too. I love the beauty and fluidity of people doing it together in a group, and my mom practices with a good friend of ours (hi Roz) who is very skilled.

I also have it in the back of my head that I would like to do the Vancouver Sun Run again in April. Whether walking or running or a combo of both, I would love to work toward that goal and complete it with a bunch of ya'll for moral support (Lisa, are you with me?) My treadmill is sitting right here beside me with a jacket draped over it. Hmm, I guess it's time to dust her off. Maybe it would help to call this endeavor "Project Sun Run Meets the Afternoon Martini." See you on the patio at English Bay.

In addition to these goals, I will continue to shoot for the moon on my mini tramp and juice the hell out of all these fruits and veggies we keep buying. In February, I will also finally be seeing an endocrinologist who specializes in patients who've had extensive chemo and/or transplantation, and I hope he will have some good suggestions.

Next week, I'm having my first B12 injection to see if it can help with the Raynaud's Syndrome I have in my hands and with some other long-term side effects of the treatment I've recieved. The Raynaud's is probably caused by all the chemotherapy, possibly the bleomycin, and causes my fingers to go white, numb and weak when they are cold.

Basically, the only thing that brings relief is getting them warm again which has been difficult in this cooler weather despite my always wearing gloves. Wikipedia recommends if the Raynaud's is triggered by exposure in a cold environment and no warm water is available to "place the affected digits in a warm body cavity - arm pit, crotch, or even in the mouth."

Good grief, let's hope it doesn't come to that.