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

Thursday, February 04, 2010

And Now Back our original programming, after another foray onto my soapbox.

Seriously, I think blogging makes me tyrannical.

So back to Cancerland we go (until next time)...

The BCCA has agreed to administer and pay for the first two doses of Bendamustine. However, we are awaiting Health Canada's approval before the drug can be shipped. Let's just say, they better not f*ck around.

More kudos to Dr. C for doing this in record time. Hopefully, the drug will be shipped soon and I'll have the first dose by the end of next week. Thankfully, it is another infusion chemo so I don't have to worry about swallowing pills which is not my strong suit. The Bendamustine is given over two days and the infusions are only about 1/2 an hour each.

This drug is supposed to be minimal in its side effects, though it is suppressive, meaning my blood counts will drop between doses. So, I'll be back to being hypervigilant about avoiding crowds and the inevitable coughing person who always seems to sit next to me.

After two doses of the Bendamustine, which are 28 days apart, I will have another CT scan. Right now, I feel relatively well. I cough quite a bit and have some muscle soreness and joint stiffness, but nothing I can't handle.

There is one weird sensation I get from time to time - an incredibly intense, surging pain on the bottom of my feet. It literally takes my breath away but, thankfully, it only last a few seconds. Most likely this is a nerve issue caused by the SGN-35 and, hopefully, it and the neuropathy will start to lessen now that I am off the trial.

The most challenging thing lately has been processing the number of losses amongst my circle of friends. Due to the work I have been involved in and the interests I've pursued these past few years, this circle has grown to include many people who are living with cancer.

It can be incredibly overwhelming at times, heartbreaking, in fact, to watch people I love struggle. It definitely gives me a sense of the feeling of intense powerlessness friends and family have expressed with regard to my own illness.

Some time ago, I wrote myself the following note. As serendipity would have it, I found it yesterday. So, for all of us who struggle...

I am

I am writing to you now from this place of strength. From this place of heart-thumping, heart-held tenacity. I am writing to you now to remind you of the spirit that lives and breathes, rises and falls, deep within and beyond these walls of the body. That lives out there, amongst the woodland owls, the ancient oaks, the cherry blossom petals that dance as if ballerinas poised in a slow curtsy to the ground. I am writing to you now so, should you need me in the future, at a time when struggle overtakes you, to say this: You are the owls, the oak, the cherry blossoms. You always were and you always will be, no matter the body that holds you now.