Monday, June 14, 2004

Monday 14 – Day 13 of Transplant

Well, I’ve made it to day 13 and am doing as well as can be expected. Today I am struggling with mouth pain, a sore throat, nausea, a Strep infection, an eye infection, and the inability to swallow the anti-fungal drug, which is a huge pill. There are many unpleasantries in this situation, but I am trying to deal with them with as much grace and patience as I can muster.

I managed to do some exercises with the encouragement of my physical therapist this morning—my arm exercises and walking. I’m supposed to do one more set this afternoon. Regardless of how I feel, I must force myself to do a certain amount of exercises and eat a minimal amount of food—sometimes as little as two to three bites of something—but at least it’s nutrition. My skin is extremely dry, I’ve lost all my hair again, and I have some rashes on my face. Still, in the scheme of things, I’m doing pretty well considering my new stem cells have yet to attach to my bone.

Total body irradiation definitely resulted in much harsher side effects than my previous chemotherapy sessions. I’ve experienced the gamut – vomiting, dry heaves, diarrhea, fever—absolutely no fun!

I’ve come to both love and fear morphine. Its effects are immediate so relief comes quickly, but after a while that drug combined with all the other drugs affects my mental clarity. I think I was driving the nurses a bit batty on Saturday. I kept thinking I heard family and friends, but couldn’t get to them, and so I was bugging the nurses about where my family and friends could be.

Barbara was even concerned. She stayed to talk with the doctor about this. He assured her that this is pretty common with all the medications running through my body. Sunday, I was much more lucid. Everyone who saw me said, “Oh, you look so much better today!” I laughed to myself, ‘I must’ve been a real nut job!’

My major challenge has been eating; I can only manage consuming very miniscule amounts of food. At least a few bites is better than none. Plus, it helps me to get my pills down, most of which now are being given intravenously.

The day of transplant (June 1st – Day 0) my sister, Karen, and my friend, Karen B, were both here. The transplant consisted of three blood transfusions that took all of twenty minutes. Karen stayed with me at the hospital from June 1st – June 5th. Karen B came back and stayed with me from June 6th to the 12th. She also decorated my room quite beautifully. These two women took excellent care of me during a very vulnerable time, and I’m so grateful for their efforts and attention.

I’ve received so many e-mails, cards, gifts, and phone calls from all over the country. Thank you, all you lovely people! Your love and support, as always, means the world to me.

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