4 weeks of New Blood!
Today marks 4 WHOLE WEEKS since my transplant, very nearly a whole month!
It has and hasn’t flown by, and judging by how much improvement I’ve seen in myself since transplant day, I’m beginning to think these next few months won’t be so bad after all!
For obvious reasons while the shenanigans were happening I wasn’t particularly vocal at informing you all at what was going on, simply because it was actually going on….so this is what’s happened in the past 5 and a half weeks, and what it all means!
(If I haven’t mentioned a day, it means nothing happened. That doesn’t even mean nothing blog-worthy. It means literally I did nothing….I’m slowly moving from that now!)
Day -12 – I was admitted to the Cardiff Teenage Cancer Trust unit for 2 Days of chemo…uneventful, lovely, nothing to report.
Day -10 – I transferred to Velindre hospital for Radiotherapy. The radio dept. was incredible (though a bit nippy) however the stay was made awful by nurses that couldn’t see me for an adult. I was spoken down to, ignored and was almost injected without prior telling/consent. Not good. Plus they didn’t let me eat any vegetables (?)
Day -6 – Left Velindre (yay) and entered B4 Haematology, home of the transplant. Also home to the world’s most amazing crazy group of nurses. You wouldn’t think male nurses were a small minority if you went there. They also had an amazing supply of tip tops (but the rest of the food isn’t recommended.)
Day -1 -This was supposed to be day 0 (where I had the cells) but unknown issues on the Spanish end meant that they didn’t arrive on this day! The donated cells actually have a ‘self-life’ of 72hrs…so it didn’t actually matter.
Day 0 – THE day! After poisoning, baking, and god knows what with the antibody treatment I was given my lifesaving new cells. It was a really strange day, very casual we described it as being at the time. Me and my parents sat and waited, while the transplant nurse to’d and fro’d between us and the labs, waiting for the scientists to be done with measuring the correct amount for my mass, and testing. Every time she would walk in the door, we would all perk up- “Was this THE MOMENT?”
It did seem like an eternity we’d been waiting by 4pm when they actually arrived. Looking like a slightly bloodier platelet and hung in a free flow bag were my cells. They only took half an hour to infuse, and it felt like one of those moments that was everything and yet absolutely nothing by physical comparison to the journey to that little room, those little cells. Just wow.
Day +3 My taste buds seemed to disappear on me, and though they warn you that chemo can alter them- I NEVER expect chemo to (temporarily) banish them. It was a sad moment of realisation.
Day +7 – World Cancer Day. The last blog I treated you all to due to the awful combination of writer’s block, fatigue and hospital appointments.
Day +10 – On this day my neutrophils had gone up from rock bottom zero to 0.3….the first signs of life in my new bone marrow!
Day +13 – I came home!! It really was the most amazing day.
The old film is right, “there’s no place like home” though in a disappointing cinematic moment it was a ruby red Suzuki that magic’d me home, the only slippers in the transplant game are warm and fluffy. (!)
Basically from then until now, there’s not much to report. Twice weekly visits to TCT with my ever fun CMV counts and endless tablets have made me struggle, but really I’m doing well.
Day +27- I had my first post-transplant, bone marrow biopsy, which I didn’t find too much of a big deal at all. To be completely honest the waiting around all day to have it done was worse than the actual procedure. For anyone nervous about having this procedure or a similar one, try not to worry. Just take the gas and air and it will all be fineeeee.
I don’t actually have the results back yet, but here’s a little pic of the marrow samples prepped onto their testing slides.
I hope you are all well, and that this blog was at least remotely interesting.