I tried really hard to come up with another road metaphor for a subject line but I am just not a creative as my wife and daughter. Sorry.
Today is stem cell transplant #2 day +40. I was released from the hospital on Sunday and it has been great to be home again. As of yesterday I am completely unplugged for the first time since transplant, no ports, pick-lines or IV’s. While a tremendous convenience for the drawing of blood and infusing medications they have also been the source of multiple infections and several hospital stays. I have two infections still hanging on, one bacterial and one viral; both are being treated with oral meds and hopefully will be cleared up very soon. The last few days have seen a significant improvement in my general health and have filled me with hope that I am truly on the road to recovery from T2.
Stem cell collection and transplant #1 did little to prepare me for what to expect from transplant #2. If anything it gave me a false sense of control over this situation and that I was somehow the rock-star of transplants. Let them fill my system with whatever drugs they may. I would be sick for a few weeks followed by a rapid recovery back to, if not full strength, at least a level of functionality and comfort approaching normal. Maybe it was God seeing a lesson that needed to be taught, or maybe it was just the new mix of chemicals but the last six weeks have been a nightmare that I always knew was a possibility but surely wasn’t going to happen to me. This whole experience has been somewhat of a blur so I thought I would just give you some of the highs and lows that stick out in my mind.
Hospital stays (2)
Not being able to eat or drink. This is hard to explain to anyone who hasn’t experienced it. You would think you could just force yourself to gag it down even if it is unpleasant. But you find yourself looking at a plate of food, even after eating nothing for five days, and knowing there is no power on earth that is going to get you to take a single bite.
Being hydrated and nourished through my pick line.
Lost 26 pounds, not a weight loss program I would recommend.
Infections, reactions to medications for infections, medications for the reactions to the medications for infections.
So weak at times you figure your body has just given up on you.
What little muscle tissue I had to begin with has atrophied away in just a few short weeks.
Times when despair wants to take over your mind and you have to fight like hell to convince yourself that this is temporary and there is hope and you will recover.
Angels disguised as nurses.
My own personal angel by my side through every bit of this ordeal: constantly offering me hope, encouragement and love.
As always, thank you for your support and prayers. They are so appreciated and have been a source of strength for Lynn and me.
I love you all, Steve
3 weeks ago