May 1, 2013
It was Monday, April 29, 2013, that I began to believe that I might actually start to feel differently: better.
The engraftment period of the Bone Marrow Transplant started working right after the transplant period, but I did not “feel good.” In fact, it felt like there were only going to be weeks of diarrhea, no appetite, nausea , negative thinking and weight loss. The inevitable question for the patient undergoing such treatment is: is the treatment really worth all of the almost intolerable side-effects? The debilitation starts to get the most positive thinking low, down, and dirty. When that happens, rather than see people, talk to them, communicate through social media, or simply read, I isolated and hoped that I could get through the days without alienating family or friends. Prayer and positive energy from others helps counteract the excess of all the negatives. You play a waiting game of “when?”
Reassurances from professionals help somewhat, but the dark days don’t just stop.
Or, do they? I told Mary that I had a better BM Monday. Too much information? Sorry, but it is huge to people in my situation who live on Boost for many weeks. One becomes adept at describing bowel activity. Ever had a nice iced chocolate Boost for three meals a day? Or smelled horrid phantom, hospital turnip greens when you were miles away from the offending greens? I am sure that most cannot grasp the disgust that enters the heart of a BMT Patient who smells from afar the awful, prohibited reek of popped and burnt microwave popcorn. Many of you will have no trouble picturing this BMT patient personally tracking down a “civilian” offender near his hospital room? I restrained myself and directed the problem to a nurse, though. That was all for the best, I know. But, I was more than ready to offer up some “commentary” to the individual. Though signs are posted, some cannot or will not read warnings about how food smells affect the patients. My appetite began to pick up, due to great degree by Mary’s monitoring of my GI functioning. My appointment Tuesday at Winship Clinic and Emory Hospital made for a great and eventful day because I had the tri-fusion line that had allowed infusions and transfusions directly into my heart removed. Mary would have no more dealing with three large lines hanging out of my right pectoral muscle. She became proficient in several at-home nursing procedures. Health care pros have heaped much praise on Mary’s abilities. I stand in awe of my Mary! Possessing tremendous patience and excellent nursing skills that helped me survive are two qualities that Mary demonstrated often. My physical strength has been letting me know that I can improve. Motivation to read, the action of deadheading a rose, and the growing desire to do an occasional job in or around the house are cues to me that I am improving. The actions and functions that come back are blessings that appear as a warm, clearing sky that inspires me after weeks of misty, cold weather that cast an impenetrable gloom during the early days of my recovery.
The dark days of recovery are passing more quickly. God gives us the ability to recognize even the smallest signs of hope and recovery if we work at doing so, even if we are very down. There were many days when my mouth and throat were in a battle with sores and swallowing was a chore. Those days are reduced to brief memories today.
God has put people in my orbit who have touched my life and recovery throughout my health crisis. He has continued to do so this week. The staff at Winship says numbers are looking normal for my blood chemistry. Individuals have blessed me with comments to one of my feeling bad blogs. Thank you, friends and family, healthcare professionals, and my fellow patients when we speak or simply smile at one another. When the BMT patient fell in the Winship Clinic waiting area yesterday, that could just as well have been me. I pray that he bounces back and fights his disease in his own way. We have to learn to make our way for ourselves, or we are defeated, indeed.
Thank you for your interest, prayers, and words of comfort.
May 1, 2013