Day 13/+4

Happy Birthday to me.

4 days ago I had my stem cell transplant. It went without a hitch. 15 minutes, the taste of garlic, then a nap. The doctors and nurses were very pleased. That night, the nurses brought me a birthday cake and sang me a birthday song.

I’ve been doing extremely well. I had a few days of dry heaves and nausea. Headaches. My mouth sores haven’t come in yet, but my mouth feels a bit raw. My stomach does flips pretty regularly. I definitely feel tired. More tired with each passing day.

Two nights ago I convinced the nurse to let me off the IV pole since I was only getting a slow drip of hydration. Ah, sweet, sweet freedom. It means a lot to not be tethered to that pole. Soon, they will start me on an antibiotic drip so this won’t last long. But I am very much enjoying the freedom of not having tubes attached to my arm.

My counts are low and still dropping. My WBC is .37, HGB 10.1 and platelets down to 17. Today is the first day where I am officially neutropenic. Which is a good thing – my counts need to bottom out and then they will start going up again. Hopefully, by the end of this week.

My goal is to get out on Friday – that would be +9. The earliest we’ve ever heard someone recovering is +8. The average is +12. The nurses and doctors chuckle to themselves when I tell them my goal. Because it isn’t really up to me – it’s up to my counts. The best I can do is stay on my feet, keep eating and drinking and stay infection free. The doc’s tell me that I should still expect a few bad days. I haven’t gotten any fevers yet. I haven’t gotten my mouth sores yet.

So, what’s a guy to do to keep himself occupied while cooped up in here?

I’ve been slowly picking away at a paper I have due for my class. This place isn’t the best for concentration and heavy thoughts on communications theory, but I’m doing the best I can.

For the first few days, I didn’t want to get in a pattern of sitting around and watching movies and a lot of TV. But I’ve mellowed a bit and now I have no problem watching a film in the afternoon. I’ve started watching The Wire – which is as awesome as everyone says it is.

A bit of Skyping. Some fantasy football. A couple books. I’m pretty chill right now. I know these days will pass. And I am extremely grateful that I’m feeling pretty good. This isn’t going nearly as difficult as I thought it would be, from a physical standpoint. I walk a lot each day. I stay out of bed. The doctors are proud.

But more importantly, Jen is proud. She is working her tail off to keep me in clean clothes and good spirits. And I’m not going to let her down by moping and complaining and feeling sorry for myself.

Actually, I’m not going to let any of you down. Thanks for all the cards and well wishes. Big thanks to those of you who have taken up the challenge and donated your platelets. That’s a big effort on my behalf and I owe each and every one of you a beer and a burger (which, I hear, is good for platelet production).

For now, here’s some pics of me from the past few days…

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10 responses to “Day 13/+4

  1. These pictures remind me of the Family Guy joke about the chick who started the cancer bandana look. Looking good though. Stay gold! Love ya.

  2. Steve,
    I just logged on and read the last three of your blog updates. Wow, you have so much grace and such a strong spirit. You and Jen are a force to be reckoned with. I can’t wait to join you both for a beer and a burger and some bad cancer jokes.
    Always in awe or your strength. Always inspired by you and your wife. Can’t wait to hang with you guys on the other side of this.
    P.S. that chick Karen Rocks!!!

  3. I see you’ve snagged a deal with Coca-Cola! Sweet! A little product placement goes a long way. Your apartment is going to be chock full of product in no time.

    Glad to hear you’re doing well and in good spirits. Just a few more days til you can run around town doing cartwheels (mental or physical cartwheels, up to you). We should have a worldwide cartwheel session in your honor, representing you across the globe!

  4. Happy stem cell birthday! I hope that Friday’s the big release day. Nothing sweeter than getting back to your own place and sleeping in your own bed. However it sounds like you’re making the most of your time there and that makes all the difference. Rock on!

  5. Happy stem cell birthday! I hope that Friday’s the big release day. Nothing sweeter than getting back to your own place and sleeping in your own bed. However it sounds like you’re making the most of your time there and that makes all the difference. Rock on!

  6. Hey Stephen, checking in to see how you are. You are awesome!!! I don’t know about you but I have become a crossword freak. Actually, I don’t do too bad at it. Of course, they are not the insanely hard ones. I wish they would make a crossword puzzle on “Looney Tunes”!!! I’d ace that in a minute!! Happy that things are moving along the right track. Love you and Jen!!!

  7. Oh by the way, my new name for you is Ironman!!! You are by far one of the strongest people i have ever known. In the face of all this, you are like iron – strong and tough!! You are an amazing man!! Love you so much my little feffel!!

  8. You go girl!!! Get out soon

  9. Hi, Steve!

    We miss you! Just wanted to let you know I was thinking of you and sending lots of positive thoughts your way. Stay strong!

    Jenny

  10. Steve, you continue to inspire, as does your amazing wife. I look forward to seeing you and talking some “Wire” (my all-time favorite show) and toasting to your resilience, health and happiness! Cheers.

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