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…