Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Last Meeting with My Doctors.......

Today is Wednesday June 11th and Mom and I were at the BMT Clinic for our 10:00 am appt. in plenty of time because I couldn't sleep past 6:30 am, when I initially woke up, because my mind kept thinking and thinking...."Today's your last day"......Today's your last day"! So I finally got up and made some coffee, and started packing a little of the last minute stuff. It's amazing how much I've accumulated in just 6 weeks here, one of which was spent in the hospital!! How do I manage to do that? It's the same way at home, I swear, I'm like a magnet for "stuff". LOL So at the BMT clinic we went through our usual routine.....weight (94.9 lbs.), blood pressure and temperature. Then over to the "blood sucking" chairs where they drew 4 vials of blood from my central line, and then we're escorted to one of the rooms to wait for the results of my blood work . I forgot to tell you that last week Mom and Kate had made bracelets for the group of special BMT staff I had mentioned in a previous blog. They were made with sterling clasps and these beautiful paper beads crafted by African women who sell them to support themselves in their native countries. Mom and Kate used the paper beads with Swarovski crystals in between the beads to make the most beautiful bracelets. Everyone was surprised we gave them "tokens of our appreciation" and they just loved the them!! I waited to give Dr. Laura's bracelet to her today since this was our last visit. I had also wrote her a note expressing our appreciation for all she had done for us. Dr. Laura read my note and started to tear up a bit and then opened her bracelet and put it on. She told us that we too were some of her favorite people she had ever worked with. Well, next came the discussion about my blood work results.....which were just great thank you very much!! My white blood cells were in the normal range, the red blood cells were low, which was to be expected and my platelets we knew would be the last cells to get into the normal range. The low red cells, basically mean I'm anemic until they get back into the normal range so the expected fatigue I'm feeling is not a surprise. My red blood cells have been low more times than not since I've been diagnosed, and I would receive a shot at Dr. Nair's office to try to bring them up. Now we're just waiting for my body to take over after the transplant. So after she explained some other things to us she asked if we had any questions and I had made a list the night before of things I needed clarification on so I would know what I could and could not do when I was home. These were my questions: Question #1...... How long do I have to wear this mask in public? (I really didn't go into much detail about my mask wearing in previous entries, but it was mandatory that I wear a mask everyday from our apt to Moffitt. I could only take it off once I was in the actual BMT clinic because they have a special air filtering system to keep out the "bugs". By the way, it was called a "duck bill mask" and it totally covered my face except for my eyes, so you get the picture!)....... Dr. Laura's answer: I don't need to wear the mask anymore since my white blood cells are in the normal range and they are the cells that fight infection!! WOO-HOO Question #2.....What are the rules about my pets? (Previously I had been told that I would have to "farm out" all 3 of my dogs for 3 months which would have been traumatic for me and especially my "old man" Alex, my 10 yo Yorkie who is used to sleeping with me on the other side of the bed. The 2 poms are much younger and I doubt they even knew I was gone ....and they have never been allowed to sleep with me...too rambunctious.... LOL) Laura asked me about the dogs....what kind...what were their habits etc. and Dr. Laura's answer...... I can play and pet my poms, just don't let them lick my face and that it was OK that Alex sleep with me!!! Just wash my hands after dealing with the dogs and I would be ok. I had one happy Alex when I got home! and the other dogs missed me too. Question #3.....How long until I can drive? Answer: You can drive now since I'm off all meds like ativan etc. and I'm just taking the oxy that I've taken for 2 years now. OMG.....we were told originally I wouldn't be allowed to drive for THREE MONTHS!! I'm now getting happier by the second with all this great news!! Question #4..... When will I be able to go out in public like shopping? Answer.......You can go out in public now....just don't go to the mall at peak hours and stay away from crowded areas of people.....but to grocery shop or run some errands is fine!! Lordy Lordy...pinch me...am I dreaming?? and the last question #5........When can I go out to a restaurant or get take out? (This was an important question as my ANC level had to be at least 1 and I had to be fever free for 4 days).....Laura said my ANC level was 4 already so I could go out or have take out any time I wanted!! You really don't know what all this means to me! From all we had read and all we had heard I was going to be a virtual prisoner in the house for about 3 mos post transplant. That's about how long it usually takes for your blood cells to rebuild and get to acceptable levels to do these everyday things. Well, I must have SUPER CELLS because none of the restrictions really applied to me. We couldn't believe it, especially Mom. She said "if I hadn't been there to hear all this for myself, I would have never believed it"!! I'm almost rolling off the bed and jumping up and down by now, I'm so happy. Can you believe I can have my life back as soon as I get home?? The only restrictions I really have is cleaning the house (FINE BY ME LOL) and being in really crowded places like a concert or sitting against someone like at a movie theatre or in other types of close quarters. Just think Germs basically......so it's really just wash your hands after doing ANYTHING and use the gel antiseptic when out in public. Hmmmmmm.......I knew I was excited this morning for some reason!! So, next Dr. Ben comes in and we discussed the possibility of going on a low dose chemo as a preventative, and that we would discuss it further at my 3 month checkup. Otherwise, he said I looked terrific, that my surgery appt for removal of my central line would be at 8:00 am tomorrow morning and he wished me well! WOO HOO......this part of the journey is over. I can't believe it. I survived a Stem Cell Bone Marrow Transplant! I am now a CANCER SURVIVOR!! I know still have a long road ahead of me, but one step at a time, my friends, and I'll be able to do it. Knowing I am surrounded by so many loving family and friends has been the main reason I've reached this point. So, the way I see things....Mom and I will be home by noon tomorrow and the next chapter begins. Coming with me? And oh....by the way....on the way home we stopped at this awesome restaurant in Tampa and got a fried grouper sandwich on a roll and french fries.....nothing has ever tasted so good :)

2 comments:

Bobbie said...

I never doubted you would come thru this with grace, dignity and humor. I want to hear from you soon!!! Michaels friend Craig spent 26 days in the trauma ICU after a motorcycle accident & he got home on Monday. He still has a long way to go but he is still with us. Finally I am crying over my blogs with joy.

colleen said...

Im soo very happy for you..God is listening to all our prayers. I enjoy your daily blogs..thankyou for your humour...you make me laugh and cry...Cant wait to see you again...