Time has a way of moving ahead even when you could swear it was standing still. We are at Day minus 6. Five days of chemo, one of Total Body Irradiation (40 minutes worth) and then I receive the stem cells that have been harvested from Mariya. That is called Day Zero. My second birthday.
So today we meet the chemos with the oxymoronic term “conditioning”. I have always thought of conditioning as a positive thing: you condition your hair (if you have any), or your body. Conditioning in this world start with two consecutive days of 12 hour chemo drip and hydration at the SCCA. Cytoxan and fludarabine. We came in chipper and feisty but after about 4 hours, I could feel the nausea right through the anti-nausea meds. It will be my companion for many a day, so I can only hope to develop a regimen that will keep it tolerable. After that the chemo days will be shorter. Guess that peach fuzz starting to grow back on my head will go away again.
If you pray or mediate or send thoughts/energy out to me, please focus them on the next 6 days: that the conditioning and radiation are tolerable and don’t knock me for a loop, so I come in strong for transplant. I appreciate it so much and experience great gratitude for thinking of me.
The transplant, in and of itself, will be like any blood transfusion, and it will be anti-climatic. It’s what my body, mixed with Mariya’s immune system, does next that could be dicey. So I am praying for her cells to recognize me as part of her and to be nice to my system. This, I figure should be easy for Mariya, though our immune systems have their own minds.
I would like to dedicate to the UW Medical Center, the SCCA, the Fred Hutch center and all the donors, my companions in cancer here, Mariya my donor and bright spirit, Elena my energetic mover and shaker, and their friends, especially Will, who help them cope—Steve who makes me laugh and stay feisty, my funny dog, my devoted women’s circle, the whole wonderful and caring cast of friends and family near and far who send me so much, I can’t count the ways. Thank you.
So, we crammed in as much as we could cram over the last two weeks of freedom. Now it’s time to switch gears to a quieter and more careful time and really put the entire focus on a successful transplant with no complications.
Depending on how I am doing, this may be the last blog entry from me, personally, for awhile. Or not. However, Steve, Mariya and Elena are all eager and ready to write, so that should a treat.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words and I will close with photos of our trip to the Olympics. The whole family had to work together with our tight timing to make it happen but for all of us, it was something we really needed for the tough times ahead. We went to Hurricane Ridge, Rialto Beach, the Hoh River Rain Forest and Sol Duc Hot Springs. I’ll let these photos tell the rest of the story.
Hoh River Rain Forest
Sol Duc Hot Springs (taken through the screen window)