The day that a bone marrow transplant occurs is normally known as Day 0. Days before Day 0 are prefixed by a “-” sign and days after Day 0 are prefixed by a “+” sign. For example, 6 days before the transplant is known as Day-6 and 6 days after the transplant is known as Day+6.
Day-6 (April 17)
Yesterday was admission day. I checked-in around 2:00pm and was led to my home for the next couple of weeks. Apparently, I lucked out and got a semi-lake-view “suite”. The decor is on the older side but it will do. Not like I have a choice, and I’m sure I’ll get used to it. Don’t miss the photo tour at the end of this post!!!
Over the next few hours, I was bombarded with a lot of meet-and-greets, paperwork, questionnaires, instructions and medications. I was given so many preventative upon preventative medications, I was unable to keep track, so I stopped counting. After all that, I was let out to have dinner with my family at a nearby restaurant. It was the best Swiss Chalet I have ever had!
By the time we got back to my room it was past 9:00pm. My family stayed a bit to chat, but was told that after last night, when I start getting weaker and weaker, I will not be allowed to have so many visitors in my room all at once as the filters can’t handle that many people. After my family left, the night nurse came in to give me more meds and do vitals. Everything is still looking good, but then I haven’t started my chemo yet. Daniel tucked me in and left. I tried to fall asleep but woke up every hour sweating – not sure if it was all that medication that was in me or the room was just really warm.
Day-5 (April 18)
The next morning (i.e., today) the nurse came into my room at around 6:15 am and gave me my first dose of medication, and took some blood from my newly inserted Hickman Line. I was already woken up so I brushed my teeth, washed my face, walked around the hall outside and waited for breakfast, which was served at around 7:45am. It was a thin slice of banana bread, an orange juice, and a cup of hot tea. Since I had not had chemo yet, I gobbled it up, wondering why the banana bread was so thinly sliced. I’m sure I’ll know the answer to this question in a few days.
The dreaded chemo started at around 10:00am this morning. My dad got here soon after the infusion started. First, it was fludarabine, then busulfan, and an anti-nausea and anti-something else medication mixed in. Really, can’t remember. The infusion of that stuff took a few hours, and in between, I had lunch, which was cheese tortellini today. I didn’t get to choose what I wanted for meals until today, and it will not be effective until tomorrow. Again, I wondered why the portion was so small. I had to ask Daniel to bring me some buns as added sustenance. As far as I’m concerned, the more pounds I pack on now, the more buffer I’ll have once the chemo effects start in a few days. So, that’s right, it’s close to 8:00pm now and I don’t feel the effects of the chemo yet. They tell me it will take a couple of days for the side effects to kick in. So, I’m taking this opportunity to fill you guys and gals in on all the details!!! I hope it’s not too much, but if it gets too gross, I’ll leave it out. Believe me, it WILL get gross.
Some miscellaneous details. I have to shower 3 times a day to wash off any accumulating chemo that comes out of my skin over the next few days. I have to measure my intake and output of liquids (is this too gross? tell me if it is). I have a bidet!!! That, in and of itself, is not gross, is it??? I have an exercise bike in my room, which I’m encouraged to use twice daily for 20 minutes if I can manage it. I have a nursing team made up of a primary nurse and six secondary nurses!!! My nurse puts my blood results on my bulletin board every day, to let me know how I’m doing over the course of treatment. My blood results are expected to go to ZERO in a few days. I probably will not be writing this much by then. I have an IV pole named Wilson. I named him Wilson for now, but may change my mind. I named him after the volley ball in Castaway. I feel like Tom Hanks right now. And like him, I will be coming back to civilization in due course. Just give me a little bit of time!
PMH room tour