Monday, May 20, 2013

My Transplant: Day 0

Almost one year ago, I had my SCT, a.k.a bone marrow transplant, (see here).

After a week of total body radiation (described here), I was admitted to the hospital for my transplant. They told me I would spend at least 3 weeks in the hospital - chump change to the 5 weeks I'd already spent at the beginning of my treatment.

I was eager to get the transplant started. My head was about to explode with all the risks - especially the ominous risk of death - in addition to all the lifetime complications that could arise post-transplant. It felt like walking the plank on a pirate ship, forced to (A) jump to my death, (B) be saved by dolphins and returned to my old life, or, more likely, (C) come away scarred and maimed after free-falling without a parachute:

But I wouldn't find out what would happen until I jumped.

To chart my blood counts and my progress post-transplant, my nurses personalized my calendar. They drew a hiking guy because I like hiking:

So, after a few days to allow the radiation to set, the nurse arrived with my sister's stem cells that had just been harvested that morning. "Mmmm, they're still warm..." (Check out my sister's account of her experience with donating stem cells.)

I remember thinking it looked like pink lemonade.

The nurses also brought me a cake to celebrate my new birthday!

A cake that I didn't eat because I felt like crap. Now that I think of it, I don't know what became of that cake...

Okay, the actual transplant itself was very anticlimactic. The whole process was no different than receiving a blood transfusion. It lasted a very uneventful, very boring hour.

My transplant, a procedure that would both save me and also utterly change me, physically, biologically and mentally, turned out to be no more than a tiny blip on my treatment radar. The whole experience was so boring that I fell asleep.

The transplant did not get interesting until a few days later. Check out what happened here, here, here and here

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