Saturday, August 25, 2007

Exhaustion, Frustration, Distraction, Elation

Exhaustion: Daily late-night runs to CoH for injections and observation. Post-midnight bedtimes. Daily 7 am reporting for duty for more injections and harvesting. Interrupted sleep from mild but persistent AMD 130 side effects. Emotional ups and downs from the numbers game. It all added up to a case of full-blown exhaustion by the time Friday rolled around. I'm relieved the week is over.

Frustration: Last week I found myself sliding into the unproductive "minimize, maximize" rut that ultimately ends in frustration and a pity party. The cause? Every day I was surrounded by blood cancer patients who were pumping out stem cells like their lives depended on it, while I remained a stem cell underachiever.

I overheard nurse coordinators scheduling the start dates for stem cell transplants with other patients, while I still have no idea when I'll be hunkered down for my month-long stay at CoH. I think I'm asked about the date of my stem cell transplant more often than my newly engaged friend Terry gets asked about the date of her wedding. But, unlike Terry, I have no idea of the month, let alone the day of this momentous event.

I'll get to discuss the game plan with Dr. Forman during my next appointment on September 4. Even though the "miracle drug" AMD 130 didn't pull off a miracle, it helped me mobilize another .78 million stem cells, bringing my two-mission total to 1.7 million. That's just .3 shy of the 2 million minimum. My email from Dr. Forman on Friday evening said that we will "try again [to harvest more stem cells] after a little more treatment for the mantle cell." This at least is very good news because the donor room doctor led me to believe that I couldn't try again.

Of course, all of this means several more weeks of waiting and not knowing.

Distraction: It's a rare week with no doctor's appointments and no treatments. I've decided to use the time to fly back to West Virginia (the land of bad perms and all-you-can-eat restaurants) to visit my dad, brother Piper Robert and nephew Bobby. I'm looking forward to meeting Robert's new gal pal Bonnie, eating beans and greens at Cracker Barrel and shoveling down biscuits and gravy at Bob Evans. I may even return to the scene of the underwear crime.

Elation: For a peek at the brown polka dot dress and the infamous members of the "stemware gang," visit my friend Debbi's blog site. It's hard to stay down for long when I'm reminded of my many loving, supportive friends.

And check out the latest comment from Norma Jean Cope on "The Right Size Bag for the Right Size Job." The post paid tribute to Garland Cope, the owner of Cope Super Market, where I worked my first job as a cashier 36 years ago. Mr. Cope's granddaughter stumbled across the blog post when she was surfing the web and shared it with her family, including Mr. Cope's widow, Norma Jean. I also received a private email from Jeff, Mr. Cope's son, saying that the "whole R'wood family is tickled that you mentioned what the right size for the job has meant to you."


Paula Johnson said...

At least you can pack light for the trip, since you'll only need one pair of underpants for every two days.

Susan Carrier said...

OK, Paula. It's these kind of witty, wise-ass comments that intimidate my other friends from commenting!