Have you ever had a week in which each day felt like it lasted more than a week? I have. Fortunately, I can report that so far I have experienced no serious complications or side effects of the treatment. Each day we report to the clinic for labwork, medications and fluids as needed, and then return to our rental house for the rest of the day. All is going according to plan, and if that continues the recovery period will start over the next several days.
So far, this has been about as non-horrible as I would think a stem cell transplant process could be, thanks not only to the absence of dire complications but also in large part to the greatest caregivers Mom and Dad who attend to my every need.
The main challenge (after the steroid-induced hiccups) has been nausea (and resulting low appetite and fatigue) since about Day +2. I have been taking anti-nausea meds to get ahead of it, but it has been a constant challenge that is very common among transplant patients because the chemo goes wild on the digestive system. And since it started early on in the process (often, symptoms don’t begin until around Day +5), I spent much of the last week (a) feeling awful from the nausea and fatigue; (b) forcing myself to eat and drink whatever I could get down, so I wouldn’t get weaker and dehydrated (I still did get somewhat dehydrated, but daily fluids at the clinic have addressed that); and (c) thinking that it would only get worse. This leads to days that seem to stand still.
Now I am at the point where my white blood count and platelets have crashed (as they’re supposed to) and I’m supposed to feel at my worst. But I think I feel a bit better than I did on Day +2. In fact I know I do because I have enough energy to write this. Of course I am far from in the clear due to the continuing risk of infections and other reactions, and I’ll feel better (mentally) when the blood counts start to recover. In the meantime taking it day by day will have to do (ideally with each day feeling like a day rather than a week).