Wednesday, January 27, 2010


The transplant is now six weeks in the past, and I have been home for three weeks, and it is probably time once again to provide a synopsis of my physical and mental states.

As I mentioned earlier, my blood cell counts seem to have recovered, and I am pretty much recovered from a recent mild cold, which means that the immune system must be working properly to some degree. The chemotherapy-related symptoms all seem to have largely dissipated -- all, that is, except for the intermittent fatigue. This is frustratingly inconsistent in its effects. One morning I may awake thinking that I should take Mount Everest by lunchtime, and then the next morning I may have to talk myself into just getting out of bed. In any case, unless the weather is very bad, I try to get in a walk each day. The interesting thing is that, once I get moving, any fatigue I happen to have been battling against that day seems to fall away. I have been slowly pushing out the distances on these walks; at this point, I think I am covering about a mile. Mind you, I am not covering it very quickly; it usually takes 35 to 40 minutes. Also, as I come into the home stretch, I begin to tire, which causes me to begin leaning more heavily on my cane, which in turn causes my back to hurt. So although it seems to me that I'm gaining strength and stamina, I still have a long way to go. In particular, lifting and carrying anything of any weight at all seems inordinately exhausting. By now I'm used to climbing stairs without fear, but that seems to take a lot of effort as well. If I perform some series of tasks of apparently no great difficulty, such as, say, first climbing the stairs to retrieve a new light bulb, then climbing a step ladder to perform the replacement, then putting the ladder away, I have to conclude the operation by lying down for a little while, to recover. I don't consider this normal, and it's something I have to work my way past, eventually. If I can't seem to get there on my own, then I will return to physical therapy.

My appetite is probably still a bit short of being completely restored, but it's very good. I have gained about five pounds since I returned home, which means I'm still about fifteen pounds down from my "normal" pre-illness weight.

As long as I'm careful to avoid taking any long naps in the afternoon,
and to avoid caffeine in the evenings, I sleep well at night. If I wake up to go to the bathroom, I usually go right back to sleep.

I'm trying to resume some of my old household jobs, such as paying bills, and running loads of laundry (which is another example of a physical task that takes more out of me than it should).

I didn't so much as turn on my work computer for two solid months, beginning with the preliminary transplant steps, but this week I finally did that (and was confronted by a mountain of 1600+ e-mail messages). Depending on my energy levels, I am going to try to ease myself back into that world over time -- assuming that the oncologists, the jealous gods of my world, don't suddenly project me into some fresh hell,
based on the alchemy of their tests.

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