Around here, the date of admission is thought of as day -3 because it is three days until they re-infuse my stem cells (what they call my 2nd birthday).
So far today, I have:
- With my lovely wife, set up my room including a beautiful picture of a group of wild buffalo in Yellowstone captured by my son Ben hung on the wall
- Walked almost 2.5 miles and worked out a bit on some exercise equipment
- Gotten loaded up with lots of IV fluids -- they want to protect my kidneys against damage by trying to make sure the chemo moves through my system as quickly as possible and want to protect the kidneys against the high dose chemo drug
- At 4 pm, froze my mouth for an hour with ice (flavored with a bit of Italian ice which was nice) to try and reduce the chance of mouth lesions and sores
- Got an infusion of Melphalan -the high dose drug that will kill off my bone marrow (given to me with the ice in my mouth)
- Got visited by my Aunt Orlinda Prettyman and my uncle Larry Hawkins -- it was nice to see you both!
- Eaten some interesting meals - a bit strange chicken pot pie, but actually quite tasty, and blueberry BBQ rib meat; overall not a bad kitchen downstairs
- Got some work done for UVU
Overall, a pretty busy day; I told my wife that about an hour after the infusion, that I could feel the chemo moving through me. She said: What does that feel like?
It is hard to describe, and I'm sure it is different for everyone, but it feels like a rolling or washing sensation that moves through my limbs and up over my head. My eyes start to feel more tired or strained, and I feel more fatigued. Uncle Larry said - it is kind of like it is sucking energy out of you, and he is right. It is also a bit anxiety provoking because when the nurse came in to give me the drug, she puts on a special gown to protect herself, covers me up with a sterile pad around where the infusion goes in (probably in case of links or spillage?), and then wraps everything up in a hazard bag. Yet this is what goes into my body. This is the fun of chemotherapy.
So, for day -3 a not too bad, pretty busy day. The doctor today -- very friendly physician born in Czech Republic and now an American citizen -- told us today that usually the effects of Melphalan are not fully felt for most people until around a week later, so that gives me something to look forward to! NOT!
The staff here are very friendly, caring, and concerned. I feel like I am in good hands.
Thank you all again for your prayers and expressions of support -- you are all the anti-cancer. I can feel the effects of your love and kindness, but it feels GOOD.