Sunday we got a break from our daily clinic visit and blood work. So, we went out to breakfast. Returning to the apartment, we then watched 300 hours of football, which wouldn’t be so bad but we’d watched 200 hours on Saturday. I am soooo tired of TV.
Monday, it was back to the lab. Blood was drawn and we then met with the nutritionist. As usual, she suggested some good strategies. Far and away, the biggest surprise about my treatment is the difficulty to eat and drink. Transplant patients receive such a strong dose of chemo their bodies literally go into shock. Some functions just shut down. Slowly, my appetite returns, evidenced by our visit to a restaurant on the weekend. Yet this incremental improvement in taste appeal makes my health ascend rapidly. Basically, according to the nutritionist, I’ve been starving myself, depleting my muscle mass. Now, however, I feel better hour-by-hour.
Later we visited with the team PA and nurse. My total white blood cell count and my neutrophils climbed within normal reference ranges. For all intents and purposes, I have a fully operational immune system. It is a newborn, possessing none of the resistance accumulated over 60 years of my former immune system. I need to shelter and nurture it for the next twelve months.
When the Physician’s Assistant finished assessing my condition, I told her of my goal. Saturday, September 27th, is my birthday; we want to spend that day driving home, returning to the beautiful Hood River Valley. I don’t want to visit; I want to move out of this apartment. We’ve done all we can do. We want to be finished with Seattle and this portion of our dance card with cancer.
The PA was non-committal. She would talk with the team doctor. She would schedule us for the SCCA’s Long Term Follow Up class. But I’ve got to get my stomach under control. I’ve to show I can drink three liters of fluid. At the moment, I receive two liters of saline with electrolytes from a battery-activated pump. I wear a small backpack eight hours per day while infusing this fluid. Tomorrow, we reduce the amount by 25%. If I’ve made significant progress by Thursday, then perhaps I can get off the pump altogether. There are eleven days until my birthday. I’ve got about seven to prove it’s safe for me to be on my own.