My very first thought this morning when I woke up, still rolling around in the bed this morning was simply, Thank God I Am A Woman! Being a woman means I get to have a monthly visitor. I think we used to call it “our friend” (who the hell came up with that stupid name? saving for another day). Well without going into details about my “friend” I will simply say that it prepared me for body aches out of nowhere. A slamming in my face, take my breath away ache. On the upside, cause you know I always have an upside, I have had experience handling the discomfort, pain and knowing that this too shall pass just like most women walking the face of the earth.
My extra little pop quiz in life has been the bonus of this disease called Scleroderma. My long (almost 14 years) history with having Scleroderma has taught me to be one tough warrior woman. Pain in the past I thought was literately going to kill me, DIDN’T. So in a very sad, sick and oh my goodness what a shame way, I can handle this level of what I would call this morning, discomfort. A 2 on the scale. Tylenol will fix this. People who are chronically ill will get this. Being able to handle, still function and live life even when not 100% is how I operate daily. Or else I would have curled up and cash my ticket in by now.
Let me get to what is happening now this weekend and the last few days for all of you who are following along with what I am calling my “journey back to health”. I began the shots on Friday. They are shots of a drug called Neupogen and it is a series of shots for the 5 days leading up to and including the morning of harvest of my stem cells. The drug helps get my stem cells to move around a whole lot more then normal especially into my blood system which is where they will pull them from on harvest day medically called collection. My harvest day is Monday Feb 19th.
So I get the privilege and honor of donating my own stem cells to myself. I will come back in April to get them put back in my body and those will be additional blogs at that time for sure.
With all these shots comes crazy side effects and I am still working on the side effects from the one massive dose of chemo they gave me a week ago. The reason they gave me the horse size dose of chemo was to begin the mobilization of my stem cell out of my bone marrow. So to be honest, the shots aren’t bad, they are sort of no big deal to take but the entire procedure, process and all the medications both to do things and to prevent things, that’s take some warrior energy for sure.
Because of the chemo I got 8 days ago I will loose my hair. So I got a great short cut from a nice man named Dennis at Salon 161 that is on the same city block as the building that houses most of my doctors. He was super kind, caring and understanding about what I needed in a haircut and for why. What a blessing to run into this guy who has been cutting hair there for over 32 years. Hoping that the shorter cut will lessen the shock when it begins to fall out. I am still expecting a shock and needing time and tears to adjust.
For the last 24 hours I have stayed in the condo 100% because my white cell count is low thanks to the chemo doing exactly what it is supposed to do. In a few days after the Harvest I should be fine being out and about just need to watch out for sick folks cause I have to stay healthy to come back here in April and get these “stemies” (the cutie name for stem cells in these circles) back.
The goal is for 2 million or more of these little suckers to get harvested through a tube placed in my neck on Monday. Right now I am growing them in my body. Reminds me of the wonder of growing a child. Our bodies, science and, if you believe like I believe, God are frickin amazing! Until Monday I am in time out. I am happy in time out. I will watch more movies, enjoy more olympics and nap. Thank you all for your comments both here and on Facebook. You words, sharing, connections and support are simply priceless.