Last Tuesday, I received high dose melphalin. It is a high dose chemo used to treat multiple myeloma. It goes in through my port, all that heavy-duty poison going into my veins, killing all those myeloma cells and everything else. The injection takes place over about an hour, with the melphalin lasting only about 30 minutes. And my job is to pack my mouth with ice for that entire time, non stop, so I don't develop all kinds of awful mouth sores. Afterwards, I drove myself home and got some lunch. After all, I should not feel the effects of this horrible chemo for a week or so.
Wrong they were! That night, I felt queasy and twitchy. Like my muscles all over were twitching. I felt "not right" at all. I scrambled and packed my bags. My intent was to go to clinic the next day, get my stem cells injected, go home and spend the evening with my family, and then drive myself to my clean apartment in Salt Lake City that night alone. Think again, I knew I would feel to awful for that to happen.
The next morning, I picked up my mom and we went to clinic. It was stem cell transplant day. Very anti climatic. They gave me pre-meds, which knocked me out, and then over the course of an hour, I got 7 million of my own stem cells back into my body. This is it folks, I have no more stem cells on ice. This is my last stem cell transplant and this one has been so awful, I'm not sure I can handle another one again anyway. After this, onto new lines of therapy, which are so much more promising if you ask me-- immunotherapy, Car T Cell therapy, all the new drugs....
After I was released from stem cells, my mom and I drove to the Residence Inn, checked in and unpacked. I went to Bucca di Beppo, which is across the street and ordered pasta and pizza. With my appetite changing it's all that sounded good. My dad came. I took a nap. What the heck, I am NOT SUPPOSED TO BE FEELING THIS AWFUL SO FAST!!!!
Here were are a few days later. My husband dropped off all our Christmas gifts and I decorated. He also dropped off my daughters, who are our of school for the holiday break. I am not alone. I am surrounded by my amazing, supportive, loving family. I wish I felt better. Yesterday, they went to the symphony, then went out to lunch. I slept on the couch and then watched the University of Utah-BYU football game (it was an ugly win but at least my Utes won). I felt nausea all the time. I layer up my an nausea meds, which make me tired. I feel worse when I'm walking. I feel hot, clammy and prickly. I know I will pass out if I stand too long. I never know if I feel better with food in my stomach or nothing. I am experimenting. I mostly crave pasta, noodles, sourdough bread with butter. Perrier. Water. I am low on potassium. Instead of taking those awful horse pills, I am attempting to eat my way out of the hole-- bananas, avocado, tomatoes, pasta sauce, potatoes...
They tell me that my worse days are ahead of me. Those are coming tomorrow (Mon), Tues and Weds, and then I should start turning a corner and feeling better, engrafting. And I should be able to go home on Dec 26.
My treatment schedule has robbed me of my birthday (I was in the hospital), Thanksgiving (I was in the hospital), Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (we will be in this clean apartment). I hope and pray that I will be feeling well enough to revel in the excitement of gift opening. I purchased everything early, with great thought behind each gift.
Beyond that, I hope that this stem cell transplant process keeps me out of the hospital and that I survive it relatively intact. The next few days will say it all.
Wish me luck! And if you're the praying kind, please keep me in your prayers.