Well, I made it out of Karmanos in 5 weeks and 1 day. Although I am extremely fatigued and my healing is just beginning, I was approved for discharge, as I have remained fever-free and have been able to control my pain without using a patient med pump. So I "moved out" and ended my stay-cation on the 10th floor BMT Unit. Natalie, my primary nurse, along with the entire staff at Karmanos have given me the best, of the best, care. I have never received such wonderful care at any hospital in the past 10 years, as I have at Karmanos. A bone marrow transplant is no joke. I have never been so scared in my life, going into the transplant, as every patient is different, every outcome is different, and a cure is never guaranteed. I owe it to the nurses and staff, for helping me heal and start my journey to recovery and living cancer-free.
I must say it was strange passing through the double glass doors and making my way outside for the first time. It's like I am reborn, in a sense. Everything is changing or being rebuilt in my body, skin, taste, blood, everything, so I almost feel like I am learning who I am physically with each passing day. Somedays I can tolerate certain things and other days I can't. This is the ultimate test of patience. I have to be patient with myself and my body as I continue to heal and hopefully get stronger and stronger over time.
I consider myself a very positive and optimistic person, so I lean on that now more than ever. I am positive I will beat this and eventually, get back to being the fast-paced, letting nothing stop me, Tara. In fact, I will probably never stop! I don't know what it is like to live with normal blood cell counts. I have been living with such critically low blood levels for so long, that it's normal for me. Not anymore, though. They say that there are milestones post-transplant, +100 days, a year and the big one is actually 5 years, without signs of cancer. At that point, the bone marrow transplant is deemed a true success and I can confidently say that I beat cancer and am totally cancer-free.
For now, I am celebrating my release from my hospital stay and that's reason enough for me to celebrate. In fact, there are a few things I am celebrating today; no fever, no pain, more energy than yesterday, and my angels, Tim and Alice, who have taken me into their home to help me heal. My parents are my biggest support and because they love me so much, we knew that me staying at their house could be risky, as they have pets and that could pose risk for infection, as my immune system is very suppressed due to some of the medications I am taking. The last thing any of us want is a trip back to the hospital. So Tim and Alice, who I have known for years through St. Blase, have made me feel right at home in their house and I love them so very much for being there for me. God always has a purpose and a plan for all of us and it is by no mistake that He brought them into my life. He knew exactly what He was doing, as he always does. Amen to that.