Since I've been admitted to Karmanos, I've been asked by nurses, doctors, family, friends, through Facebook, emails, text messages and more, "How are you feeling?" I've never been so perplexed as to how to respond to that question, ever, in my life. I could respond with the typical, "ok" or "pretty good, " but that would be a lie. There are actually many ways in which I could respond depending on a number of variables. It might vary due to the person asking, how I was feeling previously, or what I hope to be feeling in a few minutes or even more so, what the person HOPES to hear from me. Some can't handle bad news, and that's the truth. People definitely have a hard time when I try and be honest with how I feel and tell them the crude reality of my life right now. After listing all of the fevers, chills, nausea, stomach pains, headache, extreme fatigue, emotional distress from missing my son, and so on and so on and so on.... I don't blame people for not knowing how to feel after that kind of response. It's a lot to take in. Believe me, it's a lot to live in. This is my reality.
This post transplant time is a roller coaster of side effects. As we all patiently wait for my donor's stem cells to begin producing the life saving cells it should be producing inside, my body is left in a very critical state. The chemo has destroyed all of my immune system and my body is left with a white blood cell count of 0.1 and my platelets at 4 (should be 150-400) and my red cells critically low too. I am a walking disaster. I rinse with saline solution to prevent mucositis, sores in my mouth, throat and stomach, and try to down as much broth as possible since most foods make me sick to my stomach and nauseous. Between the fevers and chills, sweats and headaches, sleeping has become my enemy. This all goes back to the point I made a while back; cancer has robbed me of simple comforts in life.
The good news is that I have faith and hope. I also know and believe that the past 33 years (almost 34) have prepared me for this extremely trying time. When all of my comforts in life have been ripped from me temporarily, in addition to the fact that I am physically weak and broken, I can still figure out a way to keep my head above water. I might fall to my knees a few times here or there (today I almost did), but then I stand. I call this my stay-cation, but who am I kidding. It's far from any kind of vacation, however, like a stay-cation, its focus is to rejuvenate me and that's what I am doing. I am focused on getting cured. I am determined to build character and strength, in the meantime, that will not only get me through this transition to good health, but also carry me throughout the rest of my life. NOTHING will break me after this. I will have no fears, no real worries after I've spent 10 years fearing death and worrying about how I was going to be able to live through the next year, next month; you get the picture.
The rebirth of me continues. How am I feeling? DETERMINED.