My SCT Experience

by Timothy J. Ferguson

I was asked to write something about my SCT before I started the process. I posted all of this for members of a closed group on Facebook.  Enjoy the read. I looked forward to writing this every day. Here is what I wrote:

Hello  everyone! My journey with Multiple Myeloma started back in October  2016. I went to a doctor for a routine physical and that led to a trip  to an Oncologist that gave me the news that has changed my life.
I  joined this group and I’ve chatted with a few members and quickly  discovered the need to find a specialist. (On a side note…. Dana  Holmes has been awesome.) That led me to the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville  and a diagnosis of SMM.
Over the next few months I started  getting neuropathy that was getting really bad really quick. Neuropathy  alone isn’t a reason to start treatment or justification to change my  diagnosis to active myeloma, but that along with a billion other tests  confirmed that I also probably have POEMS Syndrome. The treatment for POEMS is  identical to MM and I began treatment with Rev/Dex in June 2017.
I  saw an immediate relief and reversal of most of the neuropathy that was  directly tied my M-spike level. I can almost nail the level based on  how my neuropathy feels. Based on my response to that, my Myeloma  specialist recommended me for the SCT.
I underwent the testing in  mid December. The BMB showed my plasma cells went down to 10% and the  FISH analysis showed that I have 1q22 duplication, 9 trisome and 13  monosome. The 1q duplication puts me into the intermediate risk  category. The truth is that I probably won’t see better results with  current treatment options. The SCT and maintenance are my best shot at  keeping this beast at bay for awhile. I’ll try to post every day.

Good morning, warriors. Today is zero day – 12. Last night was my first night sleeping with my port and I have to say…. it really sucked! They say to take Claritin for pain when the cells move from the bones to the bloodstream, but I much prefer the Tylenol to help with the collarbone that feels like a pin cushion. Seriously, it wasn’t too bad and the pain is minor. It’s more like an inconvenience for me. The biggest part for me is to get used to not being able to do the normal things that I do around the house. I can’t lift more than 10 lbs. My kids cat weighs more than that! I have an appointment at 3 for my second injection. That’s all that I have on my calendar for today.

Today is zero day – 11. I’ve gone through 3 days of injections prior to my stem cell harvest. What they didn’t tell me was that I would constantly feel like I was sick even though I’m not. I have minor bone pain and I’m assuming that is being controlled by the Claritin. All in all….. this sucks, but it’s not too bad. The hard part for me is getting used to this thing in my chest. I find it hard to sleep with it and it’s very itchy. Tomorrow will be a long day. I drive 2 1/2 hours each way and my first appointment is at 6:30 am. If all goes well, they start harvesting. If not, then I stick around until 5 and get another injection that should do the trick. I still have a positive attitude and I am feeling pretty good about how things are going. I’ll let you know how it goes tomorrow.
Zero day – 7
I’ve got to say that the past 3 days have been interesting. It took two days for harvesting. The three days of Neupogen didn’t really bother me. There was bone pain, but not too bad. The problems for me started with the emotional letdown of not being able to harvest after three days of those injections. I had the pleasure of sitting around the hospital from 7 am until 5 pm so I could get the Mozobil injection. I live 2 1/2 hours away so I wasn’t going home. I waited. The shot stung more than the Neupogen, I wasn’t expecting the level of bone pain or the dizziness that came with it. Harvesting was painless and a great time to catch up on sleep and binge watch a couple of shows. All in all it wasn’t as bad as my imagination made it out to be. I’ve got the next 4 days off before I go back for final clearance on Monday. Final count over 9 million.

Zero day -6.
Reality is setting in with my family. Tomorrow we are going out to our favorite restaurant because I won’t be able to for a few months after transplant. That’s the silver lining in this. Quality time with the family is great. On the MM side…. I’m having a little residual pain from the injections, but it has been tapering off. My spirits are high and I’m looikng forward to taking the fight to the disease for a change.

Zero day – 5.
I’m checking in early today. I’m sitting in my Jeep waiting for my simply amazing daughter to get out of school. It’s my last day picking her up until after my transplant. I have nothing medical to report…. other than the dressing around my triple lumen central catheter still itches! I’m waiting for my next step which comes Monday when I get final clearance from the transplant team…. so it’s still all about enjoying the freedom while I have it. I did take the time to update the essentials (Will, Power of Attorney, Living Will, etc.) today. No one likes to think of those things, but it is necessary for us to do what we can to help our families for after we’re gone. Dinner out tonight with those that are most important in my life so that I can enjoy one last steak at a steakhouse before my diet is restricted. Thank you to everyone who has liked or left comments on my posts. I read them all. Your thoughts and prayers are welcome and very appreciated. See you tomorrow!

Zero day – 5. Update.
We had a great night with the family. It had its price, though. My daughter broke down tonight and I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a pain as deep as that. She not only cried, but she sobbed. She is so terrified. This is such a beast of a disease. We faced it. Spoke honestly and we are moving forward together. The sun will rise tomorrow and we will be one step closer to zero day. Good or bad we face it. Together. Good night.

Zero day – 4.
I think the side effects from the injections are all over now. I’m back to normal. I did notice that my Neuropathy seems to be getting worse because I’m starting to experience that tingling every now and then. It’s more POEMS Syndrome than Myeloma, but improved while I was on chemo. I hope that resets when I get my reset.
On a side note, I once saw a poster of three jets flying straight up with a quote that read “ATTITUDE = ALTITUDE.” We can’t change the course of this disease, but we can choose how to react to the ups and downs we all will get with this disease. It’s nice to be reminded of how true that is every now and again.
More family and friends today and tonight. It’s awesome to see my wife and daughter laugh and smile. It’s been too long since we’ve had everyone over.
Tomorrow I’ll work on my dads car and piddle around in my garage. It’s been a great weekend so far.

Zero Day – 3
There is so much down time with this. I haven’t seen a medical professional in 4 days and I’m promising daily updates. You’ll have to put up with my thoughts and views for a couple of days. I think it’s important for us to understand that there is more than just the medical side to this. Cancer changes you. My views on just about everything has evolved over the past year and a half. My wife would probably say not enough has changed because I still don’t listen. I have a central line going right to my heart and I’m picking up 50-pound car batteries or over exerting myself every time I get a whim to do something.
I don’t know if anyone noticed this, but I’m a retired Marine. I absolutely positively am as arrogant and stubborn as the rumors suggest. I make no apologies for that and I truly enjoyed the life of service to my country. My attitude and non-stop ability to do anything I ever try…. Or at least never strop trying to do everything I want…. Has become a part of who I am. I’ve made many friends who are brothers from other mothers and a simple phrase will stop is in our tracks and we’ll be talking about something that will bring a part of our youth back and remember the love and dedication we had for each other that allowed us to ‘Be the best prepared when our nation was least prepared’.
One of those friends called me last night. We spoke for over an hour on a lot of things. He couldn’t believe the severity of this disease and what it means. He was absolutely shocked at my attitude and determination until I reminded him that was one of those things he liked about working with me. We’ve faced tough times before and we handled business. That’s how I’m facing this thing. Don’t ask me what I would like to do. Tell me what you need for me to do and I’ll get it done. This is what we do as Marines.
I’ve got a fight. It’s a tough one. Here is what I focus on as the day get closer:
This week over 950 people around the world will have a stem cell transplant for various diseases.
53% will be auto. 47% will be allo.
90 % of those will come back with PR, CR or outright cured.
I like those odds. A lot.
I can focus on the fatigue or the hair loss or I could blow a gasket worrying about all the things coming, but it’s so much better remembering the good times I’ve had and the thrills of overcoming the hard times in life and to look forward to weathering this storm and coming out on the other side. Together, we learn. Together, we grow. Together we conquer this beast. See you tomorrow.
Zero Day – 2
I am heading to Mayo today for my final clearance to be admitted tomorrow. Here is a rundown of the things I really wished I knew prior to today:
1- There are a billion tests that I didn’t understand that gave the doctor a complete picture of the patient. Even though there are a ton of things to do, there is a lot more down time and sitting around waiting to find out the results. Get used to having too much time on your hands.
2- Dental work is a big deal. Don’t wait to get it done.
3- DON’T look into something on Google. Your doctor is your source for information. DON’T be afraid to step up and speak up if you have a question or if you need clarification on something. Make them explain things to your satisfaction.
4- This is financially devastating on a scale that I couldn’t believe. I have two insurance companies and I’m still taking a hit. One of the appointments that I had was with a social worker. I thought it was a joke. I said, “Social worker? I have great insurance!” They smiled and said it was normal. The social worker plastered me and my wife with things that had to be done prior to the transplant. After getting about 50 pamphlets, flyers and instructions, I asked the social worker “Do you do this or do I”? My wife did a head smack.
5- As much as this consumes your thoughts, you really should take a few minutes each day and think about how it affects those closest to you. They are dealing with it, too. Unfortunately, I didn’t see that earlier and I regret that.
6- The injections caused more pain and side effects than I anticipated. The harvest was easier than I expected.
7- Don’t buy into the fear!!!!! There are a lot of people that have done this and came out of it just fine.
I’m going to enjoy this drive today. It’s going to be sunny and in the high 70’s. I took the top off the Jeep and look forward to a great drive. Thank you for all of your positive replies to my postings. I appreciate that.

Zero Day – 2 Update:
Here’s what the doctor had to say:
“Today, the patient has completed his stem cell collection. His blood counts have recovered and he is feeling quite well. All testing has been deemed satisfactory to proceed to autologous stem cell transplant. He will be admitted for conditioning with high-dose melphalan followed by autologous stem cell transplant tomorrow 01/23/2018.”
The Jeep ride was amazing and I’ll let you all know how tomorrow goes. I’m going to go spend some time with my girls. Good night!

Zero day – 1
The scariest part of this journey is here. I’m checked into my room and my anxiety level is getting higher. My wife made this so much easier by making sure my clothes were washed properly beforehand and by having everything in a vacuum sealed bag for when I checked in. No questions or issues at all. I’ve got another 2 ½ hours to go and they will start with the Melphanan. The check in went smooth. I got situated while the doctor’s orders started to come in. I’ve had an EKG and the vampires took a few tubes of blood. The nurse explained the do’s and don’ts’s of my visit. I made the mistake of walking out of my room without a mask and made it all of 2 inches before a nurse snapped me back like I was still in boot camp. It was pretty funny. She let me know who was the boss. My first breakfast was french toast and bacon which wasn’t bad and now I’m waiting on the prep work for the Melphanan. They are giving me medication prior to the chemo and hooking me up to a heart monitor for the infusion. I’ll get ice chips, popcicles and mouth rinse to help prevent mouth sores from the Melphanan. The side effects are supposed to take a few days to kick in and the nurse seems like she is prepared for anything. So far, so good! I’ll update again tonight.

Zero day
My first night here was a pleasant surprise. The care I’m receiving is second to none! Everyone is on the same page. Physically I’m experiencing changes in my taste buds. My wife and sister in law came to visit with me today and she said that it was the first time in 8 years that she has seen me drink water. I normally drink Mt. Dew like it was water.
I haven’t had much side effects. I’ve experienced the taste bud issue where everything tastes different, but it does make bananas taste amazing. My transplant goes at 1:30 and I’ve been told that I will be sleeping through almost all of it and the rest of the day as well.
They’ve added a few pills to the mix like antiviral and nausea pills. That’s probably why I’m not felling so bad. I’m going to try and post you on my numbers daily.

Zero day – 1 Update 1
My MM specialist is the attending today. Seeing Dr. Ailawadhi is hands down the single best health decision I have made. One of my biggest questions is why harvest your stem cells when you still have an m-spike and elevated immunoglobulins. This was his explanation , with a picture. (Summarized…. NOT quoted):
Stem cell life begins at the top and ends when that particular stem cells goes through all the steps to Plasma Cell. Collection goes at the second step while the actual Myeloma is in the Plasma Cell. Doctors don’t know where the change occurs, but harvesting is done before there is evidence of the cancer. Something triggers the mutation, but they don’t know what….. yet.
I’ve gotten some medications. My old friend Dexamethasone, an anti viral med and anti nausea IV was started. I’m still waiting on the chemo. The Dex was given as a shot in my central line. Make sure they give it diluted and go slowly. It causes a burning sensation in the darnedest place if taken too quickly!

Zero day – 1 Update 2

I am 5 hours post Melphanan and I’m dragging!!! The fatigue has kicked in and I’m tired. I did my required 1 mile around the halls (Mayo Jax is 12 laps). Dinner was very bland, but I honestly don’t know if it’s me or the food. My appetite isn’t gone…. yet so we will see tomorrow!
There is a required mouth wash regime post chemo. My taste buds unfortunately worked just fine for that, though. Yuck!
Everything else is fine. There is a lot of down time and that’s okay with me. I can use the sleep. Have a good night and I’ll talk with you all tomorrow.

Zero day Update 1

My Stem Cell Transplant is done and in the bag. The nurse said it was a textbook case and that she was very surprised that I didn’t sleep through any of it. They give you a bunch of medicine that includes Benadryl. It’s all done through the central line. No big deal at all.
The transplant is done with multiple bags and you don’t feel it or notice any change whatsoever. This was hands down the easiest task so far. People around you get the honor of smelling something really funky. My wife says it’s like oysters and creamed corn. The nurse says the smell only lasts for a couple of days. My suggestion is for your family members to bring Vicks vapor rub so they can put it under their noses once they are allowed back into the room.
They are controlling my chemo symptoms very well. The only thing I have that is being difficult so far is the hiccups. I can’t shake them. I am noticing that I don’t want to walk as far or as fast as I have been, so the fatigue might be sneaking up on me. I’ll adapt!
Again, thanks for the kind words of encouragement. I really think this battle would be harder without knowing you all are in my corner.

Zero day +1.
I slept great. My numbers haven’t started their decent yet, but it’s coming. I haven’t had any bad reactions at all. I’m off the IV for now, but the catheter stays in for the inevitable transfusions. They are changing out the bandage this morning.
Breakfast was bacon, eggs and toast. I ate all of it and it seems that my taste buds are working again. It all tasted good.
I’ve completed 4 out of 12 laps around the floor. I breaking them up to 3 sets of 4 so I can break my day up. There is a lot of time to sit and ponder about things.
I’ll give another update at the end of the day.

Zero +1 Update
Today has been an extremely boring day for me. I am feeling my energy level drop, but that I think is a good thing. It means I’m one more day closer to the day that I can start rebounding.
I’ve managed to eat all day long. I’ve got the most amazing wife a man could have. She stocked me up on the junk food that I always eat. If I wasn’t sleeping, I was eating. At this point the goal is to eat as much as you can handle and the content isn’t as important.
This was my first day without visitiors. I found that to be good and bad. I didn’t have to put on that happy face when I’ve felt miserable, but I missed my wife and daughter something fierce. I hate being away from them.
I did fifteen laps today. 3 extra just to get out of my room. Exercise is extremely important. Your body will fight back, but it’s your mind that gives up first. My best advice in this area is to look forward and keep moving your feet in the direction you need to go until you reach your goal. Don’t worry if you have to work up to your mile, but don’t stop just because it looks like its a long way to go.
Best of luck to you all. See you in the morning with my new numbers.

Zero Day +2
I feel like an old man already….. I enjoy spending my day sleeping as much as possible. I still go on the walks, but I know I’m not at the hard part yet. My numbers still haven’t bottomed out and I can feel how the lower numbers makes me feel weaker. I’m having a potassium deficiency problem. It doesn’t seem to concern the staff here, but I will ask my doctor when I see him today.
The mouthwash routine got old on day one. I can’t stand the saline rinse, or the two that have to be mixed together, but they do keep the mouth sores away so I’ll just have to deal with that little issue.
There aren’t any surprises. Non at all. This has been a very easy experience for me so far. I watch my Netflix or Prime and take a few walks throughout the day and time passes. The staff here is incredible. I never have any problems with anyone here. That probably helps a lot!
As always, THANK YOU for your support and prayers.

Zero day +3.
I don’t know what happened, but my energy level fell dramatically. I’ve slept most of the day today. I guess the days of me thinking I’m a Billy Badass are over for awhile. I didn’t expect to get knocked down so far so fast. The nurses and doctors say I’m doing very well and should really bottom out Monday and Tuesday. I’m still doing my laps, too. That helps out a lot.
The doctor put me on compression socks as a precaution and they are concerned that I’m not drinking enough so they might put me back on the IV if I don’t behave myself.
I’m still in a great mood. I’m one day closer to starting that climb. Comfort food that you usually eat are vital at this point. I don’t want to look at the menu, but I still will crave the things my wife left me.
See you all tomorrow.

 

Zero day +4
I am blessed to have only two minor problems. I like to sleep all of the time and I’m waking up with a very minor headache. No nausea. No bowel problems. Nothing. It’s proof positive that here is a God and he’s hearing all of your prayers for me. Thank you all very much.
I’m going track to sleep for now and try to write more tomorrow.

Zero day +5
The nausea and bowel problems have kicked in. I’m good with that, though. I’m day +5…… I’m still walking my mile and I know it won’t be long now before my body kicks in and starts to fight this. I’m ready for that.
Sleep is still my best friend. I sleep 20 hours a day and it’s good. I wake up and check my Facebook status. I read all of your posts and it encourages me on. The positive thoughts and encouragement helps out immensely.

Zero day +5 Update
I have a few complications now. VERY liquid stool, a hard time wanting to drink anything and an abnormal ECG.
I’ve walked my mile and had some time to reflect on this. My first thought was big freakin deal! The doctors, nurses and staff are all over it and all that I have to do is push a button and the ‘team’ starts coming in asking me what I need.
The MM is losing this fight. The chemo and meds, my body and prayers from around the world are winning this. I’m beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel and I know I still have a few rough days ahead, but that sounds like MM’s problem and not mine.

Zero day +6
This has been my hardest day by far. The doctor said I’ve officially bottomed out. There wasn’t a ANC result because there wasn’t anything to read. I have zero energy, but I probably walked my mile going back and forth to the bathroom. Absolutely vicious. I haven’t needed a transfusion yet. Fingers are crossed to keep it that way. I’d like to rebound quickly.
This has been my best day by far. My wife spent the day with me and it reminded me of why I fight. That woman is way out of my league and I have no idea what I did to deserve her. We spent the day holding hands, binge watched some SOA and I felt complete. She did 8 laps with me and it was perfect.
That’s the important thing to remember when you go through this. The cancer can take many things, but it can NEVER take the love you feel. We need to remember that on the good days and the bad ones, too.
See you tomorrow.

Day zero +7
I’m a week old and only feel like I’m pushing 50. That is great news to me since I haven’t felt the absence of pain in so long that I actually forgot how good it feels to feel good. Yes, I’m tired. Yes, I have a lack of energy. That’s okay. I’m only 2 days away from my Neupogen injections. 2 days? I can do that standing on my head! There is so much to look forward to and it’s like I have my second wind now.
My numbers have dropped again, but that’s normal. Engraftment usually starts at zero day +10, so I have time. They told me this morning I’m on track to be released next week and I think it will happen.
See you tomorrow.

Zero day +8
Only one more day before I get my neupogen injection. I’m really tired. But I’m still going my mile. I’m down to 4 sets of 3 laps. The hospital staff are amazing and everyone’s positive attitude has made this process a lot easier for me. I’m going on the offense today and asking for sunshine privileges. I will most likely lose that fight since my numbers are so low, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. I think a bit of fresh air would be great…. even for 5 minutes.
My spirits remain high. My numbers will start to rise by Sunday and I should be out of the hospital by Tuesday. Life is good!

Zero day +9
My numbers are still going down are dangerously close to transfusion levels. That hopefully goes away today with my first Neupogen shot.
I’m running a low grade fever that plays between 99.1 and 100.4. It started last night and it caught everyone’s attention. It’s not considered a fever until 100.5. Fingers crossed that it stays below that.
Rest is the plan for the day. I’m not going to push my luck with the fever and the safest spot for me is in my bed.
I look forward to the climb which should start tomorrow!

Zero Day +10
I’ve been running a fever for most of the day. I think I can safely say I’ve caught a cold. I don’t know how that happened, but it’s not too bad. I get a lot of antibiotics and anti viral medications. My fever has ranged from 99.3 to 102.0. The staff has been all over this.
I received my first transfusion. Platelets. I don’t feel any different. My ANC count is still unreadable, but my WBC count went from <0.1 to 0.1. I’ll take it.
This should be the start of my rise.

Zero day +11
I can’t believe how tired I still get. My fevers ranged from 99.5 – 102.3 yesterday and last night. Somewhere along the way I started that climb. WBC count is up and ANC will follow.
Never in a million years could I have understood how far down this knocks a person. My Superman complex is permanently shot, but in its place is a humbled man that knows it doesn’t take a Superman to fight this. It takes a great medical staff, an exceptional attitude and the best support network you can manage.

Zero day +12
I’ve had a lot of nurses and patient techs stop in today and congratulate me on my numbers. I officially have an ANC and for all the hoopla surrounding this transplant…. this is the number that matters. Absolute Neutrophil Count. It’s what tells the doctors that your body can fight an infection on it’s own. I have rounded the corner and I’m on my way to being released. I should be discharged on Wednesday or Thursday. In the first few days after I’m released, I’m going to sit down and write about the cumulative experience.
For now. I’m going to walk my mile and keep pushing. Thanks for all of the support!

Zero day +13
I’m going home tomorrow….. as long as I don’t run a fever today or tonight. I found out that they suspect I had sepsis during that rough patch where I couldn’t shake my fever. They put me on very strong antibiotics to counter it and they’ve run more labs to make sure I’m doing okay with the antibiotics and it’s looking like I am doing okay.
See you all tomorrow!

Zero day +14
I’m going home. I’ve had an event free night and I am now waiting on the PIC team to come take out my central line. I will sit down today or tomorrow and write about the entire experience. That should be a long post because it’s going to be a bit raw about things.
You all have been one of my biggest assets during this trip. Thank you for the non-stop show of support.

Zero day +15
This has been a great day. Words aren’t adequate enough to describe how I feel. I came home to my family and everyone stopped by to see me. Everyone was so worried about how I would look or feel. Everyone was surprised by how well I look and my neighbor made the comment that I was in “fighting shape”. I said, “You’re dammed skippy…. and I’m in it to win it, too”. It wasn’t too tiring, but when it was time for bed, I slept in my bed, in my house. I woke up and piddled around the house reacquainting myself to everything. Now, I’m in my office with my dog sleeping at my feet and ready to wrap up my experiences of the past month.
1- Don’t let the fear control you. EVER. This is a scary process because of the unknowns. You get admitted to the hospital, you’re given an extremely high level of chemotherapy and it destroys your bone marrow as well as the good and bad cells in your stomach! The side effects of the chemotherapy are managed by meds pretty well, but there are things that are out of your control. When you lose your hair, the ability to get to the bathroom quick enough and the loss of appetite are just a few of the things you won’t be able to control.
2- The medical staff are proactive on many things, but not everything. You have to speak up when you need or want something. They have a lot of patients and most will go out of their way to try and anticipate your needs, but help them help you. It will pay dividends.
3- Find something to focus on. For me, it was my mile. Every day. No exceptions, I would walk my mile. I had to break it up, but that was okay. Focusing on making a round kept my mind off of the bad stuff, filled my time with something very productive, and most importantly, it motivated me to keep moving forward. I had a fever of 102.3, but I had to walk at least one round. I wouldn’t eat breakfast until I made 2 laps. I always pushed myself because I know that the mind always gives up before the body does. I learned that in boot camp a long time ago.
4- The emotional side of this was far more painful for me than the physical side. Having my (12-year-old) daughter write me a letter letting me know that it’s okay that I can’t control what my body is doing and that I’m still her hero still brings me to tears. Having her sit by my side while it was happening and acting like she didn’t know just to protect my ego is bittersweet. On one side, this experience has robbed her of her childhood and innocence. On the other side, she has shown that she is a very strong young woman that is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside. I couldn’t be prouder of that. The way my family came together for my sake and the way they supported my wife was exceptional. It is very important to set that up before you go in the hospital.
5- You aren’t going to come out of the hospital stronger than when you went in. That’s just a fact. Be prepared for that.
That’s pretty much it. Everything else is in my daily posts. Thank you to everyone of you that encouraged me on over the past two weeks. The positive energy, prayers and plain old common decency has helped me out immensely. Thank you for being such an important part of my journey.
Zero day +30
Time flies when you’re having fun….. or are suddenly at 30 days post transplant. This will be my final post. I’ve enjoyed posting and have been humbled by your support and encouragement throughout the process. I can’t thank you all enough for the blessing you’ve given me.
I’m at Mayo for my +30 day appointment. I’ve challenged them at every appointment. Can I go home today? Can I drive now? It doesn’t matter what I try as long as I continue pushing. That is what I’ve doing all of my life and I’m not going to stop for any reason.
I’ve spent the past 30 days pushing. Some days more than others, but I always push. Maybe it helps. Maybe it doesn’t. I don’t use my cane any more, I am back into my old routine and I’m eating like a horse. I think it’s safe to say I’ll keep on pushing.
Onto the medical things….. my taste buds still aren’t right. I can’t stand Mt. Dew and that was all that I ever drank. I love pasta, chicken and hamburger. Spaghetti is like heaven. Bananas are the best tasting things in the history of food. Gatorade is an absolute life saver. I drink two 32 oz drinks a day and it’s saved me from getting stuck at a hydration appointment.
I ran a fever for a week starting on the day of discharge. I should have told the docs and gone in, but I kept it at bay with Tylenol and rode it out. I can’t prove it, but I’m pretty sure it had to do with engraftment and once my body started producing white blood cells, it did the work it was supposed to. I haven’t had anything since and I feel great. I still like my mid day nap and I can’t do as much as I used to, but I’m well on my way to being back to my old self. Since coming home, I’ve laid tack strips to replace the carpet in my bedroom, mowed the back yard, cleaned the pool including the filter, changed the oil in my Jeep, ran electrical wiring for my neighbor and worked on my dads car. Like I said…. I just keep pushing.
I haven’t had any stomach issues, mouth sores or anything else. My biggest problem is my hair. I didn’t even lose it all. I lost a big patch on the top of my head and I needed to shave my head just so it looked better, but that’s it.
Once again, thank you all for your encouragement. A positive attitude and focusing on one thing at a time helped me to get through this. Good luck to all of you and feel free to message me with any questions you might have. I’ll do my best to answer them.

Zero day +63
Hello everyone. I know I said I was done posting updates, but two things have happened. First, there are a few of you that send me messages asking me how I’m doing. Second, I had a really good visit at Mayo today.
Once you go through the SCT, you don’t get checked for cancer until you get to around zero day +100. You do keep getting your blood checked though. It varies from patient to patient, but I’m at the every other week stage. My labs came back today and my CBC came back AMAZING! My blood levels are almost all within normal range. I’m not anemic for the first time in about a year and most of the results are at pre diagnosis levels. It’s still early, but I think it’s worth celebrating!
Thanks for all of the thoughts and prayers. I believe it really helped me through this process so far.