Transplant Journey

Preparation for Battle

It is my new found freedom at home that has prevented me from updating my blog. We take home life for granted, it is only when we lose that, we come to appreciate the benefits of such bliss! I am treated like a King, waited on hand and foot. Some of the benefits of being sick I guess. The children have created a no fly zone around our house. i.e No one is allowed in. They will probably enforce this rule for a few weeks. This is fine by me as I am used to isolation but very conscious on the impact on the rest of the family. Our house has always been a bit like grand central station with a stream of friends in and out at all hours of the day and night. We need to find a happy balance without taking any undue risks of picking up any bugs while my immune system is low.

The blood counts are back at normal levels. However, the drug ciclosporin continue to increase my creatanine levels which means that they have to keep a close eye on my kidneys. I read the leaflet on the ciclosporin drug and its potential side effects. This is not for the faint hearted. The very common side effects range from kidney problems to high blood pressure to the less common ones such as liver problems to more serious issues best not to spell it out here!

It is awhile since I last wrote about a specific topic. I thought I’d share my views on my ‘preparation for the battle’. This is my journey and if you are in a similar boat, I hope that this will help you as much as it has helped me.

It is fair to say that it has been an easy ride for me so far. There are a few hurdles ahead of me and I will have to deal with them as they come. Last Tuesday, the man next to me in the day ward in the hospital who is an AML (Acute Myeloid Leukemia) patient said that he was hit with the Graft-versus-host disease (GvHd) two months after the transplant and that it was very tough going. A year and a half in hospital so far and he did not look too good. Well, we will have to cross that bridge if and when we get there.

I think there are four areas in ones life one should take care of. By the way, there may be more and I’d love to get your comments on this. The health of community life, your physical health, your emotional health and your spiritual health.

My weakest area is my community health. In some parts of the world they say that it is the duty of the community to bring up a child. My weakness is more than made up by Pat, whose strength is to connect with people. One of the major challenges during our courtship years was my constant insecurity of having to share Pat with a countless number of people, ranging from the old man who lived a few doors away, to the church group, to her friends in the garden centre to name a few. I have now come to realise what an incredible asset this is to have a community that supports you in a time of need. The real value of going to church, is not the time one spends in prayer, because you can do that at home, but in meeting with people and talking to them. I will have to train myself to do this!

My total lack of exercise has put me in the ‘obese’ category. I am not one to lecture on the benefits of taking care of ones physical health. However, before the transplant, I went on an ‘alkaline’ diet, giving up sugar, milk, bread and the result was that I was able to control my weight and give up my reliance of drugs to control my high blood pressure. Yes, I no longer needed to take tablets to control my blood pressure. I think I was in as a good a shape as I could possibly have been when going in for the transplant.

I had come to accept both my disease and the inevitability of going in for the transplant. I was very positive and I think in great shape mentally. While I was afraid of the unknown, I was not stressed out about it.

Finally, I think I was in good shape on the Spiritual side of things. While I did not pray for healing myself, I believed that there were many people praying for me. It is difficult to pray for one’s own self but I was comforted by the knowledge that both my family and friends were most certainly bombarding heaven on my behalf.

It was like a perfect storm, all four areas of health were aligned so well that it carried me through the four weeks. You may have read the ‘footsteps’ poem. It was just like someone carried me through the storm.

If you are going into battle, it is probably a good thing to consider these four areas of health.

That’s all for now folks!

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