It is warm, Tuesday evening, as I sit out here in my backyard, my feet resting on our fire pit. It has been unusually muggy here, not at all like our typical Contra Costa weather in the summer. I haven’t seen the sun all day, so my brain seems to translate that into it being it too cold to come outside and write. But no, it is calm and peaceful and just the right temperature now. The chickens have gone to bed. The crickets are singing.
It’s been an eventful week, with hundreds of miles driven back and forth to Stanford. Today, I got to stay home. And it was so strange that it threw me off completely! I am sure I will adjust. I’ll get back to my normal routine, and it will be time to go again.
After my central line was put in, I began the daily trips to receive my Neupogen shots. On Friday evening, I began injecting myself. I may be a little on the crazy side, but I felt a sense of accomplishment in being able to do it. A positive, in a sea of potential negatives.
My friends, Erin and Margie, and my sister Joanne, all pitched in to be chauffeurs for my appointments. It gave Howard a break and me some variety. Thanks everyone!
Sunday was party day! What a day! I was a little worried earlier in the week, as my schedule had been adjusted and I knew I would be receiving the Neupogen this weekend, instead of the weekend before. This medication can cause bone pain. In fact, I was almost hoping it would…that indicates it is working, as the increasing stem cells get crowded and push to come out. I was taking Claritin. They don’t know why it helps, but it seems to. I can’t say whether it worked or not, but I flew through this whole thing with a few minor aches and that was about it.
The party was wonderful. Although it was still 12 days ahead, it was my send off before hospitalization. So many good friends! I didn’t want to, but I cut my hair short. I hate it. I hate the way I look. I loved having long hair. But I had to be a big girl. I felt it would be a good transition to baldness and I would be able to donate my hair, about 8 inches worth, if I were proactive. Doing it in front of friends was better. It wasn’t as drastic as the head shaving that I had originally planned, but it was still hard. I didn’t cry. I laughed because all my buds were with me. I can do anything because I am loved. Howard got a buzz cut in support. He loves his hair too. I know it wasn’t easy for him, but he did it. I had a wonderful time. I am thrilled that so many people came. I am so blessed. My friend Lori, who I had not seen for 26 years, came a long way to see me. That was so special to me!
I had put together a “spectator handbook” for my little challenge. It was a way to combine all the info, such as my schedule and contact info, in one little package. If you would like one, simply message me with your address.
I was up at 4:30 the next morning, as Erin and I had to be at Stanford at 7:30. Monday was the first day of stem cell collection! Portia (that’s the name I picked for my central line) and I were hooked up to a machine for four and half hours, while my blood was circulated through it. I slept for a while, then chatted with Erin and soon our friend Christy joined us on a work break. I had worried that I would have trouble being made to sit still for so long, but of course, it flew by. Ya know…it’s that people thing…when you have your people, you can do it!
I wouldn’t know if they collected enough cells until later that day. Just as I started to check my cell phone a few hours later, it rang. I had done it in one day! Tons of cells, no return trip required! This process could have taken 5 days. The Neupogen worked, in spite of how good I felt!
So, now I’m done for a while. I feel a bit lost without having to make that trip. But there is plenty to keep me busy. A little work, a little coffee…tonight was dinner with my friend Marie. Wonderful!
I’ll check in again soon.