The Start of the Climb
My Allograft 2018/19 – 6. 28th January 2019
By Andy Burrows, 28 January 2019
Is this a climb?
I’m not going to say much today, other than that the day has finally arrived to start what I’ve been referring to as “My Mount Everest”. The extended wait at “Base Camp” is over, and now it’s on with the big event.
And you know what… from this point I’m going to put the Mount Everest analogy to one side for a while.
The reason for that is because if I constantly refer to it as a mountain to climb, I’ll always be thinking of this as a big insurmountable object. Whereas in reality I have a series of days to get through, some of which will be easy, and some will be hard.
The only way to get through without constant anxiety is to take things one day, one step, at a time.
An ordinary day
Most of the day was pretty ordinary – a dog walk, picking Tom and Anna up from college and school, watching TV, having dinner.
But we all knew we were counting down to when Heidi and I had to leave the house, which we did around 6pm.
We all had our brave faces on. We got together and took a family photo (although Joe was at work) – all beaming smiles. It almost felt like I was being seen off on holiday… or like when I flew out to Milan last June to speak at a conference.
And now I’m here
But here I am at last, in the little room where I will be 24 hours a day for the next six weeks.
As usual when you start something new, there are lots of things to get used to and stuff to figure out – like how to connect the PS3 (which I brought with me) to the TV… or how to adjust the bed to the right height… or where to plug in all my gadget chargers!
And the nurses, too, have to get used to the new routine with me on the ward. I had to go through the welcome, the “getting to know you” questions (and the risk assessment questions) two or three times with different people. And then there were “obs” (blood pressure, temperature and pulse) and blood tests, MRSA swabs.
I went through the schedule with one of the nurses, just to get an idea what was going to be happening each day. But I didn’t get a copy, so it still feels quite vague. But I guess I only need an outline idea of the plan, because I don’t want to get overwhelmed by thinking of it all at once.
Watch the video
Anyway, it’s past midnight and I’m falling asleep! So, I’m going to leave it there.
I recorded (and edited) a little video to show you what my room looks like. Have a look at that if you’re interested.
And thanks, as ever, for your thoughts and prayers.
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Thanks for being interested in my journey. And always feel free to interact and let me know your thoughts.
What is a stem cell transplant?
If you want to get more insight into what a stem cell transplant is and how it works, the Anthony Nolan Trust has some really good information in its website. You can find that here: https://www.anthonynolan.org/patients-and-families/understanding-stem-cell-transplants
My 2015 transplant was an autologous stem cell transplant (a.k.a. an autograft). In 2019 I’m having an allogeneic VUD (voluntary unrelated donor) stem cell transplant (a.k.a. an allograft).
Becoming a stem cell donor
By the way, if you want to find out more about being a stem cell donor, here are a few links (UK-based mainly):