A difficult first day
My Allograft 2018/19 – 7. 29th January 2019
By Andy Burrows, 29 January 2019
Harder than I was expecting
Today – the first full day of my allograft inpatient experience – was tougher than I was expecting.
With the autograft three years ago, the chemo was not too bad while the drugs were being infused. The kick in the gut came a few days after all the drugs had been given.
And that’s what I’d been expecting for some reason.
A quiet morning
I had one drug infused today – Campath. But that didn’t start until just after midday.
In the morning I was discovering my new morning routine. And then I had to go to the outpatient ward nearby to have a Pentamidine nebuliser – a preventative antibiotic that stops you getting one of the most serious chest infections. That took about 45 minutes.
I did some catching up on my YouTube channel, editing and posting some videos I’d taken months ago.
My lunch arrived, and then the nurse came with the Campath soon after that.
Campath is not very nice!
This dose of Campath was delivered over eight hours or so. And I think I spent almost the entire time lying in bed doing absolutely nothing.
About two hours after the infusion started I started feeling cold and flu’ey. My skin felt sensitive and I started to get a headache.
Then a couple of hours later I started shaking almost uncontrollably.
The nurse had warned me that this could happen, but for some reason I thought it couldn’t possibly affect me badly.
In order to manage the side effects, I was given intravenous Paracetamol, Piriton (anti-histamine) and Pethidine (a controlled painkilling drug that women may be familiar with if they’ve been through labour).
So, then I was a bit dizzy and started feeling sick as well.
The nurse got me an extra blanket, so that I could warm myself up. And in between visits from the nurse, I dozed and slept. I couldn’t bring myself to do anything… not even to eat my dinner or have a drink.
Even as the infusion went into its last hour, I kept nodding off.
Getting things done
It’s a good job I’d resisted the temptation to plan my time.
Facing this much time in isolation on my own, I could easily have planned lots of “work” for Supercharged Finance.
But, instead, I’ve got some intentions, a list of things to do which I can tick off as and when I get to them. But no promises and no deadlines.
That means I’m not putting pressure on myself, but I will doubtless get more done overall than if I had not thought about it in advance.
I’ll just chip away at my list while I’ve got energy and motivation.
I’ll leave it there for now… and hopefully update you again tomorrow.
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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):
(Stem cell and bone marrow donors are amazingly kind people who offer to sacrifice their time and endure some mild discomfort to help save the lives of people like me who have a type of blood cancer – lymphoma or leukaemia.)