Stem Cell Transplant Journal Day 15 – 15 December 2015 (Cancer and Me 56)

16th December 2015 1 By Andy Burrows

I have almost constant discomfort, bordering on pain, in my gut. It feels like bad heartburn or indigestion. Apparently this is expected, and is due to the Melphalan, the most potent of the chemo drugs I’ve had. Prof Johnson was on ward rounds today. He’s the top consultant for blood cancer in Hampshire (so I believe). His comment was that, “yes we do try to make it as much of an ordeal as possible for you!” But he reassured me nonetheless that everything I’m experiencing is exactly what they expect, and in a matter of a week or so I will start to feel better, even if I get a  bit of a temperature and have to have IV antibiotics along the way.

It took me ages to muster the strength to get up and have a shower this morning. I managed to stay awake while Heidi was here this morning, but then slept all afternoon after she’d gone.

One point of interest is that my platelet count was so low today that I had to have a platelet transfusion. The count was 7 – normal is 150+, and only five days ago my count was 62. That was no big deal. It (yellow stuff in a blood bag) just dripped through my line over the course of an hour while Heidi and I watched TV.

White cells and neutrophils are still 0.0. Apparently I will start to feel very slightly better about a day before we start to see some movement on the blood counts.

Prof Johnson kindly asked how I was holding up mentally. Apparently around this point it’s common for people to start questioning whether they will ever feel better, or whether they’ll be stuck in isolation feeling rubbish for a long time. So he guaranteed that it would only be a few days before I start feeling a bit better, and I that I will make a full recovery.

I can’t say that that had crossed my mind. I’m a trusting sort, and as far as I can analyse I am experiencing everything they told me to expect, perhaps even towards the better end of scale.

But it does feel like such a long time. I think silly things like I would love to feel the outside air on my face, enjoy a pizza, or any food for that matter, love not to have to pee into bottles(!), be at home with the Christmas decorations and my comfy bed, not to mention to be with Heidi and the kids milling around in the normal busyness of everyday life. There are so many things I miss, being cooped up in this room. Only a little bit longer, just a little longer.

And at 10pm obs, as Prof Johnson predicted, my temperature was up to 37.7C. That means there are a bunch of samples to be done over the next 24 hours to isolate where the infection is, and in the meantime some IV antibiotics three times a day. The first lot went in for half an hour last thing as I tried to shift my headache to go to sleep.