Thursday, August 20, 2009

Myeloma transplant - Emotions

My emotions during my stem cell transplant for myeloma caught me by surprise. Others had told me to expect emotions, tears, feeling up and down, mainly because of medication, treatment and what I was going through. What I didn’t expect was how strong and unpredictable those emotions were. Perhaps it was a male thing, testosterone breakdown?
I chose to let the emotions flow, it was not necessary to be strong.
There were changes to myself and my normal routines during transplant that may have prompted emotions.

Loss of independence, having to rely on others.
Leaving my modesty at the door.
Isolation, being “locked away” for 3 weeks.
Getting used to hospital routine.
Physical changes to my body.
Treatment and steroids/chemotherapy side effects.
My focus on what I was there for.
Having to constantly practice good hygiene to stay clean.

Some mornings when Myra came in I was so overwhelmed to see her I burst into tears.
During my first transplant George Harrison of the Beatles fame died. Watching it on TV news that night I felt huge grief resulting in a spontaneous outburst of tears.
What I missed was the intimacy emotions, holding hands, and a cuddle. For hygiene reasons I had to stay “clean”. So we washed our hands to hold hands and had a quick embrace at greeting and leaving.
Myra was great, she reads me well and guided me through my emotion and was aware of her emotional needs as well.
By choosing to limit visitors my evenings became lonely, that was a mistake. The evening was a time that I did need company, the mind wandered as I became bored.
Idle time, head space time, not good.
Be prepared for mind games, it’s a way of coping. The challenge is to stay on top, don’t let the evils or negative thoughts take over. Plan to be positive, have some sayings written down to repeat in you mind.
Be prepared to change plans to cope better. Have support organized pre-transplant to help with that.
If you have faith, call on your faith, have some favourite scriptures on hand.
“The Lord nurses them when they are sick and restores them to health.” Psalm 41:1

This is one of “part 2” a series of postings relating to my autologous stem cell transplant for myeloma. As they are complete the posting series can be found under labels/part 2 [Part 2 link]


Susie Hemingway said...

Great Post Sid, certainly brings back the memories of those tough three weeks that have to be managed. We lived a long way from the Hospital that did the SCT for H. Leaving him was the worse thing, he was very confused at times with the drugs and the changes to his body and I spent the whole time away worrying, then driving back again the next day to start all over again, feeling I was not helping very much at all. We used a series of little messages/cards/notes, that could be opened at times when feeling very low. For H who only collected 2,120,000 stem cells, there won't be another 3 weeks like this again.. It's a Great Blog Sid.

Sid said...

Thanks Susie,
It's good to get feedback from the caregivers. You atr part of our journey, you are our angels.