Saturday, December 12, 2009

Myeloma transplant - Recovery

Leaving the BMTU after my autologous stem cell transplant for myeloma was a test; the hospital was a secure base. There I had been dependent on others, now I was returning to independence. It was like cutting the umbilical chord from Mother ship.
My plan on leaving the BMTU was to split my time through to 100 day post transplant into 3x3 week groups. This gave me a 3 week at a time focus not looking too far ahead and reassessing at the end of each. For the first 3 weeks I took life one day at a time, only looking back at the end of each week to assess progress.
Myra was at home to help my transition which made it less stressful for me.
Travel to outpatient appointments had to be arranged until I could drive again. Driving recommenced after 10 days at home giving me more freedom.
Nausea was present and treated with Cyclizine for four weeks after coming home from transplant. I began to regain my appetite after two weeks, gaining weight and starting to feel better.
Hair re-growth was noticed four weeks after coming home.
Exercise was slow and steady, limited at first by fatigue. Initially walking was to the third power pole from home and return, increasing one pole at a time. My goal was to walk every day with an increase in distance every second day. Three weeks after coming home I was walking 30 minutes non-stop daily.
We live in a two story house so I used the stairs for additional exercise. Initially one step at a time, then two steps and a rest, then advancing to resting only at the landing. We celebrated when I was able to walk the stairs non-stop.
Fatigue was present for the first two weeks then slowly decreased.
After coming home I noticed I was suffering minor memory loss during conversation, mainly recalling some names and words. This was considered a classic case of “chemo brain” taking about 12 months to revert back.
I was still suffering from back pain especially my compressed vertebrae T8. A 15 to 30 minute rest on the bed usually eased the discomfort. This got progressively better over six months.
During recovery we made Friday our fun day, a day to have some fun, go out for a coffee, a drive or visit someone.
At the post transplant 100 day consultation it was considered I had made a good recovery and was in the plateau stage. Mission accomplished, time to have fun, time to let loose: and so we did.

Myeloma Transplant Days -02 to 05
Myeloma Transplant Days 06 to 11
Myeloma Transplant Days 12 to 15
Myeloma Transplant Days 16 to 22

BMTU: Bone marrow transplant unit.

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