My morning routine of getting up and having a some walks up and down the hallway also brought a pleasant and unexpected compliment from Dr. Fedorenko. He had slid into the hallway behind me as I walked away and actually complimented that my gait was improved. I had been feeling this as well, with less spasticity and reduced drop of my left foot, so I was quite happy to have the remark coming from the man in charge himself. Now, I do have more steroids in me than Ben Johnson at the '88 Olympics, so yes, things are a bit over-performing. But remember, steroids reduce inflammation, and with this treatment, we are destroying the leukocytes involved in the inflammatory attacks involved with MS. End result, a healthy immune system and time for the nerves to heal! There will be many ups and some downs in the next year, this I know to expect from the experiences of many people who have had this procedure before me.
We were also happy to have another patient from the USA check out today after completing her course of care here in Moscow. Congratulations to Vicki!! I wish you all the best in your recovery!
So into the chemo...round four of chemotherapy started at 11am and felt quite a bit more ramped up in volume and intensity compared to previous bouts. I know the cyclophosamide dose was the same, etc, but it just felt like more....more everything. By the end of yesterday, I can honestly say, I had had enough. Have you ever had one of those sicknesses where you feel so rotten you don't know what to do with yourself? You roll on your left, feels rotten, so you try the right; feels worse. Stand up...whoops, might pass out, lay down again...still uncomfortable. Cold sweats, bowels sore, you name it. Welcome to Isolation Suite 328 at AA Maximov Hospital. Made for a long and arduous night.
Thankfully with Ottawa being 8 hours behind me, I was able to Skype Tanya and the kids at 4am. There is nothing more soothing to the soul than being able to touch base with those you love and cherish in your life. Finally my fatigue kicked in, I started to turn the corner and was able to get a couple of hours of rest.
BRING ON TUESDAY!
I awoke feeling a bit nasty, but with food aversion happening pretty severely during the course of the chemo, I thought I would start my day with a small amount of Ensure. Went down ok, stayed down, so this was a good start. And that is how things have continued to go for today.
Slowly many of the more intense chemo feelings I had over the past 24 hours have subsided, now I am simply left with a feeling of fatigue and low grade malaise. My body is now in the process of battling all my little B and T cells, bringing them down to minimal numbers. This will occur over the next few days until likely Friday when they will be low enough for me to go officially into full isolation mode. I'll detail what that means as we get closer to the day.
Dr. Fedorenko came in early to examine me and give me the full once over. There is absolutely nothing of concern for him. What I am feeling is simply the effects of high doses of chemo drugs for four successive days. That is always a relief when the Doctor gives you the reassurance you crave with a gentle smile and a reaffirming grasp of your hand. Kind, caring and intelligent...can't say enough.
It cannot be left unsaid how nice it has been to have mom here particularly over the past 48 hours to help me endure this. Always there with a cup of tea, and a willing hand to help. What a blessing.
Treat of the day: By mid morning, my thought was I was feeling well enough to wander to the stores within the nearby area to get something good to eat. After the last post, you undersand where I'm coming from. You don't have to read the post, just watch for the pic.
Safe to say that after making it to the front gates of the hospital and feeling rather rotten, I thought better of it. This was when my friend Kristy, who is happily finished her stay here tomorrow (Wednesday) and heading back to Australia, offered to pick me up a Subway Sandwich and bring it back for me. You must think 'wow, Tanya got it right with this guy when all it takes is a sub and a pack of pringles to make him happy'. Honestly, it was heavenly. I would have paid a grand for that sub...you have no idea! Thank you again Kristy!
So where are we tonight? Truthfully, I feel decent, optimistic, and have a new and excited outlook on the rest of the week. Tomorrow is an extremely important day! It is the day I will have my stem cells returned to my body to help regrow my diminished immune system. My leukocyte numbers will continue to drop for at least several more days, but these little beauties need some time to get back into the bone marrow to regenerate!
I really look forward to posting about the procedure tomorrow as well as some pics to illustrate the process! I'll also throw the timeline sheet for the procedure again below. Makes the progress easier to follow.
Thank you to all my well wishers! Sorry if I scared anyone with not blogging yesterday, but it was all I could do to keep my head on my pillow and push through. That was yesterday, today is today, and what a better day it is!
Love from Moscow