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My Bone Marrow Transplant

Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.

Not much sleep last night and up early at 7am. My mood was not helped when Cesca SMSed me at 5am!

Today was my last check up in Singapore for a few months as control of my case passes back to Prof. Liang in HK. All went smoothly until … we were called to see Dr. Goh. “How am I?” I asked, my normal opening gambit. It was downhill from there.

“Your blood counts are very strange, I don’t understand them at all” was the reply. He showed me the printout; the Haemoglobin was way to high, the Platelets were way too low; other counts were all over the place.

“It could be the disease coming back, it could be the machine went faulty, it could be the sample is from someone else and mislabelled” he added.

He decided to order a new blood test, the blood to be taken from the vein rather than the catheter, and ordered the lab to check it manually. As it would take about 2 hours to complete we went home for lunch immediately after they took the second blood sample.

Dear reader, as you can imagine the taxi ride home and lunch were very tense. I kept saying “but I feel fine. It’s got to be a mistake.” I reminded myself that early last week I had banged the back of my head really hard while getting into a taxi and trying to say goodbye to Angel simultaneously. If my platelets were really that low then I would have massive bruising there. There isn’t a mark. Yesterday I had done a lot of walking, had lunch and dinner with friends, and felt great all day. Now, all the time while we waited there was a little voice in my head saying “but what if the disease is back?” I decided a long time ago that the transplant was the last option. If it failed to cure me then that was it, my body has had too much chemotherapy, I have spent too long in hospitals, it would be time to accept the inevitable.

We got the call at about 1:40pm. “The second sample results are back and they are fine. The Haemoglobin is 11 (for me that is good, my normal is in the 10 range), Platelets are 202, (right in the middle of normal range and good for me), all other counts look reasonable. There is no need to come back to the hospital and you are clear to go home on Friday.”

Linds and I hugged each other, broke down and wept before saying a Prayer of Thanks. From Hell to Heaven in under 5 seconds, the emotional swing left us both drained as we calmed down and realised that we still could plan a life together.

We took a collective big breath, life had to go on, we needed to finish a lot of things before leaving so we took the 2:10pm shuttle into town to buy a wide angle lens for Linds’ Canon G10 camera then went to my office as there were a bunch of regional visitors in town to say “Hi and Goodbye” to. We forgot to buy the extra TSA padlocks for the cases for Friday so that will be tomorrow. Then home to pack and then host one set of Linds’ cousins for a farewell dinner.

That middle portion of today, while we waited for the results of the second blood test, is something I never want to have to go through again. It reminded me of what we went through when I was first diagnosed back in late June 2009, a lifetime and many, many, treatments ago! But it also reminded me that, throughout this journey, we have been so blessed with our family and friends who we can never repay for their kindnesses. And we are blessed in the medical care that has kept me alive for so long since then.

If I was a betting man I would not have bet on me living this long back in March 2011! But here I am, planning to see Snow Patrol with Linds, Cesca and Sam in Manila in August. Linds is planning our summer holiday in the Philippines. Life is good. Thank You Lord!

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