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My Bone Marrow Transplant

Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.

Monthly Archives: September 2012

Slowly but surely my appetite is returning. I still have the occasional upchuck in the morning, but much less frequently than before, and the chance of me sitting down to dinner, looking at the food and saying “I can’t eat this” is getting less and less. The past 2 nights I have eaten quite a lot of pasta for dinner. Itraconazole, I consign you to the bowels of hell!

Now I need to get rid of the edema and things will really be on the up and up.

Good luck to Bobet and Irish in the Berlin Marathon this weekend. Bobet, you are an inspiration to a great many people, running marathons after all that you have been through and are still going through.

I met a 75 year old Japanese resident of Manila yesterday. He asked me why I was retired when I was so young(!) so I explained about the Leukaemia and the transplant. He then told me that his first wife and his sister both died of Leukaemia. He has donated a lot of money to the Bone Marrow Registry in Japan.

Also last week I met Rick, a Brit in HK, for the first time. Rick is a friend of Marco, a good friend of ours who lives in Bangkok. It turned out that Rick had got himself typed to be a donor by the HK Red Cross in 2009 when I was first diagnosed and the call for a donor drive went out from James. The kindness of strangers to try to save the life of someone they have never met. Another humbling moment for me.

A little bit of sadness this week because Francesca left to go back to Bristol for her final year. She is spending 2 days in Dubai on the way, staying with Marty and Jeremy, friends from way back when in HK. She’ll be home next in December for Christmas and New Year. She interned with 2 media related companies this summer and according to one reference letter that she was given she can almost walk on water. That’s our girl!


Why would this be? Simple really.

As the needle slides into the vein to extract blood for analysis, you realise that in 1 – 2 hours you will be in heaven or hell. It’s that binary, no in between. Either all is well or the disease is back. Normal life continues or it’s time to make sure that all is in order.

The stress starts a few days before the check up as you start to pay more attention to the signals from your body. Is the nausea and vomiting caused by the medication or is it, perhaps, stomach cancer? A common secondary cancer caused by the chemo The feet swelling won’t go away, are my kidneys getting worse? The last two trips I have felt awful on the morning of my flight to Hong Kong. Psychosomatic? Probably. Both times I have felt a lot better once I got to the airport. The journey has started, no going back, no postponing the binary moment.

I was sitting on the train to HK Airport this morning and decided to listen to some music. My iPhone was on shuffle and the first two songs were “Hurt” by Johnny Cash and then “I can see clearly now” by Jimmy Cliff; two of my favourite songs. When the latter started I felt this overwhelming sense of gratitude and started to tear up. Gratitude for a good check up, gratitude for my family, gratitude for our wonderful friends. Life is good.

Today I am in Hong Kong for my monthly check up. I’ve been having nausea and vomiting problems for some time now which seemed to have started with the switch from Noxafil to Sporanox. 2 or 3 times a week I have been throwing up before breakfast and at other meals I will just look at the food and say “sorry, I can’t eat this”. It happened at lunch today after my check up. We went to a Japanese Curry house in Windsor House. I sat down, looked at the menu and, just from the pictures, I knew we were in the wrong place. So we went to a Noodle shop and I had Ebi Tempura with Udon; Cap had cold Soba. Yesterday I wasn’t sure until I got to the airport in Manila whether I would be on the plane. I had been throwing up quite violently from about 7:30am to 8:30am and was feeling weak and queasy.

Anyway, back to the little matter of my check up. I am OK. I’m anaemic, but that’s normal. My Haemoglobin has gone down very slightly again, but my Creatinine is the best that it has been for 4 months which means that either my kidneys are functioning better or I gamed the test by drinking a lot of water before the blood test this morning! The Chest X-Ray shows no change.

My drugs have been adjusted again. The Cyclosporin has been reduced from 60mg a day to 50mg, the Acyclovir which has been at 800mg a day since the start is reduced to 500mg of another antiviral drug which is a derivative of it. But the big news, dear reader, is that the dreaded Sporanox has been stopped. Hooray! Sound the trumpets and ring the church bells throughout the land! Tonight I will ceremonially pour the remains of the bottle which I have with me down the drain. Hopefully in a few days my stomach will start to return to normal and I won’t be such a picky eater.

Raymond is pleased with my progress, and I am eternally grateful that I have such a great guy as my haematologist. Thank you James for finding him for me way back in June 2009. Next month it’s back to Singapore to see Dr. Goh.

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