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My Bone Marrow Transplant

Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.

Monthly Archives: February 2013

I started writing this on the plane back to Manila after my check up in Singapore last Wednesday. It took me some time to upload this because I was processing a lot.

The good news: All is well. My Haemoglobin is 11.4, the highest I have seen since the transplant, the WBC count is fine and Platelets are normal.

The whole day was just great. After the check up I had lunch at TWG in ION Centre, coffee with a former colleague whom I had not seen in years at the Tanglin Club, then met up with former Cambridge colleagues from Singapore, Bangkok, Japan and Korea for an Italian dinner; but it was also tinged with sadness. In Singapore this week was a friend whose breast cancer has metastasized so she has to undergo more chemotherapy. We chatted on the phone while she was at Mount Elisabeth and I was at Singapore General. She will get the treatment in Manila, she just wanted to check in Singapore if there were any better treatments available.

So here I am, getting past my sell buy date, bumbling along, should have died in March 2011, mild GvHD but doing pretty well after 14 months. And there she is, much younger than me, relapsed and about to undergo a truly horrific few weeks as they give her very aggressive chemo. And there’s also our friend Bo in Chicago, bravely fighting yet another episode of cancer with more chemo with some nasty, nasty, side effects. So I was feeling guilty at being happy, knowing that friends are suffering still. It didn’t help when I got home and Linds told me that another friend who we knew in HK and the UK, and who now lives in Spain has  been diagnosed with cervical cancer.

I know that I may face huge challenges in the future if the GVHD gets bad. I read about it in the support group forums, people who were fine for 2 – 3, even 8+ years, who suddenly developed bad GvHD. One woman wrote today that if she had known how bad GvHD could be she would never have had the transplant. But I don’t dwell on it otherwise I would be paralysed, unable to live my life, always fearful of what might go wrong. I’ll face it if I have to, until then I will lead as normal a life as I can.

 

Life has been pretty stable during the first month of 2013. On January 2nd I started a 6 month contract with an LA based BPO with office in Manila and Chennai. I did a long haul flight to LA and got sick; actually I got worse, I already had a cold when I left. It meant I lost a days work as I was tucked up in my hotel bed. I managed to fly back and spent the weekend in bed with very bad sinus pains, so I went to St. Luke’s on the Monday and had a thorough check up, blood test, the works. All was fine so no long term issues.

My steroid dose has been at 2.5mg daily for a week now and I feel OK. My weight is stable at 82kg. I’ll ask Raymond next weekend if I can stop the steroid entirely. Last time I stopped it I had a massive GvHD flare up in my gut, I hope that it is not going to happen this time. The other good thing is that when I stop the steroid I can also stop the anti-fungal.

Anyway, to the title of this entry: my feet are swollen again. It’s been weeks since they were this size. Yesterday they were fine, today noticeably swollen. I need to  monitor what I eat and drink to see if it is diet related. I don’t think it is as I haven’t eaten anything out of the ordinary, even at the BSM International Dinner last night. The skin on my feet and ankles feels a bit tight as well.

There was a beautiful double rainbow over Manila Golf Club this morning. I was already feeling happy but that boosted it.

I’m off to Singapore next week for a thorough check up and pick up some more medication. My supplies are almost exhausted, except of the steroid, but I should be OK until Wednesday next week.

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