Wow, can it be? Yes, 7 years ago today I received my own Stem Cells back, in hopes of revitalizing and regenerating my system after months of intensive chemotherapy, with the hope of finally pummeling myeloma outta my universe.
It was mid morning July 5, 2010, with not much fanfare or dramatics, my nurses came in to my hospital room, checked my vitals, checked my IV's, hung a few new bags of "magic potions", (probably hydration, anti nausea meds, etc, can't recall...), and let me know my Stem Cells would be arriving at any time. I was still in a daze about this whole myeloma cancer situation, not to mention being a hospital inpatient, that I just "went along for the ride", nodding my head and agreeing to whatever the professionals said would be the next event. I always felt like I was an imposter, or my diagnosis was a mistake, or I was participating in some sort of "professional in-service" workshop, as it was, and still is, so difficult for me to fully relate to, and accept my illness status.
But catheter lines connected to my main arteries, tubes coming out of my chest, IV bags galore infused into my body 24/7, nurses and doctors rushing in and out of my IN-patient hospital room, all confirmed my reality: That I have a very serious illness called cancer, specifically myeloma, I'm really sick, I'll be sick forever, but this Stem Cell Transplant infusion process will buy me time. How much time, I didn't know back then. No one knew. No one knows now. But here I am, 7 years later! Treatment seems to be an oxymoron: "Precision Guessing" lol.
And the door opens. A quiet, reserved young lady wheels in an ice chest, says hello and that she is here to deliver my Stem Cells!
Didn't seem like a big deal to me. No bells and whistles. No band playing. No wild partying or revelry. Hubby Jim and Daughter Alissa were on their way, but it was just me, the Cyrogenic Lab Tech delivery lady and my Nurse Susan. Back then I just had my little "Razor" flip phone for a camera, and I had only taken a few pictures up to that point. I wasn't as connected on social media or this blog that long, so I wasn't taking a zillion pictures or selfies back then. But I stopped her and said, "wait, please let me get a picture of you holding my stemmies"! She obliged, but shyly. Click, there they were. Saved forever in just one blurry picture. Nurse Susan came and hung the bag, connecting my 5 million stemmies to my Hickman Catheter, and off my stemmies flowed, infused back into by body. No pain, no drama, so very undramatic. Me of course thinking, "ok, so what's the big deal to a Stem Cell Transplant"? "This is so very anticlimactic", I thought. But I soon came to find out exactly WHAT the BIG deal was to this whole process. It's not the actual stem cell INFUSION process itself, it's what the 2 days (prior) of HIGH DOSE MELPHALAN CHEMO, does to one's body. THAT is THE BIG DEAL.