June 15, 2013: Day -1
Now that the chemo phase is over, I woke up feeling really good today. I will say that I was fortunate that during this process it was only mildly uncomfortable but very manageable. Today I only had to be given the ATG, which is the rabbit protein that directly attacks my immune cells. It is not chemotherapy and therefore it doesn't make me feel as nauseous. Basically I don't even notice it being infused. My counts are starting to drop, as they should, and will continue to drop over the next few days. I am not considered neutropenic yet, as my absolute neutrophils are 2.2. Neutropenia occurs when this blood count drops below 0.5. When I am neutropenic it is very important for me to avoid infection. Therefore I will be starting on an antibiotic tonight to prepare for the time when my counts drop.
Over the past five days I have already made progress on the distance I can walk with my walker. I started out at only walking 35 feet, then 70 feet and then today I walked a whopping 135 feet. My goal before discharge is to make a complete lap around the floor. My physical therapist is also noticing improvements and has been very excited about my progress in such a short time. My nurse was also impressed that I could push the footrest of the reclining chair down with my legs. This is something that I haven't been able to do in about a year. The nursing staff gets very excited with me as we celebrate these little victories.
As today comes to an end, I am preparing both physically and mentally for the big day tomorrow. Tomorrow marks Day 0, also known as my new birthday. The stem cells will be reunited with my body tomorrow around 10 a.m. Central Time. I plan to have a prayer prior to the infusion of these baby cells that will develop into a new and healthy immune system. Any additional prayers will also be welcome. We plan to have a big celebration in the hospital room with pictures, cards, balloons and video cameras. Too bad we couldn't get the juggling clown and the magician to join us! :)
We plan to post on here tomorrow to let you all know how it goes. For now, I am going to continue to rest and feel stronger as I await my transfusion.