I’ve never thought of myself as a *pioneer* type person, but it turns out I am.
Not Laura Ingles Little House on the Prairie type of pioneer, different.
On Tuesday, 12th December 2017 at 12.24pm I became the first International Patient at The A.A. Maximov Hematology and Cell Therapy Department of the National Pirogov Medical Surgical Centre, Moscow, Russia to have HSCT twice.
I am only the 5th person to have had HSCT performed a second time in Moscow.
This past week has been an blur of tests, naps and monitoring and high intensity chemotherapy products inserted by both IV and through my back.
It’s been HARD and nothing like HSCT 2014. I was weakened.
This time, under the adapted more bespoke protocol I felt it, all of it.
Sweats, incredible pain in my jaws and occasionally random hallucinations of photographer type black cases piled on the floor. It’d also feel like my feet were touching the floor, which is totally ridiculous as I need a step stool to get up and down anyway. Pft.
Showering was optional and eating sporadic but forced just for some energy, and conveniently the loo was conveniently located… With bags of chemo, steroids and electrolytes fluids gotta move somewhere.
I’ve had to ask for help, and anyone who knows me knows that is for me to do.
But I did. Yay me.
The transplant process itself probably took no more than 30 minutes with the team of Dr Fedorenko surrounding me and making sure everything was in order.
Yes, I was conscious throughout and felt a heavy chest and tightness around my back. Coughing. Reassurance was constant, blood pressure being monitored, oxygen etc…
Medical team, calm and considered.
Weirdly, as the cells were inserted a taste of creamed corn – that lingered.
Nice. Not unless you’re waiting for a cheesey corny queso dip and chips – not really local fare in these parts.
90 minutes of rest and sailine and other medications were administered to keep me stable as I recovered.
A few hours later, I was upright and at my “new life” birthday party, listening to the wisdom of Dr Fedorenko and his hopes and wishes for us and our future.
At this time I don’t have a photo of my pinning ceremony but I do now have 2 very special pins. I’m uncertain what to do with them? Do I discard the first, but it got me on my way? The second is larger, do I put that in pride of place? Do I do anything? I think I’ll just sit with that for a bit.
What I do do is say thank you.
Thank you to those that made it happen, I love you.
Thank you to those that loved and prayed.
Thank you to those that enveloped me in their greater connection.
Thank you to those that texted and called.
Thank you to those that sent GIFs of Harvey Specter and echidnas.
It all matters.
I’m not good at math, but I know it’s a lot and I feel it.