Tag Archives: donor stem cell

One of my friends left the BBC today so I should be enjoying a glass of bubbly at his leaving party, instead I’m sat in bed sulking and feeling pretty miserable. I’m back in the same hospital and the same ward as I was 18 months ago when I was fighting cancer.

..Oh my god, the guy on whatever BBC antiques programme that’s currently on TV at the moment looks like Vladimir Putin. Poor bugger…

Anyway.. I’m in because I’ve been hit down with a nasty infection which my doctors believe have caused a multitude of other issues.. Think ‘buy one, get one free’. I have renal infections so we’re talking kidney and bladder here. I also have a low haemoglobin count which meant I’ve had nasty headaches and constant tiredness, I also have e-coil and cloudy vision in both eyes. All the above has caused nasty temperature spikes as well and the inability for me to sleep very much. My symptoms started over a week ago but has really ramped up over the last few days. At the moment, I’m on a 24/7 fluid trip and twice daily IV antibiotic drip.

Feeling quite miserable and extremely tired. Today I woke up with a very sore neck, shoulders and back due to the uncomfortable bed. My sleep was broken up with trips to the toilet as I have constant fluid being pumped into me and at 3am I was woken up to go for a CT scan of my brain and head. I’m also bored still and desperately hoping I can go home soon but I have a feeling I’m here for a few more days.

When I was admitted, I was absolutely distraught. I’ve managed to stay out of hospital for nearly 18 months and hearing the news depressed me. When I got to the ward, it felt like a nightmare. I remember every single thing about the ward – the sights and clinical smells brought everything I felt when I was in here in 2012 and 2013 back. It was like having horrific flashbacks. I have an amazing view from my room, I can see The Shard, the London Eye, St Paul’s Cathedral etc but this view has haunted me ever since I got here. Over 18 months ago I was desperately ill, unable to leave my room and stared at that view – I felt like that person all over again.

As as the nurses here are great and the facilities are world class, it’s a place that’s full of ghosts. It made me realised how much my time here still torments me.

So please send me good thoughts and pray I’m allowed home soon.

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This is ridiculous.. how is it the end of June already?!  Time seems to be flying and I don’t like it!  And do you know what I like even less? The relentless medical issues that is constantly being thrown my way.  But to be fair, I rather this than the crap that was thrown at me in 2012 and 2013!!!

So, I got my remission and I bet you lot were thinking “that’s it, she’s ok, she’s going to be ok”, well not quite.  My neutrophils are still being a little stubborn.  I had a blood test today and they were high (6), but I only gave myself the GCSF injection on Friday so I’m not convinced I’ve given it enough time to drop yet, so my consultant asked that I come in on Thursday to have another blood test.  Also according to my blood tests, my iron levels have been consistently high for a while so that’s another problem.  Well, it’s not a problem now, but the build up of iron in my body can cause long term health problems further down the line and can affect my liver, so my consultant wants to do something about it now to prevent this which I’m all for – I mean for the love of God.. I think I’ve had my fair share of health issues now!

Anyhow, before I explain what the docs need to do to me, I’ll give you a brief explanation of how the iron/blood thing works – I say brief because I haven’t badgered my consultant for enough details, so I’m going to tell you what I understand of it so far.  We all have iron in our blood (red blood cells to be precise).  The body through various kinds of bodily functions can get rid of iron naturally, but it’s not an overly efficient system which in itself is fine if you’re a healthy person.  Unfortunately, due to the amount of treatment I’ve had, the iron levels in my body has built up to the point I have far too much iron swimming around.  If left as it is, later in life (if I live that long), I stand a chance of having a melee of health problems which can affect my vital organs.  So to prevent and resolve this, I have to have a procedure called Veinesection (I think) every 2-3 weeks for a few months.  The name of the procedure is quite deceptive as it’s actually a very simply process where half a litre of blood is taken out of me.  The theory is, the half litre includes iron rich blood and the body will replace the blood by producing more red blood cells in the bone marrow.  The red blood cells will then draw iron from existing sources (i.e. old red blood cells) so over time, the iron levels should even out.

So between my neutrophils being stubborn and me being as metal as Slayer (Reign in Blood anyone?) – I’m now back to weekly visits to the hospital.  It’s annoying but at least my consultant is keeping a close eye on me.

Apart from these healthy niggles, I’ve been ok but busy.  My training is going quite well, though I’ve had problems with my achilles and rotator cuff.  The rotator cuff seems to be much better now, but I’m still have problems with the achilles.  Work is going ok, in fact, I’m only back from two weeks working in MediaCityUK with Sport and 5 live research.  I’m now back in my normal job and office dealing with the influx of work relating to the World Cup and Wimbledon.  Home life is good, if not a little chaotic.  Ade and I have bought a lovely house which we’ve been in for a couple of months, but it’s a bit of a building site!  There was nothing wrong with it (except for the awful ‘feature walls’ popular with 90-esque home improvement programmes) but we just wanted to really put our own stamp on it so we decided to strip the walls and redecorate.  The redecorating is almost there, then after that, we’re having our fireplace overhauled and fitted with a log burner.  My ‘other’ job life is about to kick off again too!  This Saturday, I’ll be heading to Glastonbury for the day/night to work the Metallica show for the first time post-cancer!  The week after, I’ll be at Knebworth doing the same! Another milestone for me.. this is me getting my life back together again!  Life is good.. despite the crappy immune system and despite the fact I’m too metal for my own good!

The obligatory blog photos:

Lovely Ade in our conservatory

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Mum and Ade in the back garden

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Ade relaxing after painting the lounge!

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(Apologies for any grammatical/spelling errors.. it’s nearly 1am, and I can’t be bothered to proof-read anymore!)


I’ve been meaning to blog for a couple of days, but the last few days, focus has been a huge issue and fatigue is still with me. I’m still exhausted today but I really must let you know how I’m doing.

If you’ve read Ade’s comments on my last blog, you will know that my counts and my neutrophils actually came up a day after I published. I went from have 0 neutrophils to 0.39. The day after, they went up to 2.25, yesterday they were up to 7.39. Today they have dropped down to 4, but this is completely normal and still excellent. The doctors and nurses were amazed and we’re delighted. This means that the donor stem cells are grafting and producing all my new cells. It’s still early days and I’m still at risk of Graft V Host Disease, but this is a great start.

Yesterday, one of the transplant doctors came to see me and he explained why I need to remain in hospital for the time being. They need to ensure my counts stay up and above 1, and also to monitor the Cyclosporine (immunosuppressant) in my body. He also wanted to make sure I don’t need any more drugs through IV. As of now, all my drugs are in pill form and my levels seem ok. The doctor also said that if my progress continues, he can’t see why I shouldn’t be discharged by the weekend. If I am, it means my hospital stay would only be 3 and a half weeks instead of the predicted 5 weeks – which for a allogeneic (donor) transplant, is somewhat of a record. To say I’m delighted is an understatement but at the same time I don’t want to get my hopes up in case something goes wrong and I have to stay in.

Apart from that, I’ve been bored stiff. I have books, messages, emails to catch up on but I’m finding it hard to focus. I’m not sleeping very well at night either. Last night I managed about 3 hours sleep on and off which was better than the night before where I actually saw every hour, it’s extremely frustrating and leaves me even more tired during the day. I’m ready to go home and sleep in my own bed. My fluid retention has got better too, my face and hands still feel a little swollen but hoping in a day, everything will go back to normal. I’ve been taking regular walks around the ward too to get my legs moving and it’s incredible how that takes so much out of me, but I have to persevere and do this so I can get some independence back a bit quicker. I couldn’t cope with going home and having to have everything done for me but at the same time I need to know my limits and maybe ease up on my stubbornness and accept help.

When I know when I can go home, I’ll write again, but in the meantime, here’s a shameless plug! My husband is taking part in the Tough Mudder this weekend to raise money for a charity that has helped me so much – Lymphoma Association. If you can even spare a quid, please sponsor him! He’s doing this insane challenge for an amazing cause, plus he’s an amazing man who has stood by me and been my rock from the moment we got that awful news. Thanks in advance and here’s the link:

https://www.justgiving.com/teams/TeamCrisis-ToughMudder2013

Love to you all!