Happy birthday to my immune system which was installed in February 2017.
Happy birthday to me! on October 31, I survived 255 days post-transplant, beating the odds that were not in my favour, and thus proving evil never dies!
It’s certainly been a wild ride these past few months, with countless followup doctors appointments, complications, recovery, weight gain, a daily feeling of ‘ugh’. It just didn’t stop. My full-time job has basically been being ‘sick with cancer’ as opposed to ‘fit with cancer’. I had several complications over the prior months (which I’ll go into in other posts), several celebration moments and then all of a sudden, in July 2017, I found myself returning to part-time study.
You see, before I got ‘sick with cancer’, I was studying a double degree in health bioscience and oriental medicine, with a major in Musculoskeletal therapy. Of course, everything goes on hold, your life, your plans, relationships, goals, dreams etc when you’re delivered a double “fuck you mate” in the form of a diagnosis of two rare blood cancers. So I begrudgingly stopped everything in 2016 to focus on trying to beat this son of a witch. Now, after enduring a hectic stem cell transplant, nearly dying (twice), and lifestyle shattering complications, I found myself back at university. I returned with such vigour, allowing myself to completely immerse in a life that had NOTHING to do with cancer, at all. This is why I have not been contributing to the site at all, so for that, I am sorry.
Me giving cancer the finger
Taking a 6-month break from being ‘fit with cancer’ allowed me to really think about the future of this site, what it means to me and whether the ethos of the site still stands. I’ll be doing a little bit of tweaking over the coming months, including beginning a video and podcast series on the day to day tips of living pre, peri, post diagnosis and treatment, including what’s worked for me. This also means I’ll be getting some guest writers and speakers on board to talk about common topics raised around blood disorders, tumour cancers and the like. So stick with me, it’s gonna be fun.
But back on topic – it’s been NINE FRICKIN MONTHS since my stem cell transplant to hopefully quash Myeloma & halt the production of Amyloid in its tracks. My doctor’s appointments have rolled back to quarterly now, with monthly blood tests to keep an eye on things, especially my numbers. I’ve felt mostly well, in fact, i’ve felt bloody fantastic the past two months! My energy levels have almost returned to normal, which is amazing! I know how lucky I am to be in this position, and am forever grateful. It just means the fight against these two blood cancers can be maintained, and with some hope keep them in a low active state.
Low active state? WTF? Yeah – about that. I actually relapsed at some point between August and Octobers blood tests, with my abnormal proteins (Paraprotein) creeping back up to double digits again from around 3-4. It technically means I have relapsed, but I kind of haven’t, as my blood markers for everything else are great.
This means I am in a grey area and the doctors are cautiously advising it might be worthwhile beginning maintenance therapy, but it is totally my choice as the consequences outweigh the benefits. I have agreed to keep monitoring my blood and living the way I am because I must be doing something right.
I’ll admit hearing this news made me feel pretty glum at first, given I was beginning to wake up every day not thinking about being sick, but what’s the point of holding onto something or a possibility that may never happen? I could let it completely consume me, fall into a heap and become powerless in this fight against my body, or I can fight my body by bettering it every day.
I accept that my lifespan is limited and that I will be lucky to see 40 (I just turned 38). But I don’t let the impending sweet embrace of the reaper worry me so much, more on embracing mortality in another post. Damnit! this post was supposed to be a celebration. Good one fuckhead!
Ok so back to the point – I am alive nine months after my transplant. It was a 50/50 chance I’d even see this point. Good. I don’t plan on dropping dead anytime soon, mainly because I like annoying people, and writing and talking about myself a lot.
My promise to you, dear blog readers, is that I *will* be doing more here because it’s not over yet.