Today has been a good news day. I had an appointment with my lead doctor at the Bone Marrow Transplant clinic at Vancouver General. It has been nearly two weeks since I was last at the clinic (and five weeks ago today since the transplant). The doctor told me that he is very happy with the way that things are going and that my body has responded well to the treatment. My blood counts are returning to normal and I have managed to get through the past five weeks without becoming ill or getting an infection. Like I say, it has been a good news day.
The good news continued with the word that I can begin to visit again with family and friends, sharing conversations and meals without being overly concerned about the risk of illness or infection. Good old regular hand-washing will continue to be a discipline around here, as will getting plenty of rest. The doctor said to expect that the feeling of fatigue will continue over the next two months or so, as will the physical weakness that I am experiencing. The high doses of steroids along with the last six weeks of little exercise has resulted in lost muscle which I will now need to slowly build up. That is the plan for the next couple of months.
All going well I don't need blood work or an appointment with the doctor for a month - a whole month! The doctor said I should be able to be leading worship again by mid-December. I am hoping to be back at University Hill by the third Sunday in Advent. The doctor says I will likely be able to be back working full-time in January or February, depending on my energy level at the time. Then we are hoping for a lengthy (as in years) period of remission during which I won't need any treatment for symptoms of multiple myeloma. There are no guarantees, of course, but the prognosis for such a remission is good.
It turns out that I will need to go back to see my doctor at the
clinic in a year from now in order to arrange a schedule for my
childhood immunizations. Having re-booted my immune system most of my immunity from those shots given so long ago has been erased. I smiled to think that I'll be getting the same immunizations
that my little grand-children are receiving. It's like starting all
I felt fortunate as I drove home from the clinic. Today was a beautiful October day in Vancouver. Driving across the bridge over the Fraser River this afternoon I felt grateful for the gift of some healthy years ahead. I am also grateful for the gift of time to return to full health before returning to the routines that come with a return to work. It will be so good to see everyone again and to catch up on the many relationships that have been on hold for the past few months. In the meantime, though, I am glad to give my body time to recover energy and fitness so that I am "up to speed" when it is time for re-entry into normal life.