Today's My Birthday! Llamazing!
It's not really my birthday but all stem cell transplant patients and the transplant staff dub the day you got your new stem cells your "birthday". August 31 is mine.
Now, I'm jumping out of sequence on my story because I'm supposed to be talking about the cure. But since my birthday only comes once a year I had to take advantage of today being the day.
I was in the hospital for five days before "day 0", getting radiation and chemotherapy to wipe out any remnants of cancer cells. I was in remission but there can be sneaky cells hiding in dark places. I felt well enough to walk around the hallway and I kept seeing posters on some of the doors like "Your new stem cells are taking off!". Once you get your new cells, the nurses make a personalized poster for you to celebrate. I was eager to see what they would come up with for me.
Day 0 arrived. They warned me that it would be anticlimactic and they were right. It's basically like getting an infusion. But my poster was not anticlimactic. I had my stuffed llama with me - an impulse buy from the Piggly Wiggly a while back. We had talked about my thing for llamas and alpacas. So my poster (pictured above) said "Your Stem Cells are Llamazing". I loved it.
So it's been a year now. But things are not back to normal. In upcoming blogs I'll write about the ongoing challenges, the ups and downs, and how I've tried to cope with it all - not always well. And I'll introduce some of the people who have sustained me through the lowest point of my life.
Beth Kitchin PhD RDN