Some of you may already know that I began my struggle with #acutemyeloidleukaemia Oct 2021. My life has changed drastically since then. I had 2 bone marrow transplants in 2022. The journey has not been easy. Treatment was difficult as my disease was stubborn but amidst the bad news, I found God and my art skills evolved. I moved from watercolour postcards to bigger acrylic canvases - mostly self taught.
If only recovery was a straight up line in a graph
As we know, life is never quite like that although we would like it to be so. I spent a good 6 or 7 months at home after the 2nd transplant, patiently waiting for my blood counts to recover. Then it started declining. My doctor told me that a percentage of the mutation that I had returned. I was admitted into hospital for treatment. Again.
The purpose of today's blog - There are no double takes
Do not assume. Just because things were a certain way the first time round, does not mean it will be the same the next time round. However, this can go either way, positive or negative.
I found myself in familiar territory, back in hospital battling AML on bravely. Treatment went quite smoothly but I remained in hospital because my blood counts were low. I was supposed to go home on National Day but it didn't happen. The following is an account of what happened to me the day before.
8th Aug 2023
I was going to get a routine platelet transfusion. I get benadryl as per the usual practice before the transfusion begins to prevent any allergic reactions. I sometimes get mosquito looking rash or rashes on my body or legs during, or after the transfusion. But it usually subsides quite fast.
That afternoon of 8th August, 10 minutes into the transfusion I felt my legs and back were itchy. That's nothing new. Then I felt my right eye throb. I press the call bell to inform the nurses. The nurse who answers sees me and then goes to call my nurse in charge.
By the time nurse in charge come, my afternoon nurse is present too. By this time I feel both eyes swell and tear. My ears and eyes were throbbing and my heart started to beat extra hard.
I tried to regulate my breathing on my own but my breathing was shallow. I suddenly had a lot of phlegm but I couldn't expell it out. My throat felt as if there was a high barrier so the phlegm couldn't come out. I felt constricted. I knew my airway was constricting and immediately I thought of the K Drama I had been watching 2 days earlier about a guy who died due to a peanut allergy!
I heard my nurses' voices around me. Then, they stopped the transfusion.
I close my eyes and saw a creamy white background. There was silence, peace and vastness.
I asked God...am I going to die? Then I say to him - I know you will never do anything that will hurt me. I trust in you. In retrospect, I felt that I should have kept quiet and let God do more talking!
After that split second, my vision returned to normal darkness as my eyes were closed.
When I tried to open my puffy eyes, I saw a sea of white nurses and 1 blue figure. My Dr had some so quickly.
I was given more benedryl, steroids, antihistamines and put on oxygen. When oxygen didn't work, they gave me what they give asthma victims. Breathing eases somewhat but the eyes and throat took a long time to subside.
I believe that I was calm because I knew that God was present and in charge. I not only received excellent medical attention but also tender love.
Somebody took my pulse a few times. I think it was my Dr. He had everything on standby, I was told later. My nurse continually massaged my hands and nails which I'm told had turned purple. I think I only fully recovered from the ordeal sometime the next day. Needless to say, I couldn't be discharged. Talk about a climax!
We suspect the allergic reaction had something to do with me receiving pulled platelets (From 4 donors as opposed to a single donor per bag) But we will never know for sure.
Why double take?
A week later, my platelets dropped to 8 and then 5 the next day. (the norm is 100 over) I feel lousy all day. My Dr schedules another transfusion but this times with more premeds prior to the transfusion as added precaution. This transfusion - also pulled platelets!
Of course I was worried! What if the same thing were to happen?!
In our weakness God's strength is displayed.
I will continue to praise Him.
He showed me clearly that 2 similar circumstances can have very different outcomes.
It is natural - my mind often wonders if this current treatment will be successful and even if it is - will my marrow be too weak to recover? Or will the ultimate goal of going for another donor lymphocyte infusion even work? What if I fall in the wrong side of the statistics?!! My mind goes into overdrive mode.
At least I am not stuck in the "why me?" mode anymore hahaha!!
The worst I've gone this time- Is texting my good doctor and saying ... you know...on some days having leukaemia just seems to be some what depressing...passing statement of the day. Life sucks right? Sometimes.
Then I do another amazing painting and my worldview restores.
Isn't it amazing that after that failed platelet transfusion, I could channel my experience and emotions and produce this serenity painting? It is a testimony to the power and wonder of God.
Trusting God completely
According to His will and timing. I may not be able to see His whole plan for my life but I do know that He is working. He put people in my path when I needed them, especially when He knew I needed to vent or to let go of that emotion. Thanks guys...you know who you are!
God IS working in My Life right now, and I WILL recieve all that He has promised me.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11.1
I decided to show you the photo that the nurses used to show my doctor. Not to shock you but to let you know that sometimes things don't go our way but there's always a way out.
*Do compare the puffy photo with the feature image for this blog. That was taken 4 years ago on a trip to the US...very beautiful but spiritually dead.