It’s been 7 months since my 2nd bone marrow transplant.
I guess the ordinary way most people view recovery is a straightforward straight up graph that is ascending. However, just like life, this often is not the case. There are many ups, downs and meanders.
In my case at least, everyday brings new battles and hurdles to overcome.
Battles can be physical –
like recently I had very painful and swollen joints that seem to run from ankles, knees, wrists, fingers and basically take turns running from left to right and vice versa. This week, I am having numbness and tingling in my right hand. Nothing major but painful and there. Especially upsetting when I am painting.
Then was the case of why my white blood count (including neutrophils) and platelets started to go down. You know us humans are like that – we like to base our knowledge on prior experience. Well, in my case, the last time the numbers plummeted like that was when I had the relapse. My mind was fearful that we would be going back to those dark days.
Then after my doctor did a bone marrow aspiration and it was found that the mutation that I had came back 0.1%. Faint, but still there. I am scheduled to go for a donor lymphocyte infusion. Hopefully this will flush out the remainder of the bad cells in me and stabilise my count.
Then there are the social hurdles
People do and say things without being aware at all. For example, somebody whom I updated the results of my recent bone marrow aspiration said–
Thanks for updating. Guess the results could be worse (0.1 mutation seems minuscule) and the stem cell infusion should clear the cells. Praise the lord for your positivity.
Seemingly innocent statement, yes? Well, perhaps it is just me, but I wasn’t feeling the love. I do know that I cannot expect other people to truly understand the severity of what I am going through right? How would they know that even the donor lymphocyte infusion has it’s own risks after that, and that oh wow, yes…things could be worse. Thanks for reminding me.
Then there was the relative who recently came back from overseas and nonchalantly forgot to wear his mask in front of me - multiple times I might add. I did not say anything to avoid confrontation, but he made me feel like I’m the captive within my own home. Needless to say, I retreated to the safety of my own room.
Focus on Miracles and Angels!
That’s what I focus on, and as they say, what you focus on, expands!
On the day my doctor did my bone marrow aspiration, my nurse, she hugs me not 1 but 3 times. We end up taking a wefie in lying down position as I am required to lie flat on my back for 30 minutes after the procedure. What she said to me really touched me. She said that – I’ll be with you through this journey. I’m not God but text me anyway. Awwww.
I am really blessed with a good medical team. They go above and beyond. Time and time again, I’ve seen how, despite his busy schedule, patient well-being is always the top priority of my doctor. I know that he’s only a whatsapp away. My nurses too, remind me not to scratch, bump, bruise or fall because my platelets are low. There's way more but will be too many to mention here.
The Journey with God
at my side has been more and more amazing. I no longer get those anxiety attacks that I used to get when my counts go down or when I am faced with some uncertainty. (Actually all life is uncertain isn’t it?) He’s replaced the fear with peace and joy in my heart. Hopefully this peace and joy radiates out and touches those people who come into contact with me!
My sisters and brothers in Christ that encourage me in my faith journey. They help mold me into a more beautiful person inside and out.
I need to highlight that last Sunday was my very first in person service that I attended in 3 years. I went up to the altar to get healing prayer after the service and my cell sister popped up out of nowwhere! She lays her hand on my shoulder as the lady from the healing team prays over me. After service, another cell sister hovers near and behind me. I felt they were like angels looking out for me that day! This is truly me experiencing the sweetness and goodness of God!
I have learnt to claim healing valiantly and emphatically in Jesus name. It's not that I haven't said it before, but that I believe with every cell in my body that His will will prevail over all!
Ultimately, whatever physical discomfort that I am feeling at any moment, I know that God will never give me something that I cannot handle. Besides, he is with me throughout this journey and I just find that His love is so amazing and deep. When I am faced with adversity, I think…this too shall pass, and surrender all to Jesus.