The day after my clinic appointment on Friday 13th April, I got another cold which came from nowhere, a slight sore throat, tiredness and then the next day a full on cold when I woke up in the morning. This is my third cold in the seven months since my stem cell transplant and they tend to linger. The one I got between Christmas and New Year lasted about 5 weeks! I dont understand why exactly but know I am more prone to infections and that my immune system, even in remission, will always be compromised which is perhaps why they last longer as well. It could also be something to do with building up immunity post transplant which is why I had to have my childhood vaccinations again (for more on this see my childhood vaccinations post). It seems to be a common issue amongst my myeloma friends.
As it was persisting and as I had got a weekend trip planned to Palma, I went to see my GP last Thursday and he gave me a 5 day course of antibiotics. Why, I asked as a cold is a viral infection not a bacterial infection? He said really as a preventative measure as he didn’t want it to turn into pneumonia. Mmm! When I was on treatment I had numerous colds and coughs and other infections and was given antibiotics as a matter of course. I also had an E Coli infection in my urine which was spotted by my GP fortunately and very powerful antibiotic given to treat it. I turned out to be allergic to Penicillin which I had never previously been allergic to as well as some of the anti prophylactic drugs I was taking. I developed sensitivities and allergies to all sorts of things whilst on treatment.
Anyway I am slowly getting better and went to Palma and am so glad I didn’t cancel as it did cross my mind that I shouldnt overdo things but my GP told me it would do me good to get a bit of sunshine so off I went!
I had arranged to stay with some friends who are living over there for a few months and had a great time, the sun was out mostly and it was warm. I had warned my friends that I wouldn’t be up to much because of my cold but all that went out the window when I got there! A meal out on Friday when I arrived, a full day of sightseeing around Palma on Saturday, a hair-raising drive through the Tramontera mountains followed by a couple of hours on the beach at Deia on Sunday and on Monday, I took the wooden train to Soller, then a boat trip to Sa Calobra and then back to Palma just in time to catch my flight back to Manchester.
I am delighted that I seem to have recovered from my stem cell transplant so quickly. I was advised 3 to 6 months is about the average time it takes. Not long after I was out of hospital, I spent a long weekend in the Peak District walking around 4 to 5 miles a day, a day trip to the Peak District about 4 weeks after my transplant when I had a walk, hired a bike and biked along the Monsall Trail, a weekend in London which was pretty active, followed by a weekend in Dublin (equally active), a full on weekend in November to Alicante. A more restful week in Tenerife in February and then a very physically active week in Sweden in March. Oh and returned to work initially a few hours a day working from home a few weeks afterwards and then back to the office.
I seem to have lived life to the full since my transplant. It’s not conscious, it’s more that the opportunities have presented themselves and I have taken them, the only real bucket list choice was to go to Swedish Lapland to hopefully see the Northern Lights as it has been something I have always wanted to do and once it became clear that I wasnt going to have the donor transplant I got it booked. I am mindful on a daily basis that my life is shortened but can’t live everyday as if it’s the last, it is just not practical or possible. I think I am just trying to make the most of the opportunities that arise, put myself out there a bit more and try things out which perhaps I wouldnt have done before, partly because I was in a relationship and partly because like most people I took my health or my future lifespan for granted.
In spite of all that I do, I would love to have a day when I didnt think about something connected to my illness, when I just forgot about it and took my life for granted like everyone else around me.