I’m not keen on this time of year, approaching Christmas, things seem to have a habit of going wrong for me, especially 2 years ago.
On 14 December 2010 at around 11.30pm I was admitted via A&E to the renal ward of Manchester Royal Infirmary with acute kidney failure. I had not been well for a week or too, and had to cancel flights booked to India departing on December 15th on my GP’s advice due to a urine infection. I was suffering with nausea, breathlessness, fatigue and general weakness but went into work in the morning as usual. I sat at my desk but was unable to concentrate on anything, my secretary noticed, had a word with the office manager and I was sent home. When I got home I went to bed, it was a cold winter’s day, it might have been snowing. I was sleeping when my doctor rang late in the afternoon to tell me that my recent blood tests showed that my kidney function had deteriotated to 10 to 15% of what it should be in the last 7 days between blood tests and that I should go to A&E straightaway. I asked him would I be there long, ridiculous question really!! He said I should pack a bag.
My partner at the time helped me pack a bag and both of us in shock, we set off first to the GP surgery to pick up a letter with the blood tests and my notes. Then to the hospital about 3 miles away. I remember clearly that it was snowing, the roads were covered in snow and the driving conditions, slow and difficult. That was the wintry beginning of my journey into unknown territory.
I was eventually admitted and then as those of you will know from reading this blog was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma on I think 23 December. I was discharged on Christmas Eve, relieved to be out but hardly in the mood for celebrating. Even so there were some poignant and happy moments.
That was the start of my new life. There was before and there was after and even though my life now in many respects has the outward appearance of my life before it just isnt. I am not saying it is worse, it is different and sometimes better. I also need to throw into the mix that shortly after diagnosis I split up with my partner of nearly 20 years standing so the before and after is very much interwoven with that traumatic event. In my mind that has been emotionally tougher than the cancer diagnosis to deal with. The loneliness of my journey has been acute at times and though I never really needed a “carer” for any physical needs, I have really missed and still do, having someone to share my journey with, the good and the bad.
The next few months of treatment combined with my relationship ending were the toughest times I have ever been through but get through it I did.
“At the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can”
So last year at this time, nothing dramatic went wrong and I was recovering from my stem cell transplant. I had a bone marrow biopsy in early December and I was told that it was less than 5% abnormal plasma cells so that was good news, I was officially in remission! However the news was tempered with the not so good news that I had chromosomal abnormalities that could mean a poorer outcome and shorter remission so a donor transplant was being recommended within 6 months. Having agonised over whether to have a second donor transplant and deciding to have one, I was told that a donor couldnt be found when the search was initiated.
For more on the donor transplant read my post “clinic appointment on Friday 13th”
And this year, what could go wrong, well lots could go wrong, I’ve been having some strange hip pain which I thought could be bone pain caused by myeloma coming back but it turned out not to be much to my relief.
However there is just one tiny little thing …………..!
I had booked a holiday to India, going in March 2013, similar to the one that I had to cancel 2 years ago so I was looking forward to it but yesterday I was contacted by the tour company to say that as I was the only one on it, it had been cancelled. Strange coincidence but completely different circumstances and as I cant cancel the flights I will just look for another holiday so its not a big deal.
So no nightmares before Christmas this year and nothing hanging over me so I intend to enjoy the time with my family, two years on from diagnosis. Another milestone on my journey. It is something of a dichotomy as I am impatient to reach the milestones because they mark more and more time in remission but on the other hand I want the time to go slowly so that I can appreciate it more! I need to have in mind that..
“Life isn’t a matter of milestones, but of moments.”
― Rose Kennedy
Seasons Greetings to all