Remission - I looked it up just now in the Collins Gem English Dictionary and it's not even there. How can remission not be there when it's such a huge huge word? I looked instead under good news, relief, happiness to see if it was there instead but it's not!
Three years ago, yesterday - 26 September, I was told that I was in remission! Having been through a bone marrow transplant for multiple myeloma in July 2007 and suffering a month of hell - I was told I was in remission.
The following is based on my diary from that day:
Wednesday 26 September 2007:
I cant describe how in bits I was this morning. I was up at 5.30am walking around the house, pacing really, unable to sleep anymore. When the alarm went off at 7.30am I got very emotional with the kids - couldn't help it. I felt really uptight and nervous and I could hardly speak.
I delayed when I was dropping the kids off at school and Chris's house and I took my time going up. The good luck texts started very early as all the gang knew what today meant - results, results, results from my bone marrow biopsy which would show if the transplant had worked or not. Or not was not an option I could even verbalise. I decided to go by myself to get the results, despite several offers from friends and family to come with me.
It was the usual routine when I got to Tallaght - bloods taken, hot chocolate and muffin and then up the stairs to the haematology day ward. I collected my chart and dropped it into the nurses. They were kind of giving me knowing glances and I sort of knew that they knew my results but they could not say anything.
I wasn't kept waiting very long - my consultant arrived and called me into the consulting room. I sat down and I felt really breathless. How are you etc etc. I am not sure what I said, I was sick with nerves. My right hand was shaking so much, I had to sit on it. I was trembling.
He turned to the computer and I had to close my eyes - my God what will I do if the transplant hasn't worked and I have to have another one? What happens if the myeloma is so aggressive that nothing will work.
My consultant cleared his throat and he hmmd and hawed and then he looked at me. I looked at the computer screen and I thought I saw the words 'no myeloma present'. I thought maybe I was seeing things - hallucinating what i wanted to read. Then Dr Jiri said it - no myeloma present, the transplant was successful.
I jumped up off the chair and punched the air. I wanted to scream but I was afraid to upset other patients so I just laughed and cried. I didn't hear anything that he said after that - something about maintenance treatment, but I didn't care.
I had done it.
All the awfulness of the previous 9 months had been worth it
All the sickness during my transplant had paid off
All the misery and suffering after the chemo was over
Today was the first day of the rest of my life. Today I can hope again. Today I can see a future for myself.
I thanked the doc and left the room where I ran straight into one of the nurses and I told her and she said: I KNOW! She hugged me and I cried and then she got me and put me inside a quiet room and told me not to leave the hospital until I was calmed. She handed me the phone and said Dial 9 for a line out and call your family.
I sat down and thought - who do i call first? There were so many people waiting on me. I took out my mobile and started to write a text. I deleted it by mistake as my hands were shaking so much. I called my husband and he was on voicemail and I said to call me that the news was good. Then I called my mum and I hung up on her by accident. She was in bits with the nerves.
Over the next half an hour I called and texted all the family and friends who had been on this arduous journey with me and I shared the good news. My phone was beeping with congratulation messages for hours.
I cried with some, laughed with others and literally floated on air, on top of the world around that room. I wanted to run down the corridor screaming; I did it! I did it! I couldn't because I was aware that there were others receiving very different news to what I had received.
It was the best day of my life!
I was allowed to leave the hospital after I calmed down and after a chest xray as they were concerned about a bit of a wheeze that I had. I was given a prescription for antibiotics as I had an infection. The reminder is always there I thought. I am better but I will never be fully out of the woods.
This was brought home to me in a big way just two days later when I developed shingles and I had to be admitted to hospital for treatment.
But I didn't care. The transplant had worked for me. I would get over anything that was thrown at me. I was almost out of the woods.
I could start to plan things again
I could start to imagine a future
Imagine going back to work
Imagine going on a trip somewhere
Imagine living life again
I give thanks every day for the gift of life
the gift of love from my family and friends
the gift of the many talented doctors and nurses who looked after me
the gift of time - albeit borrowed time - but I intend to make the most of it.
before I could send it
see a future