Thanks so much for all your good wishes by text and phone and for all the letters. They mean a lot. I had a good giggle recently when I received a text from Noreen which said "Hang in there Brenda, it will be all uphill from here..." I assume that she meant downhill!
I am improving every day little by little, bit by bit. I am free of all drips and tubes. They are removing the central line from my neck/chest either today or tomorrow. Today they mentioned the H word (home) for the first time since I was admitted. The end of this part of the treatment is in sight. I will be four weeks in hospital on Wednesday of this week. It's a long time. I can't wait to get home to Bryan and the kids, as well as to familiar things. I can't wait to get outside - even if it is raining. I know I will be on a very short leash from the hospital for a while and that I will have to take it slowly but it is great to be this side of the treatment.
I am moving around a lot more and building up strength. It is amazing how many people in here are willing me to get better - the doctors, nurses, nursing assistants and the catering ladies. I can't ell you the number of the times that I have been stopped in the corridor by someone to say 'great to see you looking so well'. It really does my heart good. Some of the nurses who cared for me at my lowest ebb have come back after a week off and they can't believe the difference in me. I am starting to look like myself again.
I had some wonderful prayers said in my room a few days ago, by a nun who is a member of the chaplaincy team. There were some days when I was too sick and drowsy to know that people were around but the chaplaincy team were there for me, even if I didn't know it.
Bryan (hubby) has told me some of the silly things I did and said when I was a bit out of it from medication. He said he was leaving me one evening and I said to him: "You don't expect me to drive like this, do you?" Another friend of mine came to visit and I was in the middle of a sentence and I just dropped off to another world. There are other things I did but I am too embarrassed to share them now.
I thank God for giving me the strength to get to where I am now. I could not have done it alone. It was very hard for Bryan, my Mum and others to see me at my sickest. There was nothing they could do except hold my hand. Some days I couldn't talk at all and it must have taken all their strength and composure to sit with me without caving in.
Thankfully, all that is in the past for now. The days ahead are looking brighter at last. I still have a few challenges to get through. I have to start eating more and it is very difficult. My temperature needs to stabilise also, but hopefully that will happen once my central line goes. I have been told that it will be weeks, months before I fully recover from the chemo and transplant.
I know that once I am home I will do better. I will thrive in my own surroundings so as far as I am concerned the sooner the H word is a definite, the better I will do.
I am going to sign off now. I just wanted to tell you how much better I am doing.
Thanks again to everyone who wrote to me, texted me, called me and visited. I was delighted to see Marie a couple of Sundays ago - it was a lovely surprise.
I will be in touch soon and hopefully the next time I write it will be from Newbridge.
[This letter was written during week four of the stem cell transplant process which I went through in July/August 2007. ]
Below is a picture of how I looked on 15 July - mid way through the process. So it puts the treatment in context. It was brutal]
|This is me halfway through the transplant|
|My first day home from hospital after transplant|
|Two months after the transplant|