7 September (T minus 16 days)

GRATITUDES:
1. Hope for the future
2. My donor❤️
3. Late afternoon sunlight in September
4. NO MORE PICC LINE!!!

Sooo… the almost-but-not-quite-final schedule has me going back to the hospital on the 23rd. I’ve begun the countdown, which may change somewhat, but from what I learned today, this is nearly set in stone. I signed consent paperwork today at the bone marrow clinic and my donor’s T-cells will be collected tomorrow. I’ve learned that my donor is male, lives in Germany, and his blood type is A positive, so when this is all over, my blood type will be the same. I’ll be the complete black sheep of my family – a southpaw AND a different blood type! Everyone else has O positive, including me, but that will change. The T-cells will arrive state-side on the 13th, safely frozen and probably cocooned in either dry ice or a heavily insulated flask of liquid nitrogen. They will be sent to either the clinic or, more likely, the hospital, where they’ll await The Big Day, when they’ll be gently thawed and administered. By that point I’ll probably be knocked flat from multiple doses of chemo and a blast of radiation. Thank goodness for anti-nausea meds!

Yesterday I had what should be my final pre-transplant bone marrow biopsy. I went without a general sedative and had only a local, which drew stares and surprised comments from most of the nursing staff. Apparently about 90% of patients beg to be completely knocked out but I had to drive and I didn’t want to lie around in the prep and hold area, waiting for the drugs to wear off. Yep, it didn’t feel great, but the entire procedure, from the lidocaine injections to the last mop-up and application of the small bandage, had to be less than 10 minutes. It was… umm, unnerving to hear the bone drill and I know I flinched during the anesthetic shot, but I focused on my breath and the sound of the CT scanner – aka the Giant Electronic Donut – which emits a rhythmic hum and is actually quite soothing to listen to. Honestly, it wasn’t that bad overall. It certainly beats the crap out of being doped up on Versed and fentanyl! I pretended that the machine was generating a warp field around me and sending me through time. Yep, I am a hopeless geek.

So, yes, I am now without tubes of any kind! The Blincyto infusion ended Monday afternoon and the PICC line was removed shortly afterward. Which is probably just as well, because schlepping the additional weight of that stupid pump and bag of medicine has caused my lower back to go out. The entire weight of the bag – bump, medicine, pack and all – was probably less than five pounds, but it was just enough to affect my posture and put extra strain on my lower lumbar area, which is already a complete mess. Rory and I drove to San Antonio on Sunday and walked around the outdoor mall at La Cantera for a few hours and that must have been the last straw, because by mid-morning the following day, I couldn’t stand up straight and walked with a pronounced list to port when I moved at all. I felt better yesterday but I tried to go for my morning walkies today and that was a mistake. Ice packs and Advil are my very best friends right now. Blurgh.😬

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