Monday, May 15, 2006

check-up with schuster

This afternoon I had my monthly check-up with Dr. Schuster, my BMT physician. He asked me all the usual questions. Was I feeling this? Did I have this or do that? My response to all his questions was no, thankfully, except for one: the occasional feeling of heaviness/tightness that I feel in my chest in area around where the tumor existed. I had my own questions too. I asked him if I was able to become a donor of blood and/or stem cells. He told me that although my blood counts are excellent - back to normal - in about 20 years to ask him again about donating. I guess the answer is no . . . at least for now. I would, however, like to donate blood and/or stem cells in the future if possible. I told him that my ophthalmologist said I was at risk for glaucoma and then, asked him for his thoughts on the matter and a referral for a second opinion to which he replied gladly. His secretary is supposed to call me back with the contact information of the referred opthalmologist, who Schuster himself sees.

Wednesday will mark three months since I was discharged from the hospital, which is amazing to ponder. Physically, my body has recovered very well. Yes, my nails still have the characteristic blue and purple rings of chemotherapy treatment, but I feel quite strong. Maybe not 100% but pretty close to it. I think exercising has helped. About three weeks ago, I started to hit the gym and have continued ever since except for a couple of days last week when I was in a malaise after getting that disheartening news from my ophthalmologist. Yesterday I took a dip in the pool, which was very different from what I do normally. It reminded me of my days at summer camp when I was much younger, but I'm sure I was a lot better of a swimmer back then. I felt like it was my first time ever in the pool yesterday. That's how rusty I was. Not feeling very confidant in my ability, I stayed in the 5 ft deep water. I didn't dare think to go into the great abyss. Yet, with more regular practice in the pool, I'm sure I'll feel more comfortable in the pool soon.

In addition to yoga, cardio and strength training, I'm stretching a lot which is great too. (Isn't it amazing that I'm doing all this after a stem cell transplant?) Stretching supposedly is underrated and done improperly many times. I purchased the book Stretching by Bob Anderson a couple of days ago and I find it to be a simple and highly informative guide to stretching. The beauty of stretching, like yoga, I think is that it allows one to become more aware of the uniqueness of their own body. I did notice, however, a few days ago when I was stretching my chest a slight tenderness in the area of where the tumor existed. I remembered having the same exact feeling almost a year ago as I did then the same stretch at the gym. I was sure to mention this observation to Schuster, who said it may be due to scar tissue, which I resulted from my earlier radiation treatment.

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