Saturday, March 08, 2008

day +200

Yep, today makes 200 days since my transplant back in late August. Though hopeful about the future, a part of me has grown increasingly concerned recently. (I'm sure the increasingly tense dreadnought race between Obama and Clinton has contributed to this feeling in some small degree). But more seriously, for the past few days I've felt a painless pressure in both my abdomen and chest. You may recall that I had a similar feeling in both my chest and abdomen in the period leading up to my last PET-CT in December, but it turned out to be nothing. I hope that this is case again. Moreover, for the first time since the immediate days following my discharge from Sloan, I threw up on Thursday. I don't really know what caused it. That afternoon I ate fish for lunch, which I had also eaten without a hitch the previous night. Some time after consuming the fish, I ate a few Oreos with milk for a snack. Almost immediately afterwards, I sensed that I might throw up which indeed happened a few minutes later. Weird. Again, I don't think it was the fish because I had the same fish the previous day and I felt fine afterwards. Later Thursday, I ate cereal with milk and I didn't experience any problems so I don't think it was the milk. Maybe it was the Oreos. Who knows?

After feeling this recurring strange pressure in both my chest and abdomen and then, throwing up, it is little surprise I think that my mind begins to wonder. I'm walking on a tightrope between hope and fear. Like so many survivors, these "symptoms" start to raise a bit of concern. "Is the cancer back?" my inner self whispers hesitantly. "Am I no longer in remission?" it asks. And in a gesture of inevitable surrender, "No, no not again," my inner self resigns itself. But on the outside, despite some moments of depression I'm pressing on . . . doing what needs to be done and for the most part those things that I enjoy.

I spent a good deal of Thursday and Friday looking through my archive of Harlem River photographs and decided upon the six photos that I plan to submit to the April art exhibition at Sloan-Kettering. I finished editing the photos too. So now, I'm just waiting to receive the prints. I ordered one copy of prints of one of my photographs from both Shutterfly and Imagekind in case one company makes better quality prints than the other. After review, I then, plan to go ahead and order prints of the rest of my photographs. Framing is the last part. A Flickr buddy recommended the large discount art store, Pearl Paint, on Canal Street in Manhattan but I called its framing shop this afternoon and there's a six week wait for framing projects. That's way too long. There's a framing store, which I like a lot, in Yonkers that I've used a lot throughout years. I may go there. Shutterfly, Imagekind, and other online companies offer framing too but they charge more than the actual shops.

I must say that I'm really excited about this upcoming art exhibition and I'm thrilled about the opportunity to share some of what I've been doing recently with friends and strangers alike. I've put a lot of work into this photography project of mine and I'm quite pleased with what I, an amateur, have done so far. Interestingly, I even spent some time today preparing an Evite invitation for the show even though it's more than a month away.

On Monday, I'll see Dr. Castro-Malaspina again. At this appointment, I hope to find out the results of my recent bone marrow aspiration. His nurse, Ally, called me on Thursday telling me that I may not need the IVIG treatments anymore though the next one had been scheduled for Monday. A blood test was needed to check my levels to determine if indeed my new immune system was performing well enough that the IVIG treatments were no longer necessary, so I went in on Friday so that blood could be drawn but I made the mistake of taking both Tacrolimus and Sirolimus that morning at breakfast. I'm not supposed to take those drugs on the mornings when I'm scheduled to have blood drawn at the clinic because they affect the lab results, but due to habit I just forgot Friday morning. At the clinic, they still took my blood but it's possible they may need to do it again on Monday as well. Nevertheless, my trip down to Sloan wasn't a waste. I received my monthly Aerosolized Pentamidine which had been scheduled for Monday originally, so I was able to get that taken care of at least.

I'm not sure when my next PET-CT scan will be but I guess around late March or some time in April. Perhaps he may even tell me at Monday's appointment.

And BTW, on my birthday Clare and I saw The Band's Visit, a gentle, clever Arab-Israeli comedy, which Tim had recommended to me.


Comment Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congrats on Day 200!!! It has been a long road and you have been a trooper and prizefighter through it all.
Good luck tomorrow with the doctor appt.

10:38 AM  

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