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Day 74

September 19, 2012

Yesterday at clinic, I received the wonderful news that my blood count has continued to rise and has actually hit new heights.  My Hbg is 11.8, WBC 3.8, and platelets 73,000.  Now this is not in the normal range but this is the first time in about 2 years that I have gone more than 2 weeks without a red cell transfusion.  My energy is good and contrary to public opinion, I’m not laying in bed all day.  I walk at least 2 miles a day and do conditioning and stregnthening exercises with both physical therapy and on my own.   My doctor is very pleased and feels fairly optimistic that I am on track to being able to go home at day 100.  My energy and weight haven’t come back fully but I know they will with patience and time.  I’ll need to be very careful about avoiding viruses and fungi for some time when I go home since my immune system will be suppressed.  The reality of taking a handful of pills 3 times a day, wearing a mask when I leave my cottage, eating a low bacteria diet, having some sensory paraesthesias, and flushing my PICC line daily acts as a reminder that I have a way to go.

I have met so many wonderful people and Claire and I have been hosting family and friends almost daily.  Life is definitely slower and more relaxed.  I find I do not rush around having to be somewhere or having to attend to something right now.  Ill health has a way of trumping our daily routines.  Some parts of this experience I actually enjoy like our nightly walks.  It’s usually warm and dry but occasionally it’s a little balmy, almost tropical.  It feels so nice to walk around in shorts and a Tee shirt at night.  I sure can’t do that in Soquel.   It’s quiet and peaceful.  There  are areas on our 1 mile loop where rabbits hang out, as well as raccoons, squirrels, and skunks.  Except for the rabbits, the other critters seem to ignore us or even move towards us.  I don’t like it when a skunk starts checking me out.

Clinic days are like a reunion.  2 people that I’ve became close to in the hospital have clinic on Monday and Thursday like me.  We  have a bond like old war buddies reminencing and talking about our current ailments and situations.  One person has the same doctor and transplant day, July 6, as myself.  We’ve nicknamed ourselves twin 1 and twin 2.  I feel an immediate affinity for anyone who is hairless and wears a mask.  I’ve also grown accustomed to living in a 500 foot studio cottage and in some ways life is much simpler than in a 3500 foot house with an acre of cultivated land to take care.  I can’t believe I’m actually saying this.  It was only 2 months ago that I was in the hospital and felt worse than terrible.  Thank heavens for selective memories.  We truly have only “now”.

I’m beginning to have a change in how I view time.  I have lived from one clinic visit to the next counting the days going forward from the transplant.  Now, I am counting how many days I have left till I’m released and able to go home  This is both day 74 (post transplant) and day 26 (days before I am able to leave Hope Village if all goes well).  I’ll leave COH with mix feelings.


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  1. Melinda permalink

    Wonderful to hear you are doing better. I’m so happy that things are looking up and that the 26 days until you return to Soquel have started. You’re are so strong! Thanks for sharing you experiences through your blog. My parents said they have had a lovely time with you. L’Shana Tova and Happy belated Birthday.
    Love, Melinda

  2. Mark lewis permalink

    Hey Doc,

    That is such great news. It seems like it’s been awhile since you had good news about your recovery. All your work on creating a positive point of view looks like it’s paying off. We all wish you the best.

    Kathy, Mark and Nicki.

  3. Roy Schneider permalink

    you sound very upbeat, it is heart-warming

  4. Lorna permalink

    This is such good news, Jim. Thanks for your vivid descriptions of your life, your mile long evening walk, your community. It was wonderful to see Claire last week and I am so glad you had that time with Sam. Great to hear you’ve had a steady stream of family and friends visiting you and that you are in a beautiful, supportive place.

  5. susan garfield permalink

    hey dude, you wbc is higher than mine! hope to see you soon at ungourmet club. we miss you. xoxo susan

  6. Jimmie Wood permalink

    Go on Jimmy wit’cha BADSELF!!!



  7. Sarah Engelman permalink

    Jim,what a beautiful journal. It brings tears to my eyes. I am taking to heart your living in the “we only have now”. Know that I am thinking of you daily down here in BA. Cheers to day 76/24.

  8. Diana Wilson permalink

    I’m so glad to have finally caught up to you via your blog. It moves me to tears! I’ve been wondering how things are going and sooo happy to hear they are improving almost daily. You are amazing – so strong! And Claire as well! I look forward to your return to flute playing. We’ll have to get together…it’s been far too long. Best wishes to you and your family. xo Diana

  9. permalink

    Hi, Jim

    I was mortified that I got ill just when I visited you.  I thought about not going because I was so afraid I was going to give you some infectious agent.  Still not sure quite what I had.  I was aching all over on Sun night – enough to awaken me enough to note that I had diffuse myalgia, but being a sleepy head, didn’t wake up to take tylenol.  I woke with a headache, low grade fever, stomach cramps and some nause, but no v/d thankfully. 

    Anyhow, it made me sick enough, that I was sleeping at the airport on the floor!  Reminded me how a little stomach flue(?) laid me up for 2 days with misery while you’ve been dealing with FAR worse for 2.5 months!  Goes to prove how courageous, patient tropper you are!

    It was great to see you being your usual self.  How lucky for you both that you have each other.

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