Transplant +30: Slow going

Before my stem cell transplant, I was told that recovery would take around 3-6 months. If I’m honest, I chose not to believe it as I recovered from most of my earlier cycles of chemotherapy in about 2-3 weeks. After my 6th cycle of cytarabine and rituximab I even felt well enough to go away on holiday for a week. I enjoyed walking, dining out and being terrified on the Heights of Abraham cable cars. Anyway, I’m now at the point of conceding that 3-6 months recovery is probably going to be about right. That’s a long time. Definitely slow going.

A month on from my transplant and some days (like yesterday) are incredibly tough. Definitely worse than anything I experienced during the first six rounds of chemo. Shortness of breath, crushing fatigue, being unable to eat very much, nausea … but this is fairly standard fare by all accounts. Today has been better, but I’ve not moved very much. Reading the gas and electricity meters took real effort to achieve. I’ve not left the house (except to walk to the post box or nearby shop) since I came home from hospital. I’m worried that I’m becoming a hermit. Driving a car again feels like a distant ambition.

My Fitbit agrees that the process has taken a lot out of me. My resting pulse is still in the high 70s/low 80s, when normally it’s in the mid to high 60s. No wonder I feel tired and am finding it difficult to put weight back on.

Resting heart rate graph
My heart is working harder to try to make up for the low levels of haemoglobin, platelets and white cells I currently have.

But on the positive side I’m still here. I am getting better – albeit more slowly than I’d like. It does seem to be a case of three steps forwards and two back, but that is progress nonetheless.

Posts Tagged with…

Reader Comments

  1. Matt

    Still with you Tim – even if I am in Singapore right now! Time is a great healer. GNU will be waiting for you and I imagine that first spring drive next year will be a sweet experience worth waiting for.

  2. Andrew Morrish

    Hang on in there Tim. The last few days have been miserable outside so you have probably been in the right place. It must be frustrating for you at times but your body is telling you to take it easy for good reason – it is healing itself and as Matt says – that takes a little time. Let’s hope you are soon able to forget how long these days have seemed ( I guess they will shorten a bit as the daylight duration reduces anyway) and allow them to become insignificant against the backdrop of your grand scheme of treatment and recovery. Try one new thing everyday to bring some variation to your routine

Your thoughts?