Thursday, June 7, 2012

19 Years Later (in five parts) II

Wednesday night was Bill's bachelor party. I went out to dinner with the gang, but when they hit the bars, I headed to my friend Gator's apartment. She works in veterinary medicine, so it's funny to me when she says things like "Oh you're on [medication]? We give that to pigs when they show symptoms of [disease]." It's pretty interesting that there are so many medications that work across species, and there are still people who don't believe in evolution...

But that's neither here nor there. Thought it might be... where was I?

Right! Wedding! So Wednesday night I spent at Gator's, Thursday night was the rehearsal (I saw a few friends from high school who were surprised to hear of my current predicament), and Friday was the wedding. It was a lot of fun and my whole extended family was able to make it, so I got to see everyone at once (a luxury I would soon be without). My blood counts were still all out of whack as I was recovering from my second chemo treatment from a month earlier. I was very tired and couldn't stand for too long at once, so I made sure to sit down every now and again. When Saturday came, I woke up early for a brunch my mom put together, but passed out around noon and didn't really recover until maybe sunday night.

Overall, being home was very nice and I'm glad I got to see so many people, especially Conroy, Gator, and their family.

But now we were headed back to Boston, and a lot was in store. Over the next few weeks, perhaps the worst of the entire treatment, I went through a lot and was on many drugs. My memory is exceptionally hazy, so the events that follow I bring to you in large part due to Kym's own writings.

Thanks, Kym!

So it began as a countdown. I was admitted on Day -6, and I got two blood spigots directly into my heart. This was a surgical procedure and I was left with 4 tubes coming out of my chest. These would be used for chemo/blood/medicine/fluids. Days -5 and -4, I got chemo which made my stomach reject food and goo back onto the floor and my shoes. On days -3, -2, -1, and 0, I got TBI (total body irradiation) to kill all of my hematopoietic stem cells. I felt terrible, puked a lot, and got the only tan I'd have for months.

Day 0!

The day I get the transplant. Sorry to tell you all it's actually extremely anti-climactic. The donor basically sits there and gives blood that goes through a centrifuge that sifts out all the stem cells. Then I sit around and the cells are given to me like any other blood transfusion. They float around, hide out from observing eyes, search for food (kinda like fish!) and then eventually build their little huts in my bones and colonize it. But this time they don't give the natives smallpox, so everyone wins.

Kind of. They might not give the natives smallpox, but if there are any natives left, the new guys hunt down and destroy them in a very Darth Vaderesque way.

So there I were, sittin' around, when everything began to suck. A lot.

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