ON YOUR MARKS, GET SET…THE MYELOMA CHALLENGE

I’m 39 years old, no history of illness, Ironman finisher who has been diagnosed with myeloma. Did not see this coming. This blog summarises my journey from unexpected diagnosis through the treatment path. My aim is to use myeloma as a catalyst for living a better, more fulfilling life and documenting the changes I am making in all aspects of my family and work commitments.

Day One in the Big Brother house…

Trepidation, Flagellation, Revelation

 

And so it begins.

Monday the 21st heralded the next phase of operation “return to normality” with my first day on ward 27 of the Christie.

Jenn and I dragged two reluctant kids out of their beds at 0600 so they could be dropped with friends who form part of our insanely supportive network.

The fields of Ridley were bathed in sunshine, the sky was clear of clouds and as deep a blue in colour as one could expect to see off any tropical vista; for all intents and purposes,  despite knowing what the day was likely to hold, I felt alright.

I think that when you know something challenging is on the horizon well in advance, you go beyond nerves and just want to get it over and done with. It ceases to be a worry and morphs into an inconvenience.

And because of this reaction, I have thoroughly enjoyed and made the most of the last week.

Thanks to you all for the positive comments and messages which have kept any negative thoughts at bay.

I’m not concerned about the transplant process as its now just a case of getting on with it.

I just want it to work.

So, back to the day.

First visit was to get my heart checked out which was a doddle. Basically, the same kit used for pregnant lady scans. Only in my case, my heart.

All in order.

30 minutes later, I check into the unit where I was have a new Hickman line fitted.

Now the first time I had this, it was not pleasant but was tolerable. Took 35 minutes and apart from minor stinging pain from the local anaesthetic, was ok.

Not so today.

(WARNING: PG RATING. NEXT PARAGRAPH CONTAINS MINOR GRAPHICAL REFERENCES TO MEDICAL PROCEDURE)

I found out that scarring left from the previous line made it more difficult to insert the new cabling. A second doctor had to be called 50 minutes into the 40 minute procedure to give the pipe a good push, to break through the stubborn vein and muscle. I tensed up and was unable to differentiate between the sweat dripping from my neck and the blood that was  flowing from the insertion point!

Thankfully the doctor was a rock star and she kept me focussed by talking about whisky, commuting from Liverpool and life in Russia!

I’ll stop there but if you want any further details, I’ll happily provide you with the 50 Shades version offline!

Anyway, about an hour 20 later, it was in and I was knackered!

So next stop was the X-ray department, lunch with Jenn and back ooop to the ward to settle in.

Which is where am now, listening to the dulcet clicks and clacks of Baxter and from where I contemplate the shock and surprise at my own lack of self awareness.

I’m also mulling over whether to be appreciative at the consideration and sensitive nature of the Bunbury crew, or pissed off and suspicious at the whole village for their collective ability to hold a poker face in my company but no doubt, be sniggering at my inadvertent nod to 1950’s footballers when I headed home.

I won’t gloss over this; I’m sporting a comb over.

I looked in the mirror of my new en-suite room and was horrified at what stared back at me.

How did I not see this before? Why did no one tell me?

I had a blast of chemo about 4 weeks ago in the build up to the stem cell harvest and slowly but surely, my hair has been thinning with every gust of wind over 5 knots.

Maybe Charlton didn’t spot it either.

Regardless, I’m now having to reconsider my previously judgemental approach on the decisions people make regarding hair design.

Anyway, enough for now. I’m on the chemo so its just a waiting game  until it kicks in.

I’ll keep a note of goings on each day and let you know how things are on the other side of this.

Can’t wait until I’m told I have been evicted!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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5 Comments

  1. JIM & SHEILA 21st May 2018

    Hi Pete,
    Gawd, that sounds particularly gruelling and not for the faint of heart. Pity they couldn’t have given you a few drams of whisky rather than just talk about it..!!
    As hospital rooms go, it looks pretty good, and if you still have your appetite, we hope the food is 5-star….
    Thinking of you and looking forward to picking up your next update.
    Our very best thoughts and wishes.
    The Smarties

  2. Brenda Shipton 21st May 2018

    Hi Pete, Love your sense of humour. Dosn’t look a bad guest room, hope the company and food are as good. Looking forward too hearing from you again on your day too day progress. Keep smiling, take care. Love Brenda & Frank. xx

  3. Mike Day 21st May 2018

    Hope all goes well. Sounds like you had a very gruelling intro’ to the treatment. Good luck. Love to all

  4. Deirdre Chaves 22nd May 2018

    Ola, Pete! My Prayer Group & I are praying for you & your family… HE is giving you the strength & fortitude to bear all you are undergoing because, even if you believe it or not, HE loves you with a unique love.
    Thank you for sharing your positive & humorous ‘update’… it is so inspiring. Be assured of our continuous prayers here in Hong Kong. God bless you & yours. ( A friend of your aunt, Maggie 😀 )

  5. susan graham 23rd May 2018

    Hi Pete, Good luck with it all. My husband had a transplant two years ago (he’s 42 now) and we have two little girls. Your blog is brilliant and a great way to keep you sane through all of the hard times and will be a source of strength for other people going through this. You are obviously a very strong and positive person and that is what will get you through. I want to send lots of love to your wife and kids and your amazing support network too. My husband is back to his old self now and enjoys the things that he used to…BBQs and whisky mainly:) Best wishes Susan

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