Day +180: Milestones.

Day +180. I made it. We’re here. One-hundred and eighty days post transplant and the graft is stable, things are looking good, and life is slowly returning to ‘normal’. I look back to the last “day +180” from the first transplant and think about how differently things went this time around. Nothing quite sums up the relief, gratitude, and peace of mind I feel than, “Whew. It’s working.”

Other than day +180 being a huge milestone, a few other things have happened in the meanwhile.

I turned 28. Yep, I’ve officially entered my late 20s. To be honest, my birthday this year was pretty anti-climactic with day +180 being a few weeks later. Ever since having the transplant, major holidays and celebrations that once were important just aren’t as meaningful to me anymore. Because so much of the last 18 months had me on a tumultuous roller coaster of extreme highs and deep lows with blood counts varying week to week, the significance of dates and events shifted to health “wins.” That’s not to say I didn’t celebrate my birthday, don’t get me wrong. I was treated to a fancy, delicious dinner and trips to a few museums & Alcatraz by Ricky; had an amazing home cooked meal from my roommates; a relaxing afternoon in the park with the old BAL crew; a joint birthday shindig with Isaac; and a bunch of wonderful birthday cards and gifts from some lovely friends both here in SF and around the world. I think #year28 is off to a great start.

I returned to work. The wonderful people in the Weissman and Walter labs welcomed me with open arms this week as I came back to work. It’s be so wonderful getting to catch up with people, meet the new folks, and see how everyone has been doing. It’s been great getting back into a daily routine and having somewhere to be. I’m excited to really jump into a new project to get my brain juices flowing again. 🙂

I had my first round of immunizations. I’m as immune as a 6 month old baby! That’s right. This week, I got five shots which comprise the first set of immunizations for a stem cell transplant recipient, or infant. TDaP (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis), polio, hepatitis B, Hib (haemophilus influenzae b), and PCV13 (pneumococcal conjugate vaccine 13). The shots didn’t hurt too badly, but my arms were sore for a few days afterwards. The next few months I’ll be getting more shots to help gain immunity against these nasty bugs. The worst part: I didn’t get a lollipop.

Overall, life is slowly getting back to normal as I’m reintegrating things and rebuilding myself. I’m excited for the next few weeks and all the exciting things to come!


Day +162: Stability.

Day +162. My counts are still stable with the HgB at 11.5 g/dL, WBCs at 4.5 x10e9/L, ANC at 2.18 x10e9/L, platelets at 143 x10e9/L, the latter three all in the normal range. My body still doesn’t seem to like making RBCs, but it’s doing the best it can with elevated reticulocytes (RBC pre-cursors) at 100.5 x10e9/L.

Overall, my health is good, stable. I’m currently combatting a few graft versus host disease (GVHD) things like skin rash (which looks like goose bumps, everywhere) and some other things that have popped up since I’ve been immunosuppressed that I won’t get into. Lately, most of my focus and energy has been dedicated to getting back into physical and emotional shape. I can’t say that any part of this process has been easy, but the past few weeks have been pretty tough. I know I can run 5 miles or work out for an hour, but my body’s not fit enough for it yet, and this disconnect is super frustrating. As with any person who is trying to get back into shape, perseverance and commitment are crucial to achieving one’s goals, but I’m having a hard time drawing a line between laziness and overexertion. So, I’m learning to accept my current state and to press forward.

I’ll be returning to work in about a week, and I’m pretty excited! I’m ready to get back to a regular schedule and start doing more productive things with my time and my brain. I’ll be returning full-time, and I’m confident I’m ready for it. Hopefully all the yoga and outside activities I’ve been doing have prepped me enough! 🙂

If you haven’t noticed by now, I’ve been posted much less frequently than before. My motivations for this are two-fold: 1) because my health is stable, there is less to update friends and family with online; 2) I’ve been focusing on spending more time and energy on myself whether it be going out for walks, journaling, or spending time with friends. I will keep writing updates periodically as my condition improves (or worsens!), but I won’t be writing weekly anymore. I would like to take this time to thank you, dear reader, for your interest and time in reading and keeping up with this epic saga. I really can’t express how grateful I am for you, whether I know you or not, for putting forth your energy and existence into the universe; it really has helped me more than you know.