Plan Bot. Activated.

August 12th, 2015

[Warning, this post was written under the influence of hydrocodone and champagne.]

I had a headache yesterday, my side hurt, and blech. I started running a low-grade fever. If it gets to 100.4, then I’m supposed to page the doc and maybe go to the emergency room. The highest it got was 99.6. Phew. Last night, I took a hydrocodone, and it made everything stop hurting. La! Who knew? Then I had a glass of wine, and another, and then a Xanax. Totally legitimate—right?—and fun. I’m my own damn party.

I spent the evening back-talking the news anchors while Chris played Sudoku and occasionally patted my leg when I said something stupid. And now, my back is killing me and my hips ache. These are good signs—and boom—I just took another hydrocodone. Suck it, bone pain. I’m having champagne and popcorn for dinner.

Tomorrow (Thursday), I have my stem cells harvested. The harvesting procedure will take 4 to 6 hours. They will place a central line in my neck, and then I will go to the blood lab and sit in a chair. They will hook a 3- (or 4-?) pronged tube to my central line. My blood will flow into a machine where it will be centrifuged, and the stem cells will fall to the bottom (because they are heavy). They will be harvested, and then my blood will flow back into me though a different line, minus the stem cells and some plasma. Science is the BEST.

Once the process starts, I am not allowed to move from the chair. If you’ve been following along, then you know there is an issue with pee. Answer: Bedpan. I’m pondering the best possible outfit for a bedpan. Gucci? Hermes?

If they get enough cells on Thursday, I will be released into the wild. If they don’t, I will have to return to Northwestern on Friday for a repeat of the procedure.

Here are some details: My worst-case scenario flight home arrives Friday, August 14 at around midnight. If I have enough cells on Thursday, I could be home as early as Friday afternoon, and I’m trying not to obsess about this possibility.

On Saturday, Chris will drive halfway to Pennsylvania to bring our kids home to me.

I’ll be home for three weeks, then I return September 7 for three weeks in the bubble, which is actually just a hospital room, and it isn’t even round.* This visit was only two weeks and it was actually, mostly, a lot of fun. Only one day of chemo, and only a few days of feeling too crappy to leave the bed. But September. Well, it’s 4 days of chemo in a row (cyclophosphamide mensa) with antithymocyte globulin (ATG), a day of rest, and then on September 15, I get my stem cells back. I’ll be in the hospital room the entire time. To even walk the halls of the unit, I have to wear a mask and gloves. They will release me when I have enough of an immune system. With any luck, that’ll be before Maddy’s 12th birthday on September 28.

When Chris brings the kids to me on Saturday, I’m going to swallow them whole, and they’ll never be seen again because I will have eaten them alive. (Actually, I think we’ll just go to Baja Burrito. But some snuggling is going to happen, for sure. I also think I’ll let them give me haircuts: the hair is slated to fall out on Saturday or Sunday anyway. Maddy said that she’s going to give me a mullet. Zach thinks Mohawk, so Maddy goes first.)

I just went in to tell Chris—hey, this Sunday, let’s have all of Maddy’s friends over. I’ll bake them a cake! (That last bit was the hydrocodone talking. I don’t normally bake cakes.) Chris was on a conference call, so he just frowned at me. Maddy’s been so sad—she’s scared—and I think what she needs is a big dose of her wild friends. Zach too. I think I need a dose of my wild friends, too. You’ll be hearing from me soon.

*Chris wants you to know that, technically, a bubble is spherical, not round.**

**He wants you to know that, it’s not that it’s not round, it’s just that spherical is a more precise definition.***

***He’s going to stop talking to me until I hit the publish button.

12 Responses to “Plan Bot. Activated.”

  1. Laurie J. Edwards on August 12, 2015 11:54 pm

    No bubble? That sounded so cool.

    Here’s hoping you get released into the wild early.

  2. Jenny on August 13, 2015 6:24 am

    I’ll be thinking about you and sending good vibes your way today!

  3. David Kwee on August 13, 2015 7:19 am

    Champagne and popcorn? Dinner of marrow-stimulated champions!

    Hang in there.

  4. Mom on August 13, 2015 7:49 am

    Ii’ll send you a spritz of Reiki cake.

  5. Wons on August 13, 2015 8:13 am

    Looking forward to hearing what’s funny about stem cell harvesting :). Will be thinking of you today!

  6. Heather on August 13, 2015 9:32 am

    Go, go go!! Today is the big day…sending you lots of immune-boosting vibes!

  7. Liz on August 13, 2015 2:53 pm

    May you be the Queen of the Harvest.

  8. Pat on August 13, 2015 11:07 pm

    Genius idea about the haircuts. Have fun with the booze and drugs!

  9. Shelley J on August 15, 2015 8:17 pm

    Booze, drugs, popcorn and haircuts. You’re a wild one. Rock on!!

  10. Melanie Moran on August 17, 2015 12:45 pm

    You are doing such a good job taking care of yourself, and your family. A beautiful, delicate balance.

  11. Julia on August 19, 2015 2:39 pm

    Very excited for pictures of these haircuts. You are amazing.

  12. Kim on September 8, 2015 5:46 am

    when i was taking my chemo i couldn’t do buffets too many germs…..i also joined you in the hair cutting before it fell out gig …. totally fun!!!!! i bet your kids had a ball!!!!!!!

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