WE ARE HOME!!!
My husband, Tim, and I boarded a flight from Frankfurt this past Sunday to head back home to Boston (Duxbury, MA). It was a beautiful sunny Sunday morning! I felt God’s caring spirit bidding us a safe trip home! This past month has been a challenge for me to say the least but I survived it just fine. And the million dollar question: Toni, would you do this treatment again if you had to? My answer to this would be an emphatic YES!!!
I owe you an apology for not staying in touch this past month. My waves of sickness were relentless and unfortunately for all of you, the last thing I felt like doing was battling the inconsistent hospital internet service while my dreadful sickness decided to keep a strong hold of me so please forgive me for not staying in touch!
There is not a single day that passes that I continue to feel grateful for our Lord’s blessings and all that he has given me and my family during this journey. I will never forget all the exceptional care that I was fortunate to receive in Heildelberg, especially during this challenging month.
As you remember from my last posting, I received an aggressive week of chemotherapy and seemed to get through it just fine after my initial allergic reaction on the first day. After the week of chemotherapy, things did begin to turn into more of a challenge. Soon after my new stem cell birthday, September 17, 2013, a few annoying but painful reactions arrived and decided to settle in for awhile. First, the aggressive nature of the chemotherapy I received created complications with my gastrointestinal tract. This post chemotherapy complication (Mucositis) and is quite common and is graded #1–#4, with #4 being the most severe. Unfortunately, my oncologist shared with me that my case was a confirmed grade #4 and that it would take a few weeks for me to recover. Regardless of how terrible I was feeling! my walk each day and my daily visit with my physical therapist helped me focus on staying positive and to ride out this stomach…….Oh, did I mention how fabulous the medical team of doctors and nurses were with all of this????
The additional post chemotherapy complication I have been dealing with is an itchy rash that has basically wreaked havoc on sleeping each night. The rash may have been a reaction to the many drugs I received and I am hoping that it will not continue much longer!
Ok, enough with the complaining! This past week, while waiting for my approval to head home, I continued to take daily walks each day after breakfast but It took me awhile to get in the routine of walking. Getting myself out of bed each morning was a real struggle but I was determined to keep getting some exercise each day. While still at the hospital, I had started on a stationery bike with my Physical Therapist and then was able to transition into walking 15 minutes each day. It is still a challenge to me but I continue to make it a priority as it has continued to keep my spirits high. Here I am with my Physical Therapist, Andrea!
One thing that continued to keep me motivated to walk each day was seeing the bikers that I would greet! These Germans do get their exercise rain, or shine! What’s remarkable to see here is the designated bike path that greets you everywhere you go! Gosh, wouldn’t a bike path be great to have in our neighborhoods?
I’m sure all of you, those with MS and those without, may be wondering what’s next, Toni. Did your treatment work? It all depends on how one defines “work”. I can only speak in terms of what I know as far as the treatment I received. The intense chemotherapy coupled with the return of healthy MS-free stem cells, has allow my body to hit the reset button. I no longer am at the mercy of MS relapses or those dreadful drugs. I will receive confirmation of my state of my MS at my next MRI appointment with my neurologist this coming Spring!
Currently, I am desperately trying to keep the virtue of “patience” front and center in my life, I will need to keep reminding myself that this recovery will be a long and arduous one. You should all know that the aggressive chemotherapy I received will continually remind me that there will be days that I am able to go for a walk and other days, that it will not be possible. I’ll need to remind myself that my new immune system will require months to recover and become operational again. I feel this limitation now and although very concerned about it, I know the wonderful medical care I will be receiving now that I’m back will keep focused and on track to my journey for wellness. I will need months to heal from all the damage that occurred from my MS disease and will also need months of healing from the chemotherapy treatment that I received. I have God’s grace and guidance helping me through this from the beginning of my journey and I know he will be there now for me!
Here, I am posing enthusiastically this past Friday for a picture before I head into my final medical check with Dr. Blank. My visit was a great one with Dr. Blank and he gave me all the confidence to proceed with my flight back home on Sunday! Also pictured here is my my stem cell birthday, September 17, 2013 🙂 A day I will never forget!
God Bless You!