Today marks one year from receiving my new stem cells. The one year anniversary of my “rebirth”, my new life, new beginnings, my third chance at life!
Here I would like to say thank you to my two stem cell donors. Without both of them I certainly would not be here today. I would also like to say thank you to all of those who have joined the register as you could have been a match for me, but more importantly you could still be a match for someone else.
I am also so grateful and deem myself so lucky to have had the funds approved for this second transplant. At the time, I didn’t realise quite how lucky I was. It is only now where I am having to watch people die and suffer whist waiting for funds to be approved (if they get approved at all) that I do realise.
This time last year I was in a hospital bed, feeling lousy, but not yet the full effects of my chemo. I was weak from the past 4 months of hospital stays with various infections and previous rounds of chemo but my spirits were relatively high in the hope that this would get rid of the cancer for good.
As I write this (3rd Jan) I have just been planning a step aerobics class to teach tonight. Who would think that one year on I would be back teaching aerobics again? I certainly didn’t! As this was the 3rd time my MDS had relapsed and after a rocky recovery period I thought I would be a participant for the rest of my life especially given that at some points in my recovery I could barely walk a mile. But yesterday I taught my first freestyle aerobics class and tonight I will teach my 5th step class!
Fatigue is still an issue but can be worked around – teaching an aerobics class is one hour out of my day so it’s easy to nap around it! The next step is now in progress with setting up a plan for returning to my main occupation in loyalty analytics. This is a huge step in getting me back to normality, however I have already decided that this will only be part time. After going through so much in the last 1.5 years (well 12 years if you consider the whole journey!!) I have realised that I want to ensure I make time for me and my health and working part time is part of this.
So back to work in the next few months – fantastic – BUT the main take away from this is that I’m well enough to work! I’m not stuck in a hospital bed. I’ve managed to fight off some mini infections without having IV antibiotics being pumped into me. I’m physically strong enough to teach an aerobics/weights class. I’m mentally strong enough to be considering taking on new challenges of going back to work. Ignoring work I’ve managed to travel abroad . Heck – I’m doing my own washing, driving myself around, going shopping, cooking my own dinner, reading books again, crafting again, etc etc! Anyone that has been through similar illnesses will know what big wins these are 🙂
However all of this could not have been achieved without the generosity of my two German donors. (And yes German – because there aren’t enough of you Brits on the register! If this isn’t a good enough reason to sign up then I don’t know what is!!)
I had a group of friends from work come in to support me (much frowned on by the nurses but we managed to convince them to let them all in!) and we had a good giggle and celebration as my new stem cells entered my blood stream!