Feeling Thankful!

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!

step

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!!)

Thank you!!!

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 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!

 

 

 

 

4 thoughts on “Feeling Thankful!

  1. Lucy

    Hi Emma, I have been following your blog since I was diagnosed with Hypoplastic MDS RCMD in May 2016. I am under the care of King’s also. I am early 40’s with 2 young children and have been told I will need a transplant in the next year or so. Currently on watch and wait and finding it very tough mentally. Logically I know worrying, imagining the worst etc doesn’t help but I am scared, especially because of my kids. Knowing what you know now do you have any advice as to how to prepare mentally and physically for what’s coming up? I am doing meditation/mindfulness and yoga plus I try to do some hiit sessions and walking a few times a week. Given your knowledge of exercise would you suggest focussing on cardio or building muscle or both or much more on the yoga type strength? I am lucky in that I am well enough to exercise. Any tips would be greatly appreciated. Also, were you ever told you had short telomeres? ? Thank you very much

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  2. Hi Lucy,
    Sorry to hear that your MDS is progressing to need a transplant. I think the waiting and anticipation is usually the worst part to be honest, so getting through that is tough!

    It sounds like you are doing all the right things exercise wise! Basically think about it like what can I do best to prepare my body for being pumped full of poison and some in activity. I would aim to get as strong and fit as I can BUT without draining myself! Building muscle is quite important as you are likely to be less active when in hospital so can get quite a bit of muscle wastage. If i’m honest though any sort of exercise would be great for both your body and mindset! Also you can begin to think of workouts/exercises you can do in your hospital room, yoga is great for this – you can usually move your hospital bed to one side and then there is plenty of room to get your mat on the floor!

    You are going to have a lot of hospital appointments and inpatient time ahead of you so I would prepare your head for what to do in this time. I usually take knitting/crochet with me as I can’t concentrate on reading books when in clinic.

    Finally – don’t stop living your life in the meantime!

    Em

    P.S when are you next at kings?

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    1. Lucy

      Thanks Emma, really helpful. I am there on the 7th and 29th March….I definitely need some sort of craft thing but am generally hopeless! I tried adult colouring but it’s not for me…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Doesn’t have to be crafting, just something to keep your brain occupied! I think unfortunately we might not cross paths, but I will certainly let you know if I will be around then. Good luck! x

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