On July 17, I had an awesome visit with my Stanford bone marrow transplant doctor, Dr. Robert Lowsky. The date of the appointment was exactly nine months since I was diagnosed with leukemia; now the cancer is gone and the doctor says I’m doing great! I am grateful beyond belief. Here’s the update:
- He says my blood counts and chemistry are “excellent.” The white cells are still below “normal” levels but that is because I’m on the immunosuppressant Prograf to keep my donor’s immune system calm and happy inside my body.
- I can go to dances now without my HEPA filter mask— yee-haw! Ecstatic dancing is one of my main forms of being social and exercising. It is so much more fun (and easier to breathe) without the mask. I took full advantage of this new freedom last weekend by attending the Dance Camp reunion and Open Floor dances. These DJ dances are free of alcohol and drugs; we use dance as a form of meditation; there is no talking on the dance floor.
- I still have to stay out of the sun to avoid getting a rash, and I’m still using the cortisone cream, but I don’t have to go on oral prednisone. Staying out of the sun should keep it that way.
- I’ve had a weird “electric” type of sensation in my lower spine when I look down for about a month now – my doctor said I should start exercising more to rebuild my muscles. The sensation is still there, but exercising more seems to be lessening the feeling. I ride my bike or walk at dusk each evening, dance a couple of times a week, use my stationary bike, and am doing yoga regularly.
- I have permission to start the next level of yoga teacher training (500 hour program) in October; Dr. Lowsky encouraged me to start doing more yoga now to build up to this, so I’ve been practicing for an hour each morning.
At this point – on Day +127 since the BMT – I seem to have regained about 50 percent of my energy level. I still get tired, nap each day, do a lot of resting, and have some stomach issues, but I’m definitely improving! I have a confidence now that the leukemia is gone forever.
I’m meditating on harmonizing my body with my donor’s immune system, bone marrow and blood. It’s amazing to realize that at this point in the process all of the blood in my body is from the cells of my donor, “Mr. International.” While I’m still restricted with what I can do right now, I’m visualizing myself fully healthy, thriving and able to go out in the sun again someday. In the meantime, I have the curtains drawn and I’m doing a lot of reading, watching movies, enjoying short visits with healthy friends at my house, and happy to be alive.