Day 15.5: And the Cells Go Marching Home

17 Oct

So, there I was, reading Isaiah and enjoying my tea and biscuits (something I have grown accustomed to, living in Russia and with British neighbors) when my nice morning nurse pops in solemnly and lays a CPAP looking mask next to my bed.  She is wordless in her work, which is odd for her, since we usually exchange awkward, poorly translated greetings.  Then another nurse enters and moves my bed to the center of the room and adds a huge beeping machine to my now wiped clean bedside table.  I observe all of this from my corner seat, over the brim of my tea cup, and quip to my Facebook friends, “Oh boy! People are starting to pop in and drop off little bits of equipment. And now my bed is being moved around. It’s starting to get creepy up in here. I’m a brave camper. I’m a brave camper. I’m a brave camper.”

I wasn’t really scared, but I was suddenly quite aware that a huge production was about to take place.  I was told to remove my pants and leave on only my camisole top and underwear.  They laid protective plastic on the bed and told me to lay down.  This is when I started to think, “Just how under am I going!?”

Monitors were glued to my chest and attached to my finger, while other nurses wheeled in IV poles which seemed to run a constant drip of something or another from more than 4 bottles.

Dr. Fedorenko arrived, his eyes bluer than blue and his face gleaming at what was about to happen (I guess this is how doctors look when they know they can help.  I have seen few doctors who beam like he does.)

He set down on the floor a big tin looking bucket and cracked it open just a smidge to let me see the smoke from the ice.  He even tossed a handful of it on the floor so I could see it scatter.  He says, “Here are your stem cells, minus two hundred which were not perfect.”

He instructed the nurses to put the mask on my face and then told me that I needed to be prepared for some strange and perhaps painful feelings, but not to worry.  He told me to breathe deeply, and I did.

Within about one minute, I felt as though I had literally swallowed a fire hot coal, which tasted oddly of creamed corn (not an unusual taste for this process as creamed corn and stem cells use a similar preservative.  interesting side note)  The feeling of heat was actually the feeling of extreme cold, as the stem cells were introduced to my hickman line.  Moments later, this same heat became like a heavy weight in my chest and I started to feel as though I had been buried in snow.  I realized that I had started holding my breath as these sensations were pummeling me, so I calmed a bit and took in some deep breaths of the sweet, sweet nitrous.

I woke about an hour later to nurses removing my mask and telling me to breathe deeply.  Dr. Fedorenko was right there and asked if I had urinated.  Unsure, I shifted slightly, and happily replied, “Nyet!”  A bedside toilet was brought to my bed and I was instructed to do so immediately.  The good doctor returned within minutes to inspect my production and exclaimed that the first hurdle was over!  While it seemed a small deal to me, it turns out that the stem cells can sometimes get confused and exit improperly.  My smart little guys have gone to their homes, or are the very least sitting at a roadside diner and mapping the course.

It took me about two hours to be able to get out of bed comfortably and slightly more than that to feel ready to tell this tale.  I spent some glorious time in Isaiah right before the procedure, and went right back as soon as I could when it was over.  I am going to close this post with what I read, and then transcribed to my journal, all the while hearing God’s deep laughter and, “See?  I told you so!  I TOLD you so!!”

“Shake off your dust, rise up, sit enthroned, O Jerusalem!  Free yourself from the chains on your neck, O Captive daughter of Zion.  For this is what the LORD says: You were sold for nothing and without money you will be redeemed.”

8 Responses to “Day 15.5: And the Cells Go Marching Home”

  1. Brooke Slick October 17, 2012 at 11:14 am #

    Every time I read one of your posts, I start welling up and welling up, and it builds, and builds, and, then, tears of triumph start streaming down my face. The thing is, I’m totally not a cryer (and my makeup is shot). This post in particular brings to mind, let’s say, a dolphin who’s been caught in a fisherman’s net and is finally set free to cheers of onlookers from the shoreline. They’re jumping up and down (while fist-pumping). Screaming, “Go, Amy! Gooooo!”

    Brave camper?!! Let’s face it, sister, I think you own the campground, now. 🙂


    • ericswife October 17, 2012 at 11:18 am #

      I like that picture (the dolphins, not your poor make-up). My chains are gone. I’ve been set free. My God, my Savior has ransomed me. Ready for what’s next!!

    • Stacy Courtney October 17, 2012 at 12:56 pm #

      I am in complete agreement with Brooke. I have chills running through me! Go, Amy, go!!!!!

  2. Wendy Nash October 17, 2012 at 11:24 am #

    That is so different than how I experienced my stemmies going back in. Wow! I never heard about the possibility of losing them thru urination. I quite readily remember the “corn smell” though. What a wonderful experience and now you begin the wonderful healing process of getting all better! Praise be to God and to Him the Glory! Love love love your posts! Thank you.

    • ericswife October 17, 2012 at 11:29 am #

      I suspect HSCT is a lot like labor: everyone has a different story, but most have a bouncing happy baby to show for their efforts. Thank you for your constant cheerleading and encouragement! xoxox

  3. Mike Glenn October 17, 2012 at 1:28 pm #

    WOW!!!!! What encouragement God’s Word is….Amy, thank you so much for sharing your experience in light of what God is telling you through the reading of His Word….The two are certainly entertwined…..God continues to be faithful to you daily…He is taking care of you and reconfirming you are where you are supposed to be…

  4. Linda Luckstead Benskin October 17, 2012 at 3:50 pm #

    Dr. Fedorenko really must learn that your recovery is not ALL due to his cleverness and skill – somehow he needs to understand that he is just the tool God has chosen to use to rebuild you.

  5. Anna-Marie October 17, 2012 at 8:18 pm #

    I have been following your bravery! I am so cheering for this process! My prayers will continue as you heal! So love the scripture! God so rocks & our humanness can stifle this realization! Keep strong!

Honest Truth About Me: I'm going to need a lot of cheer leading to see this through. Your comments and encouragement mean the world to me.

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