Thursday, May 29, 2014

Day +138: Rainy Days And Steroids

Today, I am day +138.

Recovery is going well except for this annoying mild skin graft-vs-host disease (GVHD). It's mild but the itchiness is annoying. I am not looking forward to the summer heat and humidity because the past two humid days, my skin was so itchy and I was miserable.

Last week, my doctor decided to put me on a low dose of Prednisone to treat my skin GVHD. I've been taking it for six days and it's really helping with the skin rash and itchiness. I really don't want to be on steroids for a long time, as it makes me feel crappy, but since this is a low dose, it's very well tolerable. I am hoping this will really help with my skin GVHD.

Although I am taking a low dose of Prednisone, I've noticed that my vision has been blurry. Also, my head feels fuzzy and heavy most of the time. I am not so sure if these symptoms are from the steroids or just allergies. My major concern now is getting this skin GVHD treated.

Well, it's a short update from me. Most days, I feel close to normal, but I am taking things slowly. My hair is slowly growing, and my appetite is slowly getting better. Although there are many things I can't eat yet, I am happy that my taste buds are almost back to normal. Life can be miserable when your taste buds are out of whack.

It's rainy. No matter what the weather's like, I am thankful.

Today is a good day to bake some Chocolate and Apricot Squares.

Saturday, May 17, 2014


We were driving to Mt. Airy to check out a yard sale when Mom got a call.

"Steve died last night!"

We froze. Mom was speechless.

We met Steve and his wife, when I was getting chemo at the hospital. I was in the midst of my treatment when he started his. At that time, we were both getting a bone-marrow transplant (BMT). I was being treated for Aplastic Anemia and he was being treated for MDS. I think our families bonded because we were all going through a difficult journey. While I was quarantined in my room, my parents would spent hours chatting with Steve's wife.

Although our families have not kept in contact since I was discharged, aside from the occasional short talks when we ran to each other at the hospital for our weekly check-ups, the news of his death plunged a deep dagger of pain and sadness in my heart. Perhaps because I have an idea of what he went through especially that our treatment were similar. Perhaps because I know that surviving a bone-marrow transplant process doesn't guarantee full remission. Perhaps because I understand that we're here for just a short time and anything, I mean anything can happen from this moment to the next. Perhaps because I realized that for anyone who faces a life-threatening disease, death is a possibility.

I don't remember when, but the last time I saw Steve was when he was standing in front of the pharmacy waiting for his meds. He looked well and strong. I was chatting with his wife at that time and he looked like he was on track to full recovery. According to his wife, Steve survived prostate and stomach cancer. The MDS was caused by the harsh chemotherapy treatments he received for both diseases.

Steve is a true survivor. Having survived two cancers, he didn't concede to defeat. While going through chemo, he and his wife were inseparable. He'd go to the grocery store wearing a mask with his wife. He was strength in times of weakness.

We meet people for a reason and purpose.

I saw him as a symbol of strength and survival. He neither let cancer rule his life nor take his will to survive. He kept fighting until the end.

I pray for Steve and his family. That they may find comfort and strength in this difficult time.

Today, I am +126 days old from transplant.