My days post-transplant have already settled into a welcome but not especially stimulating routine: vitals and a new nurse at 7:00, trying to sleep more till breakfast; sitting and working on something writing-related; a visitor (Kate) or two (my parents) before or at lunch; then a dozy period in the afternoon when I pretend to be working hard but am often really nodding in my chair; then exercise on my bike and a shower before dinner; more work and doziness after dinner; a book to relax till last labs and bedtime anytime between 10:00 and 11:00 PM; then a long struggle to fall asleep against the various tides pressing on my bladder and belly; then, finally, a wee-hours plea for whatever sleep-inducing meds they will let me have. My mouth is dry, and so is my throat, since my mucous membranes are disappearing quickly from all the radiation and chemo, but I can still eat and drink without serious discomfort.
This is really as good as it’s going to get for quite a while, until the new stem cells take root and start making me a new fresh immune system. The short-term goal is a largely negative one: to avoid getting a nasty infection that would make life significantly worse. So I’m not sure how meaningful my daily updates will be for the next little while; it’s tempting to post something every day, just for fun (as I’ve started doing on Facebook), but in essence no news is good news, and thus I may just check in with a thought, a link to a song, or something every day (as proof of life, if nothing else) rather than continue with detailed narratives of events that are already starting to seem repetitious.
In that spirit, here’s a link to a Dire Straits song (“Brothers in Arms”) that I want to dedicate to my brother James: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5JkHBC5lDs
I’ve loved this song since I heard it as a teenager, but I became obsessed with it during this past summer (well before I thought I’d need an allogeneic transplant with my brother’s stem cells) as I walked from home to the Cancer Center. The line about there being “so many different worlds” seemed to capture something bitterly true about the fragmentary nature human experience, and how wrapped up we can get in our own small lives, but the song’s calm acceptance of this uncomfortable cosmic fact gave me a certain serenity.