Road to Recovery

I shared my stresses and gave a glimpse at my daughter’s wedding but probably what everyone really wants to know how Scott managed during my little vacation.  Well, as I expected; he did just fine without me.  He was in very capable hands with his big bossy sister – her words and not mine – and her husband Dennis. 

Illustration of a Hickman Catheter used for magnesium IV after BMT transplant

While we were doing our training before we left, Dennis disclosed the fact that he was a little “anal”; but comfortable with it.  Without skipping a beat, I commented something to the effect that his disclosure was not exactly a news flash.  We laughed it off and I told him that I too tended to be a little “picky” and that was why I was comfortable leaving him in charge of the IV duties.  Being very careful and meticulous is perfect when administering medication through a device that dumps fluids into a major artery in Scott’s chest that flows directly to his heart.  I’ve grown pretty comfortable with it, but it was very intimidating in the beginning. 

While Dennis was in charge of the IV, Kathy was the round-the-clock watch and chief food pusher.  When I first started dating Scott, his mother was lovingly known as a food pusher.  For many years, she cooked for a house full of kids or farm workers and was very good at encouraging everyone to eat until everything was gone.  In recent years she’s retired her apron and relinquished her title.  Monday’s weigh-in had Scott weighing two pounds more than the previous week so Kathy did her job. I think she is ready to assume the title and run with the torch. 

Kathy and Scott did a little tooling around in the ’84 Chevy while I was away.

A friend messaged me Monday and gave me a nugget that I should have figured out myself.  She reminded me that we all need to be helpful or needed and that by giving Scott’s family a chance to help was giving them a gift.  I think that’s very true.  If the shoes were on the other feet, I would feel that way for sure.  I think they enjoyed some quality time together that will remain in their memories much like the memories that were made at the wedding. 

Speaking of putting on a couple pounds, that brings me back the topic of BMI.  Medical News Today indicates that “A BMI of between 18.5 and 24.9 is ideal.”  I wish I could share with them a photo of my naked husband with a BMI of 20.  His medical chart lists him as severely malnutrition and that is nothing short of the truth.  With many insurance companies using this guideline to place additional costs on subscribers, it’s something that more of us should raise question to.  Not to mention the millions of men and women with body image issues that are using this as their measuring stick to the perfect body size.    

It’s often said that it takes a village to raise a child.  At the same time it takes a network to help raise the spirits of a loved one that’s gone through a serious health scare.  Not only did Scott get excellent care while I was gone, I think Scott needed a change of pace as did I.  Fortunately, his family is near and available.  I’m sad for the number of people that don’t have friends and family that can help out with respite care.

Something else I’ve learned is that post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD is often diagnosed with cancer patients.   It can happen any time from diagnosis to later in recovery.  Depression does run in Scott’s family so it’s something I’m watching for. I don’t feel we are there but there could come a day where we decide that some type of counseling might be helpful.  Even with all the support he has gotten from friends, family and people we don’t even know; he still has days that he wonders if he will ever be the same again.  If the transplant will work and if so, how long will he be symptom free.  All things I often fear myself, but we don’t discuss often.   No one can really understand what it feels like to go through such a process.  From our experience, it’s clear that everyone’s experience is different.  You can try and educate yourself and prepare but only God knows what is around the next corner.  We continue to experience the unexplainable.  Just when you get to a point where you don’t know how much longer you can do what you’re doing when what you’re doing isn’t working, then something changes and the path takes a turn.  Giving you a fresh perspective allowing you to hope and try again tomorrow.

After returning Sunday afternoon, I made the trip back home to do payroll and gather Scott and our things to head back to the Lake house.  We’ve become those people that wear masks in the car.  Since weddings seem to be COVID super spreading events, we are social distancing and masking.  So far, the only person we know of that had it and didn’t know it was someone I didn’t socialize with.  Prayers and fingers crossed that she will get through it ok as she already has some existing health problems.

Nothing beats Michigan fall colors

Monday, we left the lake house at 8 a.m. and returned at 7 p.m.  It’s hard to believe it can take that long; but there’s the hour drive and parking and getting to the necessary department.  Blood work and wait.  Meet with the doctor and wait.  Blood transfusions and wait.  Then back home.  While gas prices could be better, the fall colors have been outstanding this year which helps make all this time on the road more enjoyable. I think we’ve traveled about every back road between here and Ann Arbor by now.

Two months post-transplant and his platelets are finally up to 50(000); on a slow climb. The low end of the desirable range is 150(000).  Pretty much all activities are restricted under 50k but even at 50k his energy level isn’t where he would want to take on a lot of activity yet.  Getting over the cold should help get him back to a place where he wants to go for walks again. I don’t know how many more hours of Grit TV and Storage Wars we can watch. When we sneak home we watch Yellowstone on the big television.

His sense of taste and smell is still off but we are slowly adding more to the menu.  Talking with Kathy about things he will eat, I realized that almost everything he wants to eat is cream colored.  In talking with a few others that have experienced cancer and chemotherapy, they echoed the same experience.  He went through a phase of drinking hot tea but still really isn’t drinking more than a few swallows of coffee. Oatmeal, cereal, puddings, ice cream and squash are a few of his favorites.  Mac and cheese was a hit for a while too.

For those that know him, most are shocked that he hasn’t eaten meat yet.  He’s attempted fried chicken with a little success and actually managed to eat a few Kowalski hot dogs.  Of all things; hot dogs.  No red meat yet.  They say that BMT patients can acquire the allergies of their donor; but I wouldn’t think they would acquire a new food palate. It would certainly be shocking if Scott became a vegan at this point.  Will we find that he not only retired from cattle farming but from eating red meat as well?  That’s something I can’t imagine; but then what about the last year could I have anticipated.  I guess time will tell. 

I have no idea why I took this picture but I love it. I think the natural lighting made me do it. Vacation in Cozumel 2022

4 thoughts on “Road to Recovery

  1. I understand that Scott’s experience is much more than the type of cancer I had, but your thoughts are right on how I felt about most of it. Hang in there, you’re doing what works for the two of you! I head back to AA the first part of November & while I expect and hope/pray the results will be clean…. I always am anxious and think Jim is too. Jim is getting a complete knee replacement Dec 12 so Imget to repay him for all the caregiving he gave me…. Hugs and continued prayers always!! ❤️🙏❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Don’t we know Better than ever before This Year.. That life can make unexpected turns.. and we find ourselves learning New ways of thinking..of living..We understand more about what’s important to us..
    True Love.. and finding something to make you both Laugh…
    At least once a day ..🫤🤣😎👍..
    Sending love 💕.. every minute of every day 💗.


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