Today marks two weeks that I have been in the hospital and one week since the transplant. I am feeling better than I expected to feel at this point. A bit tired today and I will probably need another couple of bags of red blood tomorrow or the next day. But that should keep me going for a while.
I am entering a phase in which my white counts are in the cellar. The name of the phase is aplasia, the lack of a regenerating immune system. With respect to infection it’s an especially risky time. But various stores of antibiotics stand ready to be tapped. I’m already taking some antibiotics, both prophylactically and in response to a gastro-intestinal bug. Still there could be need of more. There is no re-building the new immune system without the counts bottoming out. So, this phase must be gone through. For patients who have had leukemia the average waiting time after transplant before the first signs of rebuilding are measured is fourteen days. Leukemia is not my disease; so the average might be slightly different. But not very much, I think. Maybe in a week there will be some signs.
I received a letter today from my donor, written the day after he donated the cells. It was strange and wonderful to receive. There is this person out there, whom I don’t know; he has just rescued me; and now he is writing to me. He told me of his thoughts for my family and friends, how happy he was to help, and that I will never be alone. A gracious and beautiful gesture of compassion and support. I am speechless.