Yuck – the downward slide begins

It’s a Tuesday afternoon, day after my stem cells were returned to my system, nauseated, diarrhea, no appetite, no energy and a long way to go.

That’s a downer but also reality. And again, this is day one of the crash.

A very brief review of this procedure which hopefully will arrest my Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma: two weeks ago I had stem cells harvested from my blood supply. I had chemo therapy six days last week and then Monday the cells were returned. It’s simple, they strip you down to nothing – to clear any traces of cancer – then allow your good clean  cells to build you back up.


my blood

Yup, frozen package of my stem cells.

Monday, before stem cells were returned, my white count was 4600 – and that’s within normal ranges. But once this process kicks in, it all goes to heck. This morning my count was 600. That means I’m virtually defenseless against infection. That requires wearing a fairly heavy breathing mask anywhere outside the home I’m staying in and watching for every piece of dirt or germ. I don’t move around much. Suffice to say, I wash my hands a lot. We’re doing laundry daily. No one can enter the house without a mask.


The doctors and nurses tell me it will take about a week to rebound. I go in every morning for blood count and testing. I get a daily shot of Neupogen, sort of a fertizlier for my cells. The staff checks all bodily functions to keep me going. I’m taking 4-5 antibiotics to fill in for my depleted natural immunity.

This is the barbaric nature of cancer treatment for many today. The things described in the first paragragh above are probably only going to get worse. Pause for a second – political comment coming – how anyone in my seat and in much worse and dire conditions, feels when they read about a presidential budget cutting  cancer research.

There, got that out of the way.





About Howard

After most of my career in the newspaper business I joined higher education, working in Public Affairs. I write mostly about value wine. I have now taken early retirement and work part-time in a small boutique, retail wine shop in Indianapolis
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4 Responses to Yuck – the downward slide begins

  1. Kim Ray says:

    Thinking of you and praying this stem cell transplant will kick your cancer to the curb. My sister had this same procedure for her multiple myeloma. She experienced everything you are describing. Look for brighter days ahead.


  2. greg1299 says:

    Keeping you in my thoughts Howard. Heard in the violin shop……Getting old ain’t for wussies!


  3. Brent A Kent says:

    Thinking of you, Howard. When you’re feeling better I’ll come say hello. I’m at Purdue every other weekend. Best, Brent


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