Just about seven years ago I was reborn at Indiana University Hospital. With my brother as my donor I underwent an allogeneic peripheral blood stem cell transplant. My twenty-two days there remain hazy, a vague kind of dream from which I awoke with a new life. Part of the time I was fighting the predictable infections that accompany the procedure – that period when my immune system in defenseless while engraftment is taking place deep in my bone marrow.
I remember well the night I got up to go the bathroom. Yes, the nurses said to put on the call light first. But I was an adult. I was a nurse so I was capable of assessing my ability to walk unaided. Then the room began to spin. I whirled and crashed in to glass-fronted cabinet, bumping my head on the corner.
Dejected and embarrassed, I sat down on the bed and put on my call light. Two nurses rushed into my room, examined the small cut on my forehead and scolded me gently. My wife came in at 3:30 in the morning. I went downstairs for a CT scan. I remember being bald at the time but for the rest I would have to consult my Caringbridge entries.
Today I accepted a position working part-time evenings in the Bone Marrow Transplant Clinic at the same hospital, just down the hall from my original room. This will be an ideal job. I will be the only person in the clinic after six. My patients will not be there for active infections. The rooms are Hepa-filtered. And I only work 4.5 hours a day. So my exposure risk (my immune system is still immature at six years old) and working hours are minimized.
I will still have days free to care for my granddaughters and my mother. But the biggest excitement is being able to share with my patients the kind of additional legitimacy conferred by our shared experience, in addition to my twenty-five year background in oncology. So in returning to IU there is an appropriate kind of symmetry.
We will have to see how this new schedule affects my ability to keep up with the blog. On the other hand, having the opportunity to work so closely again with people struggling with cancer will certainly give me more to write about.
Sheryl Crow – Rockstar. Singer-songwriter. Record producer. Actress.
Cancer survivor. Activist. Mother. And now Cookbook author has written a new book – IF IT MAKES YOU HEALTHY–written with Chef Chuck White–is filled with over 125 seasonal, locally grown and delicious recipes as well as notes from Sheryl about life on the road, home, and stories of her childhood & path to stardom.
Check it out at http://ashleysartcloset.blogspot.com/2011/03/daddys-briefcase.html
Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) is offering a new report that details 887 new medicines in clinical trials or under FDA review for Cancer. Go to Cancer | PhRMA and download the 92 page PDF file at the bottom of the page. Drugs in development are divided according to kind of cancer.