I slept fairly well the night of Collection Day. Dad woke me up around midnight to take another pain pill. I woke up around 5:00 AM, but decided I didn’t really want to take another pain pill because the pain really wasn’t bad.
We had plans to go to the Astros game, but when I went to buy tickets.. they’re actually out of town. Change of plans, what should we do today?! We ate breakfast at the hotel. Around noon would be the 24-hour time frame for my bandage.
At noon, I decide to shower and get this abnormally huge bandage off. I hop in the shower and let the water run over it to loosen the tape. I start to peel it off and I think I see some blood. I instantly start getting queasy and realize that maybe I can’t take this bandage off.
My mom comes in the bathroom and starts to rip off the bandage. She decides I need to let the water loosen up the tape some more. So I stand in the shower, just letting the water run on my back. Still queasy.
My mom comes back in the bathroom and she starts ripping the bandage off. Apparently there is gauze on my back that is bloody. I am not really sure what it looks like, but I’m getting even more queasy and she just keeps repeating “Don’t look” “Don’t turn around” “You do not want to see this!” And Dad is outside the bathroom asking, “Is everything ok in there?” Chaos. Pure chaos because I get queasy over anything.
Mom finally gets the bandage off. And I immediately get out of the shower and lay down. Dad gets me a wet washcloth and the queasiness eventually goes away. I decide that maybe my mom can just wipe the sticky stuff off with a cloth. She spends probably 20 minutes, but finally gets all the goop off. So I decide that I can get back in the shower and give it a good rinse.
The holes in my back are TINY! Again, I do not know what I was expecting, but they are pretty much nothing. I’m still somewhat sore, but we decide to walk down to the Rose Garden and the Butterfly Garden. According to my FitBit, I walked 7,500 steps. I’m a little tired and pretty slow moving, but other than that, I feel great!
Two days after the procedure we head home (I’m headed back to Phoenix and my parents are headed back to Niangua). I slept about 9 hours after walking around all day yesterday. And I can’t count the times that my dad said I wore him out! My mom walked almost 7 miles yesterday because we really wanted Chick-fil-A. The first one she walked to was closed. And so was the second one. Sorry Mom!
I also want to add last night Dad and the sheet got into a “fight” and somehow he ended up dressed up as a ghost flying around the hotel room. Again, we brought him along for the entertainment, which he did a great job providing (I tried to get a video, but failed)!
My mom recently reminded me of probably one of the best memories of our trip: cucumber water! My mouth was INCREDIBLY dry after I woke up from the procedure. I was drinking so much water, the nurse finally just brought me an entire pitcher of water. We were staying at a Marriott and they always have water by the elevator to grab on your way up. I don’t remember which day it was, but they had cucumber water. So we all grabbed a cup. Dad, being my dad, drank it and spit it right back out. He found it quite disgusting. Mom and I had a good laugh over that (I may have almost peed my pants)!
Carlos picked us up at 10:30, which if you are ever in Houston, NYC, San Fran, or LA, use Carl’s Limousine Services. He is such a sweet and amazing guy and really took care of me both times I was in Houston! We get to the airport and I wanted to get my parents on an earlier flight, so they wouldn’t be driving from Saint Louis in the dark or late at night (they’re old, you know!). Lucky for us, they were able to get on the earlier flight.
We ate Chick-fil-A at the airport, and mom only had to walk about 25 steps to get it for us! Mom and dad were flying out of Terminal B and I was flying out of Terminal C about 2 hours later. I helped them get to their gate and get in the right line to board before I headed to Terminal C (I don’t trust them alone at airports.. Think Home Alone 2).
I walked for a while, but decided it would be best if I just used a wheelchair. I don’t have any pain walking, but pulling my suitcase and having my backpack made it a little bit of a struggle. A very nice gentleman wheeled me all the way over to my gate in Terminal C.
Overall the trip was easy. Leslie text me to see how I’m feeling each morning. I cannot express the kindness all the nurses, doctors, and Be The Match liaisons have shown us. It is truly amazing to see the sweetness in each person, even if they’re just “doing their job.”
Also, huge thanks to all my friends and family who have texted/called along this journey of mine! I needed to hear every single encouraging word that all y’all provided! And a big thank you to Steven! He responded with exactly what I needed to hear every time my dad would text him with a question. Even though he stays awake for his procedures and has done it more than 15x, he still described exactly what I was feeling, which put me at ease.
4 days post procedure!
ONE WEEK LATER
The soreness has pretty much gone away and I am able to lie down and sit pretty comfortably (sometimes my skin feels tight, like it could rip) any way I choose. I’ve gotten most of my energy back, but three flights of stairs is still a bit hard! The first day off of painkillers was probably one of the roughest, and not because I was in serious pain, but because everything I did was uncomfortable. I couldn’t get comfortable on the couch, laying down or sitting up.
My biggest issue recovering was myself. I would start to think about the needles and the process of drawing out the bone marrow and get queasy. I would get queasy taking my Band-Aids off and washing my back. Also, I have incredibly sensitive skin, so I broke out from the Band-Aids. So around my holes/wounds/puncture site (I like to call them all 3) my skin was super itchy. I couldn’t Google anything about bone marrow without getting queasy!
Sometime on the 6th and 7th day, it felt like I turned a corner and pretty much felt like my old self. It is suggested I don’t run until 2 weeks after, so I’ve been walking 3-4 miles each day, with plans to start running next week!
11 days post procedure!
TWO WEEKS LATER
Taylor and I went for a 2-hour hike 13 days after the procedure and an 11-mile bike ride exactly 2 weeks later. My left side is not healed completely. I can still feel some tightness on that side. My right side is back to normal. I was able to run/walk 2 miles 17 days post procedure. My mile times were SLOW, but it was because I’m out of shape, not because I was in pain!
If you’re worried about the pain, don’t be! If you’re worried about the time commitment, think about a lifetime versus 20-30 hours of your time. If you’re worried about anything else, have questions, whatever, please let me know!
I would do this over and over and over again!