Thursday, 9 June 2016

The Recovery Curve

It is nearly two months since my stem cell transplant for multiple myeloma. I'm supposed to be recovering which, according to the doctors, should take roughly three months to regain a fully functional immune system and six months to a year to feel like 'my old self'. So how do I spend my days when the thing I'm supposed to be doing is 'recovering'? Therein lays the crux.

I'm mathematically inclined, as anyone who knows me well will tell you. I think linearly, I like numbers, I'm not half bad at Sudoku, and I can still remember equations that I memorized in high school. So, it's no wonder that I think of my recovery in terms of a dose response curve. It rises sharply then levels out then trails off slightly. Right now I expect I am on the sharply rising beginning of the curve, heading toward a levelling off, meaning that I expect to get a little better every day until I get to a point where I simply can't get any better. My physical limitations, dictated by my disease, will not let my curve rise any longer. It would be a great analogy of a recovery if it were true.

The problem is that I have setbacks on a semi-regular basis. Like today. I've been doing so well, going out with my family, friends, my partner. Getting groceries, making dinner, sweeping the floor. Doing simple tasks that anyone can do in their sleep. Today my pain caught up with me and laid me out in lavender.

I took my pills an hour early, at around 7:30pm because I was starting to feel the pain in my back getting intense. When that happens, I end up tensing up so the muscles around the broken vertebrae get sore too. I was sitting in my comfy chair in the living room and I couldn't get comfortable. So much for my comfy chair. Richard brought me my pills and I took them. They didn't kick in as fast as usual so we went upstairs so he could rub some Voltaren on my back. His warm hand felt good but he couldn't press at all without triggering spasms of pain. I rocked in the bed. I laid down. I sat up. I paced. I rocked. And I laid down again. Then I cried. There was nothing else to do.

Yes, my back hurt. But my ribs hurt too. They all felt broken. I took another breakthrough pill. Then I paced again. For some unexplainable reason, I wanted my pillow case changed. I became focussed on the fact that the pillowcase smelled stale and the only thing that would make me feel better was a fresh pillowcase. So Richard got one and again for no reason in particular, it felt better to have a clean pillowcase. I sat up, swung my legs over the edge of the bed and started to rock. I breathed deeply. The pain eased. I wanted to shout hurray. Within two minutes, I went from writhing in agony to being able to sit up with no pain. 

Where the heck am I on the curve now?

6 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Shout it!...why not?....hurray!, hurray!.hurray!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Shout it!...why not?....hurray!, hurray!.hurray!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Bizarre. Is this pain to be expected? Glad it finally succumbed to the meds or the clean pillowcase or the warm hands or whatever!

    ReplyDelete


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