February 26, 2015 Home almost 8 months from Moscow!

Happy New Year to all!  

Yes, I know 2015 is well under way, but I’m still slow at most everything I do. However, I’m still moving forward.  I got sick for the first time since HSCT. I had the flu a few weeks ago and have recovered from the illness, but my recovery from HSCT took a sharp nosedive.  Although I know this kind of setback is not unusual after an illness, it is still very discouraging. So many others have gotten sick, been hospitalized, fallen or had other setbacks after HSCT – I’ve considered myself very lucky. I also had not fallen since April, and was pretty damn proud of that too. I fell while I was sick, but it wasn’t a “bad” fall.  I’m lucky I did not get hurt.  Collapsing in a heap on the floor is much easier on the body than taking the full brunt of a fall. My strength, ability to walk unassisted and my balance suddenly disappeared. I had no idea how long it would take to start regaining some of what I had lost. So many fears crossed my mind. What if I haven’t been doing enough? What if I’ve been doing too much? What if my old symptoms improve, but I get new symptoms?  My mind was going all over the place with  ‘what ifs.’ These thoughts are also not unusual for any post HSCT patients. I just try to keep reminding myself – Full recovery can take up to two years!

It’s been an incredibly rough week, but a few days ago I started to feel a bit stronger. I took a 10 minute walk in the snow in our backyard. I had an arm to hold onto the whole time and I lifted my legs as high as I could.  It felt wonderful and exhilarating – until it didn’t.  I have terrible, old snow boots and those boots were not made for walking.  I still had a good feeling about pushing myself a bit and tonight I was able to walk on my own again! I’m slowly getting back what I lost. Thank you Sari and Adam for your unending support and encouragement!

I’m expecting to be back on track gaining strength, increasing my mobility, balance and working hard with my dedicated physical therapists and occupational therapist.  Thank you to all the love and inspiration from our large and always growing post HSCT family.  

Soon we will be visiting my sister, Marian, and my brother-in-law, Robert, in the Poconos. I’m excited to see them and have them see how I’ve progressed. We were supposed to go visit a few weeks ago, but that’s when I got sick. They both accompanied me to Moscow and stayed a few days while I underwent the testing and was accepted for HSCT treatment by Dr. Fedorenko. They were really happy to have met Dr. Fedorenko, Anastasia and the other patients. Then they flew home and went back to their family and jobs. They returned to Moscow a few days before my departure to help me safely get back home. I’ve only seen them once since then, and that was that their daughters wedding.

Yesterday, I had an MRI of my brain, cervical and thoracic spine with and without gadolinium.  I was delighted to hear that I have no new lesions and my previous lesions had not changed at all. My MRI was compared to the MRI I had in Moscow and the last MRI I had before Moscow.  I will share the report from my radiologist with Dr. Fedorenko as soon as I get a copy!

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Other exciting news is our adoption of Charlie.  We got him the end of December. He’d been found running on a highway in October and had been ‘on his own’ for a long time.

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He was brought to our local animal control, cleaned up and groomed.  He stayed with the family who found him for 4 months and they brought him back.  We read about him and went to animal control to see him.  We arrived just as he was leaving in the arms of one of the volunteers. He was so frightened, he was shaking.  We met him the following day and decided we wanted to adopt him.  We visited him again with our other rescue pups, Lucy and Desi.  Desi likes everyone, but Lucy is definitely picky about who she likes.  Charlie growled at both of them while wagging his tail.  Lucy and Desi both liked him anyway.  He’s been with us for almost two months and he is so sweet and smart.  He’s gotten over a lot of his fears.  We’ve been training him and he’s doing really well.  He still growls at Lucy and Desi, but it’s definitely less. He loves to run in the backyard with Desi! This is Charlie now.

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Learning to shake!

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His first trip shopping.

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Charlie’s first photo shoot!

We all adore him and are forever grateful to everyone who has helped Charlie along the way.

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