Tuesday, May 29, 2012

We're Still Here!

Hey ya'll. It's Sam.

I want to first say that I'm not sure I could have done any of this without my wife by my side.  She is a rock, and it's impossible to thank her enough.  And to my mother-in-law who thought she'd escaped the treacherous north 22 years ago. I know many men complain about their mother-in-laws, but I am truly blessed. And, of course, my son. Everyone always says they don't know how Kristen and I managed between my treatments and raising Jack, but we say thank God we have him! He's a constant reminder of what's really important in life. 

I know it's been awhile since the last post, but don't be alarmed. We are surviving with lots of love and medication.  I was released from the hospital on April 27th, and the adjustment back to home life was much more difficult than I had imagined.  I became so dependent on the nurses and doctors and I became anxious about leaving when I realized the care would now be placed solely on my family and myself.  It is definitely different living at home and having so many restrictions. Wearing a mask really bugs me. I know it sounds funny but just being able to walk around is hard enough, and then this embarrassing mask that makes you look like a SARS patient. But I know it keeps the construction dust and germs out of my lungs. Then there's the food restrictions. Everything has to be cooked, no fresh vegetables and hard to wash fruit (berries, cantaloupe, and such). And no restaurants for the 1st 100 days post-transplant. It's impossible to trust strangers to handle your food when you have no immune system. Anything I eat is cooked by myself or my wife. Let's be honest, mainly my wife. But, of course, I know these are minor things, and I am truly happy to be alive. But I thought they were worth mentioning, especially if anyone stumbles across this blog whose going through the same thing. I think it's normal to feel anxious and frustrated when you've been through so much and you're so close to the end.

I am happy to say that I do feel better everyday.  It was quite an experience with the transplant, and April 3rd (day of transplant) is a day I will never forget. Some say it's my new birthday, but having recently witnessed the miracle that is childbirth, I don't feel quite right taking that honor away from my mother. But there's no doubt, I have been given a second chance, and I am not going to waste this opportunity. I'm inspired more than ever to be a better husband, a better father, and a better man. When I started this adventure I weighed 298 lbs. As of today, I am 238 lbs. Of course, I do wish I lost it under different circumstances, but I must admit, the chemo/transplant diet sure does get the job done!  I lost a lot of my muscle mass while in the hospital and I've been gradually trying to build it back.  I know it will take some time.  I am also pleased to say that we will be moving back to Florida soon! Probably by the 2nd week in June.  There is a great transplant doctor at Moffitt in Tampa who completed his fellowship at Sloan Kettering and knows my doctor well. My wife has been lobbying to get me transferred south for follow up care since before I was even admitted so it seems her persistence has finally paid off.  If you can believe it, they still haven't confirmed that I'm in remission since I still had signs of disease going into transplant. I have a PET scan scheduled for June 4th and I pray we'll finally be able to hear those words.

Well, I guess that's all I have for now. Thank you so much for the continued love and support you all have shown to me and my family.