Soon these weekly post-transplant updates will come to an end as the normal routines of life resume. Yesterday I was in to see my hematologist who agrees that all is on schedule. In two weeks I will reach the ninety day post-transplant milestone and plan to return to work part-time then. I continue to feel well, with strength and energy returning incrementally each day. My blood counts look good. I have had no colds or infections. I feel quite healthy. This can all be a bit misleading as it makes me feel that I am pretty well back to normal. The doctor says that it may feel that way but that it is not completely true. He says that it takes six months post-transplant for the immune system to return to functioning the way it was prior to the transplant. And since my immune system is compromised by multiple myeloma it was not then - and will never again be - functioning at a normal healthy level. This 'new normal' will take some getting used to. But, thankfully, it will mean a relatively normal life.
We're still awaiting some results of the blood work that I had done last week. The important number that we will be tracking monthly going forward is the number of free light chains in my blood. These are the broken strands of plasma that indicate the activity level of the multiple myeloma. The steroids that I was taking prior to the transplant reduced that number by about sixty per-cent. A good start. It will be interesting to see where that number stands as a result of the stem cell transplant. When we get that result we will have a new base line to watch as time passes. So long as it remains stable I will not need any other treatment. When the number begins to rise the doctors will decide the best course of action. I am hoping that this next step is a good while off. In the meantime, my hair has begun to grow - one more sign that my body continues to recover.