About 2 weeks ago, I completed a Stem Cell Harvest. This was a week long process. First, I had to have a sedated procedure to place a catheter through which the stem cells would be harvested and saved for when needed. Then, I had to give myself a series of shots to prep my system for the harvest and to make my stem cells come out and swim making them easier to harvest. On the morning of the harvest, mom and I drove to Carolinas Healthcare Center-Main for the harvest. We arrived at 5 pm. They hooked me up to the Apheresis system to harvest and away we went. The nurses told me to expect it to take 8 hours.
After 4 hours, the nurses reported that they seemed to have collected enough stem cells. They needed to be sure so they sent the cells to the lab and sure enough, they had enough. Mom and I were starving so we went downstairs to the Panera Bread. Yummy Panera Bread Cream of Broccoli soup and a half turkey sandwich. For me there is something about a turkey sandwich when I am not feeling well. I was worn out and the sandwich and soup was perfect. We drove back home and I crashed. I was tired beyond belief. I do not even have words for the exhaustion I felt. I guess taking my stem cells really took it out of me. It was depressing to not be about to move from exhaustion. The turkey sandwich may not have helped but it was more then that.
Recovery and Depression, I am told go hand and glove. I will say this is true. Following the harvest, I felt so down. I did not want to move off the sofa. The bills are starting to hit and I do not have a job. I felt like I had lost every purpose I had in my life. I loved my job and I loved my patients. This was all taken away from me and it was a hopeless feeling. I was so tired in the coming week. I could not talk myself out of it. The house was a mess and I could not cook or write. I felt and still have a feeling of doom. What am I going to do without a job? How am I going to pay all these bills that now total just under $ 10,000 out of pocket and I am making 60% of what I did make. If they find me a job at CHS, I will eat up my PTO and I will only be able to work part time due to continued chemotherapy. The bills will have to wait. I have to pay my mortgage. I will not be able to work in a field I have loved and worked in for 24 years. It is all so overwhelming. At least I got a break from the God awful steroids for a week.
The following is any excellent article on MM and depression: http://www.everydayhealth.com/multiple-myeloma/depression-and-multiple-myeloma.aspx
It is sad that I may find comfort that others are going down the same path as I have. It is very comforting to know that others have found purpose on the other side. I don’t know what my future holds anymore. I had a plan. I had finally paid off my student loans, I had purchased a home, a new car and I had paid off all but one bill and it was almost paid off. I was about to be debt free except for my home and car. I was about to start socking away money for retirement and I had been looking into a second home in Meadows of Dan Virginia that could be an awesome get away and income property. I just fell in love with this little cabin:
I am not sure how to create a link but the address is above. The cabin is 3 miles from Mabry Mill and a few wineries. Mabry Mill is a beautiful and peaceful and what is there bad to say about being near wineries! I had a plan, a future and hope. Then everything was turned upside down. No new house, no job, no future. It is no wonder that depression is in the mix. I wanted that get away home so bad I could taste it and it would provide retirement income. Now all I see is year after years of bills and debt. I am prepping my house for sale, just incase. I have no real energy for this. No energy to paint, put in flooring or money for updates to my home. I wonder why depression may go with all this.
Often my refuge has been in cooking a baking and I did not even have the desire to do that. I started this blog and then quit writing. I felt I had no future. I keep saying things will settle when I get a new job but it will not be in the field I went to school 9 years for. I will miss that. Cancer can be cruel but people can be more so. I was pushed aside like 16 years in my job was nothing. Nothing! My identify is gone. Who am I now? I am no longer an audiologist. My job future is cloudy and I do not know what I will be doing in the days to come as I return to work. Outside my organization, who would hire someone with such a limited health future? Who wants to take on that burden and cost? I am guessing I will be placed somewhere answering phones and they will try to fire me for missing work. I have heard that is what they do when employees start having health problems. My MedCost (insurance) case worker tried to talk me into permanent disability but I am just not ready. I have to see what the future holds employment wise and try again to sock away money for the future after paying off the mound of bills that will never go away and will begin all over with a new deductible next year.
Today, I have a cold and flair up of allergies. I have lost my sense of taste due to the cold. In the past, I rarely got sick but the steroids lower my resistance to germs. I rarely lost time at work due to illness. I would work through it. Work ethic is strong in my family. We work. We do not collect disability. At 52 that is a hard thing to think about. The average MM patient is diagnosed around 70 years of age. I know many would welcome a monthly check and not having to work but I had a plan. My little cabin in the mountains, football season upcoming and sending my child to college. If I did go on disability, my child would have her college paid for but I just can’t go on disability because of that. The whole work ethic thing again.
This past week I have slowly gotten back on my feet. I have cooked and baked some. I tried the following recipes:
Banana Cake: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/164803667591456880/
Tomato soup with tortellini and fresh basil: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/240379698840128682/
Potato soup: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/AX2XFws3NHNfk6t1i0rLzXW_loxseYgIWvS1WHSe-NdiBa4NXOaSEw0/
I made these ingredients I already had in the house. I am trying not to go to the food store so I can pay the mortgage. A roof over our head is the most important thing. I have food in the house that may not meet the needs of a recipe but that is too bad. We will live on what we have. One day, things may get better. I live for that time, a better time. I will be getting my Return to work letter, I hope, and return to work. This is my plan anyways.
Thank you for continuing to read this blog. It means a lot that people read and care about us. It give me an outlet to express my fear of the future. A future that is more cloudy and uncertain but I feel the love and prayers of my friends and family. Thank you and keep the prayers coming! Prayers of a job, ability to pay bills and better help. This blog can hopefully grow and turn into an income blog that I can work on when I am sick and not able to work.