I am writing this from bed where I have spent much of the past two days. On Sunday night I felt the telltale signs of an oncoming cold. I think normally I would probably carry on, but this time it has been different. The cold has ‘knocked me for six’. The persistent cough and runny nose has kept me even more awake at night than usual. The last cold I had was in Nairobi, just before I was diagnosed with Myeloma and it took a dose of antibiotics to clear. This cold was the worse I’d had for years. Certainly being ill when you are already ill is a ‘big deal’.
Monday, I forced myself to travel up to Nottingham where I had a meeting with one of my consultants. One thing I had to do was wear a face mask to avoid spreading germs amongst vulnerable chemotherapy patients on the same ward. The meeting was an important one as it was to discuss the final phase of my chemotherapy/ stem cell treatment. There has been concern that my low kidney function is a risk factor, as the chemotherapy may well damage the kidney further.
The horns of the dilemma are this – the treatment is vital as it prolongs the remission period by an average of two years, the downside is that the procedure may hasten the need for dialysis. They will need to modify the dose to limit the damage but the risk factor is great.
I am likely to be admitted into hospital for the treatment at some time in the week of 23rd October. I will be there for two to three weeks followed by three months of recovery in which they suggest I will feel weak and open to disease. The process will of course destroy my immune system and my body will re-establish it’s immunity over three years. So my cold and its effects this week are possibly a taste of things to come.