Wednesday, May 7, 2014

53. Rituxan, Solumedrol Infusion, Removal of my Octo-port - Ready to go HOME

Сме́лость города́ берёт.

                                                Courage overcomes all obstacles.

Literal: Bravery takes cities.


Well, A 2-day period, but a (YAY for you!!) short posting today.  I will cover only 5 small items, and with little blathering (hopefully):

   1. Rituxan/Solumedrol 5-hr infusion

   2. Removal of my Octo-port

   3. YOU MAY ALSO HAVE WON! (funny timing from paying for my HSCT)

   4. Gratitude

   5. Readying to GO HOME!

1. Rituxan/Solumedrol - The final IV:

I had my Rituxan/Sol IV (final chemo) yesterday, May 7th. It takes 5 hours - just an infusion, but slow. There can be some side effects to watch for. Pressure in chest, BP fluctuations, perhaps a few others. I had none of those and of course absolutely no discomfort.  However, I will say that yesterday was my lowest energy day ever, and I know there are some sedative effects from the meds. Some will say Solumedrol (steroid) makes them hyper. Others will have the opposite effect, just being sleepy all day. For whatever reason, I was NOT a ball of fire at any point in my May 7th, and had more naps that perhaps I will ever have in one day.  It wasn't a bad thing.  DONE!

For the HSCT people, just a photo of the infusion to make you familar, comfortable. I waited 'til it was empty - kind of dozed off, sorry. And above the Rituxan, not shown here, is an IV bottle with the Solumedrol, remember, which has administered ahead of the Rituxan.   That's a wrap!

2. Removed the Catheter:  My octo-port - my comfort lifeline, but out it comes!

Gala came in for my morning blood draws (always through the octo-port catheter). And then she returned within 5 minutes to do the very simple and flawless retrieval of the catheter from my jugular vein, where it has been installed for weeks, literally.  A couple stitch snips, removals, of the anchors holding the divice in place beneath our constant bandages, and a pull I really felt nothing from - and it is completely out.  Me holding a tight gauze against the small wound for 3-5 minutes, and and unceremoniously simple single bandage covering the wound is all I have to show. That and my completed HSCT, and such gratitude.  This staff?  They are AWESOME!  And not to totally gross you out, but HSCT people, here are the photos:

The final morning to withdraw bloods, done!

The catheter from my jugular, removed easily, painlessly. This is what it looks like in full:
My lifeline, my pain-free access for all those IV's, blood tests, chemo and med administration - pain free with this 'octo-port'. Ye have served me well, but I will not keep ye!

3. Bonus WIN notice arrived via email:  

Кого жизнь ласкает, тот и горя не знает.                                                           

He dances well to whom fortune pipes.

I know this is just the icing on my cake (and funny, too), but this morning's emails to me contains this notice.

Remember back when we talked about how to pay for HSCT in Russia? And I explained about how I had intended to use some of my Travel Rewards credit cards (no international fees, no limit, no daily limit - no kidding - go ahead and use it CARDS issued by CHASE?).   Well, for having moved my own money seamlessly from USA to Russia, I not only have enough more Travel Points for myself another free RT British Airways trip anywhere, (Europe comes to mind),  I am now rewarded anew with a free companion ticket. Next time I fly, Jack comes with me (or ?) and free.  I think we will be in Europe in Autumn.  Or maybe St. Petersburg and Norway later next springtime.  You KNOW by now I am the world's most consummate tourist. HSCT AND a free trip - WOW, huh!  (smile)

Thanks, British Airways and CHASE!  We'll do that trip to celebrate my HSCT!


4. I am so grateful!       Gratuities?

Не́ было бы сча́стья, да несча́стье помогло́.    

                                                                           A blessing in disguise. 

Literal: I would have had no luck, if not for misfortune.


Как ау́кнется -- так и откли́кнется.                                                              

                              Do unto others what you would have them do unto you.

 Literal: How echo is prompted, so it will bounce back.

In Russia, it is customary and accepted to give a gift, gratuity to one's Dr.. They earn so little, I cannot even put it down in print.  So this week has been a JOY of gratitude and I have been discreetly giving out a little something special to those who served me most, best, brightest and with such great kindness. It has so far been a joy. I am not doing flat-rate. I want those who went the extra mile to know how much I appreciated it.  Perhaps in one or two cases, my cleaning 'friends' will smile even brighter this week, as I wonder if they are overlooked in this tradition.

When you are at Piragov, this part is totally up to you. It is not expected nor required. It is a gift given. So if you so choose, there is never a competition to see who can do it more or better, or more perfectly. There is only - gratitude.  Enough on that topic, yes?  But do not overlook it. It is very European, and perhaps very foreign to many. Think of it as a 'hostess gift' you might leave a friend after a short stay - then think of your new immune system, this team - more than a month in their care. Yes, we pay for HSCT, but as with all things, sometimes a little extra makes you feel as great as it will the person who has gone the extra mile in this with you.  Just sayin'    Little kind farewells - Going home - HOME!

5. Going HOME!  Will be home on Monday, May 12. PEACE!  My CIDP-free PEACE!

I will be home by Monday, May 12. All plans laid, confirmed. I have a couple more days to rest here at Pirogov. And I will thoroughly try to absorb the true medical miracle that has taken place for me here. I have a stunningly beautiful NEW IMMUNE SYSTEM, maturing.  I know there are months ahead that are still part of this maturing process, too - it is not finished (will take 3-6 months, perhaps  more, so some restrictions and perhaps a blip or two lie ahead - we will cover those if/when).  But, WOW, huh!

Оди́н в по́ле не во́ин.                                                                

                                                                   One can not conquer alone.

Literal: Single man in a field is not a warrior.

Краси́во жить не запрети́шь.
                                                                                    Literal: You can't forbid living beautifully.

Всяк глядит, да не всяк видит.                                        

Everything has beauty but not everyone sees it.

ONE NOTE: Also given today, one shot in bum which is steroid to help boost for the trip back home. No pain, just mentioning it for accuracy. Dr. says perhaps one more tomorrow. 

That's a wrap. I have my breakfast awaiting me. And a beautiful Moscow day to enjoy. Thanks for following.

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