Tuesday, May 13, 2014

55. Back Home: May 12, 2014 

A man on a thousand mile walk has to forget his goal and say to himself every morning, today I'm going to cover twenty-five miles and then rest up and sleep.          Leo Tolstoy - War and Peace

до свидания

do svidaniya (phonetic - say it)

"good bye" in Russian


Just one quick 'update' and to let you know I am home, the trip was fine, and I'm feeling great!   Yes, it's 4:08 a.m, May 13 now, and I am awake after 12 hours or so of 'catch-up' sleep. Yes, I'll start working on jet-lag today. Yes, I feel fantastic and I am home!

Traveling back home after HSCT is a challenge, but one with a goal so compelling, it makes all the stories lighter, the help along the way sweeter, the touch-point on one's thousand mile walk - well, almost glowing. 

Unsolicited Advertisement: When a company does a great job at what they do - someone should say so. So here is my shamelessly HIGH recommendation for British Airways (per usual). Courtesy shown re med (HSCT) traveler from assists through an 'opening' upgrade to Business Class lie-down when available this trip - without me even asking. Totally awesome cabin crew.. 

LA-London-Moscow-London-LA. They lost neither smiles, luggage, me, plane nor my highest respect. 

FLY BRITISH AIRWAYS! Always good to give credit where credit it due!


But I am ahead of myself. Just wanted to say that my 3 a.m. departure from Pirogov was both smoothly choreographed and perfectly carried out - testament again to the full care and commitment to the patient, afforded the staff at Pirogov. Yes, hospital driver/car takes care of it all, and yes, was well-tipped by yet one more grateful post-HSCT patient. 

Packed! CLICK A PIC! Photographed luggage for trip home (so much simpler to show image to your wheelchair helpers en route, plus makes finding lost luggage ever so much more likely should you and your bags end up in different parts of the world, almost quite literally (which has happened to me). 

Dr. Fedorenko has reviewed and delivered your essential medical records (yellow packet) which he has prepared for you to take home to your local (follow-up) medical team, along with copies of any MRI, etc. and you see those tucking into my carry-on bag. VERY important, don't forget these travel in cabin with you.  Far right, my final Moscow sunrise. 

Bon voyage!  

Everyone's travel home will be as unique as is their HSCT experience. Expect to tire more easily than you imagined. Expect a few more things to take longer than you'd like.  Expect the same amount of time to go by faster in any other passing than while you're spending it getting back home.  Rest whenever you can. 

Be kind to fellow travelers and to staff. Don't expect too much of yourself, and conserve energy. Ask for help, be patient. You are still a patient.  

Travel is exhausting when you're in the best of health.


I can't think when arriving home was more compelling. It made me think of (and not comparing here, as it's a paltry and critical difference) flying home after combat or war. Both urgent and hopeful and deeply essential to me - that destination.


I feel great! Better even, having slept for about 12 hours straight. I'm committed to finishing my healing at home, just as dedicated to the process my body is completing as I was so far in HSCT. I hope I have few 'blips', but if there are a few, I'm up to the task of meeting them head-on and the best patient I can possibly be.  I have a follow-up appt. set with my Hematologist here in about 1 week.  

My own bed at home feels twice as wonderful as I've imagined it did for these past 8-9 weeks (remember, I was on the road several weeks ahead of arriving Pirogov) AND my memories of everyone who helped me through HSCT are twice as deeply treasured, as well. 

I have allowed one little souvenir into my luggage (apart from the fridge magnet from Olga) and just thought I'd show it to you here - my little reminder of the Good young Dr. Denis Fedorenko and his TEAM PIROGOV. Perfect, no?     

 My OTHER souvenir?  Well, of course I also have my elegant brand new immune system. No more CIDP for me. Wow, huh!

Okay, 4:40 a.m. California time, USA. I'm rolling over and going back to sleep. 

Thanks for following. 

May your journey to HSCT be as truly superb as mine has been, no matter where you're able to receive it. HSCT is the only thing known to arrest the disease progression for autoimmune illnesses. 

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