I'll be recapping my full stem cell transplant in a series of posts....

#3 CHEMOTHERAPY: mouth care, lung care, exercise, fever spike, helicopters

Before, during, and after chemotherapy, health maintenance chores consumed much of every day. Every other hour I had to rinse my mouth with a salt-water solution to prevent the nasty mouth sores typical of my chemo treatment. Just as frequently I had to use an incentive spirometer, a simple breathing device to exercise my lungs to prevent deadly pneumonia.

Walking outside the room was recommended three times a day, as was at least 15 minutes of strength exercises. I had to keep track of all liquid input—drinks, soups, ice cream, etc. Despite shaving the hair and beard before arrival, I was starting to get pretty fuzzy (PIC) before I got my “chemical haircut.”

During the first week of being in the hospital I got massive doses of chemo, sometimes from 6 am to 10 pm with an hour “break” when they changed therapies. Except for the day when I had to fight a 102-degree fever (caused by, I couldn’t make this up, a rabbit protein*), the six days of chemo were relatively easy. Why? The side effects from chemotherapy typically occur days later.

In my down time, I would read the Houston Chronicle and watch drivel on the small TV (only a hospital stay could force me to watch Dancing with the Stars). But the highlight? From my bed I could view the emergency helipad for St. Lukes (PIC). I think I had the best view on the floor!

*This rabbit-infused chemo, ATG, targets the T cells and fellow study participants had an especially rough time with it, with temps in the 104-106 range. One even had her heart stop briefly! I stopped reading blogs about the treatment until I was out of the hospital....

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