Friday, April 15, 2016

Another night, another relapse nightmare

The thin psyche of a cancer survivor: You hear about someone who had the same disease as you who has relapsed and is now terminal. You go to bed and have a nightmare that it has happened to you.

Someone I knew through our cancer connection had AML and a bone marrow transplant and was 100 percent donor when his blood counts crashed. He was told his cancer was extremely aggressive and, with no further options, he had three months to a year to live. (I asked him on Facebook if he had gotten a second opinion at Dana-Farber because he was not treated at a major cancer hospital; I said I was also in a precarious situation and they came up with something for me. I haven't heard back.)

In the hope that his donor cells wake up, they have taken him off the immune suppressants that you take after transplant to keep your own system from fighting of the donor cells. People wrote that they were praying for him. I wrote that I was sorry to hear the hard news but hopefully his donor cells will wake up and then said you hear plenty of stories of people who were given a short time to live and had surpassed that by many years. (I remember walking around and around the nurses station and talking to my donor in fight song fashion: "Go donor, go donor, go donor, go.")

I had given him the transplant pep talk a while back at the request of a friend. We're Facebook friends, and this is how I knew what had happened.

Last night I dreamt that the exact same thing happened to me. Usually I remember vivid details from my dreams, but all I can remember is the shock of it coming back and having to go straight to the hospital.

I was relieved to wake up and hear Maddie softly snoring on her L.L. Bean pillow at the foot of my bed.

Another virtual friend who I met through our blogs wrote that his Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma had returned an unusually long time after his bone marrow transplant and he was facing more chemo and another transplant. I wrote that I had had four, so he should keep his chin up. He has a good sense of humor and titled one of his posts, "I'm Not Dead Yet." Assuming he was referring to Monty Python, I shared the song of the same name from "Spamalot." His wife said she listened to it a few times and it made her laugh. It is nice to be useful.

Here is the cart scene from the Broadway production.


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