Author Archives: rebekahsmith12

13th April: This is it…

INTO THE OPERATING THEATRE I GO …

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2 familiar procedures later; firstly to have a contrast dye put through my Portacath to check that’s it’s working – TICK ALL CLEAR and ready to go.

Secondly to have a second line put in, this time through my right jugular.  This will be used to harvest my stem cells & yay take bloods (no more Iv line issues or massive BRUISES)

 

 

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During the procedure the spascity & painful cramps I’ve been experiencing increased so yay they sedated me & put me on oxygen.  They are also going to increase my morning dose of the muscle relaxing meds I’m on which will hopefully make life easier.

 

 

AND THE CHEMO FOR HARVESTING BEGINS!

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Bizarre how the all get gowned up (even my sis had to leave the room) yet they put it in me?!?!?!

 

 

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22 hours of chemo drip to come – this is it folks!

 

 

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Think my my face says it all; been a long hard day (starting at 4am for breakfast which consisted of 3 crackers & a milo). Dinner was really yum though, chicken tikka with rice & cooked veggies – much appreciated after a day of mostly fasting;)

WHATS NEXT?

So over the next few days my white blood count & platelets will drop, they will then start me on 2 days of injections to get the stem cells to move out of my bone marrow to my blood and then it will be STEMMIES HARVEST DAY!!!

In the meantime I rest/sleep & let the chemo do its thing:D

 

11th April: SO IT BEGINS…

Admission Day!

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10th April: 9am Admission, room ready at 4.30pm & it all begins!

 

 

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I had my portacath accessed then after an hour of my amazing nurse trying to get a line into a vein she went for the foot!  With great success however it was flowing very slowly so took 30 mins to get enough blood.  I now have a line inserted until Monday morning.  In the meantime Im on a drip of fluids to hydrate me/keep the blood pumping.

 

 

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This morning after a surprisingly good night sleep, despite the air conditioning being turned off for 5 hours (for maintenance) in 29deg heat.  I woke early to  nurses visits to take obs, do an echocardiogram & to my surprise a chest X-ray while still in bed!  This place is so technically advanced including the hospital band which needs to be scanned for everything (see photo  above).  Good news delivered this morning that all my blood tests taken for nearly everything you can imagine have come back normal.

 

 

What happens next …

Unfortunately due to some concerns about my existing portacath (as it won’t give blood back anymore (this isn’t new as its still used for iv meds back home) so they now won’t begin the Chemo until Monday once my new line has been put in to my chest. Better to be safe then sorry.  This means that we have been put back a few days as after I receive the chemo they will need to start the harvesting process which includes a few days of injections first. But hey any medical process involves being flexible;)  Ive waited three years to get this far so whats 2 more days!

 

 

 

8th April: AND I STOPPED!

“Set your goals high, and don’t stop till you get there”- Bo Jackson

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6.35am and the plane lands in this wonderful country; Singapore . Where my sister & I will call home for the next 9-12 weeks. 9 – 12 weeks of working at my new job: kicking the MS in the butt, recovery & rehab; MY GOALS which I know I can do! It was another great 11hour flight, this time on a newly refitted plane on which I slept most of it, thank you Lord! Once we settled into our hotel room, had sleeps and sorted out our next few days we ventured out to ‘din tai phung’ for the best feast of dumplings.

MY LAST SUPPER!

image As of my admission into hospital this Friday  (10th April) & first dose of chemo on Saturday I will be on a Neutropenic diet for the next 6-12 months.  It was such a treat to indulge in this yummy food before then:).

Philippians 4:13 13 “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me”.

The Twelfth Hour

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3 Days to go…

After really struggling/deteriorating physically  in the last 3 months, once again I am being saved by medical intervention at the twelfth hour.

In seven days time I would have been admitted & preparing for the first dose of Chemo!

Finally the bags have begun to be packed – all two-three months worth.

Bedroom & house nearly all packed up to prepare for removal of carpet so wooden floors can be sanded & polished while I’m away – when it rains it pours!!!

Exemption on yearly income tax been given – PHEW!

Finally after three years of perseverance THIS IS IT!!!

 

 

What lays before me …

HUGE Journey ahead but I know I can do this

Part 1. Harvest of stem cells (stemmies), hoping for 3plus million

Part 2.  21 day isolation for the Transplant, know it will be tough, but hey Im getting a brand new immune system!!!

Part 3. First month at home in isolation – welcome to the land of masks, clean hands & living on a VERY strict diet

Part 4. REHAB over the Next 6-12 months

Know it will be a really tough BUT know with the help & support of family, friends and the strength from the Lord (the lover of my soul) I can do it!!!

 

 

When everything is breaking
You are left unshaken
When everything is tumbling down
You are the solid ground
Oh God you are,
All that you say you are
You never change, you never failed, you’ll never fail
Oh God you are
Faithful in all your ways
Forever You stand, forever You reign, forever remain
We shall not be shaken

 

 

 

 

 

16 DAYS & COUNTING DOWN…

Time to pack the bags!

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9.39pm Thursday the 19th of March-

Q: Would you be available to be admitted on Friday the 10th of April?

A: ABSOLUTELY!!!

Conversations immediately had, flights booked 24 hours later and I’m flying to Wellington on Monday the 6th of April to spend some time with my wonderful whanau before my sis & I  fly to Singapore the following day!

9-12 weeks in Singapore here I come!!! 2 nights in a hotel & then off to the hospital I go, can’t wait!

Such a surreal feeling/relief, am pretty much organised, works finished for the year so yay I get to spend the next 2 weeks relaxing – best way to prepare to go!!!

THANK YOU LORD!!!

5 days – 118.5 hours – 18,530km’s later…..

And so it begins…

-Gandof

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Tuesday the 24th of February – WE ARRIVE!!!

We Arrive at hotel, find our bearings involving a massive journey from China town into singapore city – my amazing sis soon discovered that China town is not made for wheelchairs:(

Introduction to the most incredible Singaporean dumplings!  In fact in turns out where we went has one michelin star!

Re introduction to pure WATERMELON juice, childhood memories in singapore come flooding back!!!

32-34 degrees everyday, 100% humidity, 25 degrees overnight

– THANK GOODNESS FOR AIRCON AND WATER, WATER, WATER!!!

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Wednesday the 25th of February

10am appointment with the wonderful Nuerologist  Professor Pavani.

She confirms that she thinks I’m a perfect candidate for a transplant! (dependant on approval from the Haematologist the next day).

Tour of the food court in the hospital – THIS TRIP HAD ALOT TO DO WITH FOOD!!!

Afternoon spent touring around ‘the gardens by the bay’, in 34deg heat but WOW!

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Thursday the 26th February

WOHOO THIS COULD BE THE DAY IVE BEEN WAITING 3YEARS FOR!!!

10.30 appointment with the Hemotologist Dr Colin.

To put it bluntly IM IN!!!!!!!!!!!!

SHOCKED

NUMB

TEARS SHED

SOMEONE PINCH ME

HOW DO I CELEBRATE THIS?!?!?!?!

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We then spent the afternoon out having lunch with one of the amazing local pastors (Gracie will be a wonderful person to know throughout my time in singapore)

Then back to the hotel we go – MORE FOOD, pack & have an early night!

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Friday the 27th February

4.30 am wake up

6am taxi ride

AND OFF WE GO AGAIN

See again soon Singapore!

Saturday the 27th of February

2am settle into Auckland hotel for a few hours

10am shuttle to the airport

12noon flight home to Nelson

“There is no place like home.”
― L. Frank BaumThe Wonderful Wizard of Oz

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Sunday the 16th of March – And…

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Eek was that 2 weeks ago!?!?!?

Since then I’ve been home,  spending most of it in bed on antibiotics & oral steroids as I fought 2 infections, bit of a flare up – BASICALLY UTTER EXHUSTION!!!

In usual Beck’s style during this time out (that I’ve told myself is training for recovery) I’ve been busy organising the details from this end; had a new housemate move in, handed my job over to a friend who will do it for the rest of the year, worked out all that I need to take and been organising to have my hair shaved off before I go!

MOST IMPORTANTLY I SLEPT!!!

Yes I have decided to have my hair shaved off.  After talking to many people that I know who have had the transplant.  This is for a couple of reasons; to reduce the anxiety that comes with it falling out (which it will be soon after treatment starts) and so I can start this big journey with my friends here in Nelson.

In fact I can’t wait to get this mop taken off, get this process underway and begin to dream about what life will be like afterwards (ha including my new hair)!

14th Feb: SUDDENLY!

“Everything can change in any moment, suddenly and forever”

Paul Auster

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And as the doors close to Australia SUDDENLY the doors opened to Singapore General Hospital.  Not something I had every considered before, in fact they have only just started receiving
western patients – I would be the second one.

So within 48hours of enquiring and my medical records being sent, Im off to be assessed.

Then within the last few days I have been given dates, appointment times and my flights
are  being booked.

Next Monday, the 23rd my amazing sister & I will be flying to Singapore for me to meet the
Neurologist and haematologist on the 25th and 26th.  I then fly home on the 28th.

Soooo much to do in such little time – breathe Becks breathe…

Singapore – where my life COULD be changed forever

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As I visit this beautiful Island, I will find out if they will accept me to under go a Stem cell
Transplant.

As many doors have closed over the last three years I have recently been left wondering Why?, Im tired and can I keep doing this…

Then I discover that Professor Slavin from Tel Aviv (door opened & closed) who I knew had trained Prof Richard Burt from Chicago (door opened & closed) has trained Dr Ho
from Singapore – who would of imagined that I would get the opportunity to be considered to be treated by the knowledge of the worlds best!

Isaiah 55:8-9New King James Version (NKJV)

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.

22nd Jan: CRASH!!!

 A picture paints a thousand words

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Just like that!

My Car is written off

NO ONE hurt

Audi damaged (not mine)

POLICE

Lunch time entertainment on Trafalgar Street

My fault

Thank goodness for full insurance

 

 

 

A serious LOVE – HATE relationship

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As I began this year, loving this amazing weather we are having, summer events and having family & friends stay I am yet reminded that I live with this dreadful disease.

The heat as well as the stress from lots of recent events, even though I have chosen not to worry have all contributed to another flare up of the MS.

This has meant that over the last week I have experienced a major loss in strength, a significant increase in fatigue, numbness on my left side, sharp stabbing neurological pains in my head, double & blurry vision. Not something that I was wanting at all – especially as it isn’t needed, I’ve already been accepted on to the trial!

Once again today I started on another course of prescribed steroids. As much as I LOATHE taking these & the side effects that occur I am REALLY grateful that they pick me up & stop the downward spiral the MS takes. I have also chosen to see this as training for what lays before me.

 

 

 

I get knocked down, but I get up again.  You’re never going to keep me down.

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Despite the lets say the interesting start to the year I have had a wonderful 6+ week break, I look forward with anticipation to what this year brings (including a new car), an upcoming trip to Wellington for work, the much awaited news regarding Sydney and lots more.

In the meantime I “look to the hills from where does my help come from” (psalm 127 v 1-2), while resting in the peace that comes with knowing that I certainly am ‘Under His wing’.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” Phillipians 4 v 13

As the Irish rally cry says ‘”You’re never going to keep me down”!