Day Zero.

In bone marrow transplant parlance, the actual day when the stem cells are transplanted back into the bloodstream is referred to as Day Zero.  Prior to that, days are referred to with negatives, so my high dose chemptherapy was on days -6, -5, -4, -3, -2 and -1.  The transplant is performed on Day Zero and subsequent days a referred to as Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, etc.

Yesterday, Day -1, I was discharged from the hospital and we moved into our apartment, just a short distance from the Transplant Clinic.  The high dose chemo treatments I received while in the hospital were not something I would recommend if you happen to be looking for something different to do for a few days.  My fatigue level has increased, but other than that, there were almost no side effects.  My track record of being able to successfully endure almost all of the rigors of chemotherapy, remains intact.

Today was Day Zero and I reported to the ABMT Clinic to have my previously harvested stem cells returned to my bloodstream.  This day is also referred to as your "Birthday".  For as terribly significant as this day is in the transplant process,  it was in fact very anticlimactic.  Today only required about one hour to complete.

I was told that my transplant would actually be spread over two days, today and tomorrow, given that there were so many stem cells harvested that it was decided to transplant them over two days.  I guess that is good news that I have so many stem cells to get back, although it seems like it is going to mess up that highly scientific day numbering system.  Maybe tomorrow will be Day 1/2 :-)

From this point forward everything is focused on recovery.  No more chemotherapy, no more Apheresis, no more invasive and toxic drugs or procedures.  Once my stem cells are back in place, they will begin to rebuild my bone marrow, blood cells and immune system.  It is a slow process but now everything is geared towards building up, not tearing down.  The Bone Marrow Transplant process is an amazing scientific event, and can be quite intimidating and scary if you dwell on it, and allow it to plant fear in your spirit.  Having a high degree of trust and confidence in my medical team goes a long way towards allaying any concerns.  Even more important, however, is the belief that my Heavenly Father is watching over me every second of every minute of every day.  It says in Hebrews 11:1, "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. "  This battle with cancer has had many facets, but one of the most important is how it has increased my faith in God Almighty.  Without that, this journey would have been far more arduous and burdensome.  Not that it has not had it's lower points, but without question my faith has been a crucial element in my response to a life threatening situation.

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