Three Years Later and I Still Got Cancer Sh*t To Deal With

Sorry about my extended absence. Despite having managed to complete my fourth cycle of ICE for the T-cell Lymphoma, I ended up being hospitalized afterwards due to shockingly low blood counts all across the board.

It was a struggle since my body did not want to trespond to any of the treatments (and I got plenty of transfusions – whole blood, platelets, fresh frozen plasma – still it didn’t take too well). A week later I finally was released and just been recovering at home…and been a butt about it.

But now that May is here and I am going in for my autologous stem cell transplant, decided I should blog a bit more earnestly about all of this.

So here we go, back on the blogging saddle again.


The First Hospital

Yup, somewhere in that picture is where I spent the first two weeks of my unhealthy life.

You know, despite everything, Aysha Memorial Hospital was not the worst of my hospital stays. It is just that they were not equipped or trained enough to handle my problem.

And that pretty much is what can be said of pretty much every hospital in the country…but as I lost weight and became a more manageable size, that is less of a mitigating circumstance and more incompetence and penny-pinching.

So one of the few things that I remember about my stay at the hospital was that the first night I had a doctor interrogate me at 3 in the morning asking how I knew a certain someone (apparently I went to this particular hospital due to a recommendation from my mother’s aunt who is a big wig…and they were all shitting themselves trying to figure out how much attention should they pay in my care [you might think I am being cynical, but really am not]).

I hope to one day find that particular doctor and give him a wedgie of a lifetime…his of course.

I should warn you, now that I am actually interacting with doctors, I am going to be mentioning a lot of bodily harm that I would like to inflict upon them…but there is context!

Anyways, other than that, either I worked really hard to convince everyone that I was going to be okay and that this was just a minor inconvenience to the point that I seemed to have convinced myself that other than a few things, it was not the worst stay.

Here are the things that annoyed me during my stay:

1 – no way to call a nurse…they required me to have a personal attendant (i.e. my elderly mother in this case), to stick by my side and if a nurse was needed, she would have to go out and find a nurse

2 – filthy…though I think it’s just more to poor maintenance than someone bleeding and pooing on the walls.

3 – poor maintenance – three times the elevator went out…which meant that they had to manually haul my ass up and down a series of stairs when I needed to go to visit a doctor or get a scan done – at least I could sit in a chair, imagine if that happened to someone sicker…

Of course the most annoying thing was that they completely misdiagnosed me, hereby causing me to be in my present condition…but that’s the next post!

Keeping that Brave Face

I got carried off that plane in a stretcher (eventually).

I remember trying to ignore the stares and whispers as I was trundled through the airport. It wasn’t embarrassing per se…it just felt so intrusive, they were commenting on my tragedy on my life (I like my privacy).

We had to rush through the airport, my sister was due back on the same plane that had brought us here (she just needed to accompany me on the flight…thankfully she came out to at least see my mom and dad who were waiting for me with the ambulance).

As soon as I saw my mom, I realized I couldn’t say anything. I couldn’t tell her I was afraid, that my world was falling apart, her eyes were already red as if she was holding back her own tears.

I was loaded up into the ambulance and whisked away to Aysha Memorial Hospital…my mom sitting silently next to me (though I could hear her trying not to wail).

That’s where my brave face came on…and I don’t think I have ever taken it off (I tried once, it did not go well…)

So I started to talk, I told my mom that things will be alright, and that it was nice that she got to talk to my sister, and just this and that, despite being so tired from stress and just general traveling (I am a terrible flier in the best of cases).

I dozed off, and the next time I was conscious, I was being hauled up a rickety elevator to the emergency ward of Aysha Memorial…

An Inglorious Return

Alright, so am laid up in the only sofa in my sister’s apartment and I spent eight hours watching the most efficient movers in the world pack away a house that I lived in for eight months.

Once the movers had left, my sister and her husband brought up an idea…since there was no way to take care of me easily (not only because of my seriously fat-ass, but also cause seriously it was difficult to do anything without any assistance…the rest of my life story will detail it more as time goes by), maybe I should fly back to Bangladesh.

I knew there was nothing else that could be done, I had no other contacts or friends or anything else in the country (I was working in Kuwait at that moment, did I mention that?), and my sister and her husband were leaving in about two week’s time (and there was no guarantee that I would be fixed up by then).

So yeah, we booked the first flight back to Bangladesh we could…there were some problems with getting everything ready, but I got to be carried down the narrow stairs by a combination of ambulance/fire fighters (I vowed to lose weight during that time…something I have been pretty successful in, though I need to get a bit fitter now, ’cause have let myself go during this recent round of chemo…starting today, I promise)….anyways, I have no idea how I got to the seat, ’cause it felt almost impossible to take that three feet walk from the airplane door to the seat (first row people! it was awesome [no, not really]).

That six hour flight (by the way, six hours is a goddamn long time, we need faster planes by now) was the longest six hours in my life (and seriously stressful as I tried to figure out where the hell was my life going and how did I get there).

The Blackest Night

So after an hour of frustrated struggling, I managed to get on to my bed. During that time, my mom had called me half a dozen times, so I called her back and calmly told me that I feel screwed.

I kind of wish I didn’t say that, I could hear her blanching at the idea of me being so sick and essentially unable to move, but I needed to say something to someone (I would tell my sister, but she had already done so much).

So I managed to settle into the bed, feeling a bit accomplished that maybe the day was not going to be so bad.

But, half an hour later, the guy who I was staying with came in and asked how I was doing…and then my sister and her husband followed right behind him, saying that I should stay with them so they could take care of me.

I groaned internally ’cause I was so exhausted just getting to the bed.

Anyways, I agreed, ’cause I did need help, and so back down the five flights of stairs, this time with everyone helping me to climb down.

It was more or less uneventful until I tried crossing the threshold, where my foot gave way and I fell. It was such a miserable situation trying to get back up, with us maneuvering me so that I could finally get some kind of leverage to climb into the car. It was terrible, and random people off the street saw us and tried helping me.

That was what I remember of that night, people trying to help.

I went to a different hospital (actually I went to the first hospital to try and see if I could get checked in so that professional nurses could take care of me, they wouldn’t let me because I wasn’t sick enough to warrant hospitalization…it was a very weird, frustrating conversation)…I think I went to my sister’s home, but I couldn’t climb up her set of stairs either, again collapsing onto the street as my legs couldn’t hold me.

That is another thing I remember, my legs never able to keep me up.

The other hospital was just as unhelpful, after the X-Rays and MRI (again), we just waited…and waited…and waited, no one could help me, no one knew how to help me, and we had no idea who to turn to to get some help.

Eventually, we went back home (it was difficult, I collapsed again, but the hospital staff joined together to help me up into a gurney.

As we tried to retire for the night, I decided to be an asshat one more time and collapse before being able to approach the stairs to my sister’s apartment. This time, we called the ambulance who called members of the fire-brigade to haul my fat ass (I was too heavy for just two of them to help me up the narrow staircase) up those stairs and onto the only sofa that was left in the house.

Finally, at 4 a.m., the day was over with…and my journey had really begun.

The Longest Day

Sorry about the long absence, I just finished my last chemo this past week (and couple that with my low blood counts means that I have been in the hospital for the past week or so).

Anyways, I kind of want to finish recapping the beginning of my long journey to my current state before the 20th, which will be my third anniversary of surviving what feels like hell.

So, last you left me, I was crumpled at the bottom of the stairs, unable to pick myself up because I can’t feel my legs. I call my sister (who I didn’t want to call because she was literally preparing to move countries, the movers were going to be at her place in less than 24 hours, she had things to do!).

But I was desperate and I was freaking out, and it’s something I needed to do.

So I called her, she came as quick as she can (which was thankfully pretty quick). I was seriously trying not to freak out as I told her I couldn’t feel my legs.

Then came our even more trying moment, trying to get my 150 kilo ass up and mobile so she could take me down the five flights of stairs (I had thankfully tumbled down only a short flight of stairs), into her car, and to the hospital.

It was an almost impossible journey, my legs would not bend, fold, push, pull, or do anything – I have no idea how she got me down those stairs and into her car (some days I feel like she should have abandoned me).

Anyways, go to the hospital, get an X-Ray and an MRI and get no results really. So I got some meds, went back to my apartment…somehow climbed those five flights of stairs back up to my place.

My sister left me at the door ’cause she had to rush (it’s cool, I was also feeling confident that I was getting better).

Boy was I wrong.

I managed to somehow get to my room, the furthest one in the entire apartment, thanks to using the walls as a crutch – but as soon as I closed the door to my room…my feet got tangled with each other, and there I fell, door closed, no one in the house, my phone somewhere in my bag.

And I still could not get up.

I cried for a little bit, screamed in frustration a little, and then started belly-crawling to my bed, hoping that I could use it to leverage myself up.

It took me a good half-hour to make it to the bed, that’s how difficult it was to crawl fifteen feet to the bed.  It took another half-hour to get on the bed, ’cause it was one of those damn fluffy soft ones that you sink into (I hated that damn thing), so it didn’t hold me up as I tried pushing down.

Finally, an hour later, I managed to get onto the bed, fully clothed, exhausted beyond belief…

The days was not over yet though…

Disaster Strikes!

Previously on my origin story…my feet were becoming number and number, and I wasn’t paying attention.

Until I had to. I realized that I was becoming afraid to take a step, that I would lean against he wall so that I could hold myself upright. I instinctively knew that if I fell, I would have a problem getting up.

I actually fell once, but I brushed it off as stepping on the stairs wrongly and becoming unbalanced.

I knew that I had to see the doctor, but I just had another two weeks of the semester to deal with (I was teaching at the time) so I thought I could suck it up and just make it through.

That was my mistake, as,you body finally gave out on me.

What happened was that as I took the first step down the five flights I was to take from my apartment to the ground floor, my legs had become so numb that it could no longer support me. My legs buckled from underneath me, and I fell down a flight of stairs.

It was then that I realized I could not pick myself up, my legs weren’t responding…