Saturday, 25 February 2017

My immune system is two!

Tomorrow my immune system in two years old. It’s my second rebirthday! Two years post transplant. Two years since we sat around, waiting for the slate to be wiped clean, and then the anticlimactic slow drip of those beautiful cells. It was simultaneously momentous and underwhelming. But now, two years on, it remains one of the most important days of my life. It is one of the few specific days associated with my cancer that’s worth celebrating. For a stem cell recipient every year is a step further away from the chance of relapse and a step closer to that magical, distant land… cure. 

The last week has been a big week for the stem cell community. NHS England overturned its barbaric decision to stop routinely funding second stem cell transplants for relapsed leukaemia patients after a fierce campaign by Anthony Nolan and other leukaemia and blood-related charities. Since the decision was made, people have died because they were denied treatment and that’s not okay. It should not have happened and they should have had a second chance at survival. I feel incredibly lucky that my disease did not return during this time, and even though I have remained cancer free, the last six months have been trying both psychologically and physically. 

My last post was all about the fear of relapse and over the last six months that has been heightened more than ever. This week felt like a release. Of course, I still dread every clinic appointment until the moment my bloods are confirmed as (relatively) normal, but knowing that if it did come back that I would be given treatment means that relapse isn’t a death sentence anymore. And that’s quite nice. 

Physically, things have been up and down. I was diagnosed at the end of last year with chronic skin GvHD. I have started writing another blog post on the subject because there is a lot to talk about, but that’s not the subject of this post. So stay tuned!

So tonight I am going out with my favourite people (minus Ellis and Josh who will be en route home from Australia straight to my lovin’ arms on Sunday morning). And we will eat and drink and spend time together because after everything, after all the pain and terror and life-affirming moments and joy and fear and anxiety and love and exhaustion and tears and laughter, there is nowhere I would rather be than with the people who mean everything and who I love more than a few words on a blog post could convey.