Monday, 15 July 2013

The Final Countdown

It would seem that my time of freedom is fast drawing to a close. I have enjoyed my time out of hospital immensely and I am ignoring the fact that the countdown to the biggest challenge I am to face as of yet has begun. Up until yesterday, I was in blissful denial as to what was to come. Yesterday was my last day at church for quite a while and I think that's when my wall of denial started to crack. Today, the full realisation has hit me and once again I find myself in a state of anxiety as I pace up and down the house; much to the cats' confusion as she patiently follows me around the house waiting to find my resting place.

I go in for the bone marrow transplant this Friday (19th July). When I go in, they will start a week long intermittent diet of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The purpose of this pre-treatment phase is to kill off all my existing bone marrow so that the stem cells in the transplant can graft on and develop into new bone marrow. I will receive the actual transplant the following week, the 26th July. Receiving the transplant itself is pretty uneventful, it is just like having a blood transfusion. After that, I will spend the rest of the time in recovery. This is the period of time that is the most dangerous which is when I will get infections. There are many complications that could happen during this time of recovery, the main and most likely one being graft versus host disease. Since, through the transplant, I am effectively receiving a whole new immune system, my new immune system may detect my body cells as foreign and start attacking everything in my body. In a way it is the opposite process to an organ transplant - instead of your body rejecting the transplanted organ, in my case, my transplant, which is my immune system can reject my body. 

I will be in hospital for a total of six weeks. I will be in isolation for that whole time which means that I wont be able to leave my room. To reduce the risk of infection, I am only allowed two visitors for that whole time; they are allowed to visit every day but it has to be the same two people. Unfortunately, I may not have internet or phone signal due to the impenetrable fortress design that is the Bexley Wing. So it is likely that i'm not going to be able to communicate to the outside world in the normal way, but I am currently figuring out ways around this and hopefully I will be able to keep you updated through the blog. After I leave hospital, it is highly likely that I will be very weak and still unable to see lots of people. The total recovery period after the transplant is six months, so there is a long journey ahead.

For those of you who would normally visit me but now can't, there will be a box in the foyer of church where you, if you would like to, can put any cards/letters/gifts etc in and one of my two designated visitors will bring them to me in the hospital. For those of you who are further away, you can either send post to the hospital, address below and please note that I am on a different ward to before, or to my postal address which I can give you upon request.

Stari Gunarathne
Ward J89
Bexley Wing
St James Hospital

So I guess that's all there is to say really. I am terrified but all I can do is hope. I choose to hope.


  1. Stari,

    I hope you do manage to get internet access! Something that might work is a signal booster - a 3G or mobile phone signal booster might work! I will be thinking of you and I will send you things. All my best wishes, Becki xxxx

  2. Good luck and lots of love, Stari. xxx

  3. It's a frightening journey. I guess, looking at the picture you chose, there will be times when you are too deep in the woods to see that bright light and it will feel like the woods are all there is. What's that at the bottom of the tree in the middle?

    love, Judith (Marlow) x


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