Aileen Lamb
Posted by
Aileen Lamb


Aileen Lamb
Posted by
Aileen Lamb
15 Mar 2016

Throughout the process of treatment and run up to my Stem Cell Transplant (STC) the docs have continually cautioned me about being over optimistic. I find this quite challenging to deal with as I'm a glass three quarters full kind of gal.....but hey, these guys know that there are as many pitfalls on this journey as clear, four lane motorways!

Aileen in Sienna, Italy

It was with this caution in mind that I tried to keep a lid on my impatience / excitement as we neared day +10 which is the first likely day after transplant that signs of engraftment could show. (This would be significantly increased numbers of blood cells, neutrophils and platelets). The medics made encouraging noises. Every thing going to plan. Seems that you are managing this all pretty well. Blah....Blah....blah......

Then on day +11 doctor Chris came bouncing in with his usual happy enthusiasm - I really liked him and felt that he was a great example of a genuine individual who is well on the road to becoming an excellent haematology consultant.  Your counts are looking fantastic today. They are showing all the signs of engraftment!!

Wow! To say I was over the moon is the understatement of the year. I was beside myself with excitement. Of course I needed to speak to Steve and my family and let them know...and would you believe it, everyone was busy. So texts were dispatched and from Aberdeen to Argyll there were whoops of excitement and joy when everyone did finally look at their phones.

I've read in others blogs about the grim moments suddenly being forgotten when good news such as this comes along. And I would wholeheartedly concur. The agony of the severe reaction I'd had to the growth hormones earlier in the week suddenly faded into the background. I thought well, at least the pain was perhaps worth it if it helped my engraftment.

And even more good news the following day when Dr Alison announced if there were no further complications then they'd be looking to discharge me over the weekend.  So I could be in, chemoed, transplanted, engrafted and home in 22 days. Total. Truly spectacular in my book. So I behaved. I ate - despite mucositis in my mouth and throat. I ate despite horrible acid and heartburn. And I took all my medications orally despite having to take soluble pain killers first so that I could swallow 15 tablets at a sitting.

I did all this because I knew if I couldn't then I would be staying in hospital. For my own safety. But the positive mind is a truly powerful thing. I willed improvements in all of the potential setbacks and I really believe that will helped me power thru these obstacles. That and Ganesh my wee elephant god. The god of moving obstacles.

Thanks to everyone who visited me in the wonderful Beatson. Thanks also to my news group crew who again kept me going during my 22 days - particularly my time in solitary confinement. Home now and loving it!


Eleanor Baggley

This is fantastic news Aileen! I'm so glad to hear you're settled back at home now - how are you feeling? Although I completely understand that optimism can sometimes be a double edged blade, it can also be one of the most important things to pull someone through an experience like this - it's lovely to hear that you've maintained your optimism through. As ever, shout if there is anything we can do to support you. All the best, Eleanor

Aileen Lamb

Thanks for asking Eleanor, I'm starting to feel like my old self again. Still (and probably will be for ages) battling fatigue but im trying to go with the flow and crash out and sleep when my body says "SLEEP!"

I dont think anything helped me more than my, and all of my teams optimism during this 7 months. At no time was there a notion that the treatment would not be a success and that's not going to change. I need to belive in it or I couldn't put up with this all :)