Wednesday, November 4, 2009


It's been one week since the sore throat manifested and I feel really well. There's still the issue of a lingering runny nose, but it does get noticeably better every day. In the past, before cancer, I could shake a cold in a few days, a week at the very most. This cold is literally my first since the last transplant, and I find that it's resolving in stages. First the sore throat disappeared, then the congestion, and now I'm waiting on the water works. My energy level is back to where it was and my appetite is excellent. I just need to be patient and understand that this immune system is having to find it's way in a foreign environment.

One strange thing I noticed while I was sick was a significant reduction in the occurrence of skin GvH flares. I assume my immune system was busy trying to figure out what was going on with the cold and took a break from torturing my skin. As the cold resolved, the skin GvH ramped up. Today has been particularly difficult in that regard.

On a scale of 1 to 10 in comparison to other transplant patients' GvH issues, I'd rank mine a 2, maybe a 3 on my worst day. The skin issues manifest as itching, rashes and dry patches. Today, there wasn't a single inch of me that didn't feel like it was covered in poison ivy; especially my scalp. At the moment, the itching is a low level hum on my face and feet, but that could change at any time.

As for what I've been doing with myself since last week, there are only a few things to report. Chris's dad and step-mom are in town for a few days and last night we got to have dinner with them which was really nice. We had the opportunity to visit them last year right before I relapsed and I can honestly say that they live in one of the most beautiful parts of the country.

We had our first Halloween in the house which was a lot of fun. Before cancer, we had a townhouse in a residential development that had a few kids, but there were never trick-or-treaters. Since we don't have kid ourselves, we weren't really sure of what to expect. I have friends in other parts of the country who take their kids to organized events instead of letting them go door to door like we did as children.

I emailed the home owner's association to get a rough idea of how much candy to buy. We hadn't received a reply the week of Halloween, so we just guessed based on the size of the neighborhood. The subdivision is so large, there are 2 homeowner's associations, and based on that, we bought a ridiculous amount of candy. A few days later, we ran into our next door neighbor and she told us to expect maybe half a dozen kids.

I made a point of getting candy that I loved as a child, so I wasn't heartbroken to hear that I'd probably be eating candy for the next month. Chris is trying to lose weight, so he was definitely worried.

Chris started getting really excited about the holiday and wanted to decorate the yard and windows. I know he's going to be a really fun dad because he's already making plans for something big next year. Keep in mind that he's an engineer, so there's probably going to be lumber and motors involved.

We had way more kids than we expected and had just enough candy. The first set of kids showed up at 5:30 just as we finished putting the yard decorations up. I happened to be in the kitchen, which faces the street, when I saw a tiny blur tearing across our lawn. I could make out a tiara and a frilly little tutu as she whizzed past.

There was a steady stream of kids until 8:15 and Chris and I had a blast handing out candy. The kids were mostly of the under 10 set and were all precious. I'm really looking forward to doing it again next year.


Close up of a bedsheet ghost

Chris creating some spooky ambiance

I poured all of the candy into a bag to mix it up. Chris is posing with it to give perspective.


Susan C said...

I get all giddy thinking about you and Chris as parents.

Ann said...

Aww, Susan, we love you!

Ronni Gordon said...

I used to take the kids with a friend and her kids in their residential area, a circle filled with tons of kids and decorated houses. I hardly get anyone at my house, which is on a busy road. Usually I buy what I like – things like Snickers – and then I eat it myself. Glad you got to give all yours away and have fun doing it. Poor me...stuck eating candy for a week!

Anonymous said...

Are you sure Chris is holding the bag of candy to give us perspective on size? Hmm, engineering mind. I'm thinking he was gauging the weight in ounces to see if you'd notice the missing Almond Joy! Just teasing, Chris! I'm a Milk Duds gal myself! Glad you guys had a ghoulishly fun time!

Love, Wen Ü

Ann said...

Wendy, Chris loves Almond Joys! I love peanut butter cups, which is why neither candy made it home with us. Poor kids would have gotten a handful of empty wrappers,otherwise. :)

Kelly said...

I've been keeping up with your blog for about a year now (after my mother was diagnosed with lymphoma and I began scouring the internet for peoples' experiences with blood cancers) and I am SO happy to hear you're well.

Anyhow, I just wanted to say that I've had chronic eczema my entire life, and whenever I fall ill the same thing happens--my skin gets better. Strange!

Nancy said...

The candy and halloween experiences do change when you become homeowners. Congrats. I enjoyed our trick or treaters, too. We also decorate the yard wit black lights, smoke machines (on remote controls), bats and spiders, etc. I think there were more trick or treaters this year partly because Halloween fell on a Saturday. I was a bit afraid of their germs during this flu season, but I know that all is well.

Take care and continue to regain full health! Love ya, n