Tuesday, March 30, 2010

New again

I finally have a full range of motion with both of my arms, so I thought it would be a good time to post. It seems that Chris has been brought low by a random stomach virus, so he's currently napping. He awoke around 3am feeling nauseated. I think he would have vomited, save for one thing--the lap band. It's purpose is to constrict his stomach so he can't over-eat. The thing that didn't occur to either of us when he was having it placed was that it would constrict things from coming up, too. He ended up dry-heaving for half an hour, then going back to sleep.

He managed to go into work, only to call me two hours later to pick him up. Poor guy was very pale when I arrived. I'm hoping it's only a virus that will run its course in a few days.

I've gotten into a few things since last I posted that I thought might be of interest. I began stepping down my tacro dose on Wednesday, which meant no pill on Thursday. Friday, a small patch of skin in the crease of my right elbow began to itch. This is nothing new, since it's a regular spot for GvHD flares. This go round, however, the new immune system decided to flex its muscles and try a little something new. There was a patch of skin roughly 2 inches in diameter packed with angry red blisters. I literally looked like I'd been moisturizing with poison ivy. I rubbed in a dollop of cortisone cream and kept an eye on it thinking that I'd be back on a regular dosage of tacro before the day was over. Much to my surprise, the rash disappeared after a few hours, leaving behind a faint red shadow.

Saturday, Chris and I took advantage of the beautiful weather to finish up a few projects in the front yard. Since I'm now allowed to do a little light gardening, Chris asked me if I'd like to help him finish mulching the front garden. I will be absolutely honest, I don't love to garden. That's my mom's thing. I don't like playing in the dirt and the smell of fertilizer reminds me of the time I threw up at the farmer's market as a kid. I do love a pretty garden and I appreciate all of the effort that goes into planting and maintaining one. If I can trade on chores to get out of gardening, I most certainly will.

When I asked Dr. K. if I could do some light gardening, I was really thinking of potting a few house plants. There's an empty spot on my mantle that I'd like to fill with a pretty orchid. That kind of gardening.

We ended up at our local home improvement center wandering the outdoor gardening department. By the time we got home, we had a truck full of mulch, soil, and plants. The plan was that Chris would finish mulching the front garden while I worked on a small strip of grass running along the side of the house and driveway. All of the utilities and clean-outs are on this side of the house and it drives Chris crazy when the weeds invade. All I had to do was layout weed blocking cloth and install a few plants.

Seven hours and 55 feet later, with the help of a very determined and loving Chris, the weeds gave way to a narrow little garden filled with coleus, impatiens and hostas. I have had my fill of playing in the dirt and having a variety of insects creep up on me and can even attest to the amazing efficacy of La Roche-Posay sunblock. It's the brand the dermatology fellow at MDA recommended I use and after seven hours outside, I didn't have any color. Granted, I was wearing a baseball cap and long sleeves, but my face is still as pale as it has been for the last three years. No sunburn and no tan.

Sunday, I had my first glass of wine. We have been toting this bottle of 2003 Tommasi Ripasso around for the last 2 years, hoping to celebrate. There were 2 bottles before it of the same vintage that a houseguest of our former host helped themselves to while we were in Houston which led to many jokes involving hiding this bottle. Our local supplier doesn't carry the brand anymore, so I'm glad this one survived.

I enjoyed that first glass with a medium rare steak, another first in 3 years. It was absolute bliss to be able to have underdone steak. It sounds trivial, but give something up that you love and see how long you go without it. During the transplant process and depending on the protocol your center follows, you will give up fresh fruits, vegetables, underdone or raw foods, herbal teas, alcohol, caffeine, dairy, and a host of other little things. You get to have them back in increments and over time. I still can't have sushi and avoid herbal teas and supplements. I still don't eat salads at restaurants and shy away from meals not prepared by myself or a very small handful of people. Sadly, you can't be sure of hygiene and what I deem clean, you might find excessive. "Dirt won't hurt," etc. Yes, I do occasionally have meals at restaurants. Yes, I know they aren't the cleanest places in the world. I waited tables during college and have seen the shenanigans that can take place. That's for another day.

I'm feeling a few of the after effects of spending so much time outside Saturday. There are a few small rashes on my face and chest. My eyelids itch constantly and my scalp is flaking off. It's all worth it to be able to do the things I did this weekend, though.


Susan C said...

Your planting sounds lovely. I love hostas, but they don't seem to like So. Cal.

Ann said...

Susan, I'm surprised that hostas don't do well in your area. It's the one plant that I haven't managed to kill the few times I've dabbled in gardening. Maybe it's the high humidity in my part of the country? Chris has pictures of our efforts on his phone. When he's feeling better, I'll ask him to put them up.

PJ said...

Hostas seem to be one of the few perennials the deer don't like to eat. They like cool and shade which is probably why they don't so well in So. Cal.

Lisa Adams said...

PJ... I am laughing... I live in CT, and here we call hostas "deer food"... no one will put it in their garden unless they live on a very busy street. I am so jealous if you have had luck with them and no deer!

Ann, it always amazes me how the smallest things can be victories. When you can't do something/eat something/drink something, it's such a joy to do something again. I am so glad you were able to get outside without being burned and enjoy some activity.

So sorry Chris is unwell. I hope also that it's just a virus and will pass quickly. No worse feeling than nausea... give him my best and I will look forward to seeing twitter updates today.

Can't wait to see how your garden grows!

Ronni Gordon said...

My mother also loved gardening. She had a beautiful garden at our little beach house on Long Island, and when she came to South Hadley she was very interested in my garden. It's a long strip along the edge of the backyard. I don't really like gardening either, but I like looking at a pretty garden. So there you have it. At first I was scared to go near it (because of dirt that can fungus) and I put on a mask and watched my kids take care of things. Now that I am allowed I don't get much help. I have to watch my skin too. If I'm in the sun too long, my nose turns red and the skin gets bubbles. Oh well, happy gardening!