Happy Birthday Little Stem Cells

Today is a good day….it is my Stem Cell Birthday. Two years ago today, I was sat in the Royal Marsden Hospital in Sutton receiving my stem cells back after a massive dose of chemotherapy that would have rendered me useless had I not been given back my lifesaving stem cells.

I can’t really believe that it was two years ago….although that said, in some ways it feels like far longer than that as so

A shocking photo of me on ‘release’ from hospital post-transplant – August 2011

much has had happened in that time. But two years ago, my life went through a change that I find hard to even explain….I’m not sure how to put into words what happened back then and how it felt and how it affected every little bit of my being. It was a strange period…I had thought about rehashing it all here now, but then I wondered why I was doing that….after all, it is the past. And I’m not one to live in the past…..it’s not healthy and it’s not good for keeping up morale!

But safe to say, post transplant, it was a 6 month period that challenged Nick and I massively. We had to learn to work together to get through a period that made us look at our life and make sure that we knew what we wanted moving forwards. Strangely, in the short term that was easy. It was all about us….the family….being selfish. We looked after the four of us and made sure that WE were our priority. I think that we did that well. And even now, when life is so different to how it was two years ago, our life is different to how it was pre-myeloma. Despite being massively busy with jobs and commitments outside of the family, the family is still key to us. I know to some people that is always the case, but I think that there was a time before my diagnosis that whilst my family meant everything to me, I would allow what other people needed, to take over. That is no longer the case and I hope I won’t allow us to drift back to that (and when I say ‘us’, I really mean ‘me’!

I am lucky. I am so lucky. I know of so many people who had their transplants after me but who have since relapsed. Sadly, there are even a couple who are no longer around today. These sorts of ‘anniversaries’ for me are always tinged with an element of sadness as you remember the friends that had supported you throughout, but who are no longer here. However, those that I am thinking of, I genuinely know wouldn’t want me to be sat here mourning them, but would want me to be living my life as positively as I can do. So I will try to do that for them (with a bit being for me too of course 😉 )

So today, 2 years post transplant and 4 years post diagnosis, things are looking good. I am back at work, with a new career that I love! (For those of you who have been following me, they were amazing when I explained about how things were too tough and have been so supportive in ensuring that the workload is correct! I am one lucky person working for a charity that truly cares so much for its team). I play netball on a weekly basis. And more than any of this, I truly believe that myeloma no longer dictates my life. It will always be a part of me….there will always be an element of fear when I go for monthly appointments, but it no longer dictates my life. There are days and weeks now where I don’t even think ‘myeloma’! I even had an appointment with a financial advisor yesterday and whilst I had to clarify my situation, I was still talking about working for the next 20 years….we can only hope! It is a far cry from my early diagnosis when I didn’t think that I would ever see my children reach secondary school (only 3 years away now!) and to be honest where I didn’t even know that I would be here today writing this blog.

So I am a happy lady as I write this tonight. And I hope that I have many more anniversaries to regroup and remember how far we have come since that diagnosis in 2009.

My gorgeous family in 2013

My gorgeous family in 2013

About Deb Gascoyne

I am wife of one, mother of two (& a dog!) and a person in my own right😊. I have used my diagnosis of myeloma to allow me to focus on what I CAN achieve and not what I can't. My blog is a way of me spilling out....it is for me more than you I'm afraid. But if it helps you along the way, that is an absolute bonus for me :-) Diagnosed in 2009 with smouldering myeloma, I started treatment in 2010 and had a SCT in 2011. I’ve was on maintenance until November 2018 but my figures went up so officially relapsed. I have been on dara since 2019 and had my second transplant in September 2020. Still on dara and keeping fingers crossed.
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4 Responses to Happy Birthday Little Stem Cells

  1. Jet Black says:

    Happy Anniversary Deb! I don’t know why, but I thought you had yours four weeks before me, but it was only two, so I was a bit premature when I wished you happy anniversary two weeks ago. Sorry!
    So glad you’re doing well and seem to have found a good balance. It takes time, doesn’t it? But I think the gains outweigh the losses, like your wonderful new career. Happy for you. x


    • Deb Gascoyne says:

      Thanks Jet! I think I must have missed the previous comment anyway so no need to apologise! Life has been manic but it is calming now and I’m looking forward to the holidays and some quality time with my family! Hope all well with you. x


      • Jet Black says:

        Yes thanks! I’m doing remarkably well – only a few minor blips. But I celebrated my one year allo transplant anniversary in May and I have just been on my first proper summer holiday abroad since diagnosis.

        I know you stopped reading my blog, but I’m still writing it. These days it’s much more about LIVING with myeloma than going through treatment for it.

        How are you getting on with your list for living? I’ve been ticking off quite a few, but so busy living, not had time to write about them. That in itself is a good thing, right? Glad you’re getting on with living too.


  2. alexbicknell says:

    Happy birthday Deb, and Jet. Our lives are a funny mix… Part of me is beginning too, to revert to thinking about the future – what will we be doing in 20 years. And then, down with a bump, I have to go back in for my monthly bloods, next week. But let’s focus, as you both rightly say, on the living.


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