Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Black and White, Day Zero

What a day.

After getting Max off to school, Vicky and I dolled ourselves up and headed straight out to Place des Arts for the Cancer Connections Montreal launch I mentioned yesterday. Although we left late (fresh pain in my leg slowed me down considerably) and had to get through heavy traffic, we somehow made it on time. I could tell the whole story here, but pictures, appropriately enough, do it better. I've put a handful of photos from the morning up on Flickr.

You can see the entire photo collection online, but I recommend going to see them in person. It's a free outdoor venue, and seeing them all arranged on the esplanade can pack quite an emotional wallop—but it's also an amazing testament to the diversity of cancer experiences, and something about seeing these under the open sky makes the overall experience more positive than anything else. The exhibit will be in Montreal until September 28.

After that we had to head to the hospital for a blood test, a dressing change for my catheter, my checkup and a CT scan to hopefully find the cause of the continuing congestion that has been affecting my hearing for over a week. Only the CT scan had a fixed time and everything else was kind of a crapshoot, but the stars aligned and everything mostly fell into place. (Except for the extended time I had to wait for the radiology folks to clear through their CT scan backlog. When you're leukemic it's already hard to stay warm; when your blood pressure is low it's even harder. Even under several blankets, I was freezing for quite some time.)

But the truly exciting news came when we were on the road, between exhibition and hospital. Checking the answering machine at home, we discovered we'd received the call we'd been waiting for from the Ottawa Hospital. My Day Zero—the day of the transplant, my new birthday—is September 15. However, I will actually be admitted to start my transplant prep this Saturday.

So much to do, and so little time to do it. But the timing couldn't be better, given my circumstances. My leg is getting worse—I'll actually need a painkiller tonight—but otherwise I've been slowly regaining my strength. Starting this while I'm on the upswing is, as they say, just what the doctor ordered.

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