12 Weeks Home (Day +98)-Braving the Monkey Bars

Today marks 12 weeks home and Day +98, getting quite close to the magic 100 day mark everyone talks about!!! What is this magic 100 day mark you may ask???  Well for some reason Day +100 after getting your stem cells returned to you is the point where most doctors say you are in the clear for pretty much everything.  At that time you typically are allowed to eat pretty much everything within reason (obviously no raw meat/seafood, raw honey, etc), do almost all regular activities, eat yogurt, start taking mild probiotics, start more intense exercising, etc.  Basically you can integrate fully back into society and start living life like a normal person.  Now I know there are still some people out there and some doctors that feel that you cannot do a lot of this stuff till the 6-12 month mark, but really I think you have to take into account what your doctor that performed the HSCT says as well as your actual doctor at home.   Even on the HSCT veteran’s group there is always debate over what is allowed and not allowed at this point in time, really I think the person themselves has to make the decision on what they feel comfortable doing.  And then lastly it also seems to depend on what country you are from.  Norwegians in particular jump into things much faster than people elsewhere in the world, and ironically from all the groups I’ve followed, they seem to have the best and fastest recoveries. But they also are really happy people and I think that really helps with recovery too.

All in all this week was rather boring, which is good for me, bad for blog post writing. Next week will be a bit more exciting in the way of posts just because I’ll be doing my 3 month blood work at some point in time during the next week.  It’ll be the 2 basic blood tests I have done every time along with a thyroid test. Most people recommend getting your thyroid checked around the 3 month mark and then again at the 12 month mark, if not sooner if you think there may be something up with it.  There is a risk with HSCT of developing thyroid issues, hence the reason it’s recommended you get that checked out once in a while after treatment, even if everything seems normal.

Everything for me has been pretty constant this past week.  No new side effects, just occasional hot flashes.  No real improvements either, everything is about the same as it was last week.  The weather here has been super hot all week again, an unpleasant change from the prior week, almost every day has been 100+ at my house.  The heat isn’t as big of an issue as it was last year for me, but it definitely does make me drag ass a lot more than normal. I just don’t have as much energy during the hottest part of the day and it’s hard to get motivated to do things around the house.  And now for some reason we have mosquitoes out during the day time as well, so no matter what, if you go outside day or night they will try to bite you, makes doing things outside rather difficult. Not sure if it’s a different species of mosquitoes or not, I’m a wildlife biologist, insects are not my thing… They all look the same to me, and these ones are super aggressive too, they waste no time, they just swoop in and bite. I despise mosquitoes….Only thing worse are biting flies.  My husband would say ticks are far worse, but in all my years of working in the woods, never had issues with ticks, they don’t seem to like me, in my entire life I’ve only ever pulled 2 out of me, they much prefer my husband. Mosquitoes however love me….the feeling is not mutual.

This past week I did manage to finish weeding around my tomato plants in the garden, which was quite the accomplishment given how many weeds there were.  Now I just have to hope that the bee population amazingly rebounds and starts pollinating my tomatoes, I am not optimistic on that happening…  Didn’t do much in the way of outings this week either, it was more a just chill around the house type week. Most of the local schools start later this week so everyone is out and about enjoying the last week of summer vacation and stores are packed with people buying school supplies. And I really don’t want to deal with crowds of people.

We did have a family BBQ with my hubby’s family at one of the parks we often go to walk at.  Well it was supposed to be a family BBQ but only us and my hubby’s parents showed up, everyone else said they would be there and then never showed up, so it really was pointless, and really pissed me off, since I took the time to make a nice dessert for the event for no real reason. I could go on a whole long rant about this, but it’s not worth my time or energy.  But on the plus side, the side of the park where we had our BBQ had monkey bars on the playground equipment do I decided to be brave and try them out.  Now pre-MS I used to be a master at monkey bars, I could go back and forth numerous times without stopping, my goal was to try out for American Ninja Warrior, I don’t ever foresee that happening in the future, but never know. A girl I went to church with when I was younger and played church basketball with was on the show the last 2 years and is known as the Wine Warrior. But anyways back to the topic of monkey bars.  So after I was diagnosed with MS, my first 2 major relapses after having my daughter really destroyed my arm strength.  I had no grip strength, my arms were weak, and even though I still had nice arm muscles I could not do push ups, pull ups, or even hang from a bar.  If I tried to even hang on the monkey bars I’d fall off, very depressing. Even after I “recovered” a bit from those relapses I still could not hang onto monkey bars at all.  Now after HSCT I don’t have impressive arm muscles anymore, they are rather pathetic.  I lost a lot of muscle mass during the treatment and have not been able to regain it yet, that is something I plan to work on in the future.  But I decided to attempt to hang on the monkey bars and amazingly I could hang there with no real issues, although I could not hang there with bent arms at all or pull myself up, but progress…  I then decided to make a fool of myself and attempt the monkey bars to see if I could even make it to the next bar over and on my best attempt I managed to make it across 3 bars before falling off.  I had absolute horrible form and looked ridiculous but I was able to do it, so I consider that a success.  My goal after HSCT is to eventually be able to make it all the way across the monkey bars without stopping or falling off, it may happen some day. Still can’t do push ups though, just don’t have the arm strength for that yet, but perhaps one day in the future.  I do have video of one of my attempts but I don’t plan to post that publicly because I look ridiculous, but perhaps if I ever manage to make it all the way across the monkey bars I’ll post both videos as a comparison of how things have progressed.

Other than that my week was really boring and pathetic.  I harvested a few hot peppers from my garden, those seem to be the only things really doing anything, and then a couple of cherry tomatoes.  Which really fresh tomatoes from a garden are just amazing, can’t beat the flavor. Store bought tomatoes are completely flavorless compared to home-grown ones.  Here is a picture of my highest producing cayenne pepper plant, just because I need some type of picture for this blog post.

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Cayenne Peppers

And then recently I decided to start feeding a feral cat in my area, because I’m a sucker like that….  Well I’m not sure if you can necessarily call the cat feral, we believe that the previous owners of the house left him there when they moved several years prior to us moving into the house. He’s an unfixed male about 8-9 years old and his range is our entire property and he has always done an excellent job at killing mice in my garden plots, he’s my natural rodent control. He’s old and has a bad eye so I decided that I’d give him food every morning and evening since he’s getting a bit too decrepid to actually do a lot of hunting anymore, he’s earned his keep. He’ll never be an inside cat and he isn’t used to people, but I feel bad for him.  He’s the only feral cat I feed.  Although now he appears to not hunt at all anymore and just waits around for food, I’ve spoiled him… Where I live many “city folks” like to bring their animals, both cats and dogs, out into the country and dump them.  You know because they seem to think us country folks will take them all in…  Most cats end up getting run over by cars, starve to death, or get ripped apart by coyotes.  Most dogs end up getting hit by cars, killed by coyotes, or shot because they become super aggressive trying to kill livestock, pets, etc. Really over the years I’ve determined most people are not fit to own pets.  If you are not responsible enough to spay/neuter your pets and keep them in your house or on your property then you shouldn’t own animals, period. Although the animal shelters charging asinine surrender fees does not help the situation either, that just encourages people to dump them in the country.  I ran a ferret rescue for a while so I have strong opinions on pet ownership and animal cruelty laws.  But back to the feral cat I’m feeding. Just because this post is lacking pictures, here’s a picture of him.

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So all in all a very uneventful week.  Next week my blog post will discuss my blood work results and then who knows maybe I’ll do something exciting or have some amazing improvements, never really know. Until then, I’m hoping the weather cools down, because I much prefer fall over summer.

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About Cat

I'm an outdoorsy gal, wife, mom of 2 and MS Warrior. I underwent HSCT in Russia in April/May 2016 to halt my MS and documented my entire journey while I was there in my blog and am now continuing to blog through my recovery.
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