|After 2005 auto transplant | After 2010 Allo | After 2011 DLI|
Be sure to click on the photo for the large view.
Today, for the first time since early December, and with considerable assistance, I made it downstairs from the second floor (sixteen steps and a landing), got in the car, then went back upstairs. The went-backing part was considerably more difficult to accomplish than the go-forthing part. Yet I did reach a major milestone, because now I'm free of expensive non-emergency transportation services carrying me at scheduled times to places I don't always want to go. I can go to a restaurant or see a movie or ride over to Lake Miramar just to feed the birds. Automobiles have always meant freedom to Americans, ever since the Model-T Ford, and, now, I'm finally free again.
The first and second pictures are representative, but the third is not: for those two, all I needed was the photographer. Today, I had a physical therapist (PT) and Ivonne with me, along with a walker. Just out of view to the right is the wheelchair that got me to the spot. In truth, the only time I actually needed something to give me confidence, other than the razor strop the PT tightly cinched to me as if I were a horse, was when the wheelchair had to go down the front-porch steps, but it isn't cheating if I have Ivonne to help. I could probably have gotten myself out by myself through the garage, but what would be the point? I can't drive because of the steroids.
The photo also misleads in that I seem to look stronger in the third picture than I did after the allo. After the two transplants, I was much stronger than I am today: the GVHD of the donor lymphocyte infusion whacked me harder than my mom when she caught me smoking. There is also some nerve damage, possibly progressive, that makes doing everything arduous. I can't walk without mechanical assistance: I need a walker or a wheelchair, and, if the distance is too far, someone to push me. But at least now I can come to a standing position by myself if I have two good, high handholds and have enough sense to wait until my respiration is normal. Tomorrow will always be easier.
On the other hand, this is one of the happiest achievements of my recovery.