Stem Cell Transplants, Moscow, and Borscht…life with Lisa in Russia.

If today is Monday, it must be Moscow

Days Two and Three

Day two of chemo I was just plain tired. Day three I was just too damn sick! That…well, you understand. The nurses were amazing, carefully observing my every grimace. I had the pain translation sheet in hand to point to the symptom and then scroll to the bottom for the pain level. I was pointing to many, many symptoms, with my fingers running up and down the sheet like a bookie searching for the winning horse. Ingenious.

The perfect accessory for every Russian transplant

The perfect accessory for every Russian transplant


I want thank you so much for the comments and notes. I read every one many times over as they give me encouragement , strength, and the warmth of a hug across 5,000 miles. They are very precious to me, and I am never alone with your words in my heart. Personal emails can be sent to:

Some days time moves slowly, others more quickly, and I rarely even know what day it is. The time difference complicates things as well. I am usually arising when you are settling in for the night. Makes texting with the Viber App difficult. I spend time reading, watching a few movies, and napping. I don’t do anything, but am so often fatigued by the medications and IV’s. I have tried to move about as much as possible to keep my legs as strong as I am able. Physical therapy will be a must when I return home.

Russian television is interesting. Same style of medical centered soap operas with a flare for the dramatic. Same musical competition shows with a gigantic flare for the dramatic. They even have a “Say Yes to the Dress” show, complete with boutique owner who laments and frowns at poor choices, yet the face will light up at the perfect wedding gown. No translations needed for that show. And then I catch a glimpse of BBC or the equivalent in English, but they  dub in Russian – frustrating. Maybe I can learn to read lips while I am confined.

Bottles number five and six of my last day of chemo are now dripping, and my head is drooping. So I will sign off…

Goodnight Moon,



TODAY – last day of chemo – woo hoo!

July 9 – day of rest, a much needed day of rest!

July 10 – stem cell re-infusion, and in a way, my new birthday free of MS permeated T-Cells

July 12 – begin total isolation as I am entering the neutropenic stage of treatment and will have extremely low white blood cells. This period will last from 10-12 days (possibly more), and I will be closely watched for infections and possible blood or platelet transfusions. And the stimulation shots will begin again,

July 13 –  daily blood monitoring to watch for signs that the cells have engrafted. Over the first few days the Leucocyte numbers will continually drop. At some point, this will reverse until the much hoped for total of 1.0 Leucocytes, meaning the stem cells have engrafted in my body. And stay tuned…bathing during this period is unique,to say the least. Vodka anyone?

July 20 – hair should be almost gone, Leucocytes up, and other counts rising as well!

July 24 – the rebooting of my immune system should be near completion. Total isolation period will be coming to an end soon. Which means I may be allowed to roam the halls. Escape!

July 27 – weaning from antibiotic support so as to allow my newly rebooted immune system to learn to take control once more.

July 28 to August 1 – Continue monitoring the blood counts and immune system. Hopeful removal of Central Venous Catheter as well. Except for being a pain to shower with (shower shield adhesives are amazing) it has been of no bother so far.

August 2 – hopeful discharge and sweet good bye to my Moscow family who changed, and may I be so bold as to say saved, my life.

A few days rest in a hotel. Perhaps some brief sight seeing (lack of fatigue permitting) by the gift of a new friend Snizhana, whose daughter begins treatment in three weeks. Snizhana lives only a few minutes from Red Square and is Regional Communications Advisor for the U.N. Another beautiful connection made through the international HSCT forum. She has offered to transport me, show me and inform me of important aspects of historical sights. What a gift.

August 5 – scheduled departure. Non stop Houston, here I come!

This is all tentative. As I have seen, my age and type of MS have been a bit of a disadvantage, playing mischevious tricks on me. Dr. Fedorenko knew this would be the case, as did I. He has said I will most likely run into issues with my Leucocytes being slow to respond and engraft; I might possibly need a transfusion or platelets. Aging slows down the processes of the body, and so this is to be expected. If so, we’ll just push things back a bit, and I’ll be home bound by the 9th or so of August!

I will remember...

I will remember…


3 Responses to “If today is Monday, it must be Moscow”

  1. Pat Gallagher

    You Are amazing! I’m really glad you are keeping focused on the light at the end of this tunnel. AMAZING!!!! I think the only way I could relate to all this pain is by thinking its like a kajillion days of labor. I’m hugging you from afar!

  2. Adelaide

    There seems to be a lot going on daily! A very concentrated treatment.
    Amazing what they can do, the caring of the doctors and nurses, your responses and of course (!) there’s your inspirational approach to all of this.
    You are an example for us all.
    I am so glad you made some local friends to show you around when you’re done as well. The friends you have made at the hospital and beyond are going to be very special indeed.
    Everyone “over here” are pulling and praying for you. I hope you feel it!


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