An Update from Jan-Maree

Written by ahq_admin

19 January 2022

G’day all,

With 2022 getting underway, and with me now back at the helm and looking after the Request List, it seems the perfect time for me to update you all on my adventures. As many of you will remember, back in May 2020 I let you know that I had been diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, an incurable form of blood cancer. I started chemotherapy in June/July and continued on into August. I had three rounds of chemo and should have had a fourth but that was cancelled for two reasons. Firstly because I developed nerve damage in my feet (not uncommon) and secondly I had an attack of acute myocarditis, essentially a serious heart attack. That put my treatment back three months or so. Fortunately, the day after the heart attack I was sitting up in bed eating breakfast feeling fine and I only continued to improve. Phew!

There were a few hiccups and delays along the way but finally on in February 2021 they began the process of collecting my own stem cells so that on 10 June last year I entered Westmead Hospital to have a stem cell transplant. One day they killed off my bone marrow and then next they transplanted my treated cells back. I then spent three weeks or so in hospital waiting for the worst of the side effects to wear off. Lets just say, they were not the best three weeks of my life but hey, they were no where near as bad as I had expected either.

Luckily for me I was discharged 24 hours after hospitals locked down and banned visitors. Phew it was good to be home in my own bed, with my own food!!! As unpleasant as it was, the procedure was a success and I am now in remission. I feel completely normal and I am now working on regaining some fitness and strength and also want to lose a lot of the weight I put on over the last 18 months (bah humbug!)

On average remission lasts 2-5 years but it can last longer so I am not thinking about it too much. I have too many things I want to do and I am determined not to waste time thinking about what may or may not happen in the future.

I currently see my haematologist/oncologist once a month and still take some medications to keep the Myeloma at bay. Other than that I feel perfectly normal and am just get on with getting fitter, losing weight, growing my hair back, running Aussie Heroes and trying to avoid contracting COVID.

Through all this time, Aussie Heroes has managed to keep going, largely thanks to an awesome team of new admin volunteers. Clarissa, Catherine, Lisa K, Alex, Courtney, Chloe, Veronica, Pam, Ben, Emily and Tegan. Crikey I hope I have remembered everyone because they have all been awesome and without their administrative efforts since June 2020, Aussie Hero Quilts would not have been able to function.

Thank you to those of you who sent me your good wishes on my return to managing the Request List and all those who sent me messages and good wishes from time to time since I announced my diagnosis. Every message was very much appreciated.

Cheers for now

Jan-Maree xx

PS I am being ably supervised during my recovery by my little mates, Charlie, Bonnie and Maisy.

Charlie

Maisy and Bonnie

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