Childhood Vaccinations

Yesterday I saw the practice nurse at my GP surgery to start a programme of re-vaccinations following my stem cell transplant which wiped out all my immunities because of the high dose chemotherapy I was given prior to getting my own stem cells back. The, chemotherapy destroys the good and bad cells in my bone marrow so all the immunisations I had received in my childhood would have gone too. The revaccinations should start 6 to 12 months post transplant although I am just 5 months post.

So yesterday I had diptheria, tetanus, polio and HiB which was a combined course administered in one injection, pneumovax (pneumonia) and meningoccal vaccine so a total of 3 jabs as I have already recently had the flu jab. I have to go back in a month’s time for the second combined jab and then in two months’s time for the last of the course.

The letter I recieved from the transplant unit says that “exotic travel” should be avoided in the first year post transplant as some of the vaccines such as Yellow Fever and Cholera are not safe/not recommended presumably because they are live vaccines. I dont know what is considered exotic travel but guess that means most of the places I would love to go to such as India, South East Asia and parts of the African Continent but it is not a big deal to me as I am lucky enough to have gone to lots of “exotic” countries in the past.   I am quite happy to contemplate travel to parts of Europe where I havent been before and have already got holidays arranged to the Canary Islands at the end of February and Swedish Lapland in March, neither of which count as exotic but the latter for me will be the fulfilment of a long held desire to go to this part of the world and experience the Northern Lights which I regard as very exotic!

Anyway today I have aching arms and feel shivery and tired, an after effect of the vaccinations I think which hopefully wont last too long.  I get so down and anxious when I dont feel well and there is always that fear at the back of my mind that whatever I am experiencing is the myeloma coming back.  I wrangled with myself about leaving work after doing a half day today because of not feeling well instead of sticking it out for the whole day.  This is the conflict between wanting to be back to normal and accepting that I am not going to ever be back to normal and trying to find a balance for both body and soul.

The upshot is that I did come home , have written this and am now going to curl up under my duvet with a cup of hot lemon and honey and a couple of paracetomol for the afternoon and hope I feel better for it!!