Leukaemia Pages
Visualisation
Visualisation has been proven to work for althetes for many years, and studies have also shown that is can help when undergoing treatment.

You need to find a quite moment when you can really relax in to a meditative state of mind. When you are having a massage is a great time.

Take some deep breathes in to relax yourself and clear all the thaughts from your head.

Next try to actually visualise the healing or whatever process you are focusing on actually taking place.

You've got to push your goals, (ie a successful engraftment) on to the the situation you are visualising.

Spend 5 mins or even more if you can doing so. You'll also find yourself more relaxed afterwards.

Check out the links on NLP for more information.
Transplant Tips
What I have compiled has been based on my own experience, but I do believe that these pointers have made the difference to my treatment and recovery. The doctors are excellent at treating your disease, but you have to remember that you are also responsible in a very large part for your own success. You have to want to fight this with the doctors.

As there is so much to think about when under going treatment I've complied a list of what I found to be very useful information on how to deal with the transplant and being released back home. On leaving hospital caution is the name of the game, and although the doctors may say things like you don't have to wear a mask, by remaining prudent you are exposing yourself to less risk of infection. The last place you want to be after spending months in a hospital is back in hospital. Not all things are unavoidable like GVHD, but infections are.

Preparing for the Transplant
Mental attitude. This is in fact one of the most powerful tools not just in your fight against Leukaemia or cancer but in your whole life. There's a lot of locked power in your mind so use it to your advantage. You really have to want to kill this disease and purge it from your body, and the transplant is the only way to do this. Get yourself psyched up just like for a real fight and feel the adrenaline, as that's what is takes - positive outlook - must really want to fight and kill the disease.
Come to terms with what you have. Don't feel victimised, and taunt yourself with the questions of "..why me?". The sooner you accept you've got something the sooner you can focus on getting rid of it.
Stay active and fit. Treat the transplant as a physical endurace test. The better you are physically the easier your body should cope.
Put on weight. You'll lose a lot of weight during the transplant, so you can afford to pig out a little a month or so before the operation. You won't be getting anywhere near your required calorie intake in hospital after you start feeling bad, so it's better to have some reserves from your body. I was 91kg on admission to hospital. Now I'm 75kg, and that's after five months.
Take some time off and even go on hoilday. Do something you've always wanted to do, and enjoy yourself. It makes a big difference, as you can enter the hospital with good recent memories and a postive frame of mind. Contrast that with coming in straight from work, and you'll soon realise the value of some quality time off.
You really must want to have the transplant and believe in it. Don't concern yourself with the statistics, they are for the doctors. As far as you are concerned you are going to win!
Know your ememy. This may vary according to what you are like, but I certainly felt empowered knowing as much as possible about the whole disease and treatment. Knowing all there is will make decisions easier and will help communication with the doctors. Understanding how the leukaemia works is useful when visualising how your body is going to fight it.
Read some uplifting books or read about positive cancer experiences. This can give you some other ideas, and bolster your confidence knowing that others in the same situation have won.
If you want to meet someone who has undergone a similiar experience, contact your local leukaemia charity to get in touch with others who've gone through the same, to understand what it's all about.
Have a dental check up atleast 6 months before as you could be at risk from infections if your mouth isn't sorted out. I got a bad wisdom tooth infection six weeks before the transplant and had to have it extracted under general anaeasthetic as an emergency operation. If the tooth was left in I could have had a very bad infection at hospital.
It's a good opportunity to get a funky haircut as it'll fall out soon. Have a laugh and get a hair cut you wouldn't have dared to have before. You won't be at work so there's no need to keep up appearances.

Transplant
Your body reacts to drugs, and you may get down especially in the first few days, as the treatment is quite harsh. Don't let that get you down and mentally focus on allowing the treatment to do the right thing. Quite often your body has to become accusomed to the drugs, and there are plenty of them.
Visualise the drugs killing the bad cells, and the new bone marrow bedding into your body. Once again the mental aspect of the transplant is crucial.
(I've been reading more recently about the use of Neutro Linguistic Programming - NLP. It's a formal and structured method of reprogramming the mind. Its sphere of application is limitless, but in the context of assisting in self healing through viualisation, imagery and the mind-body process it is a very usefool too. I've added a link to an article in the links page for more information.)
Request massages from someone if the hospital doesn't provide a massage therapist. You won't appreciate the effectiveness of massages until you have one. It's the perfect time to have some silence and ideal for a bit of mediation and visualisation as you can concentrate. Your body also needs a bit of stimulation and this helps.
Have friends come round, watch movies when you're feeling well. I found it invigorating to have friends visit. It gets your mind off things and helps you to feel a bit normal in the unusual surrondings. Also remember that if you're feeling unwell or not in the mood to see people, tell them. Don't be embarassed to cancel meetings as people will understand why.
Keep yourself occupied, there's a lot of time to spend. It's the ideal time to start a diary if you already haven't. After a couple of months you'll soon forget the small things that made your stay so interesting and it's a great memoir to have and look back on to remind yourself of what you've accomplished.
Shave your head before all hair falls out. Your hair will fall out. In fact all your hair will fall out except your eyebrows. When you notice your hair coming out, shave your head. It's more dignified than to see clumps falling out and patches on your head.
Eat well, and do some basic exercise if possible. You won't always feel like it, but even to get up and walk around a like helps. If you spend all your time in bed you'll feel really week when leaving the hospital. As you'll lose weight and muscle, eat as much as you can when you can.
Keep your long term goals in mind. You'll have bad moments and that is very normal, but don't let them overwhelm you.
When weening yourself off the morphine painkillers, make sure you readuce your dose right down the lowest level. If you come off the drug at a slightly higher dose without coming right down you may experience the cold turkey effect that the drug addicts often talk about. I've been told that it's not very pleasant.

Back at Home
Make sure the house is well cleaned before you return.
Must have good support from family for looking after you. It is vital to have someone with you constantly for the first few months, and preferably until you are well enough to do everything for youself.
Your carer(s) will need to do everything for you including the shopping, cooking, changing of bed linen and all usual household chores.
Force yourself to eat as much as you can. That may not be alot but at this point, you will have lost some taste and eating will not hold the pleasure it once used to. This is the only way you'll get better.
Do a little exercise. The sooner you start to walk the better you'll eventually feel. You'll find that in the first few days of leaving hospital you are more fatigued than you've ever been in your life. That's normal, but once again you have to try and push yourself, and even have your carer push you to do some exercise. One my first day home, I walked for 5 mins and felt like collapsing. Don't over exceed your limits. You'll quickly find that your stamina improves and your general energy levels increase as you build up your walks.
Get vitamin and mineral supplements. Your body has been hammered by the treatment, and you'll need extra neutritional suppliments especially as you won't be eating much. Get multi minerals and vitamins. Someone recommended Aloe Vera tablets for the digestive system, as the gut is especially vulnerable to all the chemo and radio-therapy. I have found them to work really well, and haven't experienced abnormal stomach upsets.
Have seperate kitchen towels, hand towels. make sure you use only hand and tea towels for your self so there's less risk of catching something off another person. It may be considered over the top, but you need to give yourself every opportunity to stay away from germs.
Wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your mouth and picking your nose. Your hands pick up much dirt and grim easily and you can subconsiously tranfer that to your face if not careful, and get an infection.
Change towel and bed linen every other day for the first few weeks or until your bloods increase a little more. Decrease this to twice a week and then once a week.
Avoid crowds. Your doctor will have given you instructions, but for every appointment for the first three months I even work a mask at hospital. You never know who has a cold, and it's safer to look silly than to catch a cold, and return to hospital.
Avoid the sun like the plague, and use the strongest sun block on exposed skin when in the sun.
Try some basic yoga or stretching in addition to the walking. The radiotherapy and time spent in bed means you'll be quite stiff, and a bit of stretching every night makes a big difference.
Continue with postitive thinking. Spend some time occaisionally visualising your body healing.
Continue the massages by asking your carer or friends to help out.
Set yourself mini goals as you'll have a lot of time to yourself. This will help break up the days and give you somethings to focus on. Also you'll get alot of satisfaction when you succeed. The goals can be a simple as driving the car, or cooking your own meal, or making something. Suddenly ordinary everyday tasks become really fun and help to feel more normal.
Keep writing your diary.
Stay away from anyone who has had cold or flu for atleast 2-3 days after they've recovered, otherwise you're risking your own health.
None must be allowed into the house with illness and if the carer or member of the family become ill, send them to a friend or relative so they don't infact you. It's for your own benefit. My brother caught the flu a month after I came home, and he wasn't allowed back for five days until he had recovered.