Thursday, 3 September 2015


Oh, you miss me, our love's in stereo. Isn't it finer in mono?
Vertigo - Mini Mansions

Fear not! I'm back... And the weird world of post-SCT strikes again

We visited Switzerland during the summer, and did a couple of trips up mountains. The first one was by cable car, up Schilthorn (setting for On Her Majesty's Secret Service), which is a just under 3,000m above sea level.

After we'd been at the top about an hour, I developed a headache, which intensified viciously, until I was reduced to sitting, my head in my hands, feeling thoroughly light-headed and nauseous. Upon descending again, I was violently sick (sorry, good burghers of Mürren), after which I felt fine.

The symptoms were disturbingly like altitude sickness; not something I've ever suffered before - and I've travelled at much higher altitudes (5,000m in Bolivia and Peru). To be honest, I didn't think it was possible to get sick as low as 3,000m, but upon looking it up I discover it can happen from 2,500m, especially if you are anaemic. I'm not anaemic right now, but maybe my body is not able to adapt quickly enough, as it used to be? I know it is not as resilient, post-SCT, and I'm guessing this is just another ramification of that.

I'm used by now, to discovering weird symptoms of post-SCT life. Sometimes a quick bit of googling confirms others have experienced the same, but searching "altitude sickness stem cell transplant" has provided no such reassurance. But then, on other occasions I experience things and only discover the same in others much later. For example: 2 years ago, I observed melphalan damage in my nails - but only this week did I finally read other people reporting the same (it was a conversation on Facebook, so I can't give you a link).

Maybe someone reading this will be able to share a similar experience to mine? Or maybe I'll never know. Nothing surprises me, any more, so I'll happily place the blame on the SCT,

I was a little nervous about going up any more mountains. But decided I'd have another go (the alternative was to permanently restrict myself to living low!). The next occasion, up Jungfraujoch - a few hundred metres higher - was fine. Maybe a short shock had done my body some good.

It was certainly worth it.

Oh, you know, honey, get your loving on the low. Don't you know you give me vertigo?
Vertigo - Mini Mansions


  1. Oh, come on! Glad nothing serious is reported, but I have to take issue with the lyrics choices for this post!

    The following songs should have had at least a chance to be included in this one!

    - Move me no mountain (take your pick: Soul II Soul, Chaka Khan, Dionne Warwick or Love Unlimited)
    - Ain't no mountain high enough - Diana Ross or Marvin Gaye/Tammi Terrell
    - John Denver, “Rocky Mountain High”
    - Go Rest High On That Mountain - Vince Gill
    - Lord Don't Move The Mountain - Mahalia Jackson
    - You Gave Me A Mountain - Elvis Presley
    - "Up To The Mountain" - Kelly Clarkson
    of course any song from The Sound of Music.


    1. Fair comment. Elvis has already featured in DialM though. And John Denver is always on the list - I'll find an excuse for him. (You'll be waiting rather longer for Dionne Warwick or Diana Ross.)