Trials and tribulations of a patient in search of a bone marrow transplant

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Still Hanging in There

This has been a particularly rough round of chemo for Steve. They seem to have avoided so far some of the more dangerous side effects he had before (heart and kidneys) but the sheer misery of the intestinal upsets has kept him bedbound. In the last couple of days, those effects have subsided somewhat, although he is still quite nauseated. They give him meds for that, but it certainly doesn't do much for the appetite. They suspect he has a low grade staph infection, although it is not showing up in the tests, so are keeping him on intravenous antibiotics up to and through the transplant. This is where the art of the science of oncology comes in.

When Steve had several fevers this past week, they did remove his central line and gave him a PICC line again. The central line had been in since January which is a very long time.

Steve's main doctor is back and came in to see him today. He was not thrilled with the results of last week's bone marrow biopsy. The leukemia blast cells are still present, not significantly lowered by this last round of chemo. But he assured Steven that the transplant is still on schedule for May 9. They will start the next round of pre transplant chemos and preparations on May 3. Evidently one of the ways they handle the transplant treatment when the leukemia is so persistant is to give less immuno suppressants so that the new system (which is not a perfect match) will fight Steve's system and hopefully attack the blast cells more than the rest of him. Again, the art of the science. He will have nice fresh white cells that have been unaffected by chemo rounds.

The donor is on board. The draw dates are reserved on May 8 and 9. They allow two days for the draw just in case there is a problem getting enough stem cells the first day, although sometimes they can get enough in one day. Then they must do the transfusion within 24 hours, so that is set for May 9. There is a back up donor just in case they run into problems, but since they don't work him up in the meanwhile, that would take at least another 3-4 weeks. We sincerely hope he will not be needed.

Steve is very weak right now. He hasn't left the room, or even the bed (with the exception of extremely frequent bathroom runs) since the start of this last chemo round some weeks ago. Here's hoping that in the next few days he will be able to get up and walk a little and work on building back up for the main event. Although they would really like to keep him there in the hospital, if we insisted, they might let him leave for a few days, but he would have to go back to the transplant center every single day for tests and transfusions and I don't know if he has the energy for that right now. To be discussed and evaluated. Wish we lived closer to the hospital.

So we all need to work on boosting his spirits and putting him in a fighting mood! Again, thanks to everyone for their help and support. And thank you to his donor out there, whoever you are. Our thoughts are with you, too.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Barb and I are so happy to learn that you have a donor match! Prayers have been answered praise God! We will continue to pray for your complete recovery.
Barb & Jim Tressler
PS please know that you are on so many prayer lists that I can't remmber them all, God Bless.

April 23, 2008 at 9:42 AM


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