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

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Friday, May 9, 2008

Transplant Day Report

Well, it's done! The transplant itself was indeed uneventful but emotions ran high. It is bizarre that such a huge event could be so banal. Lisa, my brother Dick and his wife Susana and I were all in the small room with Steve at 3:30PM when the nurse arrived with a tiny little bag of red fluids and began to hook it up. First the nurse gave Steve Benadryl and Cortisone to offset any immediate allergic reactions (he had already started anti-rejection drugs yesterday). Then we watched as the lifegiving stem cells began their journey down the tubing and into Steve's arm. He kept having to run to the bathroom thanks to all the recent chemos. The nurse finally knocked on the bathroom door and admonished him to lie flat as much as possible so that the transfusion would go smoothly and she could keep checking his vitals. Halfway through, he began some serious yawning!

As for technical information, the nurse wouldn't tell us much. She obfuscated and gave incorrect information when questioned about details of the donor's draw. When she left the room, I checked the bag and all the information we had asked about was there. The draw was completed by 12:50PM on May 8. Which means they were able to complete the draw in one session (I am happy for the wonderful donor on that). Additionally, I found out that Steve's donor lives in Central Time Zone, which we were not supposed to learn. But hey, if you leave the bag right there in the room, inquiring minds want to know. Steve's new blood type will change to A Positive from his old B Negative. Because of the mismatches in the donor antigens, the stem cell donation was processed to remove as many red blood cells as possible to minimize any immediate reaction. They assured us that tiny bag was packed with millions of stem cells.

So now the serious business of getting well begins for Steve. Up until now, the goal has been to keep him alive until a donor could be found and he could receive the transplant. We all feel that we have turned a corner and our new goal is to manage the inherent dangers of the transplant and build Steve back up to return to real life. I can only imagine how surreal this all seems to Steve, who with the exception of a couple of weeks of limited liberty, has been in isolation in a hospital room since last November.

During today's process, Steve was surrounded with love and all the healing energy we could give him. All of our cell phones were ringing at the same time and constantly with friends and family checking in. I returned home to find at least a hundred e-mails from all over the world from friends wishing Steve all the best. E-mails from Hong Kong, Korea, India, Ireland, Djibouti, France, Italy, Germany, Canada, Argentina and every corner of the US. It is amazing how many of you, friends, family and co-workers, are supporting Steve and his family. We are all so appreciative, even if we haven't had time to answer each and every one. Please know how important you are to us and to Steve.

With great pleasure, I saw Steve's fellow transplant patient L today and gave her a huge hug. Her case parallels his closely. She managed to leave the hospital the other day only two and a half weeks after her transplant, probably a record. She was back for a check-up, full of good spirits and energy.

Again, may I express our deep gratitude to Steve's donor. One day, I hope you will be able to read this blog and know how much we thought of you these last weeks. You will literally become a part of Steve and we will think of and bless you every day for the rest of our lives.

The transplant took less than two hours, at the end of which a very sleepy Steve indicated he would be pretty happy if we would all just go home and leave him in peace. May the healing begin!

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Blogger ambermoggie said...

Wonderful news:) I'll be sending healing energy for Steve and all of you
amber in UK

May 12, 2008 at 8:54 AM


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