Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Chemo Round 3 Day 52

I thought I would write some today so you know what is going on. As you know, Jon was home last week for his birthday. He left Saturday morning. We had a good visit but like always, it was much too short. We will miss him till we see him again, probably in May when his brother and girlfriend graduate. After he left, my mom came to visit! One of her nephews was kind enough to pick her up at home and drive her to the train station in Joliet. We then picked her up early Saturday afternoon in Springfield. We stopped for lunch and then visited till she left Monday night. Kim and Jeremy and Ian came over to visit with her, too. We went to church at Westfair Sunday morning and I enjoyed that also. We took her back to the train Monday night. Her train was late so we got to visit for a while longer. Her nephew met her again at the train station to drive her home. We really enjoyed the time we got to spend together and will miss her very much. We know she wants to be here more, but we also know how hard it is on her with her arthritis. She wouldn't be able to make it sitting at the hospital all day. We have asked her not too come when I am in the hospital. We would be so worried about her. We are not sure when we will get to see her again. It may not be till graduation.

I had my labs drawn on the weekend and again Tuesday. My labs are doing fine. I am having to take 6 potassium pills and 2 magnesium pills every day because of my antibiotics. I will get my MRI of the brain on Friday and hopefully it will be improved. After my infectious disease doctor reviews the scan, they will decide if I am enough better to go ahead with the transplant. The tentative dates for my admission are March 12th or March 14th if the MRI looks good. If I go into the hospital, they will be giving me some mild chemotherapy and some other medicines to knock out my immune system. That will be for 5 days. They give me the day off on the 6th day and I get the transplant on the 7th day. That would be March 19th or March 21 as things stand now. Fortunately, my donor is able to change dates with me.

I will let you know a little bit more about the transplant. In the past, a bone marrow transplant involved drilling into the pelvis and taking 300 or more cores of bone marrow from the donor. This was done in surgery. The cores were then placed in surgery into holes drilled in the recipient's pelvis. Nowadays it is actually just a stem cell transplant. The donor is given some medications ahead of time to stimulate his bone marrow. Blood is drawn from him and then spun down to get the stem cells concentrated. The donor cells have to be given the same day. Depending on where the donor is from, the stem cells are driven or flown to Barnes for the infusion. They are then given to the recipient (in this case, me!) just like a blood transfusion over several hours. It is much easier than the old actual bone marrow transplant. Over the next week or two, the stem cells find their way to the bone marrow and begin to grow. They take over the marrow. During this time, I will be getting anti-rejection medications so that the stem cells can grow and not cause any problems by attacking me or by me trying to attack the stem cells. I should be in the hospital about three weeks after the transplant if all goes well. I then have to stay in the area for a week and get checked again. After that, I visit them as an outpatient once a week for a month. They then try to wean me down from the anti-rejection medications. They think that after three months or so, I may be able to return to work if all goes well. They want me to start back slow with no call for a month or more. They would like me to just see patients at the office for the first couple of weeks. I told them about my practice and they suggested I just do scopes(colonoscopies or gastroscopies) when I return to the operating room for the first two or three weeks. If all is going well at that time, I return to work full time and resume taking call.

Daniel will be coming home for spring break on Friday, March 7th and David will be coming home on March 8th. They will be home till they go back to school March 17th. Hopefully, we will get to spend some time together before I go into the hospital.

I will have more information after the MRI has been done and interpreted. That may not be till Monday or Tuesday next week. I have to send the actual pictures to my infectious disease doctor and he will review them and decide if I am improved enough to proceed with the transplant. As soon as I hear something I will be sure to post it here on the blog.

In the meantime, I plan to spend time with my family and get ready for the baseball season and spend Sundays at church. I hope the Lord blesses you as much as He has blessed me.


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