The stem cell transplant was accomplished yesterday,
It felt really good, emotionally and physically, to get those stem cells back
into my body again. What is going on in the body right now is that the marrow
cells exposed to the chemo will continue to die over the next few days and the
stem cells replaced into my blood stream will find their way to the bone marrow
(where they are happiest) and begin to develop into the various cells
necessary, most notably white blood cells.
While the big stuff is over, the critical phase of engraftment has begun. The stem cells need to re-establish the bone marrow. Our routine over the next few weeks will be to show up at the hospital at every morning and have an examination and a blood sample drawn. Most days, we walk the 5 blocks to the hospital, and it will be good if we can keep this up. Adjustments will be made daily to the various oral medications I am taking, and if necessary I might have to show back up in the evening for a special infusion/transfusion of one type or another.
This is all in addition to lifestyle modifications and germ warfare equivalent to several chapters of Leviticus, including wearing a face mask, avoiding crowds and social contact, avoiding certain types of food, and cleansing, cleansing, cleansing.
If this proceeds on a typical schedule, I should continue to feel reasonably well for another day or two, while I still have some functioning marrow. By Wednesday of next week, 1/30, I should start to feel really crummy, and that should last for a week. Patients usually have to be admitted to the hospital briefly during this time for infusions or transfusions, but I certainly hope to avoid this.
Hopefully, by Friday, 2/8, my blood counts w ill be up and I will begin to start feeling better. Then, maybe another week of recovery before I am released. This could shorten a little or stretch a lot, but it is a typical schedule. A succesful engraftment with ashortened time frame, no hospital stays, and no transfusions would be appreciated.
Since we seem to be settling into a routine, I will only update the blog as major developments occur. Little news items go onto facebook. Thanks to all for the prayers and words of encouragement.