Day -6 started out on a high note. John was alert and motivated to start checking tasks off his list. I used window markers to make a checklist (who doesn’t love a list) for him. Everyday he needs to walk around the transplant floor 5 times (11 times is a mile), rinse with his mouth care washes 3 times a day, breath into his respiratory device (acapella) 3 times a day, and take a betadine bath 2 times daily. So, off we went for our walk. John was walking as slow as molasses and his ankles were buckling in but he was up and walking. Times like this allow John and me to have some heart-to-heart discussions. I expressed how hopeful the team was that my stem cells, memory cells and NK cells would do the trick and wipe out his leukemia. He looked at me with the sweetest face and said, “please don’t feel badly if your cells don’t work, it won’t be your fault”. My throat went dry and my heart sank. My sadness was two fold: he was thinking about the transplant not being successful and he was thinking about how I would feel if it didn’t bring him his cure. I tried to keep my composure and let John know that we all believe this is the answer to our prayers and that being a part of the process is an honor! The walked ended a short time later with wink and a smile.
His day -6 chemotherapy was an old nemesis, Cyclophosphamid. Even small doses in the past have made John very sick. Well yesterday’s dose was very high. He almost instantly started feeling sick. The nausea, vomiting and diarrhea lasted through the night. On top of the horrible side effects he was required to empty his bladder every two hours (to prevent the bladder from bleeding). Given the amount of narcotics he was on, he was having issues with urine retention. Ugh, it caused a lot of anxiety and a lot of additional tears. We are all mentally and physically exhausted. Day -6 was Hell.
Day -5 chemotherapy is complete. John has tolerated Fludarabine in the past but he’s still very nauseated from yesterday’s therapy. His body is just so tired and beaten down. He is currently resting comfortably, thanks to the numerous different medications running through body. But, things change rapidly around here.
I began my daily G-CSF shots this morning – they are used to stimulate the bone marrow, producing lots of stems cells and releasing them into the blood stream so there will be lot to harvest!
The countdown to transplant continues.
Thank you for your faithful prayers.