At 9:00pm, John finished with his last Thiotepa bath. John was a trooper, especially when the midnight and 4:00am baths came around. With Thiotepa in the rear view mirror, it was on to a new Chemo called Melphalan. This was the first of two doses and the final type of Chemo before transplant on Friday. A side effect of this chemotherapy is oral ulcers. To mitigate the initial onset of ulcers, John was required to suck on ice cubes the entire time the chemotherapy was being administered. Melphalan also causes nausea and vomiting and we spent the day trying to keep John as comfortable as possible. This Chemotherapy is also very toxic on the liver and with John’s liver issues the Doctor’s are monitoring this very closely. Today Kathy and I also started to discuss with John some of the early side effects of the stem cell transplant. It’s highly likely John will throw up blood and mucus post transplant. We felt he should know about is so he wouldn’t totally freak out when it happened. This made John very anxious and scared but he was appreciative that we shared this with him. Kathy continued to prepare for the Stem Cell donation and completed her 4th round of G-CSF injections. The pain from the shots kicked in and she had to up the pain regime from Tylenol 3 to Oxycodone.
John had a stable day until 12:00 noon. He received his 2nd dose of Melphalan around 11:00am and the nausea/vomiting came quickly soon after. John is on a battery of anti-nausea meds but the poison going into his body is so strong, it’s hard to find relief. While I was with John, Kathy was donating the first batch of stem cells. This was a long 7-hour process that totally wiped Kathy out. The Stem Cell team was extremely please with the quantity of cells Kathy produced. The harvested Stem Cells will be processed tonight and transfused into John tomorrow. I can tell John is anxious and scared about tomorrow and I wish I could comfort him more. Kathy will be back at it tomorrow, donating Stem Cells for John’s 2nd transplant, which will take place on Saturday.
Tomorrow is John's Day 0. There is a reason they call the start date of transplant “Day 0.” Your immune system is wiped out with heavy-duty chemotherapy and replaced by a foundation of healthy stem cells. Please keep John in your thoughts and prayers tomorrow. Pray for John's liver to stay strong enough to handle the chemotherapy that has been thrown at him and pray that the transplant cures John forever! #JHUD
Rich (Guest Updater)