Saturday, November 7, 2015

A Transplant for the Cure - DIY IV Treatments and a Blood Clot

A home health nurse is teaching Karen how to administer
the IV treatments for her fungal infection.
Karen and I drove into Higginsville on Thursday morning, October 22nd. It was a beautiful autumn day in central Missouri. We stopped at Confederate Memorial Park on the way home and I took some photos of the fall foliage in the park. (See the video at the end of this post.)

That afternoon a home health nurse came to the house to teach Karen how to administer the IV treatments with the tri-line that had been surgically inserted in Karen's chest. The IV treatments were necessary to fight the fungal infection in her lung. (Later tests showed that the infection in Karen's lung was viral, not fungal. However, the blood work showed signs of a systemic fungal infection so the daily anti-fungal treatments were still required.)

Karen posted the following message on Facebook with this picture on October 22nd;

Most of the summer I had to give myself shots in the stomach for a blood clot. Now I have graduated to giving myself IV treatments at home. This is the new little toy I get to play with for the next week and a half.

Since the stem cell transplant had been postponed indefinitely, I decided to fly back home to Houston the next day. The weatherman in Houston was predicting storms for the weekend, so I wanted to beat the rain.

The next few days were not very good for Karen. She started running a fever and experienced severe pain in her neck. She had to make several unplanned trips back to the Bone Marrow Transplant Clinic for treatment. She posted the following message on Facebook on October 26;

My adventure continues. Saturday afternoon I began to run a temperature and feel chilled. The preceding Tuesday I had received a tri-line catheter in my chest and on Wednesday, I had an endoscopy done of my right lung to check out something they saw on the CT. Thursday, the right side of my neck began to be very sore. By Saturday, when I cough, it produced a sharp pain in the right side of my neck. I called the clinic Saturday night and was advised to come in on Sunday morning. We ended up being there all day. They took a number of blood cultures, and ordered an ultrasound of my neck. Sure enough as they expected, there is a large blood clot in my juggler vein due to the line being placed. They gave me a shot of antibiotic and a new round of blood thinners.
So, now I am back to giving myself a shot in the belly twice a day and that iv antifungal medication for the lung infection.
It is now Monday morning and I did get a good nights sleep and feel some better with the aid of extra strength Tylenol to take the edge off the pain in my neck when I cough, which has not happed much yet this morning - YEA! Have to go back to the clinic today and tomorrow. That's it for now.

We are now waiting for the doctors to set a  date for the stem cell transplant. We are very optimistic that this procedure will give Karen's immune system the boost it needs to defeat the chronic lymphocytic leukemia in her body.

Karen posted the following message on Facebook on October 30th;

From my doctors appointment yesterday, I found out it will be the middle of November before we can reschedule the transplant. Need 4 weeks of treatment for fungus among us, and then try again. Will do another CT next Wednesday to check on lung issue. Still cough some, sometimes better but definitely not worse. Even though they will not let me get out and play in the dirt, which is my favorite thing to do, I can enjoy cutting up peppers for winedrizzles that I grew in my garden this summer.
They tell me because of the Campath, my B and T cells are low and they are the ones that mostly fight viruses and fungus so I guess that is why I have had lingering cold symptoms all summer.

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