Monday, November 16, 2015

A Transplant for the Cure - Tomorrow

Sign pointing to the Bone Marrow Transplant area
at the University of Kansas Medical Center

Tomorrow is Day Zero for our long-awaited stem cell transplant. The past two days have been filled with clinic visits and a little sight-seeing on the side.

I have been plagued with sinus problems since I arrived in Kansas City. A bit of stuffiness in my head turned into a painful earache, pressure in my neck, and jaw pain. At times it felt like my teeth would fall out. I have been taking two Neupogen shots a day for the past four days, and I think this has aggravated my head problems.

The nurse at the clinic told me that I could only take Extra-Strength Tylenol for the pain. After much discussion, a doctor prescribed a 14 day supply Amoxicillin. I don't know if I really have an infection, or if my ear/head ailments are side effects of the Neupogen shots. It appears they are going to take my stem cells and then send me home sick.

Tomorrow, I report to the BMT Apheresis room at the University of Kansas Medical Center. Lois will drive me to the hospital for my 7:00am appointment. The nurses will check my veins and determine if they can take the stem cells from my arms. I am hoping and praying they will be able to do this. I will then sit in a dentist-style chair for four to five hours while they take blood out of one arm and put the unused blood back in my other arm. The apheresis machine will filter out the needed stem cells.

If they can't use the veins in my arms, I will have to have a line surgically inserted into my chest. The blood will then be take from the line, filtered through the apheresis machine, and then back to me through the line in my chest. A nurse called today and said that if I have to have the line in my chest, they will keep me in the hospital for one night. They will then harvest more stem cells the next day. 

The long hallway to the Apheresis area of the hospital.
Karen's schedule tomorrow includes a visit to the BMT clinic in the morning, radiation treatment at the KU Medical Center Hospital in the afternoon and the stem cell transplant at the hospital in the evening. She will then be sent home for the night and report back to the BMT clinic on Wednesday morning. That is the plan, if all goes well.

I will be very glad when this is over and Karen has a brand new immune system to fight any remaining cancer cells in her body. Many patients consider a stem cell transplant as a type of "birthday", a fresh start.

I know that many, many of our family and friends have been praying for us and the success of the stem cell transplant. I want to thank each one of you and tell you that we know you are with us in your thoughts and prayers. The next few weeks will be critical in Karen's recovery, so please continue to keep us in your prayer.

I want to especially thank my Uplifters Life Group from First Baptist Church, Conroe, Texas. They have been supporting me in prayer every step of the way.

 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Psalms 23; 6. 

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