The two-week pre-transplant work up is complete. It appears, that except for my bone marrow and kidneys, I am very healthy. This means that I’ve been cleared for the stem-cell transplant. This is a big deal with great complexity.
Tomorrow morning I will be admitted to the University of Washington Medical Center. I will have a second pair of catheters put in my chest at 6 AM. The ones on the right are still for dialysis and on the left will be for the transplant.
Over the week-end I will have a bone marrow stimulating medication, which will cause my bone marrow to create excessive stem cells. Around Monday or Tuesday (5/20-21/19), I will start the 2-3-day process of harvesting my stem cells. It is a machine much like the dialysis machine that runs for 4-5 hours each time.
Once enough stem cells are harvested, I will be discharged, around 5/21-23/19. I will have about 5-7 days off (clinic visits each day) and then re-admitted sometime next weekend or soon after (5/26-28). Then I will have my bone marrow burned out with intensive chemo. A couple of days later, my stem cells will be re-infused. Because of my renal failure and the caution needed, I will remain in the hospital for 2-3 weeks. Denise will continue living in Seattle, close by.
The good news is that my cancer cells have dropped drastically. My bone marrow has had drastic improvement as well. Both good results were the results of the chemo I was receiving in Anacortes for the past 3 months. Additionally, a careful survey of my entire body found no bone lesions, which is a good thing. There is one bone marrow pocket of cancer in my left scapula (shoulder blade) which may need radiation after the stem cell transplant.
I feel pretty well. After being off chemo for 4 weeks, I feel almost back to normal, except for my neurological symptoms (related to renal failure). This gives me hope that I can feel well some day. I will have far less chemo after the stem-cell transplant.
My kidneys have improved according to the best test available, creatinine clearance. It was 2.5 when I was diagnosed, and it is 24 now. Normal is above 59 (see the graph below). They still have a ways to go.
Denise is going to take a break while I’m in the hospital and return home. She needs to take care of her own health issues at that time.
- Pray for my kidneys to heal.
- Within each step of the process, severe side effects are possible, including death. During the chemo burnout of my bone marrow, severe side effects are common. This process is fatal in 5% of cases. Pray that things go smoothly.
- Pray that Denise can get some good rest and that she will have peace that I’m in good hands.
- Pray that the stem-cell transplant works and that my cancer cells will be pushed down to zero. This would give my kidneys the chance to heal.