Day +10: We Have Liftoff!

I know, I haven’t written anything lately, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been bRocketusy. This transplant business is heavy work! (Well it is, but not like bailing hay heavy.) The truth of the matter is that I haven’t had the energy to even think about writing unless I absolutely have to. Let me tell you about all that has happened.

Day 0 dawned as usual. I started a blog that I planned to finish and post for you all. I came to a stopping place and stopped until after the actual transplant when BAM. My heart skipped into Atrial Fibrillation. That is not good, but is a common reaction to all the heavy chemo treatments I had undergone in the previous days. That brought in a cardiologist and continual monitoring. It didn’t stop the transplant which started at 10:15 AM and lasted about two hours. Everything was going smoothly until that evening when I experienced “shake and bake,” the technical terminology for severe chills followed by a high fever. This wasn’t unexpected, just not on Day 0.

Since then, things have gone smoothly. I had gained 30 pounds in water weight, so that brought on multiple doses of Lasix to draw out the excess fluids. I usually excreted about 2.5 liters of water after each dose. I am finally down to the weight I came in with. The only problem is that I haven’t had much of an appetite, so I should be down a few pounds.

Engraftment was suspected on Day +7 and confirmed on Day +9. That is early. I figure it is a reward for “shake and bake.” I am now being prepared for release perhaps as early as Day +13. That is almost unbelievable. My meds are being cut back or changed from IV form to pill form. As long as I don’t spike a fever, get diarrhea, or become nauseous, I will be on my way to our apartment sometime next week. I will become an outpatient.

This means I will be visiting the Ambulatory Outpatient Center every morning for treatment, blood products as necessary, and a general checkup. This will then taper off until my visits are to the Stem Cell Transplantation Center and my transplant doctor, Dr. Khouri.

I have to admit, the doctors and nurses here at MD Anderson in Houston, TX are the absolute best. I do not have a single complaint but only praise. They fit my personality perfectly.
I also have a confession to make. That blog I began on Day 0- I finished it and gave it to MDA’s “Cancerwise”. It will accompany a video diary of my transplant experience. We have been working on it since Day -1. MDA has decided to publish the first part of the video and needed a bog to help explain it. I will let you all know when it is up and running. My videographer and producer have been visiting and recording every Tuesday and Thursday whether it has been a good day or a bad day. In the video, I talk about what has happened or what I expect to experience. I want anyone who is looking at a stem cell transplant to know what they might expect along with tips to make their transplant a bit easier.

That’s it for now. Talk with you again in a few days.

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