Thursday, December 2, 2010

Day -11

Where do we begin?

Well, first I will start with the title of this blog post. We received Chris' schedule today and that is what they refer to today as. Since Chris will be receiving his stem cells on December 13, they refer to it as Day 0. Everything that happens before that is just a countdown to that date, so today is T minus 11 days until the transplant. Make sense?

So here is what Chris' schedule looks likes, and it is more or less what we expected.

December 2 - Planning appointment, and PICC insertion.

Yes, Chris was surprised this morning when we got a call saying that he was getting his peripherally inserted central catheter (PICC) line in today. This is the cathether that they insert in his arm and feed up through his vein into his shoulder and down near his heart. Chris was not looking forward to this at all, but they froze the area, it only took an hour and he didn't feel anything! The benefit of the PICC is that it limits the amount of times Chris needs to get needles. The downside is that he can't get it wet, so he will need to shower with a bag around his arm.

Chris also starts his anti-seizure medication tonight as the chemotheraphy that he begins tomorrow may cause seizures. I am very happy about this, because I have had a fear of seizures every since I was trained as a lifeguard at 16. Of all the things to worry about, I know it shouldn't be that high on my priority list, but seizures just look really scary.

December 3 - Chris is admitted to the hospital (this is so he doesn't need to go through emergency and he can choose to stay at the hospital if he doesn't feel up to going home). He also meets with the pharmacist where we learn all about the drug regimen he will be on. And of course, Chris will start his first chemo drug, Busulphan, for four hours. He also takes medications to prevent gout and damage to his liver.

December 4 - Chris has 2 hours of Busulphan

December 5 - Chris has 2 hours of Busulphan

December 6 - Chris has 2 hours of Busulphan

December 7 - Chris gets a rest day from chemo and stops taking his anti-seizure medication. We have to start monitoring Chris fluid intake and output to make sure that chemo is quickly getting out of his system, because the next day we start Chris' favourite drug, Cyclophosphamide (sorry, for the sarcasm).

December 8- Chris start Cyclophosphamide for the next four days. This was the chemo that Chris took in November that requires you to drink every hour and go to the washroom every hour. This was the chemo that required us to go to the hospital at midnight, because Chris decided to retain all of the liquid (yes, I am blaming him for this!) Since getting up every hour for four days straight is extremely exhausting, we will have the option to admit Chris and have him hooked up to hydration and catheterized. He is still deciding on that one.

December 9 - Chris will have Cyclophosphamide and an infusion of Antithymocyte Globulin (ATG). While the chemo drugs will wipe out his white blood cells, this medication will wipe out his T cells (the cells that are behind multiple sclerosis). Since ATG is derived from the serum of rabits and horses (weird, I know) the body reacts against it and you have an allergic reaction. Due to this, they will be giving Chris a bunch of allergy medications to prevent this. The ATG is also given slowly over a long period of time to limit the reaction.

December 10 - Chris will have Cylclophosphamide and ATG.

December 11 - Chris will have Cylclophosphamide and ATG

December 12 - Chris will have ATG and hydration.

December 13 - Chris will get his purified stem cells back! Apparently they are kept in dry ice and it looks really cool when then bring them out to defrost them. I promise to get photos of that!

They told us that following all of this, that the hard part will then begin. Approximately 10 to 14 days after this Chris will hit zero white blood cells and have no immune system. It will then take another two weeks until he starts to stabilize. During this time he will get antibiotics to treat infections, Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG), which I am pretty sure is a blood transfusion, and our good friend Neupogen to boost his stem cell production. Neupogen was the other drug that hospitalized Chris last time due to the extreme pain he was in. Although we have been assured that it will not be painful this time.

Chris will continue to have the IVIG once a month for a year and will need to keep his PICC line in for about 6 weeks.

So we promised you a nice long post, and I think we delivered. We also threw in the last picture for fun! We figured this blog entry was far too serious.

Oh and a quick thank you for the Christmas trees, decorations and treats we received. We are decorating our house tonight and we will show it off in future posts!

1 comment:

  1. drink every hour and pee every hour? Take the catheter! I had one when I had Maggie and I was so sad when they took it out. :-) It was super convenient and the ultimate in laziness. And I was perfectly healthy. I am all about the modern health-care amenities, folks. Take advantage of 'em!