Monday, December 6, 2010

Day -7

Today was a big milestone. We are now only a week away from Chris' stem cell transplant (meaning no more chemo) and Chris finished his Busulphan portion of this whole process.

Chris with our portable tree so that we can
celebrate wherever we are on Christmas!

It's funny, because going into this Busulphan was the chemo drug that we were most scared of. In the clinical trial for this procedure in MS patients, there was one patient death and it was due to liver failure caused by this chemo. It also listed scary side effects, such as seizures and lung problems.  Knowing this, I guess we sort of assumed that as soon as Chris started this drug, that he would become extremely sick. Turns out...not so much. Now we know that many of the side effects caused by chemo drugs are not felt until at least a week later. However, by that time Chris will have been treated with two chemo drugs, ATG and about 20 different medications, so it will be a bit harder to point the finger at one culprit. And the real reason I think I personally like the Busulphan so much is because I never had to rush Chris to hospital because of it yet. Our tally to date (Busulphan 8, Cyclo 0)

Which bring us to the next chemo drug: Cylcophosphamide. Chris will get a rest day tomorrow. A day that we have REALLY  been looking forward to. Chris will continue to take his medications tomorrow and we need to start tracking all his liquid intake and outake. They gave us a really fancy contraption (a plastic urinal) to do it too!  It is just an extra precaution to ensure that Chris is able to empty his bladder as with Cyclo this is extremely important. We spoke with one of BMT doctors and we are planning on playing it by ear on whether Chris needs to stay in the hospital for this portion. We will need to get lots of rest for tomorrow, in the event that we will be up every hour on the hour for the next fours days!

We also had the chance to meet with the program's nutritionist and physiotherapist today. Their main concerns were making sure that Chris was able to get enough nutrition when he starts getting nausea and mouth sores and that he doesn't lose too much muscle mass when he is tired and not feeling well.

We went over all of the foods that Chris should stay away from (raw eggs, deli meat, uncooked vegetables, any fast food etc.) and the kind of food he needs to eat (high calorie, high protein). The nutritionist even talked about trying to jam pack as many calories as you can into your food. Are you having a calorie milkshare like Ensure? Well you should put in a blender with ice cream, chocolate, peanut butter, and maybe even throw in some cookies, and you can get up to 700 calories in one drink. Since I was trying to squeeze into my wedding dress less than three months ago, it is taking a lot to beat this into my mind that I need to buy the product that has the MOST calories possible.

Some of the patients that get really bad side effects, especially mouth sores, find it really hard to force themselves to eat, so we even discussed the possibility of a feeding tube. This absolutely horrified me at first until I found out what a feeding tube was. I was under the impression that it was a giant tube that they put down your throat that you can't talk with (you know, the things you see on Grey's Anatomy and House all the time). Well it turns out that a feeding is a tube smaller than an IV and it just goes in your nose. You can't feel it and you have no problem talking with it. All of this TV drama really does distort your medical knowledge.

As convenient as a feeding tube sounded, Chris has already become OCD about rinsing his mouth with saline to prevent sores. There is just something more appealing about eating your own food.

As of today, Chris is doing really well. He has started taking more anti-nausea medication and doesn't feel as great as he did before, but considereing his last four days, he is pretty much my hero for how well he is doing. He also continues to ask me "How are you doing? Are you okay?". He tends to ask me this when his vein is being injected with a highly toxic agent. I think I picked a keeper :)

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