7/19/2007: The Moment of HOPE Comes Near


We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. Hebrews 6:11 (NIV)
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After the “rough patch” of the last two weeks, it has been good to have a “normal” week. As of this last Monday, when I had routine blood tests and a physician visit, we found that the blood counts had not dropped; hence, no transfusion needed. We go back to City of Hope July 20 for more blood tests, but we expect that the counts are still in acceptable ranges.
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July 20 also marks the start of my medical leave. For the most part, work assignments and details have been delegated to an interim director and my Foothill Foundation staff of two, as well as others who are associated with Citrus Valley Health Partners. Dee Dee has given me decided assurances that now is the time to “release” the duties and stresses of the job and to concentrate on matters of treatment and recovery from the mantle cell lymphoma. Still, the ability to continue to function and be engaged in my work during the last 16 months has been a type of therapy and a blessing, in my view.
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Here is the timetable for the next few months:
July 20 through August 12:
Various tests and procedures, as well as physician and medical team consultations take place in preparation for the stem cell transplant.
August 13 through August 21:
Residence in the City of Hope Transplant Unit (6th floor of the Helford Clinical Research Hospital). During this time, I am due to receive 9 days of chemotherapy that will oblate my stem cells and immune system.
August 22: Transplant day.
What I have been told about my donor is limited, but he is 24, lives outside of the USA, and has a blood type O+ (which will become my blood type as I am now A+). The donor’s contribution will either be stem cells (obtained from blood drawn from an arm) or bone marrow (drawn from the hip). The policies and procedures of the collection center where the donor appears will dictate the type of donation I am to receive. City of Hope is prepared to handle either, but because the donation is coming from outside the USA, the cells and or marrow will be frozen for shipping. The cells are unfrozen during the transfusion process.August 23 through October 11: The critical period of recovery when my medical team constantly monitors my blood counts to determine the restoration of my immune system. I am told to plan on about six weeks hospitalization after the transplant and to allow for a 100-day period for initial "recovery."
October 12 through December 31:
Assuming that the recovery markers have been met, Dee Dee and I will take up temporary residence for an undetermined time in a patient/family cottage on the City of Hope campus. This allows for daily outpatient visits and monitoring by the medical team.
Then, perhaps by the end of the year or the first of the new year we will be released for several months of home confinement, the duration of which is still to be determined, but we are hopeful that life will return to normal within six months of the August 22 transplant. We can’t predict a date for the event, but we are hopeful that our “coming out” party can take place in late February or March of 2008, about two years after the first discovery of this disease.

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What about visitors while I am at COH? For the most part, visitors are allowed, but it may be well to check with Dee Dee, my office, or call the hospital [ 626-256-HOPE (4673) ] before you plan to come.
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Consult this source provided by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society for more information about SCT.

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