Saturday, August 18, 2007

Admission Day Arrives

The sky is the daily bread
of the eyes.--
Ralph Waldo Emerson

PaperQuote [Daily Wallpapers & Quotes]

Yesterday was nearly a 12-hour day at City of Hope. We started the day with an 8:15 a.m. arrival for outpatient surgery and installation of the Hickman catheter through which I will receive the blood transfusion from my stem cell donor on August 22. This has been placed in the left side of my upper chest and will remain there for at least the next six months or longer.

Finished with the outpatient surgery around noon, so Dee Dee and I enjoyed a quick lunch before reporting to the COH Apheresis Center for a blood exchange when they began the conversion of my blood type from A+ to O+. Receiving six units of O+ blood while they removed the same number of units of my blood, this method is a "conditioning" step for the coming SCT. My blood is now about 60% O+ which means that the August 22 infusion of the stem cells will find my blood type about the same as the donor and that is suppose to help prevent possible adverse side effects. I learned that City of Hope was the first transplant center to develop this technique more than 20 years ago.

After this two-hour procedure, ending around 4 p.m., we had the fifth of five daily infusions with Fludarabine, a chemotherapy to help hold in check the current status of the tumors that are still visible (not growing but not shrinking either). Today, once I am admitted to the 6th floor transplant center at COH, my physician has ordered the pre-treatment for the SCT that includes more aggressive chemotherapy designed to oblate the tumors and my bone marrow and virtually all stem cells. What follows is the August 22 SCT from the donor whose stem cells and immune system take over the task of bringing on "the cure" for the lymphoma. Not immediately, of course, but within 100 days of the transplant, my medical team will have confirmation if the transplant has been successful. Along the way there will be "makers" of my progress.

What about visitors while I am at City of Hope for the next month to six weeks? Dr. Nakamura says that there are no express restrictions on visitors at any time. The only requirement is that all visitors must be gowned, gloved, and masked when visiting my room. Also, there may be times when I am simply not feeling like receiving visitors, so Dee Dee and I recommend that you please call her cell, (909) 477-0262 to check on the status of visitation.

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