It’s “Day -9” in our bone marrow/stem cell transplant (BMT/SCT) journey. Yes, that negative sign is meant to be there. That is how they do the countdown pre-transplant. Transplant day is considered “Day 0” and all days post-transplant are marked with a positive number, “Day +1”, “Day +2”, etc.
For those who have no idea what conditioning means, no… they are not conditioning Kevin’s hair or skin. (heheh) “Conditioning” prepares the patient’s body and blood system to receive the donor cells in an allogeneic transplant. The patient is given high-dose chemotherapy in combination with several other drugs and sometimes radiation. Conditioning is done for 3 main reasons:
- To make room in the bone marrow for the transplanted stem cells.
- To suppress the patient’s immune system to lessen the chance of graft rejection.
- To hopefully destroy all of the diseased (cancer) cells anywhere in the patient’s body.
The day started early at 6:30 am. Thank heavens for coffee!! I wanted to make sure Kevin ate breakfast and got some fluids into him before receiving his first dose of high-dose chemo, Busulfan. We arrived at the hospital at about 7:45am and Kevin “checked in” at admitting. I knew it was going to be a good day when he was making jokes with the Admitting admin. 😉 Once he signed his life away and got his fancy new plastic bracelet, we ventured up to “5 WEST” – Outpatient BMT/SCT Medical Daycare.
There was a lot of preliminary stuff to do, like go over the NINE new prescriptions he must start taking as of today! That’s a lot of drugs to keep track of and there are 5 different times a day he needs to take certain ones! They should also prescribe some stiff anti-anxiety drugs for the caregivers! LOL The nurse took lots of blood from his Hickman line that is healing fabulously and working like a charm, I might add! 😉 Then she took his vitals. His blood pressure of 193/92 was a little concerning, but it was a high anxiety day for Kevin and normally he is within the normal range, so the BMT team is going to monitor it for the next few days before they intervene with medicine. Luckily there was a TV in the room with better cable than we have at the apartment! Kevin was happy about that! 😉
The nurse finally started administering IV chemo at approximately 10:50 am. BONUS… his appointments for the next 3 days start at 10:00am instead of 8:00am, because chemo must be given at the same time every day.
For the first hour or so, Kevin told me that his body felt pretty intense. Like it wanted to explode and like it was saying “WTF are you doing to me?”. About half way through, he slept for a bit, then he got up and ate and drank some more. All excellent things that the patient should be doing! He also joked about some of the side effects of Busulfan and how he was probably going to miss a few periods. – I will take that side effect please! 😉 Then the nurse walked in as he was standing up examining the IV pole pumps and he looked at her and said, “I’m trying to figure out how to speed this up a little bit.” LOL
Three hours later, the first dose of chemo was done and the nurse took care of the Hickman dressing and sent us home with a bunch of info about his drug administration. I must add that I ADORE the BMT/SCT nursing staff. They were absolutely wonderful with Kevin today and totally went along with his sense of humor. Kevin is a funny guy and he likes to make others laugh. It’s one of the qualities that I love most about him. It’s incredible that he still has the ability to make others laugh out loud despite what he is going through.
I downloaded a cool app called MedHelper on my phone and entered all of his drug info/schedule. I also created a Daily Drug & Side Effect tracker in Excel, so I can print it and have a hardcopy to write notes on every day. That way, if the doctors want to know anything, we can give them the info. I’m also extremely anxious and worried that I’m going to totally EFF something up, so I’m probably doing more than I need to, but it makes me feel a little more confident.
Kevin is doing pretty awesome tonight considering there is a massive amount of poison killing stuff in his body right now. He is tolerating everything very well. He has eaten well, drank well and hasn’t had too much issue with nausea. However, a lot of the meds he takes help to prevent a lot of the super serious side effects. He did have to take an extra dose of anti-nausea meds, but that is nothing! He is a little bit anxious still, but that helps him pace around the apartment a little bit, which is good. He is also having hot and cold flashes and the sweats, but no fever. Don’t worry, I will remind him about those hot flashes someday soon!
To sum up the day, it was a remarkable success and it all went much better than I had anticipated. I know it’s only the first day and I know there are some tough days on the horizon, but we need to be grateful for now.
That’s all for now! Time for us to get some Zzzzzz’s! Thanks for stopping by!
P.S. WARNING: Chemo MAY make you break out in all different colors of plaid! Bahaha!
(Yes, I still make fun of Kevin every chance I get and yes, he is fully aware of the stuff I post on this blog and yes we laugh about it because cancer and a bone marrow transplant is WAY too EFFIN serious to be taken seriously all the time!)
P.S.S. – No there is nothing wrong with your eyesight. Most of my pictures turn out blurry thanks to my nerves. Sorry about that. lol