Sunday, August 19, 2012

Transplant Stuff

Remember that time I was like, "Yeah, I'm going to post everyday about the transplant". Well, if you couldn't tell, that didn't happen.  I guess I didn't realize how exhausting this adventure really would be. The internet is horrible at the hospital so I am not able to upload any photos and by the time I get home I have no desire to get on the computer. So I shall tell you what has happened: The night before the transplant, Derek thought it would be appropriate to get rid of the sweet ‘fro he had going.  I must admit, even I was jealous of the awesomeness his afro encompassed.  But he shaved it and for a couple minutes even had a Mr. T like afro Mohawk.  


Here he is seeing the last of the outside of the building for the next month.  
 
We had to be at the hospital at 5:30 in the morning, which was tough since we didn’t even know that time existed.  He had to get surgery to get his chest catheter in and after that they just admitted him and set him up in the bone marrow wing of the hospital. 
We had a little snafu when I waited in the waiting room for 4 hours for him to get out of his 15 minute surgery.  The Mayo Clinic has this great system where each patient has a number and you are able to keep tabs on the patient if they are in surgery, when they get out, etc.  Derek’s said he was out of surgery so I gave it an hour to let him recover.  I went up to the desk and asked when I could see him and they said they would let me know but it would be soon.  Since he was getting admitted the process was a little different.  I waited for another 2 hours, starving, which if you know me is not when I am at my best.  I finally was so annoyed that I went to check on him because I was getting worried, just to find out they had already moved him and forgot to let me know!  I was so mad I just broke into tears.
Anyways, I stomped all the way to the bone marrow wing where the nice nurses showed me to my husband in his nice, cozy room.  They messed up and brought him 2 dinners but he didn’t complain.  We met with the Nurse Practitioner and Derek had to have a couple of unpleasant tests done.   

He then started chemo the next day.


He did chemo everyday for the next five days. Each day he got sicker and sicker. They had to put him on a schedule of anti-nausea meds because he was getting so sick.

Finally, on Friday the day came. The transplant!
Jason came in the morning and got all set up. The extraction process is similar to dialysis. He had been getting shots for a week that pushed the stem cells out into his blood and the machine filtered his blood and pulled out all the cells.

Derek was able to go visit Jason, since it is all on the same floor. The process took a few hours. Once the cells were extracted they had to be sent to a lab to get tested. At around 6 in the evening, the transplant was ready to get started.  It really was a simple process.

They infused the cells into Derek over an hour and a half. They had to keep tabs on his blood pressure and temperature to make sure he wasn't having a reaction to the infusion. Once it was all done, a nurse stayed in the room for an hour monitoring Derek to make sure he was okay. 

Today is Day +2 and he is feeling decent. He hasn't been able to eat today because of his persist nausea but he is in good spirits.  For now it is a waiting game. His blood counts are dropping, which is to be expected. But once they start increasing again, that means that Jason's cells have engrafted. We then have to wait to see how he does and make sure he does not have any complications. This could take anywhere from 2, 3, 4 or more weeks. For now, we are really hopeful and we are excited to begin this new journey in our life. I am always amazed at the love we are given by family, friends, and strangers. So thanks, we like you too.

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