Day 6 and counting; Happy New Birthday to me!!!

Ok, ok!  I know I said I would give an update everyday but…….actually I was kept busy all last week.  I was in the clinic everyday at 8am  and sometimes wouldn’t leave until 5pm. Of course my brother had to go with me as well as they prepared him for his part in all this.  So enough with all the excuses just get to the update, right?  Firstly I want to say that I have the most wonderful, selfless and kind brother that didn’t hesitate to withstand  all the tortous injections twice a day for 6 days plus being hooked up to a machine for 6 hours to extract his stem cells.  He then went back on the machine a second day!  He was able to give me 15 million stem cells!!!  Now the injections that they gave him made his bones ache bad enough to need pain meds.  The injections make the bone marrow produce lots of cells at a rate that you dont normal make therefore the bone pain.  He was a real trooper and I will be indebted to him forever.  He would just say, “But it is for a good cause!”  I am happy to be that cause! :)   While he was getting injections, I was getting my conditioning chemotherapy so I could receive his cells.  That entailed 4 days of a chemotherapy to kill off all my cells in my bone marrow and another drug that is an antibody that kills the “T” cells that can harm my new cells. That drug gave me hives on my face after I would receive but other than that the conditioning went very well.  On Wednesday I received the first half of my brothers cells (8 million) at 3:30 pm EST.  So when you have this type of  transplant the day I received the cells  is my new birthday!!   That is why I wrote in the heading Happy New Birthday.  My associate pastor came to bless the cells for me and it was very inspirational to know I am going to get a new healthy immune system!  The procedure is not that exciting but to know that my brothers cells will become my new cells is so emotional for me.  It is hard to put in words how grateful and thankful I am.  Now I just wait for those cells to engraft and that could take another several weeks.  In the meanwhile I take alot of medications to fight infections and an immunosuppressant drug to prevent graft vs. host disease.  That can be a problem if it happens.  That is when my brothers cells could fight my body and cause problems.  Even though we match well, his cells are still foreign to my body and they could attack my body.  That is why they give immunosuppressant drugs with this type of transplant and it will help the cells to climatize to me and work like they are supposed to.  I go to the clinic everyday so they can check my blood to see if I need anything like potassium, platlets, blood, etc.  Right now I have no white cells at all and very few platelets so tomorrow I might have to get transfused with platelets if they are lower than they were today.  I didn’t have to have anything today except my IV antibiotics!  I only had to stay for 2 hours!  Of course it is not like I can go shopping or something like that.  I just get to come back to the apartment!  Everything so far has gone well and I am feeling pretty well considering.  I pray it stays that way! LOL   Thank you all for all the prayers and I am not going to promise to update everyday but I will try harder.  Just know that I am hanging tough even with some trying side effects. Until tomorrow, God bless!