Day 22 – Back to the hospital

Well at 2:30 am up to pee. At 4:30 am up to pee and diarrhea. At 8 am up to eat a big tasty breakfast of 2 eggs, bacon, toast with cream cheese, orange juice and hot chocolate.

The kids (they are grown) and my husband were going to meet at a lake to go skiing and boating.  Just when my husband was about to leave at 9:30 am, I got a call from the Doctor. He informed me that my blood cultures had come back positive and that as soon as I could I had to be admitted into the Hospital for IV antibiotics and observation.

I tried to get out of it but to no avail.  Well the truth is I was kind of dizzy.

I got to the Hospital about an hour later and they were waiting for me. I got all my hookups.

They started some antibiotics and now I an here dizzy and not happy. I finally got some food at 2 pm.  The Doctor says I will be here for at least 2 nights.  Make that 2 sleepless nights.

The guy in the next room has the TV so loud, he must be deaf. Oh when he talks, he is even louder.

Husband brought some dinner Chinese. Everything tasted a little off, but my husband said it was good.

I will get a shower soon. I will go to bed before 11:30 I hope.

Day 21

Got to sleep until 6:45 am.

I got ready to go to the Doctor and off we went.  I ate a sausage Mc Muffin and brought some hot chocolate from home for the ride.

When the PA started asking about how I was doing, she found out about my fevers and I got a scolding for not calling the Doctor’s office. She immediately ordered blood cultures and she told me there may be a possibility of someone calling me over the weekend to come to the hospital to get antibiotics.

Got home, still no fever. Got a little nap in at 3pm.

At night still no fever. Bed at 11pm.

Day 20

I got 8 hours of sleep! I woke up at 7:30 but I had a fever of 99.7. I was sweating. My husband is out of town, so I am alone. I can’t get rid of the fever.

Finally I got out of bed at 8:30 and had a little breakfast.

All day I have had a ever of between 99.3 and 100. Another waisted day. It’s hard to walk even to the kitchen and back.

I finally took 625 of Tylenol at 5pm so I could function tonight.

I am going to the doctor tomorrow. I have not called them about the fever because I don’t have a ride, and I was hoping the fever would go away.

The fever went away at 8 pm and never came back.   Husband came home at 9.

We went to bed at midnight.

Day 7 – Stem Cell Collection

Day seven since I received the Cytoxan (chemotherapy) in preparation for the stem cell collection.

Everything has gone pretty much according to the plan, as far as I can tell. The only exception that I’ve been aware of is that the central line was installed in the jugular vein, not the subclavical vein. Not sure why, no one really bother to tell me. I imagine it had something to do with the location or size of the subclavical vein.

The other bit of information that I misunderstood is that I “would be feel better by Monday”. Now, I’m guessing that was referring to any potential nausea. Which really wasn’t a problem at all because of the good anti-nausea drugs that they gave me for the first four days. But, the ‘feeling better’ part didn’t include the fatigue and wiped-out feeling. It wasn’t until Day 6 (yesterday) that I started to feel like I could probably manage on my own. And then, that has just been for parts of the day. At least I feel like eating now.

Currently I am getting two shots every morning to stimulate the production of stem cells. Probably around day 12 (Monday) or 13, I should be producing enough extra stem cells that they overflow into the blood system and they can be collected. The shots are no big deal. It helps to have “a little” around the midsection. I guess those fat cells don’t have any nerve endings — thats pretty cool.

Just one more big event coming up in the next few days — no more hair. I think this will be more of an issue then I originally planned for. I’ll keep you posted. I may need some emotional support.

Day -1 – Stem Cell Collection

I will be going in to Group Health Central clinic nice and early tomorrow, Thursday morning (Day 1). The plan is to install a central line. This is a direct port to a large vein above the heart, the subclavian vein. The central line is a device that allows blood samples to be withdrawn and drugs and blood products to be given. The procedure for installing the central line usually only requires local anesthesia.

Then I will go to the infusion center and get my first dose of high-dose chemotherapy, called Cytoxin. They will keep me there all day and overnight. This so they can keep pumping saline into my system. Its important that the Cytoxin doesn’t get a chance to sit in the bladder. If it does it can “burn” the bladder and cause complications.

On Day 2 (Friday) I will get a second does of the Cytoxin. And then later that day I will be sent home. Hopefully the anti-nausea medicine will be working and I won’t get sick. But, in any case I am planning on being home all weekend while I recover from the chemotherapy infusion.

So, my next update will likely not be until Saturday or Sunday, after I return home. At that time I will be able give an update on what my experience actually was.

I posted another link (on the right hand side) of a story about another persons perspective of the Stem Cell Transplant (STC) experience. I think it is a nice informative story.

Day -3 – Stem Cell Collection

Three more days to go until the big chemo day. With some help I finally have gotten my apartment organized so that I have a comfortable place to come home to after my big chemo days. Now I just need to go get some vitamin E capsules. I read that they help prevent mouth sores. The chemo kills any fast growing cells. This not only kills cancer cell; but also causes problems with the lining of the mouth, hair, and probably a few other things that I don’t know about. I’ve read that mouth sores can be so bad that it is impossible to eat. But, I’ve heard that vitamin E can prevent them. I’ll let you know if that theory holds out.

I’ve posted a few links on the right hand side of the page that explain a bit about what Multiple Myeloma is, and about the transplant process (its kind of technical, but parts of it are still understandable by a normal person).

The mini-allo transplant is one of the best ways to get a long-term remission. But, there is no cure for Multiple Myeloma. So, when they say “success” they actually mean a remission. Sometimes people have been known to get a three year remission with a transplant. That would be great. I would love to have three years of “normal” life again. To me that would mean being able to work a regular job and a 40 hour week. And being able to ride my bicycle around Lake Union four times (20 miles) with no problem. And going skiing or ice skating, or even sailing around Lake Union. There is a 50-60% chance of “success” with a transplant. Not the best odds but, I’ll take what I can get.

Introduction

My name is Dennis. I am 52 years old. I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, a cancer that involves the bone marrow, on October 13th, 2004. I have tried two treatments (dexamethasone/thalidomide and Velcade) so far, and there has been no response to either. Since there has been no response to these initial treatments, I am eligible (or more like, the only alternative left) is a stem cell transplant.

I will be starting the first part of a mini-allogeneic bone-marrow stem cell transplant (mini-allo for short) in less then a week. They call it a mini because the procedure uses less chemotherapy drugs the a standard transplant. However, a mini-allo is actually two transplants. The first transplant will involve collecting and transplanting my own bone-marrow stem cells. Then the second transplant will use stem cells from a doner.

The details of the actual process will be posted to this website as I go through each phase.