(Food for thought, I have loved this saying since the beginning of my journey)
Yet again I have a lovely sleepless night.
As I sit here, my mind races through both my recent past experiences and the final stages of my cancer treatment.
These past few weeks I have had the opportunity to socialize- finally breaking the monotony of constant hospitalizations and house arrest. Through this, I have noticed a common response to my upcoming Stem Cell Transplant. Understandably, very few know what it is. That being said, I thought I would take a few minutes to explain.
First off, there are several different types of transplants. The one that I will be undergoing is called an Autologous Stem Cell Transplant. Simply put, I will be receiving my own Stem Cells through this transplant (opposed to receiving a foreign bone marrow transplant- somebody else's). The blessing of the Stem Cell Transplant is that I will not be facing the high risk of my body rejecting a foreign host. Due to the fact they are my very own stem cells, there will be no problem with acceptance.
Now for the main question . . . How does it work?
This past June I had the pleasure of getting my stem cells harvested. The process only took 7 hours of my blood being constantly recycled through a harvester.
(The ever so lovely Stem Cell Harvesting)
After this process, they froze the stem cells until they are re-injected at my transplant.
For now the plan is this . . .
On February 10th, I will have the results of all my scans (there are quite a few) along with the consult and consent to have the transplant done.
On February 17th, I will be admitted to the Bone Marrow Transplant Wing on P4 (where I have lived for the past year ;). That morning, they will place a Double Lumen (dual headed) PICC Line in my left arm to provide a total of three access points to my heart (don't forget my main Port in my chest). A PICC line is inserted into the vein at the bend of one's elbow. The line is pushed until the catheter reaches the heart.
On February 18th, they will begin the five days of high-dose, intense chemotherapy. How intense is intense, you may ask. In transplant cases, it will completely destroy the blood-producing cells in the bone marrow. At this point, the body will be in an extremely vulnerable position. Even a common cold can place the patient in a critical-even fatal place. For safety precautions, I will already be placed in complete isolation.
On February 24th, they will finally administer my very own frozen stem cells! It will take 2-3 weeks for the stem cells to make their way to the bone marrow and begin reconstruction. Once this process is complete, they expect me to have been in the hospital for a month.
In the end, the transplant will truly be an interesting, adventurous, and painful process. However, this is bringing me one step closer to kicking cancer! I look back at what I have come through and can only stop to thank God for His love and protection this far. I am truly blessed to have such an amazing support and prayer group! You all are part of Caleb's Crew, and I am humbled by your love.
In conclusion, please remember that though we have come this far over these past 10 months- I still have 5 years of dreadful scans ahead. Though I try to stay optimistic- the common scanxiety is already sinking in. I've watched so many fellow Ewing's fighters be taken Home after they thought the fight was won. Ewing's is notorious for making a return, and when it does- the chances of beating it quickly fade out of reality. Please pray that this is it . . .
that my chemotherapy, radiation, and Stem Cell Transplant do their job!
In all honesty, my life is in God's hands. We have done all we can physically do- now it is a matter of trusting Him to perform His plan.
His ways are higher than mine.
So much love to you all!
(Legolas has been growing like crazy. I've loved having time to hang out with my baby!)