Sunday, September 19, 2010

Been home for a week now!

So I have been home for a week now!  It is amazing what a morale booster it is!  It has been a busy week to say the least.

On Wednesday, Crystal and I went down to Boston to meet with the transplant specialist at Dana Farber.  In the waiting room, there were some people wearing both masks and rubber gloves.  I thought to myself "I wonder what is up with those patients?"  After waiting for a bit, the receptionist let me know that the doctor would like to get a fresh copy of my labs.  This means I need to give blood.  I was not prepared for this.  You would think after a month in the hospital, I would be fine with giving blood.  Definitely not!

They call my name and lead me to a small room in back with maybe 3 of 4 technicians drawing blood from people.  They sit me in a chair.  I immediately let my technician know that I will need to lay down so I do not pass out and that I am not fond of giving blood.  She moves me to a reclining chair.  I look over and she has about 10 empty test tubes.  I start to have a mild panic attack.  Evidently I started getting pale.  She puts an ice pack behind my neck.  I am now squeezing Crystal's hand pretty hard.  Yes, Crystal is in the room with me...

She puts the needle into my arm and begins the blood draw.  I swear the needle feels like a turkey baster in my arm.  I am heading downhill at this point.  Another ice pack behind my head, and one on my forehead at this point.  She eventually finishes.  I am not able get out of the chair for several minutes due to light headedness.

Back to the waiting room.  We are then called in to meet with  Dr. Vincent Ho.  He is my transplant specialist.  He explains why he thinks I should have a bone marrow transplant.  Basically, without one, my leukemia will come back.  I could have chemo for a year or so, but without the bone marrow, it will come back and results will not be good.  He was very nice and extremely informative.  He then told us all the negatives of a bone marrow transplant.  That was a sobering conversation.  But weighed against a relapse, it is obviously the way to go.  Remember those people I mentioned that had masks and gloves on, that will be me after the transplant.  For a long time after the transplant.  Basically, I will have no immune system for several months.  Crystal and I asked how long it will take to get the ball rolling.  He said once we get your search going, it will be like 2 to 3 months.  We said great, lets get the search going.

The next day, while sitting at my desk trying to sort through insurance paperwork, I get a call from Dr. Ho.  He says I have good news.  It looks like we have close to 1,200 matches for you.  It looks like the 2 to 3 months will be reduced down to 3 to 4 weeks.  This is good news.

On Friday,  I had an appointment with my doctor at the Maine Cancer Center.  She checked me out and it appears I am doing OK.  (had to give blood again.  Almost same blood story as above.)  It looks like I will be going in for another round of consolidation chemo soon.  That is a 1 week hospital stay.  Will find out next week about that.  Monday, I have to have another bone marrow biopsy to ensure I am still in remission.  This is where they drill into my hip bone to extract marrow.  They are putting me under anesthesia this time because they have been unable to get a good sample each time they have done it in the past.  This is due to my existing marrow being extremely "dry" due to the leukemia.

So, things are moving along.  I am feeling good and appreciate all the prayers and support that continues to come our way.  Couple pics.  One of Paige with her fancy soccer outfit on with her fancy hairdew that she did - the comb over and  the other is me with my new hair style.


Pamela said...

Glad to see your face, tried to see you in the hospital day late dollar short that's me. Just wanted you to know I think about you daily and very glad you had so many matches. That blood draw thing must run in the family Skip once told someone she was a rookie and he wanted someone who KNEW WHAT THE HELL THEY WERE DOING AND HE WAS NOT A PIN CUSHION!!

sonya said...

Paige is so adorable!! And so are you Chad:) When Mark gets a cut that bleeds a lot he goes missing and I find him in bed laying down all light headed until I check it for him (while he closes his eyes and holds his breath) and he hears me say it's okay it's not bad! Looks like you're not alone on this one. Lance T. also has a massive fear of needles. I love your writing... makes it easy to get a good picture of your experience. Glad your match was an easy find. Let's hope that means the process will go smoothly with little or no complications. Stay strong and as my grandmother always said "it'll all come out in the wash" grrrr... but she is right.. always does:)

Mollie said...

hey chad, word got out that you updated your blog so I couldn't wait to read the update! I keep hearing everyone say how much they like reading your updates...even people who don't comment. You have lots of fans out here :) I like the new look, you can get away with no hair for sure. Glad to hear things will be happening fast pretty soon. And even though I know it's not funny to you...the blood taking incidents are cracking me up(sorry) :)

Jennifer said...

Im kinda digging the bald look...told benny not to think about being cool like you, some of us have bigger heads then others...;) yours is nice...benny is getting a couple of days off this week, thought we'd come and hang....good luck monday...peace and love

Mary IronMatron said...

Oh! So glad you have so many matches and you are able to have it done in 3-4 weeks! (even though it sounds hellish to do it... )
Glad you have been home. Your little one is super cute! I'm glad for the update.

MaineSport said...

It sounds like you are very busy managing all of this, but also that things are going as well as can be expected. I'm glad you're able to be home again. Keep it up!

Jenn Roark said...

Chad, you are looking great!!! So glad to get this update and as always it is bitter sweet; so wonderful that there are so many matches for you but so awful that you even have to be doing this. Take care...I will continue to think of you everyday.

Anonymous said...

Great news that the search won't take so long! Bitter Sweet for sure. Here's an extra smile in case you need it some time :)


Jean said...

Dear Chad,
My name is Jean and I’m a volunteer with the National Bone Marrow Transplant Link. Our organization helps patients, caregivers, and families cope with the social and emotional challenges of transplant from diagnosis through survivorship by providing vital information and personalized support services. We subscribe to Google blog alerts, where we found your story.
Please know that others are thinking of you and pulling for you! To learn more about our programs and services, please visit or call 800-546-5268.
All the best!