Monday, October 18, 2010

First Weekend Home and Plan for Boston

Just wanted to give everyone a quick update. I got home last Thursday. On Saturday, Nolan had his final football games of the season. They had a round robin between the 4 flag football teams. They won all four games and ended up being undefeated for the season. Their success can be attributed to the great coaching they had this year.  Thanks Rick!  Nolan played great this weekend.  He got a touchdown and had a few great defensive plays.
My appetite is definitely back.  Since I have been home, we have had a ham boiled dinner, home made steak and cheese sandwiches, peanut butter hot fudge sauce, yellow cake with chocolate frosting and blueberry pancakes.  I came home at 173lbs, I am up to 177 today.  Going to start making some "healthy choices" starting tomorrow.

We heard from Boston today as far as our schedule for Boston goes.  It looks like at this point we will be going down for the day on October 29th for tests and paperwork.  We will be heading back down on November 5th to check in for the transplant.  This will be a 4 to 6 week stay.  We are unsure at this point what day the actual transplant will happen.  It will probably be about a week after I am admitted.

When I first am admitted, I will go through another high dose round of chemo and full body radiation.  The goal here is to completely wipe out my defective immune system.  My immune system does not see my leukemic cells as "bad guys".  My white cells which should attack these leukemic cells, just think they are normal cells and allow the leukemia to grow within my body.  If left untreated, the leukemia will take over, kill my immune system and will not result in a happy ending to this story.

Once my defective immune system is wiped out, I will be injected with my donors bone marrow (immune system).  I will be given drugs to try to suppress my defective immune system.  Eventually, my donors immune system should start to develop in my body.  If all goes as planned, the donors immune system will take over, see my leukemic cells as "bad guys" and attack and kill them. 

The doctors have told us there a few things that could go wrong.  My donors immune system may never start growing in my body.  If my donors immune system does begin to grow in my body, there is a probable chance that it will see some parts of my body as an invader because they are different organs than the donors organs.  This could be my skin, my eyes, my lungs, my stomach.  Basically any part of my body.  This is called Graft Versus Host Disease (GVHD).   When this happens, my donors immune system growing within my body will attack what it believes to be the invader.  It is treatable, depending on the severity of the "confusion".

Once I come home, our house will need to be kept extremely clean.  My sisters and parents have hired a cleaner to come in once every two weeks over the last couple of months.  It has been a huge help for Crystal.  When I come home from Boston, my immune system will be pretty much non existent for close to a year.  If I go in public during the first year, I will need to wear a mask and gloves.  The kids will not be able to have friends come over.  The house will need to be spotless at all times.  The tub /  shower will need to be washed each day.

The next year is going to be tough to say the least.  Crystal and I have a great support system and we thank you all!  We are ready for this stupid challenge.  We will get through this and we will kick leukemia's ass.  People have said we have a great attitude about all of this.  How can you not I ask?  What else are you gonna do?  Feel sorry for yourself and ask why us?  Tried that for about 2 days.  Didn't help one bit!


sonya said...

Chad you explained the transplant process very well. It FINALLY makes sense to me! Not only that but you helped me understand how Leukemia lives and grows. It's obviously more complicated than my little brain can comprehend but it is making more sense to me now. GO NOLAN!! That is so awesome that he's a champ..... just like his Dad:)

Mary IronMatron said...

I'm glad you are home right now and eating good stuff! :)
You will kick leukemia's ass. You will.

Mollie said...

Sounds like a great weekend and well worth the 4lbs! I'm so glad you were able to attend Nolan's games! Great explanation of the GVHD and hopefully you wont have to deal with any of that. You are definitely going to kick leukemia's ass!

Nitsirk said...

I know you don't "know" me in real life but I live practically around the corner (near Groveville) and would be happy to help out any way I can. That's what neighbors are for so please don't hesitate to ask. You will definitely kick some leukemia ass.

Kevin said...

I stumbled across your blog by sure chance. After reading a post or two I was inspired by your endurance and will power. You will pull through this and it will bring your family closer together.

I live in Orlando so when you are ready to take the family Disney trip let me know. I have friends that maybe able to get you some free tickets.

Stay strong and keep us posted.

Kevin J

Kevin said...

I created a post about your story. I find your story inspiring to others and I thought I would share it with other. It can be found here:


Brybrarobry said...

Man, I thought I had it bad getting sh*tty cigars that made me feel sick in Kona. After reading your post, I realize others have it worse. haha.

All kidding a side, I hope everything goes well. I think it will, I don't know why, but I got a good vibe about things working out well for you.

Cheering from the sidelines.


Anonymous said...

You and Crystal are an inspiring couple! Thanks for explaining the transplant process. Your blog is bringing some great awareness to those of us who knew the word leukemia but really didn't know what it was all about. You will kick cancer's ass and take no prisoners!


ann said...

Got your blog from another guys blog. What an amazing story! I love your attitude and you have such great support. Kick.Ass.

Kevin said...

@Ann - I'm glad I was able to send you to Chad's blog. I hope you liked it. Spread the world because Chad is an amazingly inspiring guy with a great story to tell.


Arlene said...

You kids have a long road ahead of you - but you are both amazing and will conquer this damn disease. You have a great support system because of the people you are and the goodness is coming back to you. Keep up this wonderful blog - we can all fight with you through it.

Love to you both -
Auntie Lene & John

Jenn Roark said...

Thanks for taking the time to explain all of this. Sure does sound like you have a challenging year ahead of you. I continue to think of you every day!! So glad you are home for now though!!
...and by the way...loved the U2 in your last post!!

Grant said...

Can I get a hell yeah! We've got your back cousin and know you will lay the smacketh down on that candy ass leukemia!

G, J, and Tae

Pam said...

What a great explanation of the process in layman's terms. Definitely got a good picture. I have to agree with B above. I have a good vibe about this. It will be a long year but you have been very vigilant about being cautious and eating the right things (well up until this weekend but you deserve to have some fun things and it sounds like you could stand to have a little weight back). You also have a great wife who will remind you if you start to slip up:-). Please know that you have many supporters at DRMS pulling for you and we will take good care of your family while you are in Beantown.

@Kevin-great post on your blog site. Gave me goose bumps.

@B-glad I could connect you to Chad's blog. I am a believer in the power of "collective consciousness".

Kirsten said...

Chad, you are amazing! And you will absolutely kick leukemia's ass! It will be a long year ahead but the day will come when this will be behind you and you will be back to training for triathlons again. Wishing you all the best in the coming weeks!

Kyle said...

You're a stud Chad. Keep it up.