David and I are up in Jhb – we drove up on Friday to meet with the Doc and transplant nurse to go through the final details for the start of the transplant process. The doctor is very happy with David’s blood results, his general fit state, and the fact that he had a clear PET scan post chemo, all bodes well for a successful transplant. The procedure now is basically as follows : Monday 5 Oct – David will be admitted to Ward 20 ( insert jaws music here)…..this is the isolation ward😷 Tuesday 6 Oct – chemo …
After the final round of Igev chemo, David is pretty strong and looking good – not much like a ” cancer” patient – except for the bald head! His blood counts have been really good, so the plan is to harvest his bone marrow today….. From what we understand, this process is sort of like being in dialysis. He’ll have a drip in each arm, one and drawing blood the other putting the blood back into his body. A machine hooked up inbetween will work its magic and extract the stem cells! Hold thumbs all goes to plan….. A few …
So, we ended off last week with huge smiles and lots of excitement with David’s PET Scan showing that all the tumors have dissapeared after the first 3 rounds of IGEV chemo. This chemo was the first step in the whole bone marrow transplant process as it was vital to get to a “PET – negative” result in order for the bone marrow transplant to go ahead by using David’s own marrow.
How does this all work – well to put it simply : because David’s cancer keep recurring it means there are seed cells left in his system after the standard chemo treatment that are regenerating and causeing recurrent tumors. The next route of action is to administer such toxic chemo that will kill off all seed cells in his body – bone marrow stem cells being one if the types of seed cells that will be destroyed. Hence the need to reinfuse bone marrow cells back into his system, to allow his immune system to regenerate. Because the source of the cancer is not in his bone marrow he is able to be his own donor. This is awesome as the chances of rejection are slim to none.
We will post more details about the procedure once we have all the info…..the most challenging aspect at the moment is that the transplant is happening in Pretoria, as the best doctors are there…thankfully we have the most awesome family to support us through this so everyone is working together to help look after both David and I and the kids, as we bounce back and forth between home and Pretoria.
Today, 26 Aug, we are in Pretoria for David to have a battery of tests done – blood, X-ray, heart sonar, ECG and lung function. Then we’ll see a nurse & doctor who will explain the actual donor and transplant process . It is quite frustrating at the moment as we are just following instructions and have very limited info on what is actually going to happen and what all these tests are for!
We’ll post again soon with more info once we have some 😉