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Last day of chemo

Megs posting again ……I’m back in PTA.  I went home for the weekend to see the kids, while Lance took over David-sitting duty.  The kids seem to be coping well without us around – the excitement of grandparents, aunts & uncles looking after them is distracting them! But it was good to see their little faces after week away. After a crazy cross over at the airport, Lance & I swapped cars, parking tickets, keys and instructions, and I headed through to Pretoria to see the patient. It’s the last day of chemo today….and unfortunately has been the worst day …

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Pretoria (pronounced Pre-Toria)

Back up north today -a whopping 38 degrees. 3 degrees warmer than Jozi due to our Capital being closer to the sun…..or something like that. Best place to be besides a swimming pool is in The Bubble. David has implemented a Toll system if you wish to grace him with your presence in The Bubble : Everytime you exit the ward you need to derobe and then go through the entire process  again  when re-entering. Its similar to a pit stop in a grand prix – new tires, petrol, nose cone…..I clocked myself in at 1 min 35secs today. Speaking of …

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A visitors tale….

Hi everyone Megs returned to Durbs today and I took her place in the “Fortress of Solitude”. All visitors need to wear beautiful purple gowns over your clothes and don a blue skull cap and booties over your shoes. Today they added face masks to the ensemble. Little chance of picking anyone up anyone up wearing all of this gear – unless they mistake you for a Doctor ­čÖé Before you enter the ward itself, never mind the bubble, you need to thoroughly scrub your hands (not allowed any jewellery , watches etc) – it’s like a scene from Grey’s …

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A bit of a recap and a day in the life of a ward 20 patient.

I must say upfront how grateful I am to be feeling as well as I am to be writing this post, after our patient family meeting with Jacky (Dr Thomson) and Sister Wilma they definately prepared me for the worst (hope that is still not on the way. For those of you who don’t know there are many..many (Commadant Lassard voice from police acadamy voice) different types of chemo drugs ,most of the time they are given with a cocktail of some premeds to stop the nasty’s of sideeffects (I have to block my ears when I hear what they …

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Checked in to Ward 20

David was checked in to Ward 20 this morning. ┬áThe room is very comfortable – about 6m x 4m with an en suit bathroom. ┬áHe has a small desk / counter top area and there’s a spare bed – for me to have an afternoon nap I suppose 😆 The doc was here when we arrived so she organised him a nice corner room that looks out onto a courtyard and golf course so he has a beautiful view. The only downer is the size of the bath, which I would have to squash into, so all 6 feet of …

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The night before it all starts…..

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 …

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The Harvest

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 …

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The start of the journey

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. ┬áThis 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.

PET Scan Showing changes from 27 May - 20 August 2015
PET Scan Showing changes from 27 May – 20 August 2015

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. ┬áThe 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. ┬áHence the need to reinfuse bone marrow cells back into his system, to allow his immune system to regenerate. ┬áBecause the source of the cancer is not in his bone marrow he is able to be his own donor. ┬áThis 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. ┬áThen we’ll see a nurse & doctor who will explain the actual donor and transplant process . ┬áIt 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 😉

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