Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The ABC's of BMT

I've been an educator for a long time, and I thought we had a ton of acronyms.  We've learned so many new ones on this journey, I'm thinking of making an ABC book just for them.  BMT--Bone Marrow Transplant--is the latest to add to our medical vocabulary.  Yesterday Boyce and I attended a class that gave us a general overview of the whole process.

Here's the condensed version:
  1. Paige will have a PICC line placed.  Similar to the port she has in her chest, this double-lumen (fancy way of saying 2 access points) line will be inserted in her arm.  She had one when treatment first started last year and was not a fan whatsoever, but it is necessary for the many medications she will receive during her stay in the BMT unit.  Hopefully she will only have it a few months.
  2. She will undergo a conditioning regimen prior to transplant.  This will consist of different types of chemo, antivirals, and antibacterials--given over several days--that will completely wipe out her immune system.  Chemotherapy throughout her leukemia treatment mostly hit the white cells--this will hit everything.  
  3. The day of transplant--Day 0--was described as somewhat anti-climactic.  It is essentially an infusion of the stem cells through her line.  Then we wait.  And wait.  And wait.
  4. The projected time inpatient after transplant is 4 to 6 weeks as we wait for engraftment and recovery from everything that goes along with it.  The first 100 days after transplant are crucial--and will have us under all kinds of restrictions with diet, social outings, etc.
Transplant will be a long and challenging road, but it's one we will gladly travel to get our girl healthy again.  Now more than ever, we must remind ourselves--on a daily basis--to take it one step at a time.  In the next couple of weeks we will meet the bone marrow doctor and get a more detailed look at the plan they are developing for Paige.

In the meantime, Paige and I remain here Hotel TCH.  She completed another round of hardcore chemo last week, and we are now waiting as it kicks in and sends her counts back down.  We'll be here on fever watch (and probably a transfusion or two--or more) as counts trend back up to a point it is safe to leave.  It looks like we should have a short break before our transplant admission--depending on count recovery as well as space on the BMT floor.

I know I may sound like a broken record, but Paige continues to amaze me.  Would she rather be somewhere else?  Of course, but she pushes through every bit of chemo, nausea, and pain like nothing I've ever seen.  She is a lady on a mission with a "let's get this done" attitude.  God is doing such a work in her--physically, mentally, and spiritually.  I may just have to come up with an ABC book all about the miracle that is my beautiful daughter--it'd be a best seller, for sure!

But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength...   Isaiah 40:31

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