A place where I can chronicle my family's journey through cancer. A place where WE can discuss our concerns. A place where WE can inspire each other. A place for hope.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Rest, you

Sitting in the Bone Marrow Transplant clinic right now. Today is a LONG.ASS.DAY. Its about 230pm right now, and we've been awake for about 9 hours already. FUN! Today's massively exciting agenda includes sitting in our quaint little room for Jeebus knows how long as mama bear receives her first dose of "transplant chemotherapy". The transplant procedure can basically be divided up into a couple different stages: Mobilization, Collection, Administration, and Recovery. During Mobilization, which is where we are at now, my mom is given a series of drugs to encourage her bone marrow to create a (hopefully abundant) surplus of stem cells. Stem cells are born within the bone marrow environment, so when there is too much, what happens is they get "pushed out", due to overcrowding, into the blood stream. The first type of "transplant chemotherapy" is something called Cyclophosphamide, which *primarily* helps to encourage this overproduction of stem cells (it can also help to bring down your m-spike). Cyclophosphamide, along with a series of G-CSF shots (taken mostly at home), make up the mobilization process. That is, they help the bone marrow produce and "mobilize" your stem cells. During Collection, you basically collect your stem cells by filtering them out of your bloodstream (because remember, they were "pushed out", right?) via apheresis. However much they are able to collect determines how many transplants you can have down the road (usually about 1 or 2), or if you can at all. After your stem-cells have been collected, you move onto the Administration stage. This is where the second type of "transplant chemotherapy" is administered. Nowadays, they are using a nasty little drug called Melphalan in extremely high doses that would not be administered if they couldn't collect enough stem cells (there is no way your body could recover, otherwise). From what I understand, this is to basically wipe out all the cancer cells in the body and allow the patient a fresh start afterwards. The only thing is, similar to many other chemotherapeutic agents, it also targets your healthy cells as well. Lame. Once THAT pain in the ass is over with, you are in the Recovery phase, which is basically what its name states. The reason why an autologous stem cell transplant (where you get stem cells from yourself, rather than a donor) is not considered a cure is because when the stem cells are reintroduced into your body during the Recovery phase, there is a chance that these cells could also be cancer stem cells as well. At least, that is how I understood it... So, we are hoping for the best. Prayer warriors, please keep us in your prayers during this time, that the transplant will go smoothly and that it will be everything my mom needs to be healthy again.

Right now, my brother and dad are running errands while I am sitting on a chair facing my mom. She is sleeping while her IV slips her fluids. I feel sad when I see her like this. Heartache and heart break are perhaps the most accurate words to describe the feeling. But we are strong..and we've made it this far. Almost over the hill. I am glad to see her resting though. Her body needs it. And occasionally, she will let slip a little snore as only a mother bear can do. :). It is a comforting sound to hear. Rest mama bear, rest.

In other news, right before I started writing this post, I was in the midst of a much-needed nap. Basically, I woke up from my awkwardly sprawled position and peeled my face off of the lovely vinyl surface of my chair, emerging (CLEARLY) a vision of absolute beauty. My hair was this way and that and the imprinted lines on *one* side of my face made me look like some crazy half-wrinkly asian hobbit. Like I said, a VISION of beauty. There are not many that could resist THAT face, I assure you. Mirror, mirror on the wa-... Oh, never mind.
Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

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