Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Day 46 "I feel normal!"

Eric's had a great week. The stomach issues have resolved and he's back to eating those big meals. He managed to pick up a cold late last week but he is shaking it off -- I never imagined that his new cells would set up an attack this quickly. I guess a simple common cold (if there is such a thing) is a good first attempt to build new immunity.

His bloodwork today showed that his hemoglobin and platelets are again on the rise after a dip last week. His WBC remains normal. Again, all good signs that the donor cells have engrafted and are getting comfortable.

So with the itching and general transplant malaise over, the stomach issues resolved and a simple cold being overcome, Eric says that he "feels normal"! That is the best news that any of us could hope for just 6 weeks post transplant.

So what happens now? Eric is still on a number of medications. He is on an antibiotic (Septra) twice weekly and an anti-viral (Acyclovir) twice daily that he will continue to take for the next year. Both these drugs are intended to prevent the more serious complications. He is still on one pill a day to keep his stomach happy (Pantoloc) and he takes his immunosuppressive (Tacrolimus) to suppress the new immune system and prevent it from aggressively attacking his organs or skin.

After 90 days, they will start to wean him off the Tacrolimus and slowly allow the new cells more 'freedom'. One of the key features of an Allo transplant is that Eric now has cells that should recognize cancer cells as foreign and eliminate them. Of course, these new cells may also recognize his organs or skin as foreign and GVHD (graft vs host disease) would be an undesirable outcome. The BMT team will monitor him closely for any signs of GVHD and treat immediately. The trick will be to maintain the delicate balance of allowing those wonderful donor cells to attack cancer cells but accept normal cells. This is where you count on having a very experienced and engaged BMT team closely following every detail.

And -- with the home hydration now complete, the doctor even suggested it's just about time that we finally pull that PICC line out. He's had it since last January and it's been a Godsend, but oh wow -- sure would be nice to see the end of that!

So, all good news today - we are blessed.


Veronica said...

What a blessing, indeed......you and Eric have done so fantastically. Hope the rest of Eric's recovery goes smoothly and he enjoys the feeling of 'normality' from here on in...........Vx

Anonymous said...

Kathy - Was so happy to read your blog today. Eric sounds like he's doing AMAZING! what a tough cookie huh?! Hope you have a wonderful week/end!
Stacy xo

Duane said...

So pleased Eric is feeling better and things are looking up!! Way to go, Eric!!! :)

Elizabeth said...

I got your comment on my blog about my bone marrow birthday giveaway. I have chronic GVHD now, and I'm sicker than I ever was with the Hodgkin's, which was not at all!
Glad Eric is feeling better. Has he been approached to do any clinical trials? I have done several, one to prevent the acute GVHD right after the transplant. It has been very successful. I was in stage 1, they are now at stage 5. Currently I am in a study of a drug called IL-2, Interlueken-2, to cure/prevent chronic GVHD. I am the fist person in the world to try it, they have 4 more they're adding. You may want to ask your dr. about it. The study is out of Dana Farber in Boston.