Tuesday, 14 July 2009

A Plan

While the plan is still being pulled together, Eric will be getting ATG as soon as they can arrange for a new PICC line to be inserted and a hospital bed opens up.

ATG is given over 4-5 days in 12 hour infusions. The hope is that ATG will kill off the T Lymphocytes which seem to be attacking his blood cells. I understand that it takes some time and he will continue to get transfusions to keep his hemoglobin and platelets out of the critical range.

This marrow failure is acting like Aplastic Anemia - his tests and symptoms all point to Aplastic Anemia. But the original Hodgkins and subsequent transplants make a definitive diagnosis hazy....

From the Aplastic Anemia and MDS International Foundation
In patients with aplastic anemia, there are not
enough stem cells in the bone marrow to produce a
sufficient quantity of blood cells. The generally
accepted thinking about aplastic anemia is that the
patient’s immune system is reacting against the bone
marrow, interfering with its ability to make blood
cells. Thus, aplastic anemia is an autoimmune disease
with similar pathophysiology (i.e., changes in the
body) to diseases like diabetes, ulcerative colitis, and
multiple sclerosis. Stem cells are no longer being
replaced and the remaining stem cells are working
less effectively, so the levels of red cells, white cells
and platelets begin to drop.

We just don't know how this relates to Hodgkins. Was the Aplastic Anemia caused by the Hodgkins or all the chemo? Or has the AA been around for a while and that allowed the Hodgkins to get out of control? Is this caused by a conflict between Eric's immune system and his donor cells? We just don't know and may never know.

By the way, the other treatment for this type of bone marrow failure is another transplant and that donor search continues. You know the drill. Please sign up for the bone marrow registry and ask at least one friend to join as well.

Obviously we are discouraged. Eric has just gotten back to class and is eager to stay on track, but already he is having to miss class -- very discouraging.

All those prayers and positive vibes are most appreciated.


Anonymous said...

Oh Kathy :(
This is a bump in the road Eric DOES NOT need! I'm sorry that he and your family is going through this.
I AM thinking of you guys.
BIG HUGS xoxoxoxox

Bekah said...

Damn these damn diseases.
I'll be sure to pass on the word for the registry as always, I hope it doesn't have to come to a third transplant, but I'll be sure to get the word out.

I know you guys can handle anything that is thrown your way, but good lord -- Eric deserves a BREAK. Hope this treatment is the answer.

Sending love from Boston,

<3 Bek

Veronica said...

Kathy - just back from holiday and wasn't expecting this new turn of events.....enough already :0(

Hoping that this treatment is arranged for as soon as humanly possible and that it does the trick once and for all.

Thinking of you both and sending the tightest hugs that have ever been mustered up......<3..........Vx