Tuesday, 16 July 2013
Today was the beginning of the transplant phase
I was a little apprehensive, but excited as well. I pondered on what was going to happen on the days to come as I enjoyed a mug of coffee and watched the sun rise over Lake Michigan.
Finally, it was time for me to leave the apartment for the last time.
Northwestern have a timeline to countdown to the day of my stem cell infusion, very much like a NASA rocket launch. So today was Day -6, tomorrow will be Day -5 and so on until Day 0 when I get my stem cells back. Thereafter, it will be Day +1, Day +2, etc until the day of discharge.
We arrived at 7:20am, completed all the paperwork before being led to my room on the 15th floor of Prentice Women's Hospital. We waited .. then waited some more .. and by mid-day, I was wondering if they had forgotten about me.
Amy Morgan came in shortly afterwards to explain what would be happening over the next two weeks. She said the first day would be fairly relaxed, so the late start was not a concern.
Vineetha’s cousin had flown in from New York to collect the girls, and they all dropped by the hospital to say goodbye. I’m already missing them
I had lunch, and then the show began ….
I was pre-medicated with Benadryl, Tylenol and Dexamethasone before being started on Rituxan, a chemo drug to kill my B-lymphocyte cells.
The Benadryl went straight into the IV, and took effect within minutes. I became really drowsy, and found it hard to keep my eyes open. The nurse had been monitoring my vital signs every 15 minutes and noticed by blood pressure was falling. They decided to slow down the flow rate of the Rituxan until my blood pressure was stabilised. This leveled off at 95/58 before rising back to a more normal 117/78.
After dozing for most of the afternoon, I woke up by early evening feeling pretty good, and so the flow rate of the Rituxan was increased so that it could be completed by 8:10pm.
Vineetha joined me during dinner after getting the kids off to New York, cleaning the apartment and lugging the rest of our luggage to the hospital. I really must think of a superhero name for her.
Then followed a light dinner, consisting of meatloaf, chocolate mousse and a mug of coffee, with an old episode of Blackadder to provide entertainment.
Tomorrow they will start with an EKG and blood draws at 5:30am, so it’s bedtime for me.
Overall, I think today went well!