So I had my consult appt yesterday at Huntsman in Salt Lake. It was nice to be able to talk face to face with my transplant doctor. He explained the procedure, and what to expect.
The transplant clinic is connected to the Oncology clinic (Dr. Glenn's office), so he went over to see if Dr. Glenn could come and talk with me about the preparation needed prior to transplant. Dr. Glenn is an amazing doctor. She is a lymphoma specialist, and really knows a lot about the disease. She is an in-charge kind of person, and seems to always have answers for my questions. I feel like I got a lot of good info at the consult appt.
What I really wanted to get was a time fame (ie:how long am I going to be away from my family). She gave me the best case scenario, and it's what I plan on doing! She said the first things I would need to do is a PET scan, Bone marrow biopsy, and have a port placed. Then I would start a round of R-ICE chemo (which will be one day outpatient for the R(ituxin), and then one overnight hospital stay for the ICE). And then I would have one week off, and then repeat. After those 2 sessions of chemo I would have a re staging PET scan (3 1/2 weeks in). And if the cancer was completely gone I would move right to transplant. But if the cancer had responded, but not completely gone I would have one more R-ICE treatment.
Once I'm done with R-ICE, I will have transplant workups done: heart function tests, pulmonary tests, etc. And once I check in-patient for the transplant I will start 5 days of intense chemo to completely wipe out my immune system (those days are considered -5, 4, 3,2, 1) and then on day ZERO I get my harvested stem cells transplanted. Day Zero is considered your new birthday, because you have a brand new immune system. It has even wiped out my immunizations I received as a baby, so I get a new little yellow card and start those shots all over. Yay.
So then from day zero to day 15 I will be inpatient waiting for the stem cells to graft, or turn into bone marrow (white blood cells). At this point, if my counts are coming up on their own I could possibly be released from the hospital, but need to still stay in Salt Lake. Then for 2 more weeks I will continue to go back up to Huntsman for follow up care. And then after that 2 weeks if things are progressing smoothly, I may be released to go back to Grand Junction and have Dr. V start follow up care.
This is a lot of info, and it seems pretty fast and furious. And it's hard for me to accept this emotionally because I was only prepared to come for the day. Another thing that is really difficult is to know how great I've felt the last 2 years, and still feel, knowing what lies ahead. But I have so much support offered to me here in Salt Lake as well as at home in Fruita, that I'm trying to just push forward and work on getting back to feeling super healthy.
I have received so many phone calls, texts and emails full of love and support, and I am so very appreciative of that. I'm going to work on replying soon! But I do thank you all for your concern and prayers.
I was following a little of Robin Roberts (from Good Morning America) progress on her bone marrow transplant. I saw this video today and I'm really going to try to implement this in my care/recovery. She said :
"Your thoughts. Thoughts are so powerful. You've got to change the way you think in order to change the way you feel."
Click here to watch video
So tomorrow I start. I will have my bone marrow biopsy and PET scan tomorrow. And then Friday I will have my port placement surgery. And then Saturday will be my first day of chemo. Thank you again for all of your prayers. I will continue to update as much as possible! -Jen