Undergoing a Stem Cell Transplant


(May, 2017) Dr. Antin explained to us that my case was not ideal, but I would still undergo the transplant; it was the only option I had left. We would make it work, we had to! Tim was going to work with the insurance liaison and rush the approval for my transplant along. The sooner the transplant the less time the Leukemic cells had to take back over. Dr. Antin and his team were my second miracle. The fight was not over yet. The next two weeks would be filled with day long appointments at Dana Farber with all the pretests. Testing my lungs, heart and other body parts that had already been stressed with the two previous rounds of chemotherapy. I would still need to undergo one more battle the most taxing battle on my body ever! I remember going to Dana Farber for the pre transplant testing my dad was my cheerleader for the day and my sister was also there for pre-testing to be my donor. John was her cheerleader for the day. Amanda and John had just been married the previous September. I felt awful having to drag them into my war. By the end of the day, we all looked exhausted! The pre-testing was rough. It felt every single body part had been poked, prodded and put through a test. To see if it could undergo the third and hopefully final battle. There was one speck of humor however, my brother-in-law fell asleep on this teeny tiny couch in one of the waiting rooms. I guess my sister was right when she says he can sleep anywhere! We also had meetings about what the transplant and chemotherapy pre transplant would look like. This would be the strongest chemotherapy yet. They also started to fill my family and me in on what life after transplant would look like. I felt like I was drowning in the endless abyss of steps and precautions I would have to take. Life as I had known it still would not look the same. I would not be able to leave my home. My house would have to be cleaned top to bottom by a team of people. I could not do any dishes, cutting up food to cook was a big no-no. I could not garden. If I was out taking a walk and someone was cutting the grass I had to turn around and walk the other way. I could not go into my children’s school for conferences or open house, I could not go to church. I could not even go down to my own basement. The more time I spent outside the better. Except, I needed to be extremely cautious when it came to sun exposure. Sun exposure could exacerbate graft vs host symptoms. There was not going to be any fresh foods for the first 100 days post-transplant. The only place I would go was to Dana Farber for my follow up appointments. I would have to bring my own prepared food with me too. I would always wear a T-25 mask and gloves. The world would become a dangerous place for me! I felt like I was drowning alive in the medical terminology. I was given a massive book with all the precautions, possible side effects, dos, and don’ts which would take an intelligent, healthy individual months to read and digest!

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