I hate to be brief, but it’s been a long day of appointments at Mayo Clinic today. I’m also overwhelmed by the wonderful support shown to me today from Powell Tate | Weber Shandwick and their parent company, Interpublic Group (IPG). I’ll write much more about that tomorrow.
Today we met with both my pediatric and grown-up hematology/oncology docs. Thankfully I can cater to both, so I’m lucky to have coordinated care from the best of both worlds. The teams huddled last week, were presented all my glam details and devised a plan.
It turns out that they’re being extra picky with my match. Two of the four donors are already perfect matches (!) and we’re still waiting on the details of the final two, including whether those donors have been pregnant. Pregnancies make women develop antibodies, which we’d rather not bring into the mix. Anything to reduce the possibility of graft-versus-host disease, where the donor marrow recognizes my body as foreign and attacks it. But we know one of those perfect matches is a 20-something male, or “tall, dark and handsome” in healthy bone marrow transplant-speak. They say I’ll get the final word by the end of the week.
Once they choose a match and a back-up match, both donors will be asked to get a physical at a local transplant center. Hopefully both matches are all up on their fitness and we won’t have a problem. From there, the donor picks a date to donate and we work backwards from there. For me, that includes an extensive work-up of basically everything my body can do – lung function, kidney function, heart function – the works. Next I’ll go into surgery to have a Hickman line installed so they can give me all the drugs they want without having to always poke my arm. Then I’ll check in for my lengthy hospital stay. We’re hoping I start chemo about the third week of April.
In the meantime I’m fending off a blood transfusion. My hemoglobin is down to 7.9. Apparently I should be sleep-walking with that level, but I think (and my doctors believe me) that I feel good enough to go without. I’m also having another bone marrow biopsy next Wednesday. Although there are no blasts (symptomatic of MDS turning into AML) showing in my weekly blood work, they can develop in the marrow before manifesting in the blood. The docs want to know exactly what we’re dealing with, and I’m all for it.
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