Tuesday I go into the hospital for my stem cell transplant.
I’ve been battling a low-grade fever for the last couple weeks, brought on, I’m pretty sure, by my stupid human suit freaking out over five weeks and 45 Gy of radiation. I’m taking prednisone now, which is breaking the fever, but it keeps yo-yoing back.
My oncologist said that going into the transplant procedure brimmed up on steroids is fine, but going in with a fever is less so. But we can’t just wait for this flare-up to de-flare, either. Yeah, it’s stressing me out.
Trying to focus on day-by-day next steps instead:
- Every morning this weekend and Monday, we go into the Winship infusion center for them to give me three, two-hour-long pre-chemo infusions of Kepivance, a recombinant keratinocyte growth factor, which will help ease some of the worst side effects of the transplant procedure. Unfortunately, the Kepivance itself is going to be fairly unpleasant, as it will stimulate the growth of the cells lining my mouth and GI tract, making everything…just yuck.
Of course, I was just beginning to get hints of my sense of taste back. This will utterly wipe it out again. Food and I are not going to be getting along for a while longer.
- Tuesday, they’ll start me on BEAM, a high-dose chemotherapy treatment which will be administered over the course of seven days. It will utterly wipe out my immune system and, hopefully, the cancer. It will also raze all the new hair growth I was starting to see these last few weeks. Sigh. I miss my hair.
- They’ll give me another three days of Kepivance at the end of the chemo.
- I’ll receive an infusion of my own, previously harvested stem cells on day 7 to rescue me from what BEAM will be doing to me. Essentially, my life in a bag, pumped back in.
- Then comes the fun as I endure the brutal side effects of BEAM while waiting for my body to reboot.
One week of chemo, two weeks of recovery, and then, hopefully, they’ll release me from the hospital, weak as a kitten, severely immunocompromised, but cancer-free.
That is the plan.