Thursday, October 28, 2010

Day 1 / 100

I arrived at the hospital around 8:30pm last night after showering and having dinner at Dad's. (thanks for taking me to the hospital, Dad).

Richard looked wonderful and handsome as always, but with a nice little tan from the radiation.
*little side note here - Did I tell you how they mentioned that the radiation can cause Cancer?
yah... nice eh?

Richard has had the horrible chemo-hiccups for about 3 or 4 days now. It really takes a toll on him due to all the constant flexing of his muscles. He's just exhausted. He had a couple breaks from the hiccups through the night (when I cuddled with him in his hospital bed and fell asleep with him for a little bit), and again while he slept.

I set up camp on the pull-out bed for a horrible, but nicely long, sleep. I don't know why I bother to mention how my sleep was when it soooo doesn't matter. It's nothing compared to Richard's horrible sleep, obviously. But, it's part of the story, I guess.

Around 11pm or 11:30pm, maybe, Dr. Bernard (the petite, yet powerful one who delivered the fastest bone marrow biopsy ever) had just arrived from picking up the stem cells from the Vancouver airport (nice and fresh from wherever they came from - I think the UK).

It was all very anti-climactic. We've been building up for this day even though this really isn't the time when problems could (but hopefully won't occur). All they did was hang up the bag like any old bag of blood or platelets and hooked it up to his Hickman Line. It took all of about 40 minutes to drain in. They had said upwards of an hour, but I guess his body was taking it well, so the drip could be quick. Richard looked pretty emotional as it crept its way through the line into his body. It was a thicker, tomato-soupy looking version of regular blood. I guess I expected it to look different somehow. The label on it had something blacked out. I tried to read it hoping it said where it came from, but nope.

There was no initial reaction, yay!

Problems, if any, tend to occur about two weeks into the transplant process when the graft could possibly start to reject the host (Richard).

Richard received his second or third batch of the test-drug that hopefully will decrease the chances of graft vs. host disease . The first batch he got, he reacted to with some chills, but the second went just fine.

The doctor that was in today said that they are keeping a close eye on his liver because it is slightly lower (or something) than it's supposed to be. It's only very minor, but when they give the Methotrexate, they need to watch your liver and kidneys and will only give it to you (or will adjust the dose accordingly) dependent on how they are doing. (For all you drug-googlers out there - Don't be confused about the methotrexate being a chemo-drug. It's not used the same way in this case, as it would be for someone with .. say... prostate cancer).

While it's popped into my mind - A BIG thank you to Tony who popped by again to see Richard and brought him a bunch of treats. Richard really enjoyed that visit. Evidently, you're a great guy, Tony. Everyone says so and evidently, EVERYONE knows Tony!

So, Richard spent the night not having a very good sleep due to hiccups and nausea. Not sure which drug causes the hiccups, but man, they're just horrible.

Currently, his hiccups are giving him a break.
You are probably wondering why they don't give him some special cure for them. Believe me, I gave him lots of ideas... hopping on one foot, holding his breath, and my personal favourite, drinking water upside down. He was having none of it, and since the hiccups pain him so much that they leave him short of breath, he didn't think that drinking water upside was a great idea.

Oops, by typing that his hiccups were gone for a while, I've jinxed him and now they're back. Sorry Richard.

So... the hiccup drug. There is a hiccup-curing-drug, but the problem with it is that it makes Richard hallucinate. He didn't think that was a good idea with the transplant happening last night. The last thing he wants while the stem cells are going in, is to be looking like a drug-addict freaking out about imaginary bugs crawling up and into his arms.

Sorry to all that I haven't called yet. I did a couple texts last night, but truth be told, it was just very uneventful and no-news-is-good-news, right?

Norma came in this morning from the lodge and we had a nice visit. She left around 10am and I headed to go get my morning coffee (Thank you so much, Terri, from the gym, who got me a Starbucks card!), and to pick up Richard a requested apple fritter. I never buy food at Starbucks, but he asked, so he got! When a Leukemia patient says he wants an apple fritter, you get it for him!!!

I'm avoiding kissing Richard on the mouth right now and avoiding touching his hands, as little Dexter is sick with a cough right now and although I'm not sick, I want to be cautious. Norma's got a bit of scratchy throat and had a pretty crappy sleep last night due to thinking and worrying about Richard all last night, so she's going to spend the afternoon at the lodge, resting up.

My three frenzied days of cleaning and cooking have paid off. I look forward to getting home to my moderately clean house (except for my stairs - ugg - usually Richard does those). My cooler that I packed is full of my food I'll be eating while I stay here with Richard. In fact, I shared my dinner with Dad last night. It was delicious.... Butter Chicken, homemade carrot soup, apples, and peas. Mmmmm. Those will be my dinners while I'm here. My lunch is my chicken and veggie soup that Richard made up for me before he left for the hospital. My breakfasts are my spinach/feta/bacon/egg things that I premade for the month. Snacks = sugar peas and apples.

I'm set. I have books, I have marking to do, I have Word Mole on my phone, and I have Richard (and the tv - I keep forgetting it's there, but I'm looking forward to Big Bang Theory tonight!!!).

Kim had a busy morning. Makenna arrived around 7am and Kim got AJ into his Hallowe'en costume so that he and Makenna could be taken to preschool for their Hallowe'en party. When she gets AJ back home, she'll be taking the boys to Mom's house. (Thanks again Kim and Jared and Mom!).

I did take pictures of the bag of stem cells and the nurse took a picture of Richard and I, but for some reason, they don't want to upload right now. Oh well. You'll have to wait for those.

We don't get to sign up to find the donor for a year (and that's only if the donor sign up to find out who we are too), but I thought I'd take a chance and put it out there in cyberspace....

If you had stem cells taken out of you on the 27th of October, 2010, THANK YOU SO MUCH!

Kim has headed to her place with the boys and they're already asleep for the ride to Chilliwack.....


Dawn said...

That is great news Sonja! I'm happy to hear that there was no reaction and hopefully no GVHD either! I had the hiccup problem too and feel his pain (literally) Hugs to you both!

Elaine said...

Hi Sonja,
What does it mean when you are counting down the 100 days?