Thursday, July 31, 2014

Day -8, Signing Consents, Mental Refiling

Day -8

Welp.  I'm here.  All hooked up to drug numero uno.  Etoposide for 30 hours.  I'm getting three different chemos over 6 days.  Yuck.  Today is day -8 (minus 8), which means I'll get my actual transplant in 8 days.  The day I get my cells back is Day 0 and every day after that is +1, +2, etc., until I get to day +100, which will be a huge milestone for me.  I've realized when explaining my treatment to people in real life that it's kind of confusing so I'm going to explain this phase more clearly.  First and foremost, it's important to know:

Bone Marrow Transplant Vs. Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Transplant

In a Bone Marrow Transplant they actually put you under and drill out Bone Marrow from your hips or from a donor.  I'm having a Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Transplant where they gave me growth factor shots and harvested stem cells from my blood stream using and Apheresis Machine.   Both of these treatments are called Bone Marrow Transplants interchangeably.  The kind I'm getting is much less risky since they're my own cells and bonus! no drilling.  During my last go round with Lymphoma I read about transplants but I filed it under "Doesn't Apply To Me" in my mind because, seriously, who ever thinks something like that will apply to them?  The whole thought process took about 30 seconds after I read about it: Step 1- decide it doesn't apply to me, Step 2- totally sanitize the reality of what I've just read because it doesn't apply to me, Step 3- file under "doesn't apply to me" which is just next to the circular file in my brain.  


Signing Consents Kills The Romance

So, now I've had to dust off that file and put it back under "Applies To Me" which is cross referenced with "Reality Bites (not the movie)".  Obviously, at no time since they told me this was happening was I happy about it.  But once I got going it seemed a bit romantic in a way...using my own cells...to cure me!  How human and sciency and just nice.  Don't get me wrong, it is nice.  It's just not as romantic as it sounds.  My transplant is really a rescue.  My cells aren't really curing my cancer.  I'm already in remission.  Again.  I need this transplant because the best chance at keeping my cancer from coming back is to blast my Bone Marrow to kingdom come using extremely high doses of extremely powerful chemotherapy.  I get 6 days of it.  The Etoposide I told you about, Cyclophospamide, whose evil twin I've already had, and Carmustine.  This Chemo is going to completely destroy my bone marrow.  All of it.  It is going to completely destroy the source of my red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.  It is going to destroy me.  We need to wipe it all out in the hopes that any little bit of my cancer that is hiding will also be wiped out.  Without intervention following these 6 days of chemo, I would die.  I would die of some kind of infection, or I would bleed to death.  I would die.  The stem cells that were collected are being used to rescue me from my treatment.  For a short time, I will be mostly dead.

This is a TAD dramatic.  Only a TAD.
 The reality of this sunk in slowly as I explained the procedures to others, although in my mind it continued to have that sanitized soft focus sheen of "can't possibly apply to me" even though I knew I was describing my own treatment.  What really killed any romance in the idea of being "saved by my cells" was signing the consent forms for my treatment.  In bold on several pages it said "1 in 20" patients will not survive this treatment.  I've signed a Health Care Proxy and Advanced Directives.  I will survive this treatment of course.   1 in 20 doesn't really mean me because that includes 4 year olds and 80 year olds and people who are not in remission before transplant so obviously that won't be me.  That doesn't soften the impact of signing all that paperwork and having to write out in black and white "I am a Roman Catholic, if my death is imminent, please call a priest so that I can receive the sacraments."  It doesn't take the bite out of knowing I'm letting them putting something in me that would kill me without dramatic intervention.  After they put my cells back, I'll get blood products and antibiotics until such time as it appears my bone marrow is chugging along, producing what I need on its own again.  For now I'm hunkering down and doing everything I can to be a good patient.  

Thank you for your prayers, and if you can, please continue them.  Please pray most especially for Michael and the kids.  God's will for them is God's will for me.

21 comments:

  1. Sending Prayers, Nella ♥

    ReplyDelete
  2. Praying. And I doubt anything could destroy YOU. Your marrow, your blood cells maybe. But not you. <3

    ReplyDelete
  3. So so many prayers for you and your family.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Prayers for you Nella, your hubby, and the kids...

    ReplyDelete
  5. praying for amazing strength

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hey, if you're going to have to go through this, at least it can be somehow connected with The Princess Bride. Praying for you always, Nella.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know right? I imagine if you CAN'T relate you situation to the Princess Bride, well, things have hit the fan. Thank you prayers dear friend! WARNING: When I'm health and a real girl again, I'm going to put on my big girl Tierney pants and travel with ALL my kids and at some point we are going to meet. That's not just the drugs talking :)

      Delete
  7. Ditto Mary : "Praying. And I doubt anything could destroy YOU. Your marrow, your blood cells maybe. But not you."

    We have Michael, the kids, your mom and dad, and sib's in constant prayer --- and YOU!!

    Love the :"Princess Bride" reference - which definitely speaks to the strength and essence that is you. God be with you and Mary hold you --- You are beautiful!!! - paul and kim grande

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Grande's! You have been an inspiration to me since Jilly was driving Veronica to Kindergarten. I appreciate your prayers so deeply! Thank you!

      Delete
  8. Oh my goodness, definitely continuing to pray. I so appreciate your blog updates, though I wish this was not so, friend.

    You probably don't want to be...but can I tell you that you're an inspiration? Thank you for the opportunity to pray for you and your family as you journey through this.....

    Praying.

    Peace.

    ~~Chris

    ReplyDelete
  9. Sending prayers your way....you sound like an amazing, strong woman that can definitely beat this. May this journey be one with many blessings and prayers being answered. Blessings to you, Paula Gehm (friend of Kerriann Lucas)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Nella, I'm praying for you! You are a strong woman.

    ReplyDelete
  11. This is my first visit here, and I've been reading around a bit, and am incredibly inspired by your amazing attitude. My family and I will pray for you, and your husband and children. I so wish you weren't enduring this trial. God bless you!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Oh beautiful Nella! Your blog is truly amazing ... as are you. We hold you and your family in prayer and love.
    Pat & Mary Ann Didas

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi I'm a catholic mom from Southern California following your blog. Friend of a friend shared it and that's how I found it. Many prayers your way for you and your family. Hope your current procedure works miracles. Will check in for updates.
    Anita

    ReplyDelete

I love your comments...please say hello and share your thoughts. "Meeting" my readers is such a treat!

AddThis