Bone Marrow Stem Cell Transplant Process starts Monday!
It's been a long time coming but we are finally on the eve of a big milestone. On Monday, October 8, Lorelei will report to the Oklahoma Blood Institute (OBI) to begin the process of collecting her stem cells for the transplant.
Lorelei completed her third round of RICE chemo last week (Sept 24 to 28.) It was a tough one. Even with the miracle drug Emend, she was unable to eat anything the entire week. Even without eating, she still got sick. It broke my heart to watch her be so miserable. At one point she looked up at me through tears and said "When you feel this bad, it's hard to believe you'll ever feel okay again."
But, praise God, today she does feel better. She'll have her blood levels checked tomorrow and again on Monday. Because she just went through chemo and got a Neulasta injection it is highly likely that she will be able to avoid the Neupogen injections that others have to take. In fact, her transplant oncologist says that even if her WBC is only 1,000 they can begin to draw stem cells. We had previously been told by OBI that they normally want the WBC count to be 30 to 40,000 before they begin drawing. (Normal WBC is around 10,000 but levels are artificially increased with Neupogen injections.) However, since Lorelei's WBC is likely to consist of much higher concentrations of new stem cells having just come off a round of chemo, they can begin even though her numbers are low and she won't need those injections. We certainly pray this will be the case!
It will be a difficult weekend as we must say goodbye to her brother Dustin and "grafted" brother Miles as they depart for their pre-mobilization training before deploying to Afghanistan. They'll have a few days of leave at the end of the month so they may be able to see Lorelei after the transplant but before they leave the country.
Fundraisers and blood drives have been major blessings. Can you believe over 235 people have donated blood to credit Lorelei's account? That's amazing. It's very humbling for Lorelei to know so many people were willing to give of themselves that way. Thank you. We've received financial blessings from donations from church members, the S&B Burger Joint fundraiser and those who donated to Lorelei's trust account in lieu of sending flowers to Laurann Gateley's memorial. These donations have been enough to keep us focused on Lorelei's care instead of being concerned about paying bills. It is incomprehensible to think of going through this journey without the support of our wonderful community.
So, please be thinking of Lorelei next week as she'll be spending the majority of each day hooked up to the apheresis machine having her blood removed from her body and then put right back. She'll likely be doing a lot of tweeting during that time!
Posted on Wed, October 3, 2012
by Andrea Decker