I have a few extra minutes this evening and thought I'd better get an update posted before Reid gets admitted to the hospital again on Tuesday for another round of the ICE chemo. We've been keeping busy lately with numerous trips down to MD Anderson.
Since I last posted Reid had appointments with the stem cell doctor and his oncologist. We received the results of his latest tests and scans. The stem cell doctor said his response to the chemo has been terrific. His oncologist called it good news. They are prepared to move ahead with the stem cell transplant. Reid said he isn't going to get too excited because he heard that last year with the first chemo, but we are very hopeful at this point.
This past Wednesday they implanted a central venous catheter and removed the chemo port. They had some difficulty inserting the catheter because of scar tissue from the chemo port and he had to have another platelet transfusion for the procedure. We had originally thought we'd be down there for a few hours, but we ended up being there a lot longer.
Jim and I attended classes to learn how to take care of the catheter. We were required to take two classes. Jim took the test and passed so we could get the necessary supplies. (You can't get the supplies unless one of the caretakers passes. I volunteered Jim.) In the classes we had to get used to calling Reid our patient and ourselves caretakers. All new terminology for us.
The classes are an excellent idea. The risk of a blood born infection with a depressed immune system are great and we learned how to care for the catheter as safely as possible. I'm thankful that we live close enough to MD Anderson that we can run right back if we have any problems. I heard people in our classes talking about going home to places like Florida and South Dakota where they wouldn't be able to return in a hurry.
We returned to MD Anderson yesterday for Reid's bandage change. The first bandage change is always done by the nurses in the Infusion Department. The bandage and caps must be changed once a week, but since we live in the area we can bring Reid back to them for bandage changes. It's pretty involved...not like changing a band-aid. We still learned the procedure in case it ever gets wet and we can't get down there right away. Meanwhile, we'll flush the catheter with Heparin every day to keep it from clotting.
Tomorrow he has appointments to have blood drawn in the morning and with a Physician's Assistant in the Fast Track Clinic in the afternoon. Assuming all his counts are at an acceptable level he'll be admitted on Tuesday for the chemo.
After this chemo they will begin to prepare him for harvesting the stem cells.
At this point in the treatment Reid is extremely fatigued. More and more he's using a wheel chair when we go down to the hospital. He just can't do much walking at all. When he walks from his room to the kitchen he's exhausted. His coloring is very pale and he no longer has to shave. I can see where this chemo is much more difficult than the ABVD chemo he had originally.
I heard from Troy yesterday and he thought he might have a sinus infection. I told him not to come around here and to get to a doctor and get better in case we need his help. Meanwhile, I continue to keep the hand sanitizer companies in business. Everywhere you look there's a bottle sitting on a table, counter, in the car, etc. We don't need anyone sick right now!
You might not hear from me again for a while, but don't be alarmed. It just means I'm busy running back and forth to the hospital and too tired in the evening to post. Thanks again for your prayers.