There’s no going back now. One little bag and a 15-minute infusion, and we’re on the fast track to a wipe out.
We met with our oncologist, Dr. Eagen, and our head nurse, Vanessa, on Friday for the final workup and to sign all the consent forms for the high-dose chemotherapy Corey was to receive on Saturday. They went over, yet again, all the possible side effects of this chemo and walked us through the timeline and details of what the day would entail. We had an 8:15 AM checkin for final lab work and the infusion was scheduled for 9 AM. They start with IV fluids to make sure you’re staying hydrated then they hook up the chemo bag, which only takes about 15 minutes to infuse. After the infusion is complete, you stay hooked up for another 4 hours, continuing with hydration and the all-important ice chips. Then that’s it. You go home (“home” meaning the apartment in Seattle).
I think we were both surprised that the actual infusion of chemo was only a 15-minute process. Dr. Eagen explained it like this: “Yes, it’s a quick infusion. But it’s like the atomic bomb of chemo. Rather than days and days of small arms fire and grenades, we come in and drop an atomic bomb that wipes out everything in its path.”
Just let that sink in for a moment.
Honestly, it took longer to go over the side effects and sign the consent forms than it took for the actual liquid to infuse into Corey’s body. Whatever is left of the actual product is flushed out of the body within 24 hours, but during that time it’s being sucked up by every system in the body. The systems pull it in and, one by one, it effects and destroys them. The white blood cells and immune system go first, followed by the hair follicles, the GI tract, and every other system in the body. Except the brain. It was interesting to hear our nurse on Saturday, a lovely lady named Laura, explain how our bodies have this kind of “magic barrier” around our brains and how the stuff they put into our bodies can’t get past the barrier our body has created.
“Our body” — NO. “Created” — YES.
Honestly, this whole process has made me absolutely marvel at the wonder of our Creator. Psalm 139:14 says, “I will praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” It is mind-boggling (for this non-scientific mind, anyway) to watch and listen to and be a part of the things happening in Corey’s body because of the marvels of medical science. The story of Daniel and his buddies Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego has always fascinated me but a few years ago (probably as a young mom seeing the vast differences between my kids) the verse, “To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning.” jumped out at me (Daniel 1:17). To think that our Creator gave Mozart a musical mind, Rembrandt an artistic mind, Eisenhower a strategic mind, and gave Drs Murray and Thomas, out of the University of Washington, scientific minds, full of “knowledge and understanding” of the cellular makeup of our bodies, completely fascinates me. In 1990, these two men were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for “for their discoveries concerning organ and cell transplantation in the treatment of human disease.” And because of their minds, because of their tenacity and dedication to proving something their Creator planted deep in their minds as they were being “knit together in their mother’s womb(s)” (Ps. 139:13), my husband is going through a process that will first kill, and then rescue, the mass of cells and systems that make up his body.
Is it just me, or does that give you chills?
The Creator of the universe personally knit each of us together before the foundations of the Earth were laid and He gave each of us a distinct and particular curiosity toward something. And because these men followed that God-given drive, lives all over the world are being saved. Including the life of Jayden and Abbie’s dad, right here in our little corner of the Pacific Northwest, USA.
I don’t know about you, but that makes me want to steal away to some seaside hideaway and spend a quiet minute with the Creator asking Him just exactly what my destiny is.
Anyway, it’s Day -1 and today is a rest day. Corey had labs this morning and an appointment with our nurse and his numbers are good. On their way down, but good. It takes about 48 hours for the full cell destruction and, when things are at their lowest, they do the actual transplant and re-infuse his cleaned up, spiffy cells back into his body to set up shop and begin rebuilding.
That’s tomorrow. I’ll let you know how it goes.