I can’t decide if the declaration “Not much to see here, folks…” is a good thing or a bad thing.
I think we’ll go with good.
For the most part, Corey’s tracking right where he should be. Today is “Day +6” or 6 days post-transplant. His counts took a dive after the atomic bomb of chemo last Saturday, then he got a nice bump from the transplant on Monday (due to the good bit of steroids they infused him with during the process) and now they’re trending down again – just as they should be. Post-transplant we’re at the clinic every day. We go in for lab work around 9 AM and see our team about an hour later, so we’re aware of how his counts are doing about every 24 hours.
During our clinic visit on Wednesday he was borderline dehydrated so they put him on IV fluids for a few hours there in the clinic triage area. Some of the uglier side effects have started to kick in and he’s having a hard time getting (and keeping) all the fluids down that he needs to, so they’ve set us up with IV fluids that we’re administering at home (the apartment) every day. Initially it was a 4-hour infusion we were doing daily, and while he’s been doing the best he can to get in all the fluids he needs, today they had to increase it by an extra 1/2 liter, making it a total of 6 hours of infusions we’ll be doing each day. That means we spend a good bit of the day tethered to a drip, but we’re grateful to be able to do it at home and not have to sit in-clinic all day every day.
Despite the tethering, we we’ve been able to get out for a walk the past couple nights, which is an important part of the healing and rebuilding process. It’s been cold, the weather is definitely changing from fall to winter, but the brisk air and change of scenery has been good.
It seems counterintuitive, but his counts have to bottom out at a total ZERO before the rebuilding can begin in earnest. He became officially “neutropenic” on Saturday, meaning his white blood cell count fell below 500, making his immune system compromised, and today he had only “70 lonely neutrophils left,” our nurse Sherry informed us. Once his counts zero out, likely tomorrow or the following day, he’ll stay at zero for about a week while the transplanted stem cells take root and begin to reproduce new, healthy cells.
As his immune system bottoms out, the side effects really ramp up, meaning this next week will likely be pretty rough. They said days 5-15 would likely be the worst, and we’re tracking right on that schedule. It’s during this period that most patients end up in the hospital, so that’s our big prayer push for this week. If all goes well and we’re able to stay out of the hospital, we should be home for the turning of the calendar from November to December – and this week will likely be the week that determines that.
Even as I type that, I’m reminded that my hope lies in One who is greater than what I can see directly in front of me, and that, whatever the week brings, He fills my heart with a peace beyond my understanding. And that’s what I’ll be hanging my hope on this week.