It’s now DAY +6 after transplant… It’s been an up and down week.
The night of the transplant she had some flushing/redness of the skin. In extreme cases the body can have a reaction to the new cells and cause blistering of the skin, so was a little nervous when we first saw the redness but a little Benadryl cleared it up within an hour or so. The first couple of days afterwards were pretty uneventful. Even though she stopped chemo on Wednesday it takes a few days to get out of your system, so she had to deal with the lingering side effects. Then eventually the boredom of being confined to the room started to settle in, we have been streaming a lot of Netflix and HBO to kill the time. I was able to bring the boys back for another visit on Saturday.
Day +3 her platelets dropped to 8 (normal range is between 152-440), so she got her first platelet infusion. This was expected and part of the process, she will continue to get infusions anytime the counts drop below 10. She had a strange reaction to the infusion, the platelets come packaged cold when connected to the IV and the sensation of the cold fluid running threw her body didn’t sit well with her. She slept for a couple hours afterwards and eventually felt better. Other than this she felt pretty good the rest of the day.
Day +5 she spiked a fever. Around mid day she felt fine but started to complain about being cold. The PCA comes around every 4 hours to take vitals, and around 8pm her temp hit 101.9. We both had a little panic set in. With the combination of the chemo and the new transplant cells attacking her own cells, her white blood counts are close to zero at this point so she’s at high risk of infection. So standard procedure for all BMT patients with fever over 100.4 comes with a lot of testing. She had blood taken from both of her ports and her arm which was sent to the labs to incubate to rule out a blood infection or infection in the Hickman ports. Then had chest x-ray and urine test and started her on some antibiotics. Then this morning she had a cat scan on her stomach. Last night she was pretty scared and got a little emotional, but once again the nurses handled it great and explained that around day +5/6 this happens to almost all BMT patients because the blood counts are now so low and fever is just the bodies way of coping with it. The nurses are great, they truly have the best of the best working here. She was ok the rest of the night, and after a some Tylenol the fever dropped back to normal. All tests came back negative today.
Day +6 was pretty similar, fever is back tonight but lower and she needed some more blood work but none of the other testing. Blood pressure was a little low but eventually came back up as well. She’s pretty calm about the fever tonight (actually sleeping now) and we expect the same negative results from the blood culture tomorrow. The side effects have been pretty bad the last couple days, the chemo not only kills off the damaged marrow, but also healthy cells, including the mouth, stomach and intestines, and other soft tissue so her body is currently trying to process all this in different ways. Taste buds are also affected and food will eventually taste different (metalic) for a while, she hasn’t complained about the taste yet but her appetite is down considerably. Her meds are getting tweaked daily to help with all this, hoping tomorrow she gets some much needed relief.
This is all part of the process and will be like this for the next couple weeks until the new cells start to graft with her body and her counts begin to rise. This post might sound pretty bad, but this week hasn’t been all doom and gloom (Even though the Chiefs won). She’s had plenty of positive moments mixed in with the bad, she’s going to have days she feels good and some she doesn’t, overall her mood has been pretty good and positive. Currently she’s on track with her recovery. To think about what is actually going on inside of her body right now is pretty amazing…