When I first got these pictures back, I couldn't bear to look at them. All I wanted to do was cry. Especially the ones where he was getting chemo, like in the one above. He looks so weak to me. But John asked me to include them in my journal as a record of his experience of getting the bone marrow transplant. So I am going to include a few.
Chemo was really rough on John. When you receive chemo for a bone marrow transplant, it is no light dose. It is an extra high concentration. John received it for five days, then got two days off before he had his transplant. With each day of chemo he got sicker and sicker. But you know, he was a real trooper. He would take his pole that he was attached to and walk the halls every day! He did not stay in his pagamas, he would get dressed every day! As many days as he could he would get out of the bed and sit in his chair instead of laying down. On the second day, before he became too ill, he was out walking the hall, and the nurses asked him to help decorate for Valentine's Day,lol! So he helped out. He was helping them put hearts everywhere! When I found this out, I was just thrilled. While others on the ward were in bed, my John was up decorating. He is such a trooper! His doctor kept referring to him as the "Star Patient".
Well, after day five he was finally pretty wiped out from the chemo. He also lost 20 lbs since he started chemo. Right before chemo, he had lost 11 lbs. That was a net loss of 31 lbs. And it showed. Here is a pic of John after finishing chemo, resting up to receive his transplant. :
Now, I don't have any pictures of the actual transplant. It seemed somehow, well, too sacred to take pictures of. Ididn't want to be in the way snapping photos either. And yes, they DID let me be there! It was done right in his hospital room. There were just four of us. John, me, Dr. Claxton, and Margaret the nurse. It was sterile. We all wore masks. But I was allowed to hold John's hand. And the transplant was painful for him. I mean physically. He shook violently. This is something called FLUSHING. He had to be given Demarol to make the flushing stop. I didn't get too scared, I guess I figured the oncologist knew what he was doing. But it was very painful to watch.
I snapped this pic on transplant day. :
Well, I guess that is enough pics. I wanted to end on a positive note. I asked John what I should say was positive at this time. This is what he came up with.:
He is glad he had a transplant as it saved his life. He will be forever grateful.
He got his second Mixed Chimerism test back. A Mixed Chimerism test shows how much of your stem cells are your donors. He got a score of 95% donor cells! This is almost unheard of after two months. He is doing fantastically, praise the Lord!
He is thankful that he only has to go to "Day Hospital" once a week now. If he hadn't gotten down to once a week, we would still be living in Hershey near the Transplant Center. We do have to make a five hour round trip to the Treatment Center once a week, but at least we are at home!!!
And finally, he pondered and said, "Aside from being a little tired, I'm feeling good."
So be it John, so be it.