A Milestone of Sorts

Yesterday Amy hit a milestone of sorts. She finished her 4th day of chemotherapy as part of the 'conditioning' for her SCT. Interesting term 'conditioning'. Today she had a dose of full body irradiation.

A milestone because this was her 5th and what should be her last round of chemotherapy. Ever.

Anyway, the purpose of this chemo and conditioning is two-fold.

First it is to eradicate any additional disease that may be present. Her last bone marrow biopsy was clear of leukemia, which was a definite plus in going to transplant.

Second, the purpose of this chemo and conditioning was to also destroy her existing bone marrow so that no further leukemia cells are produced. Because the old is gone, patients get either new bone marrow from a donor, stem cells from donor blood, or stem cells from cord blood (Amy). Her new cells will be infused on June 4, and it will take a week or more for them to engraft and form new bone marrow. Prior to this process they harvested 1.5 liters of Amy's bone marrow. It was harvested as a back-up only. Depending on the cancer, some patients actually get their own stem cells back, but not in Amy's case.

Her chemo regimen was 3 different drugs each day for 4 days, then a round of total body irradiation. Daily more meds than she's taken in her previous 37 years. A small selection of assorted pills. Pills to help protect her liver. IV meds for nausea. Pills or IV meds for helping prevent graft vs. host disease. Steroids and other meds to suppress her existing immune system. Electrolytes via IV. Antibiotics, antifungal, and antiviral medications. And a weird rabbit derived anti-thymocyte globulin to also help prevent graft vs. host disease. That last one is a fun one...nausea, headache, fever.

All of this to someone who had a hard time taking our First Endurance MultiVitamins and Optygen while racing!

Another milestone of sorts also. Even though she spent several years racing IM distance events which is notoriously difficult on the GI system...she hadn't vomited in probably 20 years. She said the last time she vomited was at a Zoo. At least, until yesterday. And today. And it will likely go for a few more days. The nurses and Drs. say that it is expected. A sign that what they are doing right now is working.