August 16, 2013

Today is KDd 3-9. It’s also the day that my upper left first molar had to come out.

But first let’s talk about my meeting on Wednesday at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami in Miami, FL. I met with Dr. Krishna Komanduri who is the Director of the Adult Stem Cell Transplant Center at Sylvester. He was most recently with a similar facility at M. D. Anderson in Houston TX.

I was there to speak with him about an Autogolous Stem Cell Transplant (ASCT). He reviewed my history and strongly urged me to go ahead, pointing out that not only do I stand a good chance of going into remission for several years, and also it gives my poor body a rest from regular, full dose chemo treatments. It is likely that I will need a maintenance therapy of some kind, to be determined later. So, I’ve signed up.

The process will begin on 9/17 with a formal consent meeting with Krishna, his team, and Kathleen – to make sure that all her questions get answered. On 9/22, they will start injections of Neupogen, which stimulates the marrow to release lots of stem cells. These will continue for the next 2 days. On Wednesday, 9/25, I’ll get the Venous Catheter installed. This device will permit easy extraction of my stem cells and provide a location to introduce the high potency chemo that will kill off my bone marrow and the myeloma cells along with it. The collateral damage is that my immune system is destroyed which leaves me open to about any infection that might come my way. Finally, the catheter will provide a place for me to receive my stem cells back, that will have been frozen to keep them fresh.

My stem cells will be extracted in a process called aphoresis on 9/26 and 9/27. I will then be hospitalized and given the high dose chemo (yes my hair, what’s left of it) will fall out. A day or so later I will get my stem cells back which will engraft back into my marrow and start producing only healthy blood cells. As soon as the engraftment is sufficiently complete, I’ll be discharged. This could be after as short as 2 weeks!

Since the tooth in question was abscessed, I needed to have it come out now so that my dentist, Mark, can certify to Krishna that I have no dental infections, which would place me at danger following the destruction of my immune system.

Depending on how I feel, Kathleen may take over the writing of my blog to keep you all informed during this procedure.

The Holy Spirit has finally convinced me that I need to listen to my medical advisors and accept this treatment, and to not be afraid of the 1% chance of death. This will be one time when I’ll not be hoping to win the lottery 😉 Krishna was quick to point out that Sylvester has not lost a patient yet in the three years they have been doing this.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for my healing.

Amen.