Day two and three went as expected for Bruce. He received his last dose of Melphalan and to prevent nausea, he was given Zofran, which in turn gave him headaches. The doctor switched his medication to Ativan and he seems to be handling it well. His words, “I really, really like this Ativan.” There’s the Bruce we know and love!
Bruce received his first 8 bags of stem cells on Thursday, June 29. It’s a meticulous and time consuming process. His vitals are taken every 5 minutes to be certain he doesn’t have an allergic reaction to the preservative in which the stem cells are stored. He did very well with his first round yesterday, no reaction or side effects at this point.
Each nurse graciously stopped in and wished Bruce happy birthday. After a stem cell transplant, a patient is likely to lose most of the diseases and immunities they used to have. Because the high dose chemotherapy killed off many or all of the antibody producing, and memory cells responsible for protecting him, he will need to be re-vaccinated and probably won't be allergic to penicillin anymore. A re-birth.
When I arrived this morning the smell of creamed corn hung in the air. The nursing staff said it's normal, it's the preservative, DMSO that gives the strongest aroma the day after he receives stem cells. His body is releasing it, so tomorrow will be as strong as today. Admittedly, I had to take a walk outside for fresh air. It's unlike any odor you can imagine - extremely pungent.
Bruce hadn’t eaten much breakfast and wasn’t feeling his best. He was still able to walk several laps in the hallway and flirt with the young, pretty nurses. They all think he is hilarious and and so darn strong. In the hall hangs a bell and when stem cell patients are released home, they get the chance to give it a ring; he can't wait to give that thing a few good clangs.
I’m currently at his bedside while he receives the final 6 bags of stem cells to be infused. Another day down.
We’ve played several games of Backgammon, muddled through some crossword puzzles and watched some movies.
Thank you for your email, text messages and calls. We may not answer them but we do read and listen to them - each message lifts us a bit more and we feel your love. We're sending ours right back at you.