Tulane Cancer Center, March 5th, 2009
Well, it was quite an overwhelming day.
Stem Cell Transplant is right around the corner. We have another appointment with Dr. Safah, as well as an Aredia infusion scheduled in 4 weeks. (April 2nd)
Dr. Safah is delighted with Dom's progress. He gained 5 pounds last month. His Myeloma Cells are almost gone. Full speed ahead for the transplant.
She gave us some enlightening numbers. Dom asked her “what if” he just continued the Thalidomide treatment without a transplant. I jumped in and asked her to pretend that Dom was her brother or husband.....
She said that it wasn't even a consideration.
Recently (?) they took 100 MM patients and did only Thalidomide. We'll call them “team A”.
They took another 100 MM patients and did the transplant. We'll call them “team B”.
They followed these folks closely. After 3 years the results were eye-opening......
Team A had 20 patients (20%) who were clean from Myeloma.
The gal who used to be her nurse, Amy, is now the Coordinator of the Stem Cell Transplant team. She came in with a binder full of info to prepare us.
OK..... here's what they told us today.
Before we get back there in a month, Dom has to get a clean bill-of-health from his dentist. They want his mouth in wonderful shape. (I need to look into that.....I've heard that heart patients have to be weary of their mouths as well).
Tulane will then do a COMPLETE workup on Dom. 10 vials of blood to test for EVERY imagineable disease. Heart check, all vital organs.... the complete physical.
Then, we have to meet with a psychologist. He'll be very isolated, and they want to be certain that he has moral support..
Then comes “mobilization”. They'll stick a tube in his chest.... think catheter. For 10 days he'll be on medication to move the stem cells from the bone marrow into the blood stream.
After 10 days, they'll start pulling out blood....grabbing stem cells and pumping the rest back into him. (sounds similar to dialysis).
When they have the stem cells that they need, they'll freeze them.
Dom will then be hit with SERIOUS Chemotherapy that will “wipe out his bone marrow..... white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets”.
Love you guys.... thanks for all of the wonderful calls and emails!