We spent a long, long day at Tulane yesterday. They took 14 vials of blood from him at the Cancer Center, then met with us for about an hour and a half, then sent us across the street to the Medical Center for a zillion tests.
I couldn't get over the people wearing masks! We see that alot at the cancer center, but the hospital itself was loaded with posters about the swine flu. Saw ALOT of 4-10 year old kids with masks, having chest xrays and pulmonary function tests. I have to wonder if they were testing for swine flu. One mother with two toddlers came all the way from Hattiesburg, MS. (An hour NORTH of us!). Kinda Creepy.
So.... this is what we're finally looking at:
He'll go off his Coumadin and Thalidomide next week.
A two night hospitalization right after Memorial Day. He'll get "mobilized" (the line in his chest for meds and transplant) by a surgeon. Then the "conditioning" starts. There will be a 24 hour drip of Chemotherapy.... "CYTOXAN". 24 hours later, they'll be giving him the 1st of 5 daily doses of a drug called "LEUKINE". This helps draw out the stem cells from the bone marrow, moving them into the blood stream for collection.
Then, we'll be back to the Cancer Center around June 1st for a complete blood count. If they see enough stem cells, we'll move on to collection. Otherwise, stay on the Leukine a few more days.
I was up until 2am reading about these drugs and their side effects. It's literally CRINGE-INDUCING. *groaning*
Anyway, as it turns out, Dr. Safah is Lebanese. She's headed to Lebanon for the entire month of June to visit her parents. They said that we could do the transplant with another doctor, but we're comfortable with her. So, we're looking at JULY for the actual transplant.
Before we left, Dom had to sign alot of paperwork. Legal disclaimers about mortality rates, gloom and doom. We asked if there was ANY question about doing this. Nope. Without it, he'd be dead in less than 5 years.
She went on to say that nationally, with this "Clinical Trial", the mortality rate is 8-10% from complications after the transplant. (infections)
She, on the other hand has lost only 2 patients in over 100 transplants.
We're liking these odds.
Have a great weekend, guys.