The second option is to do the bone marrow (also known as stem cell) transplant. He gave us all the scary reasons why I might not want to do it. He said that I'm older than most of their allogeneic transplant patients, and I have the disadvantage of having had a lot of chemo and other treatments already. He explained how sick I will get, how they will kill off all my cells, all the risks and awful things that can and will happen. It will be worse than the autologous transplant I had last year, where my own cells were used. I can't even imagine being sicker than I was then; it was awful. My body may try to reject my sister's cells. I'll have no immune system for several weeks and any tiny infection could kill me. After he told us all of that, I told him that I will have the transplant. He said, "Even after all that I've told you." And I said, "Yes." He seemed relieved. He said it was a reasonable decision. He said that I'm kind of "in the middle"--I'm not the best subject for this procedure, but I'm not the worst, either.
There's a lot to do before the transplant, getting me ready and making sure all my systems are healthy enough to do it. So far all of my tests have come back fine--the CT scan, my opthalmology exam, the pulmonary exam. I still have to have xrays, an eccocardiogram, appointments with GYN, the dentist, the bone marrow transplant social worker and bmt coordinator. What a whirlwind!
My sister is coming down November 27, after Thanksgiving, to donate her cells. She will have exams and labs the first few days, then have the neupogen shots for four days. Then they will harvest her cells. During the time she is getting the neupogen, they will be giving me chemo to wipe out my cells. I'll probably get her cells on the same day they are harvested. If it takes two days for them to get enough cells from her, they will give me more the second day. Then I'll be in the hospital for at least a couple of weeks, probably longer, to recover. My immune system will be totally wiped out, so I can't get even the tiniest infection or I could die. The weeks following the stem cell transplant will be the worst. But if it works, I'll never have to worry about any kind of cancer again.
Please pray for me, for my sister, Johnnie, and for my family. Thank you!