Saturday, May 30, 2009

Day +7 Update

So far, Day +5 and +6 have been Isabella's most difficult days. In addition to the nausea and mucositis, she also has been battling a fever so in general she's felt pretty rotten. Since they don't know what exactly is causing the fever, they've been pumping her with all sorts of antibiotics and antifungal medicines. Isabella hasn't really felt like doing much over the last couple of days except to watch TV or listen to music since any sort of motion or activity causes her pain. Because of the pain, Isabella is hooked up to a morphine drip which she can activate with the push of a button.

The good news is that we are hoping that Isabella has turned the corner. Today, Day +7, although she still felt pretty rotten, she didn't have to throw up as often and she sat up more. Also, her temperature came back down to almost normal, so hopefully, she should begin to feel better soon (as in Sunday or Monday).

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Day +5 Update

Today is Day +5, i.e., 5 days after the stem cell transplant. Isabella continues to feel the effects of the chemotherapy. In addition to the nausea and lack of appetite, she is also suffering from mucositis. Mucositis is a common side effect of thiotepa where the mucous membranes along the digestive tract become inflamed or ulcerated and slough off. Isabella has been spitting out and vomiting the mucous on a regular basis and it looks pretty nasty. In most cases, the pain caused by the mucositis gets so bad that the patient is given morphine and Isabella is no different.

The good news is that we are halfway through the worst week. The mucositis should clear up within a couple days and her blood counts should start rising which will help her to start feeling better. On Day 11 (which will be Wednesday, June 3), the stem cells that were transplanted on Day 0 should have worked their way to Isabella's bone marrow and should be cranking out new blood cells. After that, they say that the blood counts come up very quickly, after which we would be able to go home.

But until then, we remain in isolation. We've played a lot of Uno and watched a lot of movies and TV. Isabella has also drawn a bunch of pictures that we put up on her wall with a bunch of other inspiring works of art. Since Isabella really hasn't had the strength to walk or move, being in isolation hasn't been has bad as we thought it would be.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Our 12 Year Anniversary

Today was not only a beautiful Memorial Day, but also marked 12 years since Julianne and I were married. In contrast to today, our wedding day was marked by heavy showers throughout the day. Today was also the first time in those 12 years that we did not wake up next to each other on our anniversary day as I was home with Nathaniel and Annalise while Julianne stayed at the hospital with Isabella. Since Julianne's dad is down visiting from Vermont, I was able to go into the hospital today so that we can spend some portion of the day together.

Isabella continues to feel the effects of the chemotherapy. Her doctors say that this upcoming week should be the worst of it (the main reason I chose this week to take vacation). In addition to her nausea, which seems to be increasing, her appetite has also gone to pretty much nothing. On top of that, her blood counts have really dropped and she is now officially neutropenic (low white cells) and she received a red cell infusion yesterday. We also expect her to receive platelets soon. Hopefully soon she'll start to feel less nauseous and sometime next week, her blood counts should start to recover. With any luck, we should be home by late June and be able to enjoy part of the summer before having to do anything else medically.