Saturday, April 26, 2008

Transplant Completed!

Hi Everyone.

James received his stem cell transplant early this morning, April 26th. The process was basically a blood transfusion except that rather than regular red blood cells it was rich with stem cells. The transplant began at 12:45am and took almost 5 hours. James experienced a few side effects, about 2 hours of intense chills and fever towards the end of the process. However, soon after he finished receiving the cells these went away.

Crystal and Kyle were here for the first part of the transplant and we had a nice celebration. As his doctor and nurses pointed out, April 26th is now James’ second birthday. James ate some Hostess cakes and we all had a toast with sparkling cider once the transplant began.

So far, James is doing well. He hasn't slept much for the past 2-3 nights so he is groggy and tired. His blood counts are continuing to drop, and should bottom out in the next few days so we are expecting that his energy will steadily go down during this time. The side effects from the chemotherapy are beginning to rear their ugly head as well so we know we are soon entering the most difficult phase of the transplant.

Despite all of this, spirits are high. We know things will go well and that James will come out of this strong and healthy.

Thanks everyone for your encouraging notes on the blog. Each time we log on there are new things for James to read.

Take care of yourselves.


"It Went Well"

Stacey emailed me that the procedure went well. She's going to send me a blog post later but I just wanted to pass that on.
So many complete strangers around the world worked on this from the anonymous donor in Europe to the airline pilots, doctors, nurses, and everyone else. At least we can thank the ones here in Portland but there are a lot of people involved with this who we'll never even know. That's inspirational - humanity at its best. And the suspenseful part wondering if these people would come through, is now done. They delivered.
The procedure took from 12:45a.m. to 5a.m., but the cells that James needs to survive are now in his body, and though the danger is far from over, that's a giant step forward in this entire ordeal.

Monday, April 21, 2008

We are in the hospital!

Hello everyone! James checked into the hospital on Wednesday, April 16th to begin the transplant process. Getting admitted took some time, but by late afternoon we were settled into the room and unpacking. The room has two beds and James is the only patient, so Stacey is able to stay with him through the whole process. Crystal had several pictures of Robert blown up and we have hung them up all around the room, making things feel a bit more homey.

Robert’s first birthday was on the 16th. We had a party for him on April 15th so that Daddy and Robert could celebrate together. Lots of friends showed up and we had a great time. Robert ate his cake using a fork (he was very excited about being allowed to use the same utensils as the rest of us), and showed a fair amount of interest in unwrapping presents, although he didn’t make through all of them that night. Everyone had a great time.

James has finished four days of initial chemotherapy and has begun a more intense form of chemotherapy today, April 21. He will be on this chemo for two days and then have two days off of all chemo prior to his transplant. His transplant is scheduled for April 25th, sometime in the evening. They will be harvesting from the donor in the morning, flying it in to OHSU, and then the stem cells will undergo some tests prior to transplant.

In medical terms the days prior to transplant are counted down as negative days, days after the transplant are counted up as positive days and transplant day is “Day 0”. Today is day -4, (four days prior to transplant). They say that days +4 thru +14 (4-14 days after transplant) are the most difficult and dangerous. James’ counts will be very low during this time and we will be waiting for the new stem cells to engraft into the marrow and begin to create new blood. This will also be the time that the negative side-effects from the chemotherapy will be most acute. In addition, serious forms of Graft vs. Host Disease (GVHD) can begin to occur. Please send James your love and positive thoughts during these days to help him through the tough time. More comments on the blog will be a great way of letting him know you are thinking about him.

We will post a new entry when the new stem cells have begun to engraft so that everyone knows when James has jumped over the first hurdle successfully. Thank you everyone for you support and love during the last few months.

James and Stacey

Robert's First Birthday Part One

Robert Was a Perfect Gentleman

Although Some of the Guests Got Rowdy

Warming to the Occasion

What It Is Really All About - The Cake

Robert's First Birthday Part Two

Getting Into It

Charming the Room

James with Friends

The Family Portrait