… well, you’ve got brand new, good, strong, young blood coursing through your veins. And with a white blood cell count over 6.2, it’s got an incredible immune system. And of course, it doesn’t recognize you, and it wants to reject you. That’s what’s at the root of this whole situation now.
I brought Beth home from the hospital yesterday. She’s completed her first round of Vidaza – five days’-worth of it – and now she’ll get a three week respite from IVs. But there is still going to be a fairly intensive regiment of “taking blood levels” and, if necessary, blood transfusions.
The Vidaza is supposed to inhibit some of the cancer process and enable her to make her own blood. Which is a good thing. But it will also work to begin to suppress her immune system in anticipation of the transplant.
Some of these effects will become evident in days 10-14 of this “course” or “cycle”. I’m not sure what that will mean; but we’ve got to be careful about keeping the house clean, washing our hands so as not to spread infections, and things like that. I’m glad this is happening in the summer.
Beth still wants to go to work this weekend, and also to fill in, as she had promised, the week of July 11 for her friend Cindy, who has been planning to take a vacation. She’s doing this for a couple of reasons – out of loyalty to a friend, to be sure, and also to try to earn some extra money now, while she is still able to do it.
In theory this is possible, according to the doctor. She is able to maintain her activity levels for now. But in practice, she’ll be exposing herself to some possible infections. The next course of Vidaza is scheduled to begin July 23. We’re not sure if that will be the last, or if there will be one more. But once the “conditioning” begins for the transplant, then she’s a resident of West Penn Hospital for a while, and she won’t really be able to emerge to “real life” for at least several months.
We found out an interesting side effect of this process. She’ll likely emerge with a completely different blood type, and a brand new immune system. The donor match takes into account about a thousand different variables, but blood type is not one of them. They’re going to completely “re-format the hard drive,” so to speak. She’ll also need to undergo all of her childhood vaccinations as well. All of those six-months, nine-month fifteen month shots that babies have to go through – she’ll have to re-do those as well.