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taken 8/4/07

Courtney and her kids

Courtney and her kids
taken 8/4/07

Thursday, December 13, 2007

D 0 – Out with the old, in with the new

After a relatively good night of rest, Courtney woke just in time to greet the girl from Carter Blood bank who arrived just after 10:00 AM with a bag of stem cells. It basically looked like a bag of blood. The bag was hung from the IV pole with care, and a long tube connected to the bag was connected to Courtney’s Neostar catheter. At 10:30 AM the tube was unclamped and the stem cell transplant began with gravity doing the work.
There wasn’t much to it, however it was quite an emotional moment. These were the cells intended to help ensure a long life for Courtney.

Tracy arrived just a few minutes later, after having the straw removed from her neck. She and Courtney were able to share some time together, cherishing a new beginning.

Today marks the day that Courtney’s blood will gradually fade away as Tracy’s stem cells slowly take root in Courtney’s bone marrow and begin the process of making more blood – blood whose DNA matches Tracy’s blood. Blood that is leukemia free.

At 11:45 the bag was empty and the transplant was done. Just like that. And now we wait. We wait for Tracy’s stem cells to make their way to the bone marrow where they will mature, engraft and seed the process of producing her own cells. In case you were wondering just how the stems cells find their way to the marrow and do what they’re supposed to do, no one knows.

Currently, Courtney’s white and red blood cells are dropping just like they did during the last round of chemotherapy. This is due to the fact that her bone marrow, where the cells are produced, has essentially been shut down by last week’s chemo drugs. In about five days or so, we expect to see the last of her remaining white blood cells die and her counts hit zero. By this time her red blood cell and platelets will also be significantly depleted and she may need transfusions. We then will wait for another ten to fourteen days for the bone marrow to start making enough cells to be released into the blood stream and her counts to return to normal.

Courtney will go home once her white cell counts are back to normal and she isn’t experiencing complications such as graft versus host disease (GVHD). That’s something we don’t want. So now we pray that the stems cells do what they are supposed to do and kick start her bone marrow. Sometimes they don’t. And we pray that her recovery is quick and as painless as possible. And we pray that she doesn’t have to deal with GVHD or serious infections. And we pray that Courtney continues to have the courage and patience to endure these next few weeks and months.

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. Each and everyone one of you is in ours!


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the picture of Tracy (aka: superhero)and Courtney it is great:) Speedy recovery to both and can you believe that after waiting so long for the BMT it resembled a blood tranfusion? The human body can be a foe or a friend and as always it IS a Mircle from God.

Marla said...

So glad it's done! Love the pics, what a couple of troopers you and Tracy are. Keeping y'all covered in prayer today as always!

Now get to work, stem cells!! :)

Amy said...

Pictures say a 1000 words and as I was looking at the new one of Tracy and Courtney I had quite the list going. Sister, friend, love, lifesaver, charity, kindness, family, strength, courage, pain, miracle, gift, beauty, prayer, hero and oh so many more. What a pleasure it was to wake up and read the news that the transplant went smoothly and that now we just need to pray.....we have got that down. hugs to all of you:)

Vicki said...

We are so happy that the transplant is done. Seeing the picture of Tracy and Courtney smiling was wonderful. Now we'll wait to hear that the stem cells are doing their job and the cancer is gone. Hang in there. You're on the homestretch now. Love, Ron and Vicki PS Happy belated birthday Todd.

Anonymous said...

That is so awesome. It makes me think about this time of year when we celebrate the birth and life of our Savior. Tracy is such an amazing example of Christlike love and service. I am so touched by her beautiful gift. We've been praying for Courtney and Tracy and your families. Lots of love and prayers -- Jackie & Dax Brock

Kristy said...

What a Christmas miracle! I love the video clip and the picture of Courtney and Tracy. So glad that's done!

Anonymous said...

today is my bday, and i have been ill, too this last month. not as extreme, but ill. i had my gall bladder taken out two weeks ago and in the mist of recovering i got a stomach virus. yuck. i recently went to a nursing home with my courtney and saw all the ill people there. and today i was thinking of sickness, and why? why must we be sick and go through this such as this and all i keep thinking about is adam fell so men might be. we have to go through so we will know joy. we have to feel pain to cherish the times we are pain free. i pray faithfully and i know heavenly father hears are prayers. he loves us. i am so glad to know you, and i look up to yall and your examples. work stem cells work!

robinandamelia said...

All the best to you post transplant. I hope that everything goes as smoothly as possible. I wish you a quick and permanent recovery.

crys said...

Courtney, as I read the post today, I couldn't help but tear up. Alexa's transplant was over a year ago, but I can remember it perfectly. It is a very difficult time. I hope that you are as well as possible throughout your stay. I can't wait to read the posting of your return home. Those will be good days.


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