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taken 8/4/07

Courtney and her kids

Courtney and her kids
taken 8/4/07

Monday, December 10, 2007

D -2 End of the chemotherapy

D -2. That’s how they label the doors in the BMT unit of the hospital to signify where each patient is with regards to the transplant. D -1 tomorrow and then D 0, transplant day, on Wednesday. The day after will be D+1.

Today went much like yesterday for Courtney, but worse. She experienced quite a bit more nausea after being given her second and final dose of cytoxan. Fortunately one of the nurses found a drug combination that seems to have helped control the nausea and allow Courtney to actually eat a bit for dinner. When I arrived this evening, she was already quite relaxed and resting well. Right now it kinda seems like War of the Drugs. Cytoxan = bad vs. Morphine = good. Although, as much as Cytoxan is kicking Courtney’s butt, we sorta have to root for it, since it’s a key element to the transplant, and ultimately helping to cure Courtney.

As bad as Courtney’s day was, Tracy’s was seemingly worse. She went in this morning to have the Quinton catheter surgically placed in her neck, where it will stay for the next two days. This is basically like a large soda straw inserted into her jugular. Not a comfortable procedure by any means, but rather simple and routine. That is, until you have an allergic reaction to one of the drugs. Apparently, things got rather dicey in the OR, when one of the drugs sent her into antiphylactic shock and temporarily made breathing quite difficult. The doctors responded quickly and got things under control and were able to finish the procedure without further complications. Tracy’s day wasn’t over, as she still had to go back to the BMT clinic today for another round of Neupogen shots.

While tomorrow should be a quiet one for Courtney (they refer to it as her “day off”) because she’s not getting any heavy hitting drugs for the first day since admission, it’s the biggest day yet for Tracy. Tomorrow is “harvest” day. By a process called apheresis, Tracy’s stem cells, which the Nuepogen is causing to be produced in extra quantities, will be harvested. Apheresis is the process used to separate out a specific part of the blood such as stem cells for transplantation. Tracy will be connected to a machine via the Quinton catheter. The blood is removed through one branch of the catheter and run through the machine which separates the stem cells. The remaining parts of the blood are circulated back to Tracy through the other branch of the catheter. The process is expected to take 7 to 8 hours. If they don’t get enough stem cells, an amount predetermined by Courtney’s medical team, Tracy will have to go back for another day of harvesting. Otherwise she is done and they can remove the straw from her neck.

At the end of the day it’s still so hard to believe that we’re actually going through all of this. It’s still hard to say the word cancer and to accept that it’s directly affected our lives as it has so many others. And while it’s hard to believe that Courtney has had to endure chemotherapy three times in the past three months, it’s nice to know that that part of her life is now officially in the past.


David and Ashley said...

Wow, you guys have definitely had a rough week! Hopefully things get better and the harvest goes well. We hope Tracey and Courtney are doing and feeling better. Love and miss ya'll!!! See you at Christmas

Amy said...

Wow! What a week??? Tracy is such a hero for doing this for Courtney. I am continually praying for a safe and effective transplant. Hugs!

Amy Jaffe said...

That's really scary about Tracey! I'm glad to hear she's doing okay. I still can't imagine how crazy this must be for y'all. Hang in there! You have a lot of people constantly thinking about you.

Amy Jaffe

Vicki said...

Dear Todd and Courtney, We have been without a computer for weeks, but finally got it back today. I read up on all that we've missed. Even though we haven't responded on this site, it doesn't mean that you haven't been in our thoughts all the time. I'm so sorry to hear that both Courtney and Tracy have had such a rough time of it, but at least it will all be over soon. We loved the picture of you guys. Only someone as cute as Courtney can pull off the bald look and still look like a doll. We are praying for a successful transplant tomorrow and can't wait till the time that Courtney is cured, home and taking care of your adorable kids. God be with you, Tracy and the doctors. Love and prayers. Ron and Vicki

Anonymous said...

Good luck tomorrow! We have been thinking of you so much. I know it has been a long three months, but tomorrow will be a new day and your sister Tracy's cells will now be on board to fight off any cancer cells that want to come! What a gift. We will continue to pray and our thoughts will be with you -Courtney and Todd. ~Joe and Val

maureen.brusca said...

Todd, Courtney, & Tracy -
We are SO proud of all of you! You have been each others hero in so many ways - and you are being celebrated by all who know and love you. Tomorrow is a new beginning and we pray that the day will be uneventful and wildly successful!! Courtney, we will be with you in spirit as you recieve your new life tomorrow morning.

Tracy - if only you could have seen Alex's face when I told him you were all done with the harvest! His eyes, smile and joy filled the room. He is SO very proud of his mom! What great children you and Shawn have raised and how blessed we are to be able to care for them while you are saving your sister's life.

Many blessings to all of you!!

Michelle said...

I can't believe I'm reading all of this. WOW! Thank you Todd for somehow being able to write your story for us. Prayers and thoughts are with ALL of you!


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