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taken 8/4/07

Courtney and her kids

Courtney and her kids
taken 8/4/07

Sunday, December 9, 2007

D – 3 and counting until transplant

Sorry, I didn’t mean to let this much time pass before updating the blog. But here’s what’s happened the past five days.

As I mentioned, last Tuesday, Courtney was admitted to Zale-Lipshy hospital for the bone marrow, or more precisely, the stem cell transplant. They admit her 8 days prior to the actual transplant so the can administer the chemotherapy that prepares her body for the transplant. Tuesday night they started her on her first chemo called Busulfan. They gave it to her for four days, four times a day for a total of 16 doses. Each dose, that was administered through her neostar catheter, took two hours. During this time, she couldn’t leave the room, so she didn’t risk spreading the toxic chemicals around the hospital.

She tolerated Busulfan fairly well, with relative mild side effects. Her worst experience was an itchy rash that was most likely caused by a steroid they gave her along with the Busulfan. To counteract the rash, the gave her an antihistamine. They thought about giving her benedryll, but since it was the middle of the day and she didn’t want to feel too drowsy, they gave her something else. Ironically, she had an allergic reaction to the other drug and they ended up having to give her benedryl anyway. She also had some mild intestinal discomfort the past few days.

We were able to squeeze in a few visits with the kids Tuesday evening, Thursday evening and Saturday morning. They aren’t allowed to go back to her room, but when’s she feeling up to it and not hooked up to any toxic chemicals, Courtney can leave the confines of her room and hallway and visit with the kids in a “family room” on her floor. They’ve been coping extremely well with their mother being in the hospital so much these past couple of months. It’s amazing how resilient and level headed they all are. It continues to be a huge blessing to have them so well adjusted to such a difficult circumstance.

Courtney’s sister, Tracy, who had been staying with her at night up until Saturday night, received her first of four rounds of Neupogen injections Saturday morning. She got her second dose this morning and so far seems to be experiencing about what the doctors told her to expect – general achiness and discomfort that feels rather flu like. So she could get her rest, I stayed with Court last night and tonight, while my mom has held down the fort with the kids at home and Courtney's mom continues to stay with her during the day.

Courtney received her last dose of Busulfan last night at midnight. I know I’ve brought it up before, but they really don’t seem to value sleep very much in hospitals. For instance, last night Courtney got hooked up to her chemo at 12:00 and then unhooked at 2:00 AM. Three hours later, although it seemed like much less, at 5:00 AM a nurse came in to check her vitals. At 6:00 AM a Fellow came in to check her over. Then 30 minutes later he came back with Dr. V who did the same checks. Another mere 30 minuets passed before her nurse of the day came in to perform the same checks. And he was followed by the breakfast lady 20 minutes later. By now, you pretty much just throw in the towel and give up trying to sleep. It’s just too painful to keep waking up right after falling back to sleep.

At 10:00 AM this morning Courtney received her first of two doses of Cytoxan. Unfortunately this one hasn’t been as nice as the first chemo drug. Within 15 minutes, Courtney’s nose felt irritated, her sinus felt pressure and her head started hurting. Her headache has lasted all day and was ultimately accompanied by bouts of vomiting. This is always demoralizing for Courtney, but we’re reassuring her that this is quite normal and almost expected with this particular drug. Her second and last dose comes tomorrow (Monday) morning, and her nurse indicated that many people tolerate the second dose quite a bit better than the first, but it’s no guarantee. So, she may be in for another long day tomorrow. At least Tuesday will be a day of rest, with NO chemo drugs.

Actually, tomorrow’s dose of Cytoxan will be her last so called chemotherapy forever. I think it may be cause for celebration, but the festivities will have to wait. Maybe we’ll toast the IV bags, since that’s about the only fluid Courtney is able to take in when she’s so nauseous.

Courtney and Tracy continue to plug along doing what they have to do to prepare for the transplant on Wednesday. There’s no turning back now. No, really, legally they can’t. They both signed papers indicating that once the chemotherapy started, they couldn’t stop the procedure from moving forward. Although, I’m not sure what would happen if either tried. Fortunately, that won’t happen, as they both know how important this is and both are anxious to make this whole cancer episode a thing of the past.


summer said...

this will be the last chemo FOREVER! aqs always, chris and i are praying and thinking of you guys! tell courtney hi and hugs those sweet children for us!

Marla said...

Thank God you're almost done! I am so proud of all of you for handling this with such grace, you are an incredible family and an inspiration to us all!

Praying that all goes well Wed!! Please update when you can. (((((BIG HUGS)))))

Derek, Marla and the 4 J's

Anonymous said...

Courtney your day to bloom is near I will be crossing my fingers and toes and anything else that you get a good night rest.

Kristy said...

We are so praying for your family, and so grateful that Courtney and Tracy have each other! Counting down to Wednesday with you ...

Amy said...

Constantly praying for ya girl and hoping the side effects won't bog ya down too much!


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