Today I was scheduled to have Hickman Cath placement to be used for chemo and stem cell collection. The catheter is used because it has a higher flow rate then a port. But before I left my house this morning I received lots of text messages and brief phone calls from many friends and family sending me lots of love and support. As I showered and dressed this morning I listened to praise and worship music, dancing and singing giving God all the praise; I praised Him until my fear was gone! It was the best way to start this journey :)! My sister Annette went with me this morning and took very good care of me, her patience and love was such a comfort. After the placement of the Hickman they kept me in recovery a little longer to monitor my heart rate and vital signs. The nurses and physicians were great. They were caring, funny and professional from start to finish. Tomorrow I am scheduled to get my first high dose IV chemo, about 6,000 mg of Cytoxan along with lots of IV fluids, I am a little scared but I know that God is with me and all will be well! His word says He will never leave nor forsake me and I take Him at his Word!
I want to take a moment to say thank you to all the people who have made donations and purchased the Y’vie Bear. To those that have purchased the bear, it will take approximately 3 to 4 weeks to receive Y’vie. By the time you receive your bear, I will be in the middle of my transplant process in March, so please feel free to post me a message when you receive your Y’vie Bear! I look forward to sharing the journey with you. Yvette
Since my last post, I have attended the new patient class that Duke requires all stem cell transplant patients to attend as well as the caregivers/family members. It was very informative and I think it can really help family and caregivers to better understand how serious this is and how important it is to keep me safe from infection. I realize that when my family sees me, they see someone who doesn’t look sick, who still has a head full of hair, hair that actually continued to grow while on my initial chemo treatments. I have days where I feel fatigued and rest more, but I don’t usually complain. When my white cells drop to 1.9, no one can look at me and see the risk of being immuno-suppressed. So as a result, I know its hard for them to accept what I am going through. Well anyway, during the class, it was stated that we would all lose our hair, temporarily. So after class I went to the Duke Cancer Center, tried on different wigs, took pictures, picked out scarves, head wraps and jewelry!!! It was fun and liberating all at the same time. My family and friends will video record shaving my head when the time comes, as well as the heads of my family who have decided to shave their heads in support of me. What love! In spite of my circumstance, I am in a place of continual gratitude and thankfulness, I thank God every chance I get for the wonderful life I have and the wonderful people in my life!
I have completed 5 cycles of low dose chemo with my primary oncologist before my care was turned over to Duke Adult Bone Marrow Transplant Clinic. During those 5 cycles my chemo treatment protocol was: Velcade (subcutaneous injections- once a week for 2 weeks, one week off), Cytoxan (oral 300mg once a week) and Dexamethasone 10mg/2 days a week, Zofran for nausea when need.
Throughout my initial treatment I had very little side effects until about my 3rd cycle. At times I had bouts of nausea and my white cells started dropping very low, some times I needed Neupogen injections for neutropenia. After my immune system became compromised I had to to stop working, which was for the best. I had hoped that I could continue to work up until the transplant, lol, how silly of me! But I tried! The initial treatment is designed to place you in remission prior to your Stem Cell Transplant preparation and actual transplant. I would like to share with everyone what my preparation schedule looks like, as soon as I can figure out how to upload it I will. Duke gave me my schedule/calendar on February 6, 2014, after completing many labs and test. My test included: 18 tubes of blood, chest xray, pulmonary function test, ekg, echo and bone survey! IT was a long day…. After I got home and reviewed my schedule again, I realized just how tremendous an untaking it is, I felt overwhelmed and cried…. and cried…. and cried. Finally, with the grace of God I stopped and decided to get back to taking control of the things that I can and enjoying life!
Thursday’s are treatment days for me and usually long and exhausting, but today has been a good day. I’m tired but I’m so excited about how my treatment is progressing. I will follow up shortly to share what my treatment plan is and how it leads up to the big Stem Cell Transplant!