It has been almost two weeks since Luke had his stem cell transplant and it has been full of ups and downs.
One big down is his blood counts. As expected, his white blood cell count, hemoglobin, and platelets have all dropped to zero, or close to it. This is necessary so that his body does not attack the new stem cells.
Luke has had some of the expected side effects from the transplant as well. He initially had some fevers, a rash, low blood pressures, and he has also lost his hair again.
One big side effects from the chemo, radiation, and transplant is mucositis. This is the inflammation of the membranes in the GI tract, most often the mouth and throat resulting in extreme pain. Imagine having strep throat, now multiply this by about 1000. This is what I can only imagine the pain feels like. A few days post transplant Luke started to feel some pain in his mouth and throat. Since then it has only gotten worse. It hurt to eat at first and now even swallowing is next to impossible. All of his medications have been switched to IV and he has pain medications to help control the pain he is in. With all the pain, Luke’s mouth has been filled with mucous he has to constantly cough up and spit up.
The last couple of days Luke has been down because of all the pain he has been in. His temperatures have started to rise again and today he has a fever. They have started him on empiric antibiotics (to prevent an infection before they can find the source). I am hoping they find the source soon and treat it quickly.
A lot has gone on, but these are all things that were expected to happen. We will just have to keep pushing forward through these next couple of weeks so we can come out stronger on the other side.
I know this post seems like a lot of downs, but Luke has had some good days post-transplant. He would walk or eat, he would laugh and smile, we would play cards, he was good on those good days. We just need to stay positive and keep our spirits up on the down days of this roller-coaster called cancer.
Keep praying, sending positive thoughts, and sending your love.
Ps, this is the sunset I see from our apartment every night