Bone Marrow Transplant – Day 1 and 2

I told Angela I would write every day to keep a log of what happens during this process, and I screwed that up on the very first day.  Oh well, I am here now so calm down.  I am also including a disclaimer right here.  At the end of this post, there is a photo of my chest right after I came back from the line placement procedure.  It shows my port accessed and bandaged on the right side of my chest (this is the one I have had since the beginning) and on the left is the brand new tri-fusion catheter.  This does the same job as the port except it does not require a needle and it has three valves, hence the tri-fusion name.  The hold in my chest had not stopped bleeding yet and a nurse had not been by to bandage it, so it’s a little gross.

Yesterday started out in fairly typical fashion.  Here is a synopsis of how my communications with the hospital have gone this week up through yesterday morning.

MONDAY – phone rings, it’s someone from Emory calling to confirm my appointment on Thursday.

Emory Rep:  Mr. Gennari, we are just calling to remind you about your appointment with Interventional Radiology on Thursday August 26.  You will need to report to IR at 9:30 in the morning and your procedure will take place at 11:00 AM.

Me: Okay great, I will be there.  Any special instructions?  Do I need to fast after a certain time?

Emory Rep:  No sir, it looks like you will receive a local anesthetic and therefore you have no diet restrictions and you will be free to leave as soon as the procedure is complete.

Me:  Okay, thanks.  See you Thursday.

THURSDAY – I eat my favorite breakfast of a bagel with some lox salmon, tomato, cream cheese, capers and other stuff to make my breath smell terrible.  Then I ate a whole banana and we stopped at Starbucks and got some coffee.  Forty-five minutes later, I am in the prep room at interventional radiology and it goes something like this.

Nurse:  This is a really simple procedure where we just make a small knick in your neck and then tunnel a line down into your biggest artery.  You won’t feel anything because we use a local anesthetic and we give you some medication that makes you really carefree for awhile.  You haven’t had anything to eat or drink since midnight right?

Me:  No, I had a toasted bagel with a disturbingly large shmear of cream cheese, onions, tomatoes, capers, a banana, a glass of orange juice and a caramel machiatto.

Nurse:  (After a silence) How long ago was that?

Me:  I finished the coffee about 15 minutes ago and had the rest a little over an hour ago.

Nurse: (More silence) Well, we can’t give you the medication if you have eaten in the past six hours, and this would not be a humane procedure without the medication.

That was all I needed to hear.  I am not into verifiable in-humane surgical experiences.  So, we waited.  I was sent upstairs to check into my room and not touch any food.  But just to mess with them when I came back later that afternoon, I told the same nurse that I had gone out to Golden Corral for lunch and feasted.  But eventually the procedure happened and it was very simple…and humane.  I was awake, but not really in tune with what was happening and

Tri-fusion catheter

Tri-fusion catheter and port

before I knew it, the whole thing was over.

My chemo started around 9:30PM and lasted for one hour.  I have never had this particular chemo before and it had an instant effect on me.  I started getting a really bizarre tingling and swollen feeling through my face and arms.  Then I got extra queezy and I didn’t even make it to the bathroom.  I threw up in the sink next to the bed, and then did it again…and then again.  It was pretty gross, but I started feeling better after that and slept all night.  That was the first time a chemo had caused an instant sickness.

Today has been pretty easy.  Uneventful really.  I could still eat and I got out for some walks.  Chemo started again at 9PM and tonight I have two bags.  I will be done soon, and it is time to go to sleep.  So far, the effects aren’t really kicking in full gear yet.  I will let you know what happens tomorrow.

9 thoughts on “Bone Marrow Transplant – Day 1 and 2

  1. Wow! Your hardware is giving my catheter an inferiority complex;-) Your spirit is great Dan, you are a wonderful role model. I’m sending you lots of positive thoughts from Denmark….

    • Kirsten, you are crazy. That made me laugh. I am imagining your catheter and my catheter in a conversation bragging about who is bigger and badder. What do you think intravenous catheter voices sound like?

      • Haha! I think mine has a kind of high pitched gurgley (no idea how to spell that!) voice – but yours look like they have an altogether deeper, serious pitch. I think mine has eyes too. Sometimes I tape it up on my chest, but then I look down and feel like it is staring at me, so have to untape and shove it down in my shirt!

  2. Paula Thomas says:

    Hey Dan
    Love your sense of humor and attitude. I’m following your blog every day. Your humor makes me smile, but sometimes I have to admit, I cry. Only because I now realize how living with cancer consumes your life. My son Brian is being treated for a malignant tumor inside his spinal cord. My daily prayers go out to you and your family! -Paula

    • Hi Paula,
      Where is your son being treated? You are absolutely right about how it consumes your life. But that is not to say that life is consumed only by the negative side of cancer. If you look for it, the amazing and motivational side is there too.

  3. Susan Boling says:

    Dan, you are one brave dude. Just wanted to let you know that your friends & neighbors in Mayfair are thinking of you each day. Thanks for keeping us updated.

    • Susan,
      Thanks for the compliment. I think it takes more patience than bravery, especially at this point. Today was a really boring day. I have only been here four days, but already really looking forward to returning home. Can’t think about that too much though because I have a long way to go before returning to Mayfair.

  4. daniel arizpe says:

    I saw your picture because I’m working in a workshop about port-cath’s. I Had hodgking twice and I fine now. I hope you go right.

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