Friday, 14 March 2014

Engraftment

Well soldier, you're as tough as we thought you were.

You've handled the worst of the mouth sores, so we're turning off your morphine drip.

The skin rash from your neck to your belly makes you look like you've been sleeping in the jungle, but the weird circles made us think you were abducted by aliens for a while there. Turns out you were just lying on your soother and your fragile skin decided to make a temporary tattoo out of it.

You ate a strip of bacon yesterday, so we ordered four more. Apparently your appetite is still a work in progress, but don't worry - the bacon did not go to waste.

All of the things we look for in a bone marrow transplant have happened, both good and bad. Now that we're at Day 17 post-transplant, we have some good news for you: You've earned your engraftment badge.

Your neutrophil (infection-fighting white blood cell) count is above 500 for the third day in a row today - 1,700 to be precise. That's enough reason for us to believe the transplant has taken hold and your donor's blood cells are essentially now your own. They're working away, hopefully creating healthy new cells instead of the leukemia we believe your old system was pushing out.

We call this engraftment. Your official engraftment day was therefore Day 15 - a nurse marked it for you by making a card with glitter on it.

That rough patch you went through? That was still your body reacting to the last bit of chemotherapy and radiation. You're still showing signs of illness but your temperature isn't as high as it was and none of our tests have come back positive for anything lately.

The mouth sores have essentially left you with a bout of laryngitis. You sound like an old man at times, a whining canine at others. You're still not speaking but it's clear you want to try. We expect you to sound more like a baby in a week or so, and plan to discharge you from the hospital shortly thereafter.

And if not? We'll take a whining canine over your leukemia any day.

2 comments:

  1. I found your blog while searching for info about AML. One of my twin was diagnosed with AML as well in Jan, he was just 3 month old. He just finished second round of chemo and now waiting for count to come back up. I visited your website every week to see how Dom is doing, I am rooting for him to be completely cure from leukemia. Dom is such a fighter and he give me so much hope for my son.

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    1. Hope your journey continues to go well, feel free to contact me directly via smrooney at gmail as well. Fellow parents going through this was the impetus behind writing this in the first place, so I hope it's been of some help.

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