Long Awaited News

Saturday, August 6, 2022 – We have been guarded in releasing the news this week; fearing that if we told, then something would fall apart. A call to Maureen on Thursday confirmed that they had gotten final approval of the stem cell donor and things were full steam ahead. 

I find people asking, so what is really wrong?  I think of it like this.  You know your oil change is over-due but you keep driving; you just can’t fit it into your schedule.  Next thing you know, your car is running very poorly.  So, you finally go to the dealership and they tell you that while they can change the oil, they can’t guarantee that you haven’t done irreparable damage to the engine.  They won’t know that until you get the oil changed and run it a while.  Same thing with blood and bone marrow.

What is the process?  Our 37-year-old donor from Europe will take a medication to boost his stem cell production.  He will go through a procedure much like giving blood or apheresis; they will take it out of one arm, run it through a machine and return the blood back to the donor less the stem cells.    The cells will be frozen and transported to U of M.  Scott will have the option to contact him after a year. 

After a COVID test on Wednesday, he will be admitted Thursday for Day T minus 6.  He’ll have a port implanted in his chest.  Friday he will begin chemo and that will continue until Tuesday.  Wednesday the 17th will be transplant day, or Day Zero.  The new stem cells will grow and multiple and flow through the damaged bones.  The bone marrow scaring will halt and the new cells will be free of cancer.  We hope that the damage can be repaired over time or reduced to a level that he will be able to go forward without all the pain meds. 

The 100 days after transplant are most critical so during this time, they want us to live close to U of M.  With so many things to consider, we are still weighing our options and waiting for the perfect solution.  He will be in the hospital for four to six weeks so we have a little time for things to come together.  I will be able to stay in his room at the hospital while he’s there but will likely venture out and check out a couple of the local hotels that offer long-time options when I’m ready for a change of scenery.  At this point we don’t think he will be allowed visitors but if that changes we will let people know.

Much like when we prepare for the holidays or vacation, Scott is busying himself cleaning the garage.  I’m making lists and checking them twice.  Cleaning the refrigerator and organizing the Tupperware drawer.  As if it matters.  I don’t know if it’s because we want things clean when we return or if we sub-consciously don’t want people to have to clean up after us if something happened and we never came back.  Either way, the clock is ticking.  Transplant Day minus 11 is drawing to a close and it looks as though the next few days will be jam-packed with preparation.   We are feeling confident and realizing that the day after Thanksgiving will also be Scott’s Day 100 is ironic and somehow comforting.      

Scott sneaks in a few hugs at Marlena’s shower Sunday before the guys took off to hang with Grampa A.

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