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7/2/2017 Latest post:
Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support, prayers and words of encouragement. Thank you for visiting.
I was originally diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2005. The type I have is very slow growing and is detected in CT scans long before I ever feel any symptoms. At that time I had chemotherapy for six months and then was in remission until 2013. I had a small cancerous lymph node in 2013 that was easily treated with radiation. This last December I had a more extensive relapse. I underwent chemo in March, April and May with one previously used drug and a new one for me and I am now in remission again.My Des Moines oncologist recommended that I do the stem cell transplant and after some study and a couple of other opinions, I have decided to go ahead with it. The benefit is a much greater likelihood of a very long remission or possibly never having a reoccurrence. The procedure is not done in Des Moines so we have chosen the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. UNMC has great people and facilities and a great deal of experience conducting this procedure. The stem cell transplant is more or less a 3 step process. First they extract stem cells from my blood. Stem cells are the producers of white and red cells and platelets. Once extracted the stem cells are frozen and kept. There will be no side effects from the extraction process. Step 2 is higher dosage chemotherapy than I have previously had. This will in theory wipe out any residual cancerous cells that may exist undetected but at the same time will wipe out my immune system. There will be some short term side effects from this chemo. Step 3 is injecting my stem cells back into my blood so that blood cells/immune system can be regenerated. The whole process can take 3-4 weeks stay in or near the hospital and then additional recovery at home.We are planning on doing the whole process as out patient. I will have to be close to the hospital but may not have to be admitted. For most of the time, I am required to have a care giver. So Nancy and I will be staying at an extended stay motel in Omaha. Megan and/or Jason will come to Omaha sometime in the middle of the process to give Nancy a short break.Your thoughts and prayers are much appreciated. One of the main risks of the procedure is getting infections since my immune system will be very weak after the chemo and before my white cell counts are back to a reasonable level. So, best if I do not have visitors.