Journal entry by Leslie Cavanaugh

Day +30

...AND she was DISCHARGED yesterday!! Her morning started a bit rough with some nausea and vomiting (most likely due to taking a bunch of pills on an empty stomach). Dr. Nelson (her main BMT doc) came by around noon to let us know biopsy results came back negative for any cancer cells and she was free to go anytime.  It definitely helped that we got a lot of things for discharge done the day before. So within an hour or so, we were out the door!  When someone leaves the BMT floor, it’s a big deal (I met parents that have already been there for months, and will be there for many more months) So a discharge is definitely cause for celebration.  They all line the hall, with goofy hats and balloons, singing and Alyssa was wheeled down the hall, and RANG THAT BELL.  She has to be extremely vigilant for at least the next 6 months regarding infections.  While her WBC is high enough, her body is not producing T cells which are needed to fight mainly viral infections. (She was infused on Monday with some of Eric’s T cells, which will provide her with some protection). They just told her to use common sense and avoid crowds and of course, close contact with anybody that is sick.  As of right now, she goes back for appointments/labs on Tuesdays and Fridays.  She will have another biopsy at Day +100.  After she’s released to go back to Louisville, her follow up appointments will be labs maybe every 3-4 months and another biopsy at the 1 year mark from her BMT.  

That’s the easy part.  The hard part is getting her strength and stamina back.  This is something new for her.  Pretty much through the 4 rounds of chemo, she never really felt bad.  She definitely had some bad days, but those were few and far between.  And she might have felt fatigued.  But this is something different.  First off, she lost all her hair.  And as cancer patients say, “now people know I’m sick”. She can walk a few hundred yards, slowly, but may also need a minute to catch her breath. Her favorite thing to do, cook, requires that she pull a chair up because she can’t stand for more than a minute or two. She can be talking to you one minute, then drift off to sleep (well maybe that part’s not so different) I want to remember where she’s at right now because if I know Alyssa, there’s going to be a remarkable change before too long. She’s already talking about working with her wonderful trainer back in Bowling Green, once she feels up to it.  The fact that this kid did 2 miles on a bike 14 days after transplant tells you something about her determination.  Her journey back will be one to watch, for sure.
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