Journal entry by Dave Clark

Well another week has gone by since my last update.  Nothing of great importance to report during that period, just gradual decline in the nausea and vomiting, through a mild diarrhea phase that only lasted about 2 days.  That diarrhea part nowhere as bad as what the literature led me to believe.  But the nausea and vomiting had been significantly worse than I'd expected, and persisted for a significantly longer period of time.

Now to the more significant indicators -- blood counts.  While all of those had held up pretty well through the first week, by Day +7 (Thu Oct 11) all of those counts -- White Cells, Platelets, Red Cells, and Hemoglobin -- all were dropping like a rock.  So they began transfusions of Platelets, and of Packed Red Blood Cells, and daily injections of Neupogen -- the latter being the same drug used to stimulate Stem Cell production, which we'd done for 5 days just before we did the harvesting, now 3 weeks back.  Except now the Neupogen dosage is half of what we did to stimulate for the harvesting.  Even with those treatments, for  the next couple of days, from Thu Day +7 through Sun Day +10, we continued to see the numbers dropping off.  To be expected, and other than feeling mild fatigue, no other side-effects of consequence.  Just waiting to "Turn the corner", and start seeing those counts start going in the other direction.

At this point I need to offer a Super Loud shout off to our Neighbor Cindy Hoppe.  Jean doesn't drive the interstate roads, and from our home in Algonquin (45 miles northwest of downtown Chicago) the interstate highways are the only way to get around into the city.  So this past Sunday Oct 14 (day +10) Cindy offered to drive Jean down to the University of Chicago Medical Center for a visit, and bring along another Wendy's frosty.  The visit with the two of them was most enjoyable.  And the frosty didn't hurt a bit, either <g>.

"Daily Rounds" -- Monday Oct 15th, Day +11.  Every day here in the Hospital, the arrival of the Attending Physician and their team, is the time to recap my status and counts and treatments, and expectations for the next day.  Well this morning the crew all arrived wearing big grins.  "Looks like you've Turned the corner over the weekend", they said.  White cell counts as the key example, Saturday had been 0.1, Sunday jumped to 0.3, and this morning Monday skyrocketed to 1.5 -- and the Platelets and Red counts also turned the corner and were on the rise as well.

"So, if this trend continues over the next two days, we'll likely cut you loose and send you home on Wednesday afternoon".  Unexpected music to my ears.  Didn't expect things to shift that significantly and turn that fast.  But looks like those harvested Stem Cells have made themselves at home in my bone marrow, and now were busily restoring all of those blood products in my system.

"So now we'll want to have a meeting tomorrow (Tuesday), with you and your at-home caregiver (Jean), to go over what we'll need to have ready for you at home, and medications, and suchlike".  Cindy to the rescue again -- She drove Jean downtown again late Tue morning, and then sat in on our meeting with the discharge planning team.  Lots of logistics and details.  But all the pieces falling into place.

So here we are on Wednesday morning Oct 17 (Day+13) -- I've packed all my stuff, have met with the Pharmacy folks and have six different medications that I'll now be taking at home every day.  Then when Jean and Cindy get here shortly, we'll have a final Discharge Summit meeting to tie all those pieces together, and then head for home.

The continued thoughts and prayers from all of those following my journey through this website, have definitely played a major role in where things stand today.  I can't thank you all enough for that support.  And I will provide another update in the next day or two, once we settle in back at home sweet home.

To be continued ...

Dave Clark

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