I saw my transplant doctor today. He’s the head of the Transplant department at Johns Hopkins. No results from my biopsy until next week but problems are not anticipated at this stage. My blood counts are good – I forgot to ask for a copy so don’t have the specifics today. He thinks I have a mild case of skin GvHD but not enough to treat. It’s good because it’s also Graft vs. Leukemia.
He recommends that I do another year of Vidaza treatments. They’ve discovered that in case of relapse, it helps keep the cancer at bay. They also believe but have not yet proven that the Vidaza can actually help prevent relapse. That sounds good to me, so I’ll be returning to my one week of treatment each month with my hematologist close to home.
The best news is that I’m released to move back home. I was going to go today but we have no power at the house, so I will stay at the apartment one more night. More good news is that I’ll have surprisingly few restrictions–most are common sense type stuff like staying away from sick people and not eating undercooked fish, meat or eggs. I should be sensible but not live in a bubble. I’ll continue with prophylactic antibiotics and antivirals for a year. My nausea is fairly well controlled with antinausea drugs, and we hope it will eventually go away. My taste buds are fast returning to normal for most foods I’ve tried. I need to remain vigilant in watching for signs of GvHD and report them immediately. I need to be extraordinarily careful to avoid even the slightest sunburn. I’ll see the transplant doctor again in two weeks and then return to my hematologist’s care locally. I’ll have routine follow-ups at Johns Hopkins 6 months and 12 months post-transplant.
The not as good news is that the doctor wants me to put off getting my hand fixed as long as possible, no sooner than six months. He fears the trauma of the surgery might trigger an episode of GvHD.
We won’t be posting to the blog so often anymore, but feel free to email either of us if you have questions or concerns. I currently don’t have any medical appointments scheduled until Feb. 10! We still have a long ways to go but all is very positive at the moment. The doctors and nurses keep reminding us that BMT is a marathon, not a sprint.
Thank you again for all of your continuing love and support. I don’t know how we could have managed without it.
Lots of love,
Karen & Michael
P.S. I’ll leave it to Michael to wrap up the tag lines in a future post. He’s busy digging out our home from last night’s snow storm so I can come home tomorrow.