Saturday, May 22, 2010

Day 16 Post Transplant: Waiting for “Engraph”….

After all this waiting, one might ask what are you waiting for? We are all waiting for “Engraphment”. This is when the donor stem cells migrate to the bone marrow and start to produce red, white and platelet cells in the body. This happens around 2 to 4 weeks.

I was talking to W’s nurse and she shared that in most transplants this happens from the 25 to 40 days after transplant. There is a great website explaining this at

Right now Ws blood and platelet cell count is very, very, low. This is the time where preventing infection is critical, since he has practically no immune system to combat it. He is given blood and platelet transfusion periodically. On the outward side he is doing well. He is still getting up to walk around his room and sitting up in a chair for several hours. His mind is sharp enough to joke around with the nurses and his family and doing Soduku puzzles. We have always called him Mr Pun Man. He is a master using word puns. The Recreation Therapist taught him a card game called Kings Corner. It’s a fun solitaire game with two people. He taught me today, and I got lucky winning both games we played. Tomorrow we are going to learn a game called Traps and Treasures.

The inside of W is another story. Lab results are starting to show some slight changes in his heart, lungs, liver and kidneys. Doctors are monitoring this very carefully, as getting them to work together, eliminating the fluid in his body, is becoming a challenge. The major culprit is his heart and history of heart failure (CHF). We knew, if anything, this might be the kink in the chain of risks coming into this process. We need to be praying for this right now. The heart needs to pump effectively to prevent the other vital organs from being affected.

The doctors are pleased at what they see on the outside, as they say, and if they can get the heart working well with medication, all should be OK. I have to say, it is a pleasure to discuss W.’s condition with the City of Hope doctors. They really listen to family members. They give a significant amount of time listening and answering questions. I have never seen such dedicated MDs and nurses in my experience. This is saying a lot as W has been hospitalized in several hospitals and I have worked in others, although be it many years ago.

Knitting: I am still plugging away on the Red Owl Sweater. The Owls are half done. I will be doing the second cable soon. This is an ingenious pattern. As the weather starts to get warmer, it may be too hot to knit wool, so I am trying my hardest to finish this sweater/cardigan.

We've had unusually mild Spring this year in Southern California. I cherish the mild sunny days in May. Flowers are still blooming and my front planter is looking marvelous, especially since I hired a gardener. It makes me wonder why I didn't do this sooner. For over a year I have valiantly tried to care the the yards myself, when W didn't have the strength or energy because of his cancer. The gardener is worth every penny. Seeing the flowers and lawns look so nice just lifts my spirits to no end and I thank God for such a gift of beauty.

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