Karen's High Dose Chemo Diary
Some Interesting Facts on HDC
To: "wellness" <
Subject: Some Interesting Facts on HDC
From: "Harry Patterson" <
Date: Fri, 15 Jan 1999 06:29:08 -0500
We went to Dr. Chahin, our oncologist, yesterday to wrap up prior to Karen's High Dose Chemo (HDC) treatments. The good news is there is absolutely no evidence of active cancer anywhere. She has gone through a tremendous amount of tests in preparation for the HDC treatment, many of which were required by the insurance company. Her tests included numerous blood tests, MUGA (heart pumping capability), Pulmonary (she was 125% of normal), Bone Scan, Brain Scan, full body Cat Scan, Bone Marrow (not pleasant) and I'm sure I'm missing some.
During our discussion we learned a lot more about the process. The stem cells that will be collected over 1-3 days (using a process that to the patient looks like kidney dialysis) will be put back in after HDC using an IV and will only take 1 hour. We figured it would take just as long to put them back as it was to take out. During her 2-4 week after HDC (where she will stay in a special Hampton Inn) she will get daily, multiple blood transfusions. We knew that she wouldn't have any bone marrow, and hence no white blood cells to prevent infection, but didn't stop to think that also meant no blood production period and she would therefore need daily transfusions until she can produce her own.
We are just waiting on insurance approval now, which better come today (Friday) because we are scheduled for Monday 6 hours away with hotel reservations, our son out of school for the trip, etc.. Karen is nervous (who wouldn't be) but has had the best 3 days (strength and emotionally) since her diagnosis of recurrent in August. Her hair is just coming back and is not happy it will be gone again. Occasionally I'll show her my receding hairline and remind her mine is permanent, but she says it's just sympathetic hair loss.
We'll keep you all informed,