Today marks +6 and I can tell you it is a day that has taken is sweet time getting here. As I mentioned in the last post, this week will be the hardest week of Curtis' life, because he is essentially fighting for it. The motto of a stem cell transplant is "take you close to death and bring you back to a new life". As many times as we have heard this before, it is hard to watch at times.
This weeks marks the lowest point of Curt's blood counts. All of his own bone marrow is being wiped completely out in order to make room for the new and improved. With this, Curt loses all energy, blood cells and most importantly his immune system. White blood cells are the infection fighting cells in your body and as of today Curt literally has 100 of them floating around in his body. You and I generally have anywhere from 8-11 THOUSAND. Without a defense system, Curt feels achy, tired, and is incredibly susceptible to any kinds of germs.
Not only are his counts low, but remember how I said chemotherapy and radiation kill EVERY kind of cell? This includes cells in Curt's mouth, GI tract and skin. Because of the loss of cells, Curt is at risk for mouth sores, and has already been dealing with over a week of severe nausea. These few things make for a definite loss of appetite and thus he has already lost 10 pounds.
Oh and believe me, it doesn't stop there! To prevent any rejection of this bone marrow, Curt will receive an additional 3 doses of a different chemotherapy...talk about kicking a guy when he's down.
Because of this significant weight loss, the dietician and doctor agreed that IV nutrition would need to be started. This nutrition is called "TPN" Total Parenteral Nutrition. It is basically a concoction of essential nutrients, sugars and fats to help prevent any more weight loss. It will not make him gain weight, but hopefully maintain and prevent any further weight loss.
Needless to say, the big guy could use some encouragement as the minutes tick by so slowly, and he very rarely has relief from his aches, nausea and fatigue.
Praying for a light at the end of the tunnel as we hate seeing him so frail!