The day Deb receives her stem cell transplant is referred to as Day Zero (Day 0). The days prior to Day 0 are “minus” days, and these are the days when the preparative regimen is given to prepare the body to receive the new blood forming cells. Deb began her chemo treatment on Day -7. She is receiving her first chemotherapy drug, Busulfan, every 6 hours for 4 days for a total of 16 doses. Busulfan is administered through an IV, and each dose takes about 2 hours to complete. Tomorrow Deb will begin to receive her second chemo drug, Cytoxan, which will be given on Day -3 and Day-2. Day -1 is a day of rest.
Deb has been experiencing nausea which is a side effect of the Busulfan. While it is unpleasant for Deb, it is expected and not considered to be an issue, and she is receiving medications to minimize the discomfort. Deb is also very tired from the chemo, and it’s hard for her to get any good sleep because the interruptions are constant, plus Deb is in a double room. Deb’s roommate received her transplant yesterday.
Deb is encouraged to get up and exercise, and we have started taking walks in the hospital unit for about 30 minutes at a time. Because of Deb’s low immunity, she is required to wear a HEPA filter mask whenever she goes outside of her room. HEPA filter stands for high-efficiency particulate air filter, and the mask is used to protect against airborne infections, and helps keep harmful dust, allergens and other particles out of the air that she breathes. Deb will be required to wear the mask for the first 100 days after transplant, whenever she goes outside. The mask is bulky and a bit unsightly, but at Stanford no one gives it a second look, as we often see people wearing them.
Andy, Deb’s partner, is here visiting her this weekend, and she is thrilled to see him. Andy was sick last week, and the hospital is very strict about not allowing visitors unless they are healthy, even though we wear face masks while in Deb’s room. All of the doctors, nurses and hospital personnel also wear face masks in the patients’ rooms.
Again, thanks to all of you for your continued support for Deb. It is very helpful to her knowing how much everyone cares.