Today was an intense, emotional and wonderful day. Deb began receiving her donor’s stem cells at 1:23 pm PDT, and the infusion lasted just under an hour. Andy and I were present along with three of Deb’s closest friends. We are immensely grateful to the donor for his selfless act of giving, to the National Marrow Donor Program which operates the Be the Match Registry, and to the excellent doctors and nurses at Stanford. We are also thankful to all of you, as we could feel your love and prayers coming to Deb. Your support really helps a lot!
The procedure today went well, but the next two to three weeks are a critical time for Deb. It takes about 10 to 20 days for the cells to engraft, which means when Deb starts to make her own new blood cells. During this time her blood counts will be low and she will need red blood and platelet transfusions. Her blood is drawn daily to determine when she needs to receive a transfusion. Deb is on immunosuppressive medications to help prevent Graft vs Host Disease (GVHD), where the donor’s cells attack some of the recipient’s organs. She is also on multiple antibiotics to help prevent infections because her immune system is so low. The medications can cause a variety of side effects which can be mild to severe, depending on the individual. Despite all of this, Deb looks wonderful and is very positive and optimistic.
On a lighter note, during the 7 pm shift change, the day and night nurses came in with a cake and sang Happy Birthday to Deb for her “new” birthday! It was very sweet.