This is the eighth installment of the story of Jerry's Bone Marrow Transplant, which details my father-in-law's life saving bone marrow transplant at Johns Hopkins Cancer Center in Baltimore. Read the previous installment - Part Seven: Team Jerry Hat Winners
We received some good news yesterday, Jerry's white cell count is up to 3000! That's really fantastic news as it's almost halfway to normal. When he started the treatment in Baltimore his white cells were at 1550, the day of the transplant they were down to 200 and a week ago the count was at it's lowest, around 25.
In a few days they will likely be taking him off the IV antibiotics since his immune system is starting to recover, but he will soon start the Bactrim antibiotic pill to prevent pneumonia and other infections.
He's still getting Neupogen, which can inflate the white cell count a bit, but once his number stays above 1000 for three days they will take him off the Neupogen and see how his immune system does without it.
Jerry is very fatigued and has nearly no appetite, but he's kept up and moving by his twice a day hospital visits and Maddy continues to gently nag him to, "Eat Papa, eat!!", just like Mrs. Claus in the Rudolf movie. Have you ever tried to force yourself to eat? It's difficult, but the nurses have asked Jerry to view his meals as medicine and he's simply got to try to eat.
He will continue to be on Cellcept, an anti-rejection medication for at least two more weeks, and his Prograf, another anti-rejection med, was recently changed from an IV drip to a pill, which is another step in the right direction.
With the reduction of some of the IV's they don't have to be at the hospital as long each day. This week it's been just a couple of hours in the morning and an hour and a half in the late afternoon. Maddy has been able to find some time during the day to exercise, which helps her keep up the fight.
From Jerry's fantastic RN Kathy: "Here on out is going to be a wait and see. He will receive red blood cells and platelets as needed."
As for us, our return home has been made so much easier by some wonderful local friends who generously gave us meal support for six days. Thank you to Jill V, Shannon, Jill D, Hannah, Jaime and Carmela!
Chris is doing really well, almost back to normal, but he still has to be careful not to do too much. He's more tired and sore at the end of the day, but this morning he reported feeling great. He was back to work last week and there have been no complications. He's still taking Tylenol as needed, usually at night, but overall is not feeling pain at all.
So far, so good! I believe that as Jerry is taken off the different medications, things can become a little more up and down and the risk for rejection is still there. We must continue to hope for the best and trust that Jerry is strong and will make it through this.
Again, thank you to everyone who is sending prayers and love and good vibes Jerry's way! Both Maddy and Jerry appreciate all the love and hearing from everyone, please continue to send them emails, or email me and I can forward it along.
Read the next installment - Part Nine: 93% Chris