Saturday, March 31, 2012

Transplant Day -3

Sam finished up with radiation yesterday and received a big dose of Etoposide this afternoon.  He's feeling OK, but the cumulative effects are beginning to take a toll. 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Transplant Day -5

The countdown continues.  Sam's been going back and forth to radiation 3 times a day.  It's tiring for him and he looks like he's been in a tanning bed for far too long, but overall he's handling it all very well.  We've been placing bets on what Xmen superpower he will have after all this radiation.  A few of Sam's favorite nurses from other floors and buildings have tracked him down to come say hello (and to make sure he's eating, drinking and moving).  It makes such a big difference in his day to get to see some familiar faces. 

Here are some pictures from the week.

Sam's new high power pump

They're very serious about germs.

The view from his room.

Our photo wall.  Sometimes the doctors and nurses get so distracted looking at our pictures they forget all about Sam.

A music therapist stopped by to sing a little John Denver and Otis Redding.

Walking the halls with his awesome physical therapist.

Sam doesn't have much of an appetite, but sometimes I can get him to suck down one of Jack's chia fruit pouches.

Thank you again to everyone for sending their support and love.  Please know that we are grateful to all of you even if we don't have the chance to respond individually.  We really cannot express how much it means. Many of you are asking what you can send.  DVDs, puzzles, things to pass the time and keep Sam's mind sharp are greatly appreciated.  He can't eat outside food, and they won't let any plants or flowers into the room.  Thanks again!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Transplant Day -8

Today went great.  Sam had a Hickman Line placed early this morning.  This is an intravenous device that will be used to give medications, fluids, blood transfusions and his new stem cells.  It was a relatively quick procedure, and he was settled into his new room by early afternoon.  Here's his new address for at least the next 3 weeks if you'd like to write:

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital
attn: Sam Tripson, room 815
1275 York Ave
NY, NY 10065

Sam will be getting 3 rounds of high dose radiation every day for the next 4 days.  After that he'll have one last big dose of chemo along with some drugs to help suppress his immune system.  All of this will be leading up to the day he actually gets his infusion of new stem cells, Day 0.  I'll try to keep you all updated as best I can.  Thank you for all of the prayers and well wishes.

Sam's new Hickman Line
Thankfully they found a longer bed.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Trip Back Home

We were able to travel back home to Florida last week and it was amazing!  We promised the doctors we would lay low and not be around big crowds so we didn't tell anyone we were coming.  We're bummed we missed some of our most favorite people, but it was wonderful to be back.  I don't think either of us has ever appreciated our house, our little backyard or the insanely bright Florida sunshine so much.  And to have Jack back in his own room brought tears to my eyes.  It was all so incredibly normal- the perfect break before transplant. 

The Pitmans heard rumors of our return and surprised us with a visit.  I tried to get some pictures of their adorable baby Lee...

but someone didn't want to share the spotlight

Friday, March 16, 2012

We're going to transplant...for real this time!!

We just got word that they've scheduled Sam to be admitted for transplant on March 26!  This is very exciting news.  As it turns out, all three of his perfect matches ended up backing out for one reason or another.  The good news is that we still have a donor, and though she may be a partial match (9 out of 10), we hear she's very excited about the whole process and has been wanting to donate from the very beginning of the search.  Because we're moving forward with a partial match, his team has tweaked their strategy, modifying their drug choices and now being super cautious and conservative with their graft-versus-host prevention plan.  They keep reminding us that his previous treatments have been the playoffs and we're about to go to the Super Bowl.  We say bring it! 

Friday, March 2, 2012

Hospital Life

Sam just got home from his 15th round of chemo.  His doctors decided to do one more round to keep the cancer at bay while they work on prepping the next donor for transplant.  Since the risk of developing leukemia was far too high with another round of Augmented ICE, they decided to go instead with one big dose of cytarabine (Ara-C).  Aside from being assigned the worst room in the hospital, everything went well and we're so very happy to be back in our apartment.

Waiting 5 hours to be admitted

Getting hooked up to chemo

I try to negotiate our stays to include a Thursday night since that means blackjack in the Rec Room.  Competition can be fierce, but only patients can win prizes.  I have to remind myself that these people have life threatening diseases when they hit on 17 and split their 10's.  Here's a picture of this week's champ!  

Walking the halls.  All patients (if they're able) are encouraged to get out of bed and walk around.

The Patient and Visitor Pantry.  Free water, coffee and juice.  There's one on every floor.

And, just a side note about Jack's birthday pictures from my last post.  They were adorable pictures, but, I have to admit, wildly misleading.  I baked him a little white buttermilk cake with vanilla bean frosting.  Anyone who knows me knows that my whole heart, soul and being was baked into that cake. So, you can imagine my distress when the little stinker didn't even take a bite!  I know, he sure hammed it up for the camera, but aside from a slight lick of frosting, he didn't even try it.  He ended up eating a diced up sweet potato and a hard boiled egg for dinner.  On his 1st birthday!  And yes, I'm still heartsick.