My brother (stem cell donor) and I will be going to Barnes in STL on Monday for blood work. We each have to give up about 15 vials in preparation for the donor lymphocyte infusion (DLI) on Friday. I don't have Friday's appointment time yet, but we'll both be there again for pheresis and the infusion. If all goes well I can come home immediately afterwards. I am expecting to get sick as a result of the DLI. We are trying to cause GVHD in hopes of also having GVL (graft versus leukemia) to fight the disease. From what I've read, GVHD of the gut, mouth, skin and eyes are most common. The seriousness varies. It could land me in the hospital or be controlled with prescription steriods. If it doesn't kill me, I have hope of remission. The risks are very similar to having another transplant in a lot of ways. I'm approaching it with much fear and trembling. I've never been the adventurous type, yet find myself doing experimental chemo and procedures in an attempt to save my life. Quite ironic coming from the person who would never consider white water rafting or sky diving. I read about a woman the other day with AML who has undergone four transplants. I told my mom I have more respect for her than any olympian I've ever heard of.
In the meantime I'm staying in. My ANC was down to 200 on Thursday, so my immune system is basically non-existent. I still have to go out for labs twice a week. On Thursday I received blood and platelets. My platelets had dropped to 7, and I expect to need more again soon because one infusion doesn't usually bring them up that much. I hate when they get so low, because it's a battle to get them up again. In the meantime I face a lot of risks, as well as discomfort (easy bruising, petechiae rash, etc). Gary has learned that mommy is fragile and tries to be very careful around me.