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10/13/05 20:34:48 - Transplant Day
Aren has been pretty sick over the past couple of days, a result of many of the medications that have been preparing him for the transplant. It was really sad. He slept for about 18 hours straight between Tuesday and Wednesday, waking only long enough to throw up, complain that his head, tummy and legs hurt, go to the bathroom (maybe) and fall asleep again. It was awful, seeing him that sick, but it was what we expected would happen the moment that he started the chemo. We’re just thankful that it took this long to get this bad. It’s ironic, however, that it wasn’t the chemotherapy that was making him sick. It was actually a different drug whose purpose was not to kill off any bone marrow but to prevent some of the white blood cells from attacking the new bone marrow.
But today was the big day. At about 3:00 this afternoon, the nurse brought in what looked like a bag of blood for a transfusion and hooked it up to Aren’s central line. We told Aren that it was his new bone marrow, and he stopped playing Pokemon just long enough to look at it and exclaim, “Wow! That’s COOL!” The infusion began. It had taken longer for them to get the cells to us because there was a blood type difference between Aren and his donor. Therefore, the marrow had to be scrubbed of white blood cells and plasma, in order to keep it from killing off the rest of Aren’s blood before the new stem cells could have a chance to engraft. Since it wasn’t whole blood, there were some interesting differences in consistency in various places along the IV tube. In some places, it looked like regular blood, while in others it was nearly clear. The most striking were the places where the consistency and color were eerily similar to the Tropical Punch Kool-Aid and Orange juice mixture my mother used to make when I was a kid.
After a while, the nurse said, “Aren, Guess what! You’re all done with your transplant!”
Aren sounded truly surprised. “Really?”
“How long did my bone marrow transplant take?”
“About 1 ½ hours”.
His transplant ended with the same sentence with which it began. “Wow, that’s cool.” And then he went back to his Pokemon.
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Aren is undergoing a bone marrow transplant to fix the immune system defects that caused the loss of his little sister, Lily. To learn more, click here.
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