I am going to postpone my “Preparation for Iraq – Part II” blog post until next time. Today I am going to discuss my brother-in-law’s bone marrow transplant.
His name is Larry Clark. Larry is 64 years old and turns 65 in September of this year, 2015. He was diagnosed with leukemia just before Thanksgiving last year. First he went through chemotherapy to put the leukemia in remission. He lost a lot of weight prior to the diagnosis. His normal weight is about 230 pounds which makes him look thin on his 6’7” frame. After the initial round of chemo his weight was down to 170 and his strength was gone. It took a couple of months of good food and moderate exercise to regain the strength necessary for the transplant.
He reported to the hospital on May 28th for his bone marrow transplant. His weight at check-in was 210.4 pounds. The doctors started him on a five day regimen of chemotherapy before the transplant. He lost ten pounds his first two days in the hospital. The feelings of hunger seemed to dissipate and the taste buds stop wanting anything. “Boost” vitamin-energy supplemental drinks increased in importance to keep him going.
The bone marrow donor is a female from Europe. That is all the information the transplant team will supply. The lady is a ten out of ten point match to Larry which increases the chance of success. The night after the final chemotherapy dose, the frozen bone marrow solution arrived from Europe and the bone marrow solution was administered. I am told the liquid looked like grapefruit juice.
This is the second day following the transplant and Larry is weaker, but still strong enough to take the required daily shower unassisted. He is extremely susceptible to infection since his white blood cell count was reduced to zero. For this reason visitors are limited and he has to wear a face mask to breathe filtered air when he leaves the room. Larry also tries to walk the halls at least once per day. He expects to leave the hospital before the end of June and the infection prevention protocols will stay in effect as his body starts rebuilding the bone marrow complex and blood creation ability.
Larry’s wife, Andrea is with him every day and keeps up with her job on the company computer while sitting in Larry’s hospital room near his bedside. Kathi and I visited on Sunday and again on Tuesday. I did not enter the room on Tuesday to limit introduction to unwanted bacteria. Carl Clark, Larry’s older brother drove in from Wimberley and visited with Larry this morning. Kathi plans to carry Larry a Rudy’s barbecue sandwich tomorrow – he thinks he may be able to eat that.
The transplant team and the clinic on the 8th floor of Methodist Hospital have been superb, including doctors, nurses, therapists, technicians and janitorial and administrative staff. I prefer you do not get sick, but if you do, Methodist seems to be a good choice to make.
|Memorial day decorations still on display at the hospital|
|Some of the staff on the eighth floor at Methodist Hospital|
|Larry and Andrea|
|Larry with a big smile|
|Larry looking good|