Sunday, January 11, 2009

Conditioning Treatments

This week's schedule is an important one for us. Tyler has some standard appointments early in the week (we'll see our nurse and nutritionist and get some blood drawn), but the big stuff starts on Thursday. That is the day that he becomes the Bubble Boy. He's scheduled to receive his therapeutic dose of the radiolabeled antibody at UW, as he begins his isolation.

The therapeutic dose is the amount of medicine needed to treat the disease, so this is the first (and most important) step of Tyler's transplant conditioning. The goal of the conditioning is to prepare Tyler's body to accept the new marrow. This particular treatment injects Tyler with radioactive antibodies that seek out the cancerous cells and kill them off from the inside. As we saw in the Gamma scans, the radiation from the test dose moved into Tyler's marrow, his spleen, and his liver. These are all blood heavy areas of the body, so you can imagine how the full dose will be attacking the cancerous cells in his blood to kill the disease.

Tyler will be measured for the amount of radiation that he is emitting and we will be told how close we can get to him. He will be emitting gamma rays, so there is danger if we get to close to him. For that reason, the nursing staff will limit their visits to him.

In addition, anything that Tyler touches will become radioactive. So, anything that goes into the room with him will stay there with him for the entire time. Any food that he orders and doesn't eat will stay there with him for the entire time. Ideally, we'll throw away most of what goes into the room with him, but for the stuff that we want back... The UW will monitor it for radioactivity and return it to us at a later date, usually about 90 days later.

We plan to have Tyler take a computer in, so that he can read e-mails if he is feeling well enough. Other than that, he'll be spending a quiet weekend at UWMC. Our hope is that the side effects will be kept as small as possible, although we are worried about a recurrence of the mucositis.

Day -16 until transplant

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