We’ve started the last leg of this race today. We packed up a month’s worth of stuff, drove across the bridge, and checked into All Children’s for our 4-6 week stay for stem cell transplant.
Ezra is doing well – today was basically just prep work. He is getting a few different drugs to help out various things, and to avoid or lessen side effects the chemo can have. Tomorrow he will start the first of 4 days of a very high-dose intense round of chemotherapy drugs. These will completely wipe out his immune system – not weaken, but eliminate.
Next Monday – Wednesday he will rest. Thursday he’ll have the actual stem cell transplant – which in itself is non-climactic; they simply inject them into his line which he already has in his chest. Over the following 3 weeks, those stem cells will go to work rebuilding his immune system, creating new white blood cells, and building back up his bone marrow. Hopefully, by a month from today, we’ll be able to go home, and it looks like we may even be able to take Charley home with us then, too.
The room is nice – we’ve got a big LCD TV on the wall with streaming kids movies and TV, and even the internet on it. There’s another small LCD TV by Robyn and I’s couch/bed. Couchbed. We’ve got a view of downtown St Pete and the water, although a bit of an angle out the window. 😉 There’s a fridge where we put some Red Bull and some other horrible-for-you-but-effective-or-pleasant-tasting drinks. Like CocaCola. It’s a bigger room than any we’ve stayed in during our Tour dé Tampa Hospitals, but I can already tell it will only get smaller as the month wears on.
Please keep praying. This is a huge step in his treatment, and a long haul. It will still be scary, trying, and risky, but we know God still holds us in His hands. Though He never promised a road free of obstacles (or even a road, if I remember – seems it was a path ;), He promises joy from trials, beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; so we’ll be called trees of righteousness, and will glorify Him. If the testing of faith develops perseverance… we’ve got some. This month has seemed a long time coming, and yet I feel it got here quick. Once this is done, Ezra should be officially in remission. Then we still have after-care and various treatments he’ll get, but they are less intense than what he has been doing.
Charley should be coming home mid-June as well. We won’t know if he has any permanent brain damage from the bleeds he had early on until 1-2 years from now. His shunt seems to be working well, and they have decided it’s good where it is. He’s breathing more and more on his own, although he still needs a respirator to help him. His lungs are in bad shape, but are getting better, and the doctors say this is normal, and kids build new lung tissue all the way til they are 2 years old, so he has plenty of time to get them in tip-top shape.
Ezra is sleeping, and they will wake him at 6 to get vitals and start a bunch more pre-chemo drugs running, then begin the chemo around 1-2.
Here we go…