The Results Are In
I know some of you are anxiously awaiting the results of Kevin's first post transplant visit with Dr. Flynn today. We were delayed getting home because the traffic on I 94 went into the "stop and crawl" mode, so it took a bit longer then expected and we didn't get home until after 7 pm. I was physically and mentally exhausted from a stressful morning at work and then rushing down to the cities and battling the heavy traffic coming back.
Some good news! Kevin's second skin (his double lumen Hickman—central line) was pulled today! After 6 months of putting up with 2 tubes hanging down from his chest, that was a welcome relief. He did not shed any tears of regret over losing that piece of hardware. This also means that for his weekly lab draws, he will have to go to Centra Care clinic, since Option Care isn't able to do them in the home now that the central line has been pulled. The counts are still much lower then the normal levels, but are coming up as fast as can be expected.
We also found out today that all of Kevin's immunities from his immunizations are void, since the old bone marrow has been wiped out. This means he won't be protected from pneumonia and meningitis since the shots he received before starting college won't be effective. He has to wait a year before he can get the immunizations again, and then will need all of the boosters as well. So with his immune system still compromised and no protections from immunizations this next year, he will be at a high risk of infections, especially living in a college community setting. I'll just have to post a notice to all the Johnnies: "You are not allowed to have any colds, flu's, or infections of any kind for the next 9 months." I don’t think that is too much to ask for the pleasure of having Kevin in their midst!
Dr. Flynn also discussed the possibility of Kevin undergoing more radiation treatments in the area of the heaviest concentration of tumor cells--his chest--to stack the odds on the "cure" side. We will be meeting with a radiologist in the near future to discuss the benefits of doing more radiation to decrease the risk of another relapse. But due to the amount of permanent damage to Kevin's lungs from the first radiation in 2005 and the fact that he has already received the maximum amount of radiation his body should have, it is a gamble between ensuring a cure and causing more damage. So Kevin still has some hurdles over and above just getting his energy level back and putting on some much needed weight. Kevin will also now be turned back over to Dr. Bendel and Mpls Children's and will have his first post treatment tests and scans in a month, pending the decision on the radiation.
He is feeling better every day and slowly getting back into his normal activities. Over the weekend, he was able to enjoy the outdoors with some old high school buddies and then had friends over for a L.A.N. party. It felt so good just to see him being able to enjoy normal things again. As I looked at the 5 sets of "huge" shoes in our front entry, my heart felt so happy. It was like old times before the big C took over his life.
I will post blogs whenever Kevin has his checkup visits to let everyone know the results and also let everyone know about the radiation consultation and decision when it occurs. We all want to thank everyone for the ongoing support, humor, and encouragement provided in your guestbook entries. Feel free to continue signing the guest book as the entries are always enjoyed and appreciated. I'll continue to update you periodically on Kevin's progress, but I won't be making regular entries from here on out. Kevin, as well as Dick and I, just want to reclaim our lives and enjoy what is left of the summer.