can't believe what a rollercoaster you guys are on", a neighbor
told me on the phone the other day.
I usually think of the pursuit of a cure for cancer as a hostile
landscape that we are crossing, and in this landscape, even when
you think you can see where you are headed, new obstacles appear
without warning - and you have no choice but to go over or around
them. The unpredictability of the disease permeates the effort
to find a cure.
At Thursday's pheresis (stem cell harvesting) session, we learned
that the actual number of stem cells that were harvested from Mo's
blood is much lower than expected. He had another pheresis
session on Friday, along with a transfusion, as his red blood cell
count had dropped over the course of the week. The less-than-expected
harvest (about 40% of our goal) is not horrible news, because we
will still be able to use the stem cells after chemotherapy and
we will still benefit from their ability to quickly engraft (plant
themselves in the bones and start producing marrow and blood), Because
we can no longer harvest stem cells from the blood (the chemo he
was given 2 weeks ago created a small window of opportunity to harvest
the stem cells directly from his blood), we will also need to harvest
some bone marrow, which will also be frozen and then replaced after
the high dose chemotherapy. Like the stem cells, the bone
marrow will also find its way back into Mo's bones. Once it
gets there is will produce more bone marrow which will help restore
his blood. Because he will be a bit under the weather after
the bone marrow harvest, it has been postponed until after his Oct.
11 birthday party. It is scheduled for 10/17, and he will
be admitted to the hospital on 10/20 to begin high dose chemo.
with all things, Mo is taking this perfectly in stride. His
energy is a bit low, but his appetite remains good. Most importantly,
he remains high spirited and well adjusted to the situation. He
did quite a bit of homework during his 3 pheresis sessions last
week, and is caught up with his schoolwork. After a 2 month
break from chemo his hair had started to grow back fast and furious,
but then last week his eyebrows and eyelashes began to abandon ship
once again . This was of course quite annoying as hair was
getting in his eyes, so he stood in front of the mirror and removed
all the loose hair and put it in a paper cup. He put a sign
on the cup saying something like "please do not disturb my
former hair". One of his school assignments was to write
a paper about a haircut, so he wrote a beautiful story about the
first time he had his head shaved.
Mo played a game of laser tag at his friend Evan's birthday party.
It tired him out a bit to carry the heavy vest around for
1/2 hour, but he had a great time. He is really looking forward
to his birthday party next Saturday, which will be held at a bowling
and Tuesday will bring a gaggle of medical tests to be sure he is
prepared for the high dose chemo. We'll write more when we