Preparing for Stem Cell Transplant – Day 1

I checked in on Tuesday, March 8th for my transplant. My first stop was Intervention Radiology to have a trifusion catheter installed in my chest. This one has three ports and will replace the PICC line in my arm. I was slightly sedated during the procedure, and when they were finished I had a cut near my collarbone (which was used to insert the catheter), then the tubing and bandage on my chest. The area was sensitive and the cut area was painful for about a week. Once the catheter was in place I was transferred to my new home in P2.

I was started on various premeds, then I was hooked up to numerous IVs by the afternoon. I was started on a chemotherapy regimen called BuCy2. I received four days of Busulfan, then two days of Cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan). These were a lot stronger than my last rounds of chemotherapy. I was immediately a lot more tired, and quickly had issues with my appetite and nausea. This started around the second day and last through the 6-day regimen. Once I was off that cocktail, I started feeling gradually better. I wasn’t able able to do much walking during the bad days and spent most of the day curled up in the bed. But as I started feeling better, I was able to eat more and didn’t need to keep a bucket close by.

I noticed that the taste of food is changing, but it’s different this time than last. I seems like this time that something is coating the inside of my mouth, almost like a greasy film. As a result, the grease in the food that I eat is magnified. For example, a piece of grilled butter toast tastes like it is soaked in butter. Soups have small bits of grease in the broth, but I can taste each one. Everything tastes like grease/gravy/butter. It’s better than the alka seltzer taste, but still not very appetizing.

The day before my transplant, I was feeling better and my mind was racing, so of course I couldn’t fall asleep. The staff also had to do vital checks, plus a blood transfusion (due to low hemoglobin) that ended up being delayed until around 3 am. I’m getting a lot of antibiotics, anti-rejection medications and other supplements – Magnesium/Phospherous (which the nurse call Meghan Fox)

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I am a cancer survivor and 2018 Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Man of the Year Candidate. I reside in Southfield, Michigan with my wife and two kids.

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