Monday, April 11, 2005

Last Chance To Dance

Yesterday, my brother-in-law, Bud, went into M.D. Anderson in Houston for his final chance at survival. Today, he gets a small dose of an experimental (clinical trial) form of chemo. The doctors will then monitor him to see how he reacts and to formulate what amount the final dose will be before the transplant. All of his bone marrow must be neutralized. He will be in for a month. As some of you might be aware, Bud has AML (Acute Myelogenous Leukemia.) He has been fighting this since January of 2004.

Originally, he was to receive a donor stem cell transplant. His siblings were all tested and none were considered to be viable. Fortunately, a matching donor was found. What is incredible about this donor is that he decided to donate bone marrow, too, on top of the stem cells. This is quite a nice gesture on his part, since it entails more work and pain to extract the marrow. My sister says it can take up to a week to retrieve enough. Then it must be flown in within 24 hours of the transplant. The doctors will give Bud bone marrow now instead of stem cells, which is a stronger treatment and much more beneficial than just the cells in fighting the leukemia. This man is not just out to help a little, he is out there to try to save someone's life. I wish I could thank him regardless of the outcome.

This is a one shot chance to live. It will work or it won't. The marrow transplant will be done on the 19th of this month. The first 72 hours after treatment are absolutely crucial. Since his body is pretty much in a state of nothingness at this point, the host cells have a chance to eat him up and destroy his organs. He will not have antibodies. The new cells are in total control. If these cells accept his body, then he is well on his way to recovery.

My mother is on her way to see him and my sister, Maggie. She left this morning from Orlando. I will be leaving to see them on the 23rd. I hope the news is music to my ears.

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