Today, as I write this blog entry it’s as if it were yesterday; our 17-month old baby was so happy and full of life. Sherrie and I were convinced if we could get Brady’s cancer into remission and have a bone marrow transplant procedure we would beat this disease. We worked our tails off to get Brady the BEST of care and we were convinced he was being treated by some of the top doctors in the world. Two years later and it’s oh so real and oh so heartbreaking. Pediatric cancer knows nothing about race, religion, ethnicity, economic status or political convictions; it attacks everything in its path and destroys everything in its way. It must be stopped.
On Sunday, January 22nd the Hugs for Brady Foundation in conjunction with Confectionately Yours and the Red Cross will be conducting a blood, platelet & bone morrow drive, please take the time to stop by and donate. It doesn’t take long and you will be helping so many people in need. Our son was kept alive because of generous and caring donors like you. You can schedule an appointment by contacting Rosana of the American Red Cross at: 215-908-5184 or via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Two years ago; this is what was going on in our lives; it seems like yesterday.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 5, 2010 8:23 PM, EST
Well, the visit to CHOP went as well as anyone could expect. Brady will be undergoing a bone marrow transplant (BMT) sometime in mid-February. But first, he will start his 3rd round of chemotherapy this coming Thursday at the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick and we should be there for approximately 4 – 6 weeks. Once his blood count levels are stable and hopefully his cancer is in remission, it will be off the CHOP for 2 – 4 months depending on how many “speed bumps” he encounters during this process. Once out of CHOP Brady will be more or less isolated from the world for 2 – 6 months; this is to allow his immune system the necessary time to develop without any added stresses.
But back to our visit today: the BMT unit at CHOP is a very modern, clean and well equipped facility. The staff seems professional and quite courteous. Dr. Bunin runs a very nice operation. There is a 2:1 ratio of patients to nurses and I think it’s safe to say Brady will have excellent care during his stay.
The BMT process starts with 11 days of “conditioning.” Conditioning is an odd phrase because it is during these 11 days that Brady will be receiving the harshest chemotherapy to date. His regimen will include: Busulfan, Cytoxan, and Thymoglobulin drugs. These drugs will basically totally destroy his bone marrow and make him ready to receive his blood cord BMT. These days are classified as minus days i.e.; -11, -10, -9, -8, etc. The actual bone marrow transplant will be an IV injection and we’ve been told rather anti-climactic and is Day Zero. The days after the BMT are positive days; +1, +2, +3, etc. On day +28 we will get our first report on how well the BMT is taking and hopefully some positive news.
The 2 to 4 weeks immediately following transplant are the most critical. The high-dose chemotherapy given to Brady during conditioning phase will have destroyed most of his bone marrow, virtually crippling his immune system. During the time it takes for the transplanted bone marrow to migrate to the cavities of the large bones, set up housekeeping or "engraft," and begin producing normal blood cells, Brady will be highly susceptible to infection and excessive bleeding. Numerous antibiotics, platelet and blood transfusions will be administered to help prevent and fight infection. Transfusions of platelets will be given to prevent bleeding. He will also receive medications to prevent and control graft-versus-host disease. Needless to say, this is about as serious as “things” can get and both Sherrie and I are scared to death.
So, it was a “fun” day and one we will remember forever. I think it might be a bit understated but please continue to keep our son in your prayers, thoughts and hugs – he needs ALL the help he can get!!!