Her doctor still wanted to do a autologous stem cell transplant, even though the cancer was no longer visible. We were told that the previous chemotherapy and radiation together worked to "put out the fire" and that the stem cell transplant will "wipe up the ashes". This past Friday, Libby went through another chemo treatment in preparation for her upcoming stem cell transplant. They sent her home with a saline bag and pump in a suitcase that she had to roll around with her everywhere after the chemo treatment until the next morning when they unhooked it. Needless to say, it was very cumbersome to maneuver around a suitcase everywhere you move. (See photo below)
Today is the first day of Spring Break for most schools across the country. Luckily, I have the week off because of that. Part of Libby's upcoming treatment involves some serious chemotherapy that requires a line going in and out of her. Currently, Libby has a "power port" installed that only has one interveinous line. Right now, we are at the hospital preparing for Libby to have surgery where they will remove her power port and have a "trifusion" port "installed". After this procedure, she will have her first shot of a drug that will help boost her stem cell count. She will have to come to the hospital every day now for the next 6 days to get the same shot and some lab work.
Next Monday, Libby will start the process of stem cell collection. Rarely do they get enough stem cells on the first try, so they will probably have to try again they next day. Every time, they make her do the collection in the morning and then wait around until the afternoon to see how many stem cells they collected. If they dont have enough, they will give her another shot to boost her stem cell count and send her home to try again the next day. This will continue until they have enough collected to give back to her later on.
On March 31st, Libby will be admitted to the hospital for her official stem cell transplant. The next 6 days she will receive a couple different chemotherapy treatments. These will completely wipe out any trace of cancer in her body. At the same time, it will also weaken her immune system to almost nothing. The hospital will give her serious antibiotics to help keep her from becoming ill during this time. On the 7th day, she will rest. The next day after, they will give her back her stem cells they collected early on. From this point forward, she will remain in the hospital until she is healthy enough to come home.
Even when she does come home, her immune system will still be weak. Though, the doctor said it will be strong enough that she will be safe from any really bad diseases. Due to the state of her immune system, we will be limiting the amount visitors we have at our home for a little while. It would not worth it to have come this far and have her get sick with something else.
We cannot thank our family and friends enough for all the love and support you have given us. It is times like these that God humbles us by allowing ourselves to be vulnerable. In my own life, I have always been the type to want to handle everything on my own. God has shown me that it's "okay" to ask for help. Without our support network, this journey would be even harder. We are in awe of the many lives, many we don't even know personally, that care about us and think of us when they pray. To you, we are forever greatful. God has shown me personally time and time again through all of this that what we are going through is not only temporarily, but could be so much worse. There are many families who have to deal with cancer without hope. From the beginning, we were told that this is definitely beatable and we will get through this. Even though we have had several let-downs in this process, we have held on to that hope. Recently, the following verse has helped reminde us that there is something greater in store. It is my hope always that God gets the glory in all of this.
For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!" 2nd Corinthians 4:17 NLT