We are counting down the days! We are 18 days from transplant, 12 days from hospital admission, and 6 days from Brandon’s pre-transplant conditioning!
Today, Brandon had a CVC (central venous catheter) placed in his chest that will be used for the duration of his transplant journey. This catheter will be used to administer medications and fluids, draw blood, and transfuse blood products including his donor’s stem cells!
We are happy to announce that Brandon was randomized for the 13 days of pre-transplant chemotherapy (rather than 20 days), which allowed him to stay on his leukemia trial for one week longer.
Brandon’s pre-transplant chemotherapy will begin next Wednesday (6/29) with a small test dose of the cornerstone chemotherapy. He will have his blood drawn every hour on the hour (for 12 hours total) to determine how his body metabolizes the medication. This will be used to calculate the exact dose that Brandon will receive once he is admitted into the hospital. Brandon will be given another dose of this medication on Thursday (6/30) as well.
Brandon will be admitted into the hospital on July 5th and the heavy conditioning will begin the following day. Brandon will receive three (very strong) different chemotherapies daily from the 6th through the 9th. Then, on July 12th, Brandon will celebrate his second birthday as he receives his donor’s stem cells.
After that, it will be a waiting game as we anxiously wait for the stem cells to engraft in his bone marrow. This usually takes occurs anywhere between 10 to 14 days after transplant. Once engrafted, the donor’s cells will start to multiply and produce new blood cells for Brandon. During this time, his blood type will start to change from O+ to A+ as more and more blood cells are being produced by the donor’s stem cells.
Once Brandon has fully engrafted and has produced a certain number of neutrophils (the most important type of white blood cell) he will be allowed to leave the hospital. Most stem cell transplant patients are usually hospitalized for the first 30 days of their transplant journey.
The first 100 days post transplant are the most crucial as the stem cells are becoming fully engrafted and starting to multiply. This is when most complications can occur such as graft failure, disease relapse, graph verses host disease (where the donor’s cells attack the recipients body), and severe infection. Please continue to keep us in your prayers, especially during this time.
Though chemotherapy works to place leukemia patients in remission, the cancer often remains in trace amounts throughout the bone marrow and usually relapses. A successful stem cell transplant is the ONLY curative treatment for leukemia. We are so hopeful that Brandon’s transplant will be a success and that he will be able to live a long and happy leukemia-free life after this is all behind us!
Thank you all so much for your continued love and support. We are here today because of your kindness!
I can’t wait to share more exciting news in the weeks and months to come!