Transplant Day +19

“Hope is putting faith to work when doubting would be easier.”

Hey everyone, it’s transplant day +19. Today I am asking for all the thoughts, warm wishes, and prayers that you can give.

Brandon’s fevers have continued over the last few days and unfortunately we are still unsure what is causing them. Lots of different teams of doctors are all putting their heads together to figure this out, but at the moment there is nothing obviously wrong. They have continued to run tests and will be doing some more throughout the day tomorrow.

Brandon is already on a very strong regime of antibiotics and antivirals that should cover a large majority of pathogens. Unfortunately, these drugs can be very toxic to the body. Over the last few days Brandon’s kidney function tests have shown that his kidneys are under stress, likely due to the medications that he has been receiving. This leaves us in a difficult situation where adding more antibiotics may cause more harm than good.

Some changes have been made to his medications today to take some stress off his kidneys while the doctors try and determine the source of his fevers. Thankfully, his kidney function has improved a bit throughout the day. Ideally, they will be able to identify the source of the fevers and direct their treatment accordingly so that they can protect his organs as much as possible.

Brandon is in stable condition and nothing is immediately concerning at this time. It is, however, something that needs to be sorted out. Aside from his fevers he is overall feeling much better, which is why this is so weird! He’s not having any obvious symptoms that would point to any particular infection and so far all the tests have been unremarkable. We will be meeting with more teams of doctors tomorrow to get to the bottom of what’s going on.

On a more positive note, Brandon’s white blood cells have started to come up on their own over the last 24 hours. This will help to fight any possible infections that may be lurking about.

Thank you all for your love and support during this time. This is just a little bump in the road of recovery. Brandon is in the hands of an amazing team of doctors that are working hard to get this sorted out. I know that he couldn’t be in a better place.

Please keep Brandon in your thoughts and prayers, along with his wonderful medical team. We are hoping and praying for some clarity tomorrow so that Brandon can get on the proper treatment for whatever is going on.

I will keep everyone updated on Brandon’s progress.


Transplant Day +18


“No rain, no rainbow.”

Hey everyone! It’s transplant day +18!

The last 24 hours have been long; as Brandon has had various tests due to the high fever he had yesterday evening. The viral and fungal tests have all come back negative and no bacteria have been isolated from Brandon’s blood cultures. This is great news! Although, Brandon had a torso CT scan that revealed some fluid around his gallbladder. He is not currently in any pain in that area, but they are now thinking that he may have a gallbladder infection.  They will be doing more tests in the days to come to determine the source of the fevers and infection. I am praying that his current antibiotics continue to work and fight off whatever is causing problems.

Since Brandon has stopped with the G-CSF injections his white blood cell count has been trending downward. This is to be expected at this time during recovery. Unfortunately, this leaves him neutropenic and less able to fight infections. The plan is to give him another injection of G-CSF tomorrow to boost his white blood cell count back up a little bit. Hopefully this will help fight whatever bacteria keep causing these pesky fevers.

In exciting news, some A+ blood cells are being picked up in Brandon’s blood! He is still overall O+ (his original blood type) but the transition to A+ (his donor’s blood type) has started now that he has engrafted! This is a positive sign that things are continuing to progress in the right direction.

We also managed to get out and walk one lap around the transplant ward today! Today was the first time that Brandon has been able to leave the room in over a week and a half. This is such exciting progress! I am hoping that things continue to improve through the weekend.

Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as Brandon continues to work hard towards going home. We are hoping for late next week but that may be extended if his fevers continue. I will continue to keep everyone updated on his progress!


Transplant Day +17

“Never give up, great things take time.”

Hey everyone! It’s transplant day +17!

We got some exciting news today; Brandon’s doctors are aiming for discharge late next week! This is all considering that Brandon continues to improve over the weekend. Brandon is continuing to improve day by day and we are hoping that he makes huge progress by Monday.

A few things have popped up over the last few days that the doctor’s are keeping a watching eye on. Brandon’s partial thromboplastin time (PTT) has increased over the last few days. PTT is a blood test that determines how long it takes blood to clot. At the moment, it is nothing to be too concerned about since Brandon is not experiencing any bleeding. Since his PTT is getting progressively longer we met with a team of benign hematology doctors this afternoon. Their first thought was that his reduced clotting ability is being caused by a deficiency in vitamin K, which is used to make clotting factors. The human body is unable to store large amounts of vitamin K and relies on two different things to get the vitamin K that it needs. Vitamin K1 is found in green leafy vegetables and your gut bacteria produce vitamin K2. Since Brandon is no longer able to eat raw vegetables and has been on strong antibiotics for the last few weeks his body may not have access to the vitamin K it needs. They are going to be starting vitamin K supplements a few times a week to see if his blood clotting becomes more normalized. I am hoping and praying that it’s nothing more serious.

Unfortunately, Brandon has also spiked another 102-degree fever this evening. With this comes a whole new round of tests. They are currently drawing blood cultures from Brandon’s CVC and arm; and later tonight he will be having another chest X-ray and some other infectious testing. Aside from the fever, Brandon is feeling well so the doctors are not too concerned at this point. They are just being extra cautious with the possibility of a new infection. I’m sure we will be hearing from infectious disease tomorrow to see if they will be making any changes to his antibiotic regimen.

Although we are off to a rough start, we are hoping and praying for a good and uneventful weekend so that Brandon can be discharged later next week. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers. This Tuesday will mark one month in the hospital and we are ready to go home!

Thank you all for your love and support!


Transplant Day +17

Transplant Day +16

“You have to fight through some bad days to earn the best days of your life.”

Hey everyone! It’s transplant day +16!

Brandon has officially engrafted! Woohoo! Today Brandon’s white blood cell count was 4.7, with his ANC at 3.5. This means that the stem cells have accepted Brandon’s bone marrow as their new home. This is such amazing news and means that everything is on track for Brandon’s recovery.

At this stage in his recovery we will be more alert for signs of graph-verses-host disease (GVHD). This occurs when the donor’s cells start to attack the recipient’s body. Symptoms of GVHD can manifest in many different ways depending on the organ that the white blood cells start to attack. The most common organs affected by GVHD are the skin, upper and lower GI tract, and the liver. Brandon is currently taking an anti-rejection medication called tacrolimus that helps to suppress his immune system, making GVHD less likely. Thankfully, Brandon has not had any symptoms of GVHD and I hope this continues throughout his recovery.

The transplant team is starting to make plans for Brandon’s discharge. YAY! This is likely 10+ days out, but it’s wonderful to see some of the pieces falling into place. Brandon will continue on his IV antibiotics, antiviral medication, and pain medications throughout the weekend and the team will revaluate his progress early next week. If he improves over this time he can start to taper off his pain medications and slowly transition to a less intensive course of antibiotics and antivirals. Now that he has a white blood cell count things seem to be improving at a much faster rate.

Thank you all for your love, support, and prayers during this especially difficult time. We are so thankful and blessed.


Brandon is officially engrafted!


I’m pretty excited about it too!

Transplant Day +15

“Strength doesn’t come from what you can do. It comes from overcoming the things you once thought you couldn’t.”

Hey everyone! It’s transplant day +15!

We are officially 2 days into engrafting! Brandon’s white blood cell count is 6.9 today, with his absolute neutrophil count (ANC) at 5.71! One more day with his ANC above 0.5 and we can say that the stem cells have engrafted! We’re so close!

It is pretty exciting to see Brandon’s bone marrow making so many healthy white blood cells. I haven’t ever seen his neutrophil count this high! Since his white blood cell count is continuing to rise they have stopped the G-CSF injections. I am hoping that this will help ease the bone pain that Brandon has been experiencing from the over activity of his bone marrow.

Since Brandon is almost fully engrafted, the doctors are starting to take steps towards discharge (although this is still over a week away). Today, some of his IV medications were transitioned over to pills, which means less pumps beeping all day! As he continues to recover and heal his other IV medications will follow.

Brandon is continuing to improve day by day. We are so thankful that we are in such an amazing place and under the care of a wonderful team of doctors and nurses. We are all rooting for him every step of the way!

Thank you all for your love and support!


Thanks for your love and support!


Transplant Day +15



Transplant Day +14

“It’s supposed to be hard. If it weren’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great.”

Hey everyone! It’s transplant day +14!

Brandon’s neutrophils decided to join the party in a BIG way today. His white blood cell count went up to 2.7, with 2.3 of those being neutrophils! This is AMAZING! Between the doctors and I there were quite a few ‘white blood cell dances’ going on this morning. Once his absolute neutrophil count (ANC) is above 0.5 for three consecutive days it means he has successfully engrafted. One day down and two to go!

In other exciting news, Brandon’s levels of cytomegalovirus (CMV) have come down since they started the new antiviral treatment last week. He will continue on the CMV treatment until his new immune system is able to suppress the virus again, which may be a few months. Regardless, it’s great news that the virus is responding to the treatment and not causing any complications for Brandon.

Now that Brandon’s stem cells are starting to engraft, we will also start seeing his other blood cell counts rise as well. Today his platelets came up to 37! This is huge considering he has been receiving a platelet transfusion almost every day to keep them above 20. We will also start to see his blood type transition from 0+ to A+ and the donor’s cells engraft and start to make their own A+ red blood cells. This transition will slowly take course over a few weeks as the O+ red blood cells die and are replaced by A+ cells.

Brandon is still struggling with the side effects from the chemotherapy, but he is making steps in the right direction. The ‘chemo burn’ areas on his skin have slowly started to heal and the antibiotics have been effective in treating the infection. I am happy to report that he hasn’t run any fevers for quite a few days now.

Little by little we are working towards going home, although this is probably still a couple weeks out. Thank you all for your love and support during this time.


Transplant Day +13

“A river cuts through a rock not because of its power but its persistence.”

Hey everyone! It’s transplant day +13!

We are SO excited today because the neutrophils decided to join the party! Brandon’s white blood cell count is 0.5 and his absolute neutrophil count (ANC) is 0.42! Woohoo! We are getting so close to engraftment! Once Brandon’s ANC is at 0.5 for three consecutive days it means he has successfully engrafted. We’re getting there!

Brandon is making a little bit of progress day by day. This round of pre-transplant chemotherapy was extremely hard on his body and has caused many side effects. He continues to struggle with severe nausea and fatigue, although the mucositis (sores in his mouth and throat) appears to be getting a little bit better. He has also developed “chemo burn” in certain areas on his body, which is skin toxicity due the chemotherapy. All of these things are extremely painful and uncomfortable. With time and engraftment, things will start to improve more and more.

Brandon is doing his best to be as active as his body allows by sitting up and moving around the room throughout the day. He is also making a huge effort to continue eating, which is no easy task during transplant. During this experience most patients lose the ability to eat and have to be sustained with IV nutrition. We are extremely thankful that Brandon has been able to eat, even if it is very small amounts.

Despite not feeling well, Brandon is doing extremely well overall. This is a VERY difficult process and he is doing awesome. The doctors are very happy with where he is in his recovery.

Thank you all for your love and support. I look forward to sharing more good news tomorrow!


Transplant Day +12

“Nothing can dim the light that shines from within.”

Hey everyone! It’s transplant day +12!

Something very exciting happened today, Brandon’s white blood cell count went up to 0.1! This means that engraftment is starting! Woohoo! This is an exciting step in the right direction!

In the days to come you may hear us talking a lot about Brandon’s white blood cell count since it is a sign of how well the engraftment is going. The main thing we will be watching is his absolutely neutrophil count (ANC). Neutrophils are the most important white blood cells that act as the body’s first line of defense. Once Brandon’s ANC is above 0.5 for 3 days in a row it means that he has successfully engrafted. Since Brandon’s white blood cell count is only 0.1, they are unable to calculate his ANC. However, as his white blood cell count rises they will be able to determine what number of those white blood cells are neutrophils.

Brandon is continuing to get better a little bit day by day. The supportive care team is continuing to make small changes to his pain and nausea medications to make him more comfortable. The new antibiotics seem to be working well since Brandon’s temperature has come down considerably. He is slowly becoming more active and mobile, and starting to eat a little more as well. Slowly but surely things are progressing in the right direction.

Thank you all for your love and support. I can’t wait to share more good news as Brandon’s new stem cells start to work their magic.




Transplant Day +11

“The struggle you’re in today is developing the strength you need for tomorrow.”

Hey everyone! It’s transplant day +11!

Brandon is still not feeling well but we are continuing to make steps in the right direction. His pain is being better managed with the PCA pump, which is finally allowing him some time up and out of bed. So far, the new antibiotics seem to be working since he hasn’t run any high fevers since yesterday.

Brandon’s white blood cell count is still zero, which is to be expected at this stage in the transplant process. He continues to receive platelet and red blood cell transfusions almost daily to support his body during this transition. He has also been receiving daily injections of G-CSF to help stimulate the stem cells towards engraftment.

I am hoping that he continues to feel better day by day. Once the stem cells start to engraft he should be progressing by leaps and bounds. The doctors don’t anticipate his engraftment to start until day +14 at the earliest; but we’re getting so close!

We are continuing to take things day by day. Today we’re making baby steps in the right direction!

Thank you all for your love and support!



Transplant Day +10

“Happiness isn’t about getting what you want all the time. It’s about loving what you have and being grateful for it.”

Hey everyone! It’s transplant day +10; we’re in double digits!

Unfortunately Brandon is at the point where he is getting hit from all angles. Heavy chemotherapy takes quite the toll on the body. Between the fevers, bone pains, migraines, lack of sleep, mucositis, and some skin breakdown and irritation he is extremely uncomfortable.

Though today was another difficult day, we took a lot of positive steps in the right direction. Brandon’s pain is being much better controlled after some minor adjustments to his pain medication. He also managed to get an uninterrupted nap this afternoon, which is almost impossible to manage in the transplant ward. And although he is eating very little, he is still eating (which is more than most people can say at this point). We’re doing our best to focus on the positive!

After a week of ongoing fevers and many changes to his antibiotics, the transplant doctors decided to consult with the infectious disease team. It sounds much more terrifying than it is, I promise. The infectious disease doctors are good at finding the source of ongoing fevers when no infection has yet to be found.

Many months ago Brandon had some skin breakdown and irritation that became infected and required many weeks of IV antibiotics and white blood cell transfusions to control. They suspect that this may have flared back up and may be contributing to his fevers. They have done a whole overhaul on his antibiotics in hopes that a different combination will be more effective. They will continue to watch him closely in the days to come, but hopefully this new treatment does the trick. His white blood cells should also start to come back very soon, which will help to fight any infection that may be brewing.

We are continuing to take this adventure day by day and make the best of what we’re given. We are so blessed to be here dealing with the side effects of the transplant process. We could just as easily have been still struggling to get into remission. Though this journey is hard, we are happing to be walking it.

Thank you all for your love and support. We are excited for the stem cells to start engrafting any day now. Please send thoughts and prayers our way to help these little guys get moving!