Saturday, November 9, 2013

Day 19: It Worked!

Great news today... Krista's white blood count jumped way up to 1.0! That's an incredible jump (yesterday it was 0.2). The importance of this is that it means that the transplant was successful and that the stem-cells have engrafted, setting up a new blood factory in Krista's bone marrow. This begins a whole new phase of her treatment.

In the short term, she's going to be having bone pain associated with the startup of the new blood factory. Krista has been having intense lower back pain today, which may be related to that. She also may have some muscle strain from an awkward reaction to putting pressure on a bruise on her shin as she was getting into bed last night. (She's got a lot of bruising from having low platelets, but the shin one was from bumping into some furniture the other day -- quite a painful welt!) There's not much relief for the back pain, though they've added muscle relaxers and that seems to take the edge off. Also, she's getting platelet transfusions now at 30k (instead of 20k) because of her bruising. She was at 27k tonight and just got another transfusion.

Krista's been having less trouble swallowing now, so they are slowly transitioning some of her IV medicines back to pill form. That's an important step to getting released, since you can't bring an IV home with you. Release can't happen until her white count goes up to the normal range (I think that's between 4.0 and 6.0), but that is not likely to happen for another week or two. Once they release her, we will go to the on-campus apartments called "The Village" where we'll stay for 3-4 weeks for daily observation as they try to manage the inevitable Graft-Versus-Host Disease (GVHD). They're now starting to look for signs of GVHD in Krista.

It was great to have Jannelle and Glenn here again, so I could take an extended break and do some errands like shopping, laundry and showering. I missed the majority of the music therapy session Krista got today, involving playing buffalo drums, deep resonating hand drums, like a large tamborine without chimes. The exercise reduced Krista's blood pressure more than the medicines have been able to. Krista asked me if there was a verse about music being good for health, but I couldn't find anything specific. Actually, most of the verses I found referring to music fall into two camps: worship and warfare. I like to apply the warfare aspects to health concerns, since it is a battle with life and death on the line. This one feels appropriate for today, especially the part about singing in bed.
Praise the Lord.
Sing to the Lord a new song,
His praise in the assembly of His faithful people.
Let Israel rejoice in their Maker;
let the people of Zion be glad in their King.
Let them praise His name with dancing
and make music to Him with timbrel and harp.
For the Lord takes delight in His people;
He crowns the humble with victory.
Let His faithful people rejoice in this honor
and sing for joy on their beds.
(Psalm 149:1-5)

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