This afternoon we came back from a wonderful holiday at Ulladulla, thanks to Yurana Cancer Kids Holiday Homes! We drove down the coast on Tuesday, and Stephanie and Jeremy enjoyed watching the blowhole at Kiama. They were so excited when we took them to Mollymook Beach - they loved to dance along the seashore, laughing as the waves tried to catch them! They were fascinated by the otters and meerkats at Mogo Zoo, and Jeremy liked to roar at the lions and tigers! We are very thankful that we could have a break together as a family, and make happy memories for the children, before Jeremy has to go back into hospital next Monday.
Although the plan is that Jeremy will have one week's chemo, then one week's break, then 4 days of TBI followed by his bone marrow transplant, the doctors expect that he will be in hospital from next Monday until after he recovers from his bone marrow transplant - ie. he will be stuck in hospital for a few months! We are hoping that he will be well enough to come home between chemo and TBI, but the doctors anticipate that he will be quite sick after his chemo and will need to stay in hospital.
We are thankful that there is suitable cord blood that will be used for Jeremy's bone marrow transplant. Basically, the aim of the chemo and TBI is to destroy any remaining blast cells and clear out his existing bone marrow, so that there is space for the cord blood to go into his bone marrow and start producing healthy blood cells. The cord blood will be given via a drip through his central line, and it will take several weeks for the cord blood cells to grow and start producing. Until such time, Jeremy will be very susceptible to infection and bleeding because he will have no immune system and no ability to create his own blood cells. He will require numerous red blood cell and platelet transfusions. He will be in a special isolation room in Camperdown Ward, which has its own air-conditioning. Even after he is eventually discharged from hospital, he will need to be isolated at home for a few months to allow his new immune system to mature - he will also need to have all his childhood immunisations redone!
We are also thankful that Ken's work has been so understanding and compassionate, and has allowed Ken to take leave so that he can spend lots of time with Jeremy and concentrate on helping our family through this difficult time.