It is now confirmed that I will be admitted to the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA on 5th June to have a bone marrow transplant on June 11th. This is still finally subject to the donor remaining suitable in every respect, as well as my own health staying viable enough for the specialist to continue the process.
Noel will have a central line put in on June 5th before being admitted to the transplant ward. From June 5-9, Noel will receive about 6 hours of chemotherapy each day to substantially reduce his bone marrow and immune system. After a ‘rest’ day on Sunday, June 10th, Noel will receive an infusion of bone marrow stem cells on June 11th.
As soon as the infusion has taken place, Noel will receive more drugs to make sure his system stays reduced enough for the new cells to start growing, and to minimize the possibility of their rejection.
From June 5-13, we anticipate Meryl will be with Noel during the day and stay overnight in someone’s home organized by Hospitality Homes. Hospitality Homes is a non-profit organization in Boston which places patients’ family with local folk prepared to offer hospitality in their homes.
Noel leaves the hospital for Hope Lodge on Wednesday, June 13th, remaining there until Friday, June 29th. Both Meryl and Noel will be together at Hope Lodge. Hope Lodge is run by the American Cancer Society. Noel describes Hope Lodge as a “Ronald McDonald House for Grown Ups”!
We hope to come home on June 29th.
Between June 14-29, Noel has progress monitoring appointments at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) on June 14, 17, 20, 22, 25, 27 and 29th.
For 5 or 6 weeks after coming home Noel and Meryl will make weekly check-up visits to Boston. Into the Fall, visits should gradually become less frequent.
Noel has been told to keep as isolated as possible for the first 100 days after the infusion. This takes us to about mid-September.
During the recovery phase, the most important things Noel has to do are:
· Minimize contacts with others, to avoid contracting any illnesses, diseases, colds etc.
· Eat carefully and excellently, meaning well cooked food with a known ‘history’, meaning eating food only cooked by Meryl. Fresh produce and fruit is not allowed, unless it can be proven to be ‘clean’. Milk products should be OK, as they are prepared from pasteurized milk. Frozen food looks also to be OK, after being thoroughly heated or cooked.
We are told that typically transplant patients immune systems are not considered viable enough for the patient to fully re-enter public activities, fly etc for a year after receiving the infusion. After the first 100 days, we are assuming Noel will be able to gradually rejoin society, as advised by his specialist. Noel is hopeful that as he works from home, he will be able to re-start doing phone/email/social networking activities that don’t involve face to face interaction before a year is up.
The time frame and time scales for everything are very open and entirely depend on Noel’s recovery progress day to day, week to week and month to month. The only plan Meryl and Noel have at this moment is for Noel to be a ‘good boy’, obey orders and to recover fully and as quickly as possible!
The medical aspects have now comprehensibly taken over our lives for the foreseeable future!
Please pray for:
- Full restoration of health, including a supernatural healing before the 4th June! [We are conscious that there is a Great Commission aspect to having to go through the transplant, however the Lord wants to work things out].
- For effective and good communication between us and the transplant team.
- That suitable and affordable accommodation will be available close to the hospital in Boston for Meryl from June 5th to 13th.
- Praise God that Hope Lodge, which is where I need to be, is available to us from June 13th to 29th.
- Pray for how we are going to react to the ‘outside world’, especially that our granddaughters, Charlotte and Lucy, whom we see most days, will not feel rejected by the different way we will have to relate to them for the foreseeable future.
- For sufficient finances to cover the myriad of things such as co-pays, co-insurance costs, car parking, extra accommodation costs, In the longer term pray for gas for the nearly 450 mile round trip between Glens Falls and Boston.
Above all, pray that the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Phil 4:7).