The days leading up to the transplant were quite eventful. Taleah felt great and only wanted to party. I kept thinking that this might possibly not be too bad...
We had dance parties, visits from princesses, tricks on nurses, photoshoots and so much more. I think she was actually happy to be there. The only downside was her "diet". She has a very restricted diet and the food has to be prepared a certain way.
The night before the transplant was extremely nerve wracking. I almost made myself sick. I kept Tait at the hospital with me because I had to check in at 5:45am. I just wanted everything to go right. And then your mind wanders... what if the person taking Tait's marrow gets in a car accident, what if the surgeon messes up, what if there isn't enough marrow... so many things.
I kept thinking that Tait had no idea what was coming, but I am pretty sure she did. She was so good and handled all of the pre-op stuff well. When the anesthesiologist took her back to the OR, she went happily and I wanted to cry. Such a big moment was about to happen and it needed to go smoothly.
The waiting was torture. It seemed like forever.
She recovered pretty well but was pretty sad. She wouldn't smile, nurse and pretty much slept.
Tait recovered for about 2 hours and then they let us go back upstairs while they prepared the bone marrow for the transplant. It was pretty amazing that the second we walked into the room, Tait looked right at Taleah and smiled. It was almost like she was saying, "I did it!" They laid in the pack and play together and the moment that I captured on camera was one that I will cherish forever. They looked right at each other, Tait grabbed Taleah's face and they just hugged. It was beyond special.
Tait slept most of the day. We waited for the estimated time of arrival for that special gold. Taleah requested that her face/head be painted. Susan (Taleah absolutely adores her) saved the day and worked really hard to make it happen and it looked great!!
The crew showed up. We sang a song and celebrated this wonderful miracle. She was a little overwhelmed but tried to soak it all in.
We had preliminary results on the bone marrow. They ended up taking the max amount from Tait which was 150 mls of bone marrow. They want the CD-34 cells to be in a range of 2-5 million to have successful results (it would take a day to get the exact count). They were thinking that Tait would be about 2 million and anything over 1 million would not require the use of the cord. It was a little difficult because of the different blood type and it took a while to remove as many red cells as possible without removing too many white cells that she will need. The BMT team was worried about having too many red cells for the transplant so they decided to divide it into 2 bags and pre-medicate before each. Apparently, that is not the norm so it freaked me out a little. It took about 7 hours to infuse it all through her line and had to be done SO carefully!!
At the end of the first bag, Dr. Pulsipher came in and informed us that the actual CD-34 cells for Tait's marrow was 10.6 million! We were beyond thrilled with that rich marrow. Way to go Tait!
Taleah still felt pretty great and even so the next morning. The fam was together for a quick minute and probably will not be for quite some time.
Now we wait. We endure things that I hear horror stories about. We wait for her body to accept Tait's marrow. It could take 15-40 days... no one knows. We will know when her ANC reaches 500 for 2 consecutive days. She has no immune system and is at risk to catch pretty much anything. I have limited visitors and trying to be extra clean.
Day 0 is the transplant and for Day 1 & 2 she has felt pretty good. Still wanting to play, joke with the nurses and have a great time. I loved every minute of it!!
Day 3 & 4
It is getting harder. She is struggling. She has mouth sores, in her throat and the lining of her insides. It seems extremely painful. She has stopped eating and drinking so she is being fed intravenously. She doesn't even want to play in her rainbow playroom. We have upped the pain meds and trying to stay on top of the nausea. The throwing up was a little out of hand on day 3 so I think we have a system figured out to help that issue. I sat and caught her throw up and watched her struggle to catch a breath and I wanted to cry. It seems like she kind of shuts down when she starts feeling crappy. She won't look at me or really even talk to me. She just stares into space and cries or whines. It makes me wonder why she has to go through this. I wish so bad that I could take it all away. When she is doubled over in pain, I want to hold her and switch places. It is really hard to watch your child suffer (as many people experience in so many other ways).
All while Taleah is struggling, Tait was still sore and needing some extra attention. Also, I sent Slade back to STG and he ended up fevering as well. It more than broke my heart that I could not be there for Taleah, Tait and Slade at the same time. I HATED that I couldn't be a mommy to all of them. I hated that Slade possibly didn't even want me because he has gotten use to the fact that mommy won't be there for him. It sucks pretty bad when you feel like you can't do your job and you feel like your 3 yr old is slowly slipping away from you.
It's a funny thing as a mom of young children... it's like you can never have a break and alone time sounds like heaven... yet I want them to need me because I need them.
I have also met a lot of moms that are pretty amazing. They all have their own story and it really is heart warming and heart wrenching all at the same time. I can't begin to explain the strength I gain from listening to them as well as the anguish I feel for them. This cancer world is something else.
I keep hearing that things will get worse before they get better. Makes me physically sick to think about it. However, it is expected and we will do our best to keep her comfortable. We will get through this. She is so tough and such a fighter. Praying for a speedy engraftment and very few bumps along the way.
*Rely on Miracles*