(Courtesy Brian Boechler)
Hi Friends and Family,
We’re now a few days past the one month anniversary of Luke’s stem cell transplant and things are on track and seem to be going well. We met with the doctor yesterday PM and he indicated he was pleased with Luke’s progress. We’ll meet with him again on Monday and he’ll decide then if 1 visit per week will be sufficient. Some issues still persist with the digestive tract, but the doctors expect them to take care of themselves shortly as the healing takes place. Both the chemo and radiation takes their greatest toll there, so it takes a while to get back to normal. His blood levels are coming along - after shooting up early, they have slid a bit and now are progressing slowly. The platelets have been the slowest to return, which is common – hopefully they’ll pick up as eating normalizes. It appears the liver damage Luke sustained in the earlier rounds of chemo is gradually taking care of itself and his enzyme levels are close to normal. This damage has led to what is called Veno -occlusive Disease which slows the return of blood from the organs and extremities, so there is a bit of swelling in the legs and abdomen – causing a little discomfort. This condition is common with transplants and the doctor feels it will take care of itself with time (a few weeks to months). This is the most likely cause of the slower recovery in the platelets.
Luke’s spirits have been good and he’s keeping strong – the good news yesterday really lifted a weight off his and everyone’s shoulders. The weather’s been quite nice so we’ve been able to spend most afternoons walking along the Bow River near our condo. We are getting into a bit of a routine since he was released from hospital nearly 2 weeks ago - normalizing things immensely. Calgary – which seemed so big when we first arrived has become familiar and trips to Costco (which seemed about ½-way to Edmonton before) are actually quite short now. Found a Chinese restaurant that makes Wor Wonton soup rivallng that from Peking House in Regina – so life is good!
As Luke begins to feel better he‘s ready to do more, but the immuno-suppressing drugs he’s on to minimize any rejection response from his new immune system (against his tissues) leave him more vulnerable to the many “bugs” around, so he can’t or shouldn’t do much around crowds. So as he’s feeling better, boredom becomes more of an issue – and no doubt, we can all appreciate how much fun it must be for a 20 year old to hang with mom and dad non-stop! Got to give him credit he handles it remarkably!
Thanks to each of you for your thoughts and prayers – it has been so much appreciated. Every little card, text, or email Luke receives and when he sees his orange “Love for Luke” bracelets showing up in so many places (esp. on TV) - you need to know that Luke takes notice – and treasures each and every gesture of support. He doesn’t say much, but his smile says it all.
Thank you all for your wonderful support – we’ll try to keep you up to date as things continue to evolve.