All through the first round of chemo (induction) we were daily and diligently watching Brandon's blood counts. At the time we needed to see them hit zero (to indicate death to the cancer) and then rise (to show the recovery of Brandon's immune system).
Now we are back to the daily report. This time we are looking to see evidence that the newly transplanted stem cells have engrafted and are starting to grow into a new HEALTHY immune system. The speed at which this happens varies from one person to the next, but depends heavily on the match quality (related donor is best, Brandon was lucky to find a non-related 10/10 match) and on the Graft vs Host Disease (GVHD) that can occur.
Well we are THRILLED to report that at day +12 (12 days post transplant), Brandon is starting to show signs of success (knock on wood). His platelets have started to rise on their own and his white blood cell count has increased ever so slightly!!
In terms of how Brandon is feeling - the last 3 days have been REALLY tough - the toughest thus far. His mouth and throat are covered in sores and these are so painful that he can't eat or drink anything (not even water) and he can't even speak. They are giving him some morphine which dulls the pain a bit and allows him to sleep. He has lost quite a bit of weight already and his hair has fallen out again. Apparently he should start feeling better as his numbers continue to increase so we are hopeful that in a few days there will be some relief.
As for his spirit - what can I say? It is inspiring!! This Friday will be Brandon's birthday and he is 'convincing' his Dr that he will be home to celebrate. I hope this one birthday wish can come true so that he can spend it with the kids!
So he fights, and we wait -We celebrate the great news and we hope the tough moments start to diminish.