Tests & Classes

I thought I would update the page while John is enjoying his full-body MRI. These first two weeks of diagnostic testing have examined every organ and orifice and testify to SCCA’s attention to detail. So far John is passing all of his tests and is on track for the transplant procedure.

We spent 6 hours at the clinic yesterday and attended 2 classes that are critical to a successful transplant in an outpatient setting. The first was all about food safety and infection control. I think I’ve been fairly conscientious in this department, but will definitely have to step it up several notches over the next few months. Because the transplant process virtually strips the patient of his immune system, he is extremely vulnerable to food-borne illnesses and germs from any source, including pets, plants, building construction, etc. Soap, hand sanitizer, (perhaps even masks) and bleach will be our friends during this period of immunosuppression.

The second, more comprehensive class covered “Managing Care in the Home”, geared toward all those who serve as caregivers. We don’t have an appointment yet for insertion of the Hickman Catheter but expect it will happen early next week. This surgery is the first step in the actual transplant process, and is often performed by the line’s inventor, Dr. Hickman. We are definitely working with the experts here! Once inserted, all drug administration, blood draws, infusions, etc. are handled through the line, sometimes by the caregiver (yikes!). Much information yesterday on what to do in case of emergencies, which I hope we never have to face, but if so we are prepared.

There is a lot to learn about this illness and the treatment procedures, and we are becoming well educated. This weekend we will attend a Patient & Family Seminar hosted by the International Myeloma Foundation, with many of the nation’s MM specialists leading the discussions. Coincidentally and fortunately for us, the Seminar is in Seattle for the only time this year.

Thanks to everyone for checking in. We really enjoy reading your messages while we are on this journey.


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