Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Successful Surgery!

Sabine went into the hospital yesterday in order for the surgeons to take a look at her fistula hookup that was causing some swelling in her arm and chest area. As even a medical layperson like me can see in the enclosed x-ray, those veins looked a little swelled up. They needed to do this to make sure that the fistula will work in the future when we start to use it (after the impending stem cell transplant).

The docs went in and found all this backing up of the blood flow and after a few attempts with wires, were able to use a laser to open up the vein. While they were doing this they also replaced Sabine's tunnel catheter (which was over a year old and could have caused future problems. And, as you can see on the second x-ray photo, things look a lot better and less constricted and "ballooned." (see below).

So after about three hours of surgery she came back to the recovery room, ate some food and we headed home. It was a tiring, but successful day thanks to the fine work of Drs. Yevzlin and Chan!

Sabine got a good night's sleep despite the new holes and stitches in her body.

This morning we used the new catheter for dialysis and while I was a little wary as to how it would work it turned out just fine and we got some very low pressure readings (good) as we began the procedure.

This afternoon we have our monthly clinic appointment at the dialysis center in Madison and then tomorrow we meet with Dr Sheehan and perhaps will discuss the next steps we have to take on the stem cell journey. While this procedure is really scary it will hopefully and prayerfully give Sabine a longer time between chemotherapies. If all goes well, and the transplant takes, she could go a year or more without chemotherapy and give her a higher quality of life plus some longevity. Your prayers for a successful cell transplant will be greatly appreciated!

This is from the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation website:

"Autologous stem cell transplants refer to stem cells that are collected from an individual and given back to that same individual. Autologous transplants are also referred to as autografts and are by far the most common type of transplant performed in myeloma patients today. With this type of transplant, the patient's stem cells are obtained prior to high-dose chemotherapy, frozen, and stored if necessary, and are then given back afterward.

"Several studies have shown that high-dose chemotherapy with autologous stem cell transplantation improves the response rate, event-free survival and overall survival in myeloma over that obtained with conventional chemotherapy..."

You can read more at http://www.multiplemyeloma.org/treatments/3.03.02.php