Ashtyn has finished her second day in the hospital finishing up her preparation for her bone morrow transplant that will occur tomorrow. She is experiencing the effects of her eight previous radiation treatments and does not feel well. Nausea comes and goes. Sometimes it’s a mild, lingering feeling. Other times the nausea comes as an intense wave. All in all, she has a generalized “icky icky” feeling. Her will-power is impressive. Most of the time she can breathe through the nausea as I sit behind her with one hand on her forehead and one hand on her stomach. She has only thrown up twice in the last two days. She continues getting nutrition through her NG tube in the form of formula. The longer she can tolerate feedings in her stomach the better.
Medications she is currently taking include: Prevacid and Reglan to help with digestion. Dexamethasone, Ativan, Benadryl, Phenergan, and Zofran to help with nausea. Flagyl to treat her current C-Diff diagnosis. Acyclovir to keep her cold sore virus from flaring up. Mesna to help prevent damage to her bladder from the chemo that was given. Pentamidine was given to help prevent a certain type of pneumonia seen in immunocompromised patients. She also received a high daily dose of the chemo drug cyclophosphamide for two days. A transfusion of IVIG (intravenous immune globulin) was given which is a collection of antibodies that may help to prevent some viral and bacterial infections. Cyclosporine is a medication she gets to prevent rejection of Chandler’s new immune system. It will be given to Ashtyn for roughly a year and stopped when there is clear evidence that rejection is no longer a threat.
In about five days she will start feeling the complete effects of the radiation, chemo, lack of marrow, and absence of white blood cells in her body. The doctors and nurses will spend their time giving supportive care to prevent and treat infections, side effects of treatments, and complications. They will deal with side effects of medications, radiation, chemotherapy, and neutropenia (low white blood cells). They will support her while she is deficient in nutrition, experiences pain from mucositis, deals with high blood pressures from excess fluid, and other possible issues with her lungs related to fluid and/or narcotic effects. They will give red blood cell/platelet transfusions and monitor for reactions. Medications will be given to try to manage bacterial, viral, and fungal infections, nausea, transplant rejection, pain, liver stress, and high blood pressure. They will give care in multiple ways as we all wait for her body to accept Chandler’s stem cells and build a functional marrow producing the healthy blood cells she needs.
I will communicate with hospital staff and try to be in tune with her needs. I will spend my time taking her to the restroom often, helping her with mouth care four times a day, giving her a bed bath and keeping her lotioned once a day, and making sure her room is clean and hands are washed. I will lay with her, tickling her arms, face, stomach, and back.
Ashtyn will watch Disney movies, listen to calming music and the audio book “The Candy Shop War”, and sleep. She will spend her time being patient while she endures the things that lay before her. I sense a powerful inner strength about her. We feel peace that she is ready and has all the tools she needs.
D&C 84:88 “And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.”