Stem Cell Transplant! Almost as good as being proven innocent. After a full day of medical testing, I met with Dr. Richard Burt at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago and he told me I was indeed a candidate for the stem cell transplant.
Just for some short education, the procedure I'll be getting is called an autologous stem cell transplant. The very basics are this: I will receive chemo and take some shots that push stem cells from my bone marrow into my blood stream, they will be harvested from a vein in my neck then after a couple weeks then 5 more days of chemotherapy to massively suppress my immune system I will be given back or receive the "transplant" of my own "cleaned up" stem cells. I'll then wait in the hospital in isolation for a few weeks for them to sort of reproduce a strong immune system.
Because my immune system is attacking my own body, the idea of the transplant is that we can take out my stem cells, clean them up and then give them back to my immunosuppressed body to sort of "reboot" my immune system. So what's the catch? Well there are two.
One is the risk of infection and complication during the transplant. Because my immune system will be so suppressed, there is a higher risk of infections. There are lots of precautions taken to avoid this, but the truth is a risk remains.
The other catch is the cost. This procedure could cost up to $110, 000. And because I'm not insured, I need to have all the money before we can proceed with the transplant. So, the fundraising efforts are on. We hope to reach our goal sometime before the end of summer. We have a small start already and are working hard to organize and plan.
Thank you so much for the encouragment, prayers and help so many of you have already given. I am grateful and because of so many of you I can continue to be hopeful. Thanks again and I will let you know as fundraising events come.