from harvest to health

July 14, 2012

If I were to write about what exactly I will be doing for the next few months, it would take days so I’m just going to start off by giving a broad overview:

Stem Cell Transplant Schedule

Week 1: central line placed in chest, shots daily to harvest stem cells
Week 2:
shots daily continued, collection of stem cells, move in to apartment close to hospital
Week 3:
5 days of intense chemo
Week 4:
thaw/receive stem cells
Week 4-7: daily clinic visits to check bloodwork, no immune system, susceptible to getting sick, hospitalization and blood transfusion likely
(looking for increase of white blood cells 10-14 days after receiving stem cells)
Week 7-8:
recovering immune system, daily clinic visits to check bloodwork gradually become less frequent i.e. every few days

Day 30 (after receiving stem cells): CT scan

Post SCT:

    • Immune System fragile for 100 days after stem cell transplant (they told me to wear a mask in public)
    • Another CT scan on Day 100
    • 1 year after stem cell transplant I get another scan and I have to get all of my childhood vaccinations since my immune system is similar to that of a new-born baby

Basically, the idea behind all of this is to wipe out my current, cancer-corrupted immune system and use my stem cells to grow a new one. I just finished up two days of medical testing for my SCT evaluation yesterday that included bloodwork, echo cardiogram, chest x-rays, EKG, pulmonary function test, and everyone’s favorite, a bone marrow biopsy…

On top of all the testing, we had a two-hour appointment with a nurse to go over all the details of the SCT. Going through a printed checklist of all the things I’m not going to be able to do, all the side effects I’m going to experience and all the bad things that might happen was definitely overwhelming. I liked the idea of a SCT a lot better when I didn’t really know anything about it. I’ve felt a lot of emotions through out all of my cancer days—sad, surprised, upset, overwhelmed—but this time I would have to use the word ‘scared’.

It is obvious that this whole time, my goal has been to get rid of cancer, to get better. My desires have been for college, marriage, freedom, hair. But now my desire more strongly than ever: health. Life.

The SCT team is going to place me in an apartment close to Vanderbilt hospital in Nashville since I will have to be at the clinic so often. It is mandatory that I have a caretaker (a.k.a. my mom) live with me at the apartment to assist me and keep a close eye on my condition.

I start the process of getting the shots to harvest my stem cells next Sunday, July 22. So I will be taking full advantage of my ‘last week of fun’ for few months the next few days. Now is not the time to be scared. People older and in worse condition than I am go through successful stem cell transplants all the time. God has gotten me this far and come through every time. I will  “hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is FAITHFUL.”-Hebrews 10:23 (Not only is my blog an update that you can read, but the self pep-talk I come back to sometimes.)

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7 Responses to “from harvest to health”

  1. Kristin Lail said

    Praying for you Cheslie! I read this verse this morning and I thought of you! “But when Jesus heard it He said, ‘This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” John 11:4
    I am confident that this is for His glory! Your attitude and spirit through it is even more evidence!
    Love and prayers, Kristin

  2. LeAnn said

    Ches, We are praying for you. I know you are scared, but you have been the bravest person I have ever known for the last year. I know it will be a hard 4 months but I know you will come out stronger both physically and spiritually than ever.

  3. msdaizyjane said

    will continue to pray. The youth group remembers you weekly in their prayer time. ❤

  4. Cindy howe said

    You will remain in my prayers. I pray for strength, healing, and His will. I will also pray for your mom.

  5. Mary Combs said

    Cheslie, I’ve been following your journey, though I don’t think I’ve spoken with you since this all began. I know many people praying for you who may not have communicated that to you. But many people in my “circle” have known you through school, or through your parents, and we are updating each other every time we get one of your notifications. Please keep posting information for us all. I love your spirit and faith, and it is so inspirational in so many ways.

    Please know that there are many prayers from more people than you realize!

    Love, Ms. Mary (KSUMC music director)

  6. Nancy DeMaio said

    “Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he who trusts in the Lord mercy shall surround him. Psalm 32:10” I know you trust in Him and He will always be there as He has proven. You are an amazing young women and I am proud to call you my dau
    ghter! I Love You. Nancy

  7. You are an amazing, AMAZING person. I promise to pray for you daily. I cannot tell you how much your story, your faith, and beautiful words inspire me. Love from Charlotte, NC. ❤

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