Things are moving quickly now!

Dear family, dear friends,

The invitation to the presentation at the University Hospital Zurich came very quickly, namely last Friday (which was July 23). Already on the following Monday, July 26, I was asked to come to the consultation with the senior physician who specializes in stem cell transplantation at the Clinic for Medical Oncology and Hematology.

Monday’s meeting at the USZ was good and informative; the last topic was scheduling. We are grateful that things are moving quickly: Next Monday afternoon (Aug. 2) I have my next appointment. That’s when I’ll receive medication and a small chemotherapy, which will cause the stem cells to multiply so much that many of them will leak into the bloodstream. The stem cells are normally only found in the bone marrow.

Then, a week later (Mon. Aug. 9), I am supposed to come for the collection of the stem cells – again on an outpatient basis – at the USZ on the apheresis machine; this will take several hours. If the collection is not enough, I will have to come back the next day. They will collect enough stem cells for at least 2 transplantations, because in all likelihood the high-dose chemotherapy followed by stem cell transplantation will be repeated after 2-3 months.

Possibly, the inpatient admission will then take place within a few days. At the meeting last Monday they mentioned August 16, but this date is still open. If I am then admitted as an inpatient, the high-dose chemotherapy will start immediately; and 2 days later my own stem cells will be returned to me by infusion. The first 4-5 days after high dose chemo are critical in terms of risk of infection. The stay will last at least 2 weeks, possibly longer depending on the development of blood values. Accommodation will be in an isolation ward or isolation room, in any case in a single room. Visitation is possible under certain conditions according to the current status.

Thus, August and the first half of September are “planned” for us. I hope to be back home by mid-September at the latest.

At the moment I am doing quite well. Thanks to tablets, the nerve pain caused by the shingles virus is also pretty much under control. The shingles itself has subsided and almost disappeared. The back causes almost no discomfort anymore, except when I sit uncomfortably for too long. And yet, sometimes there are days when I just don’t have the strength and there is this leaden fatigue. I am still learning to accept each day as it comes.

We continue to be grateful for your prayers and encouraging messages!