Yesterday we met with the bone marrow transplant specialist. I wasn’t sure what to expect going into the appointment…but I know that I left feeling a little more scared/down than I was going in to the appointment.
We started by waiting over an hour. They had mentioned that because they were “squeezing us in”, we may have to wait a little bit. Well, we did. When they finally called us back, we met with the doctor immediately.
I’m not sure if it was the doctor’s demeanor or what, but something just didn’t feel right. I felt worried. I didn’t feel like he was confident. Then again, it could just be my head playing games. He talked very slow and seemed cautious.
He discuss the treatment plan that we had started with (R-Chop) and said how with a good chunk of lymphomas, that plan works great. But with the type that I have, they often need something more. So then he introduced his projected plan (E-POCH). He went over each of the drugs and explained how they were very similar to what I was already doing…but wait, there’s more!
At this point, I felt like I got a swift kick in the stomach. Instead of going one day every three weeks, I was now going to be in the hospital for 4 full days every three weeks, for 6 rounds and then determine any need for further treatment. While I’m in the hospital, I will also be receiving chemo through my spine. This is what scared me. The doctor mentioned that with this type of treatment, it sometimes causes cancer in the bones as well as in the brain. He wants to be proactive and treat my brain now in order to prevent it from leading to brain cancer. This will take place with chemo through the spine.
There is an additional piece of treatment that was rather startling to hear about. After about 5 rounds of the new treatment, they will go in and take out my own bone marrow and freeze it. Once I finish the 6 rounds of the E-POCH and I am considered to be in remission, they will do what’s called a BEAM treatment. It sounds like a pretty intense drug combination. The problem is, it goes in and eradicates everything, both good and bad. So that’s where the frozen bone marrow comes in. Once I receive the BEAM treatment, they will do a bone marrow transplant with my own bone marrow.
The treatment plan I had started on had been tested for many years and they have lots of research to support it. With this new regimen, it’s relatively new, so that don’t have as much to support it. They have definitely seen success with it, there just isn’t as much research because this type of cancer is relatively uncommon. He said that the “Double Hit” has shown to respond better to E-POCH. So, as of now, that’s the route we’re taking.
I’m not sure which hospital I will be in for treatment. I’ll be in for four days at a time. Unless things change after my meeting with Dr. Stone, I will start the new treatment on Monday, December 19.
My head is spinning with questions, thoughts, and worries. I know I’m in good hands and I know I have the most incredible support system imaginable. However, that doesn’t mean I’m not nervous.