Tuesday, June 2, 2009

DAY ZERO: Out with the Bad Cells, In with the Good

The donor stem cell's, now Susan's (top)
Susan and Nurse Karen doing nothing (left)

The deed is done. The infusion began at approximately 10:15 today and was finished about an hour and a half later - turned out to be briefer than expected. And yes, for the major inflection point in Susan's disease, it was an underwhelming event. Nurse Karen simply hooked up the bag with the stem cells (the red bag in the picture above) and that was it. No drumrolls, no fireworks display, just a steady drip like any other coming from a bag through an IV line. If Susan did not know it was happening, she wouldn't have been able to tell.

Susan's team of 5 doctors came it at one point during the procedure, nodded sagely, clucked a bit, squabbled mildly and made up (just to show they were on the job), and then left without doing anything or offering any useful information or advice. Dr. Soifer (Susan's lead transplant specialist) stopped in a bit later to say hello and said everything was looking good.

Susan has no appetite but Nurse Karen says that's par for the course. I'll continue to nag her about her applesauce and fluids. Otherwise, she definitely looks better than she did yesterday and feels somewhat better - if she were eating and drinking, she'd feel better still, but that's a fine balancing act between nutrition and nausea.

Susan's room is a little like Grand Central - people are constantly popping in and out. In just the past hour we've had Nurse Karen bearing ice chips, Carol the Patient Care Coordinator with documents to sign, and Tammy the Social Worker for no discernible reason, but she was very sweet and she did leave her card.

And finally, Susan says "Hi. I'm glad it's over, but the real part is just starting." Couldn't coax more of a statement from her for the record at this point, but she says she may have more to say later, so stay tuned.


  1. Great news!
    Susan, you are in our hearts and we are so grateful for the up-to-the-minute reports of your recovery.

    Love to all the Siegels and Kargmans....
    Mimi & Jeff

  2. Wow, Jerry, thanks for that important update. Maybe Susan will have an appetite in a day or so. It is a lot at once for a body to deal with.

    Best and love to Susan, Diana

  3. Terrific news! Ted and I are sending healing thoughts.

    In terms of appetite, would a Mallomars special delivery help? :)

    Lots and lots of love to Susan and the fam,
    Claire and Ted

  4. Do I detect a smile on Susan's face? Your positive attitude is carrying all of us. May the journey continue to be this boring :-)


  5. Susan- Really happy to hear that the transplant went smoothly. Wishing you an easy time recovering as well.
    Thinking of you with lots of love,

  6. Susan-
    It's great to see a smile on your face!
    Really appreciate the daily blog. Thinking of you,

  7. Susan,
    Everyone in the Newton family is rooting for you.
    -- Susan, Claire, Harry, Michael, Anne, Ted and the unborn ones that are due any milennium from now.

  8. That's really great news! We all hope you feel better soon. --Robbie, Ally, Gabby and Dylan

  9. Susan,
    This is truly amazing. I feel we are right there with you - and we are. Feel better.
    Love Susan

  10. Dear Susan,
    You look great in the pic, despite the circumstances! Can't anyone bake some brownies for you? This blog is a great idea. And if you're reading this, that means this techno-dummie learned how to post a comment. See you soon.

  11. Thanks for all the updates! Can't wait to have you over for a BBQ when you feel like eating again!
    Much love,
    Barb and Peter

  12. Dear Susan: Great news about the transplant. Let the recovery begin! You emanate an indomitable spirit in your picture! An example for all of us. Know that we're thinking about you and following every step along the way.

    Carmen and Steve