Saturday, June 26, 2010

Burgers, Shakes, and Bone Marrow

William and I had a fun, although chilly, time in San Francisco yesterday. We had a brief visit to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area on the way - it was very cold, foggy and windy, but beautiful and worth another visit in the future.

At UCSF Children's Hospital we met with the head of the bone marrow transplant program. In preparation for his bone marrow transplant several months down the road, William will first need to have his stem cells harvested for use in the transplant. A transplant will be needed because the very intense chemo in his 2nd phase of treatment will destroy his bone marrow (and hopefully any residual cancer cells). If his bone marrow is clear of the cancer cells after his 2nd round of chemo, he will go to UCSF for the harvest when his white blood cells are recovering, about 2 weeks after starting his 2nd chemo cycle. In preparation for the harvest, he will get shots to push his stem cells out of his bone marrow and into his blood so they can be collected.

A double catheter will be put into a large vein in his groin, and blood will be taken out and the various components of the blood will be separated by density in a centrifuge. The stem cells will be taken and frozen for use in the transplant and the rest of the blood will be put back in through the catheter. The procedure is done under local anesthesia (yes, he'll be awake, but sedated with morphine) and should take 4-5 hours. Most of the time they're able to get enough stem cells the first day, but it is possible he'll need to have more cells collected on the 2nd day.

We also learned a bit more about how things will go with the transplant and the hospital stay for up to 6 weeks- details for another day, since there is a long way to go before we get there. After the consult with the doctor, Will was hungry and wanted a burger. We walked about 8 blocks and even though he had a hooded jacket and hat on, Will thought he was going to freeze to death. We ended up at a great burger place and Will ordered a 1/3rd pound cheeseburger. I had my doubts that he'd eat much of it, but was glad he wanted to eat so much. He declared it was "even better than In-N-Out" and made pretty good work of it.

Today William enjoyed wading and playing in our neighbor's pool and riding through the pool on my shoulders (he isn't allowed to swim with his chest catheter). It was great fun. His hair continues to fall out, and Julie gave him an even shorter haircut tonight. He had a hard time with it, but he'll be less itchy and will hopefully get used to his new look. He says he'll be keeping his hat on. We had success with getting him to eat a shake - carnation instant breakfast, vanilla ice cream, chocolate milk, peanut butter, banana, whole milk. What's not to like?


  1. that sounds like a delish shake!
    william is such a brave boy... we love him so much. i look forward to eating a balboa bar with him next family reunion :)
    love you all, praying for you all.

  2. William is a brave boy with brave parents! We love you all so much and pray for you daily.
    Hugs to you all!
    Love, Becca

  3. It was good to hear the SF details. More interesting than my Boise trip! (Although I was glad to see Chad again! Miss you all so much. I knew Julie would have the aility to make Instant Breakfast seem yummy to Will!
    Loves to all, Mom

  4. i love all the details you guys include. you can do it will!