A few disparate items for today. . . . . .
This morning Dr. Raab called me to discuss regarding what he knows is my concern about mucositis (mouth & GI tract sores) during chemo. This side effect, common for BEAM chemo, prevents eating and drinking for as much as a week, or more. I expect this WILL happen to me. There's generally not much that can be done to treat mucositis and is usually just left to resolve on it's own. However, there may be some efficacy in prophylactically treating for the prevention of mucositis with a systemic drug known as Palafermin (Kepivance). So Dr. Raab thought it in my best interest to at least give it a try and take this medication by IV for three days prior to BEAM chemo. Although is it unlikely to completely eliminate the possibility of mucositis, there is the statistical probability that it will ameliorate some of the hardest-to-endure chemo side effects. Although it's not clear if it will work well, once again my hat's off to Dr. Raab for taking into consideration of my concern and well-being to at least attempt to address my concern and comfort. Dr. Raab gives medical practitioners and clinicians a good name. He always has my respect. Thank you Dr. Raab! I report to the outpatient clinic tomorrow at 8:30am for the first infusion. I will repeat again Saturday morning and Sunday morning the day prior to checking into the hospital.
Onto another subject. . . . Because my plan was to discontinue my interferon injections prior to the stem cell transplant to allow my blood cell counts to come back up closer to my body's homeostastatic level, the last time I took my Avonex was Sunday, November 22. So it's been nearly a month since I last took my interferon. Interesting that in the past 14 years I have never gone this long without injecting my medication. I am now feeling slightly increased, but noticeable worsening of my existing MS symptoms. It's mainly my legs with some additional numbness and weakness. However, it is far from dibilitating. It's just something that I have noticed, that's all. When my immune system is ablated and I acheive neutropenia (when my WBC counts and immune system drop to zero) following BEAM chemo, I'm sure these added symptons will dissipate. And of course, over a period of one year, or more I will probably see some reversal of existing symptoms (based on the existing scientific study data). That will not only be a gift from god, but will also be something that is impossible to acheive with all other existing established MS therapies available today. Anyway, I'm not complaining. I'm still in decent shape, thank you.
So Yuko and I spent a lot of back-and-forth time to re-tune our overall travel schedule to accomodate the updated (delayed) hospital admission schedule. She has adjusted both the travel schedule begin/end dates, and also the total Germany in-country time to cover nearly all of my hospital stay, plus some. Of main importance is that she will accompany me to Frankfurt airport to see me on the flight back to the US before she boards her own flight in the evening back to Japan to pick up Riki prior to returning to California. Although I have confidence in my in-laws to take care of Riki in Japan, I feel quite bad (and I'm sure Yuko feels VERY bad) that Riki will be in Japan without either of his parents for three weeks. This is the hardest part of all my experience to get this treatment in Germany. I hope I will make it up to my son in the future with improved physical capability to play ball with him. Additionally, hopefully I won't have substantial difficulty walking on my own following the treatment. However, if I do have a problem then my good friend and slave-driving task-master boss Allan Wiesnoki has graciously volunteered to accompany me back for the flight. Actually, I think he just wants to meet Sandra. But that's OK. I'll help to tie it all together. Allan. . . I'll let you know by the end of December if you'll be getting an airline ticket to make the trip. A round of appluase to Allan for stepping up for an possibly important job for me. So here is the updated schedule, with additional information to round it out (click on image to enlarge). . . .
Last note. . . I just wanted to include a good perspective view image of Tif & Judy's fantastic home where we plan to have the one year "George stem cell birthday" party. It's a beautiful mix of old-world and new-world. Be sure to click the image to enlarge to see important detail. I had to clear this with the CIA first. . . .
Pinot Noir Vineyards - Joyce The property for this vineyard is owned by Tif and Judy Joyce and farmed by Charlie Chenoweth. The three acres are located on a ridge above and just south of Freestone on Barnett Valley Road. The vineyard is planted to both Dijon clones 115 and 777. The vineyard is very late ripening and the ’04 vintage, the first, is as dark and concentrated as a Syrah but with incredible Pinot flavors. This is truly one to watch. In barrel the notes of this wine are black plum, cherry and allspice characteristics.