Some Basic Info

I was first diagnosed with malignant brain tumors on 11-20-08 and I finished treatment for those on 4-13-09. I was recently diagnosed with a recurrence on 12-08-09. I set up this blog so people could follow along with my progress and keep up with what is going on in my treatment. I also wanted to put up information from my first go round so people could learn a little bit about what happened to me before.
The blog is set up with the newest posts first. Sometimes I will post stories from my first experience, in which casse it will be slightly out of order, but the titles will let you know. If you want to look at older posts, which may provide a better idea of the whole picture, use the "Blog Archive" tool on the right side of the page to browse them. The titles of the posts should be pretty self-explanatory. If you don't really know that much about me, or what happened, you should check out these two posts first: this one about what's happening now, and this one about my first experience.
Feel free to leave comments, it should be open to everyone now. Thanks for visiting, I hope this little blurb clears up some confusion, and I hope you like the blog.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

More Information About the Stem Cell Rescue

The stem cell rescue treatment that I'll undergo is officially known as autologous stem cell transplant, autologous meaning that it is a transplant of my own cells. I explained it pretty thoroughly in the first post, but I'll go over it again. What they will do is bank a whole lot of my blood stem cells before I have any treatment. Then I get 2-4 rounds of normal dosages of chemotherapy. After I've had the normal chemotherapy I come in for a single session of high dose chemotherapy. The high dose chemotherapy is necessary because when a recurrence of cancer occurs it is stronger than the first time, so stronger medicine is needed to overcome it. The high doses of chemotherapy will eliminate the cancer but it will also eliminate all my bone marrow cells, so I will have almost no immune system function. That's where the stem cells that they collected before treatment come in. After the high dose chemotherapy, they put the blood stem cells that they collected back into my body and this allows my body to recover and start making more blood cells in a fraction of the time it would take without the stem cell transplant. A really good site with more and more thorough information is here.
After getting the stem cells back, I still have to stay in the hospital for a few weeks until I've created enough blood cells to have a healthy enough immune system to leave. One interesting side effect of the treatment is that it will completely kill off all of my immunizations, so about a year after treatment I will have to get all of the immunizations over again. Sadly, because my immune system will be compromised for a few months after the stem cell rescue, I won't be able to go to crowded places such as school for a few months. Given the timeframe of everything, that means I will most likely not be able to go to any more school this year. I'm pretty upset about that, it will make it a lot harder to keep up with work, and I won't be able to experience the everyday routine of going to school and seeing friends and teachers. I'll still be able to see people, but seeing people in school and participating in class is something I'll miss.

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