‘The dip’

Since Friday I am officially in ‘the dip’, by which they don’t mean a persistant negative mental state.
The chemo agent Ara-C that was administered August 4-7 suppresses the bone marrow as a side effect. The bone marrow creates hematopoietic stem cells, from which white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets are formed. Due to the temporary suppression of the bone marrow, these stem cells haven’t been formed and subsequently, all my blood cell counts are extremely low. My immune system (white blood cells) is non-existent at the moment; when the count of leukocytes drops below a certain threshold they refer to this as ‘the dip’. Also, my red blood cells (oxygen transporter) and platelets (blood clotting) are extremely low, that is why I am currently getting a blood transfusion, giving me red blood cells, and platelets from a generous donor.
They are waiting for me to get out of ‘the dip’. Recovery means that hematopoietic stem cells are again being produced by my bone marrow. When blood lab tests (being done on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays) show that this is happening, they will stimulate the formation of these stem cells by injecting me with g-csf (granulocyte colony-stimulating factor) for two days. After this, I will be brought to the VUmc, where with a special dialysis-like device, they will extract the hematopoietic stem cells from my blood. These stem cells will then be frozen so that they can be readministered after the final round of chemo.
The final round of chemo, consisting of carmustine and thioTEPA, will completely destroy my bone marrow as a side effect. To repair the demolished bone marrow, the frozen hematopoietic stem cells will be re-administered after the chemo.

At the moment I am doing fine, I have no major side effects from the chemo and have no infection.

1 comment

Je lichaam is snoeihard aan het werk, wat zeker uitputtend zal zijn, maar wat een wonder dat het zelf weer celletjes, plaatjes en weet-ik-al-wat gaat maken. Het zal niet altijd meevallen, maar ik weet dat je het kunt. Zet hem op!

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