Monday, November 29, 2010

Transplant Update

Hey everyone! I hope you all had a very happy and relaxing Thanksgiving weekend.

Today, we went to see the Bone Marrow Transplant Team at Moffitt. Because the risk for relapse is 100% at this point, Mike’s best option is to go through with the transplant. We were hoping to find a 10/10 match, but Mike has a very unique antigen that is not common in most donors. They did find a 9/10 match, so he is scheduled to be admitted on January 5.

Listening to the statistics is less than inspiring, but for everyone who wants details, here they are: The transplant success rate for 2nd remission patients is 35% and is generally determined within the first year, but there is a 2 year window and a 40% chance that another relapse could occur. Of the 35% that survive transplant, up to 65% experience chronic life-long illnesses due to Graft vs Host Disease. This is when the donor’s cells attack the cells in the patient’s body. We do want a minimal amount of GVHD to occur so that the donor’s cells will attack the leukemia and keep it from coming back. Mike will be in the hospital (at Moffitt) for up to 6 weeks depending on his progress and then he will have to move to the Hope Lodge on campus or find a local apartment to keep him within 15 minutes of Moffitt at all times for an additional 6 weeks. The Hope Lodge is free but only offers 11 beds and is very limited. We will not know until the end of the first 6 week period whether there will be a bed available for him. The apartments are $75/day but they work with Moffitt for some financial assistance. We have to be prepared to cover these costs out of pocket and to provide a 24/7 caregiver (and a back-up) during this secondary 6 week period.

I have said it a thousand times and I will continue to say it; my hope is not in statistics or doctors or even in medicine. My hope is in our Creator and the God of all. Nothing can come to us without passing through His hands first, and if He is ok with it – then I trust Him. His plan is better than mine. I may not always understand it – actually, most of the time, I just don’t get it at all – but I know that my mind is limited in its processing. The appointment today was very difficult for both of us. These things are extremely hard for us to hear and we have a very long road ahead of us. But, in faith, I believe that God’s plan is perfect. And I will yet praise Him for all that He is and all that He continues to do for us. I’m believing for the BEST possible outcome and that Mike’s progress will astound the doctors and blow all of their statistics out of the water. Mike is going to do great. He is a fighter and he will give everything he has to getting better every single day.

Please continue to keep our family in prayer. We want only acute GVHD and that the transplant will go very smoothly and completely wipe all of the cancer out of his body. Please pray, also, that Mike will be able to get all of the dental work he needs done as soon as possible to clear him for admission. Thank God for providing financially for us and please pray blessings upon the donor and upon my employer for being so gracious. Pray that we will remain strong in every area and that whatever God’s will is, will be done.

Much love and thanks to all for continual prayers and encouragement!! We couldn’t get through this without you all!! <3

PS> Once transplant starts, I will be doing online updates on Mike’s leukemia group Facebook page. It will just be 1-2 sentences each day of his progress, so be sure to join if you are interested in keeping up with his status daily. FB Search: Michael Johnson Leukemia Journey