New Blood

Well, Friday was the big day! At 8:26pm, Eli received 2.2 million bone marrow cells from an anonymous donor. Doctor Kobos pushed it very slowly (over about 4 minutes) into Eli’s line and said, “These are the new cells that are going to make you all better, ok?” Eli just nodded as he watched the pink t-cell depleted cells being infused. That was it!

Here are a few pictures:

Bone Marrow Transplant

Here is a video of the first few moments of the transplant. I didn’t record the whole thing as it would have been a rather long and mundane clip. 🙂

It was interesting to know that the cells were received on January 5th and someone spent 6 hours overnight completing the very manual t-cell depletion process. They counted the cells when that was done and determined that there were still too many t-cells left, so they had to repeat the manual process and do a recount again. That is why the transfusion was pushed back from the original estimate of 2pm to the actual time of after 8pm. I mentioned that they gave Eli 2.2 million cells from the donor. They also frozen another 2.2 million cells for him so that if we ever needed it again for any reason, we have it banked. There’s some comfort in that, although of course we hope we never have to use it.

Now we wait. Every person is different, but they are guessing that Eli’s cells will take 10-15 days to engraft. Once they do, that’s when graph vs. host disease will become our primary concern to watch out for. Procedurally, it was a rather simple event. Symbolically, however, it was like seeing Eli receive new life. Now that I think about it, I don’t even have a video of Eli’s first birth! So Eli’s second birthday is officially January 6th and I have no doubt that he will be hitting us up for presents on that day as well as February 15th every year. At least he should be. He deserves it.

Eli has still been in fairly rough shape this week. He is very weak, not eating a thing, throwing up every day, battling bloody noses since it’s so dry in this hospital, having a sore stomach, and sleeping quite a bit (again, at my encouragement). Honestly, there really are very, very few ‘good moments’ during the day. He talks about being sad, missing family, and questioning why he has to go through this a lot. We’ve had some good talks, but I’m ready for things to start looking up for him and for him to start feeling better. They started IV nutrition tonight now that he is off of chemo. Eli typically gets nauseous with IV nutrition and it can be hard on the liver, but he really needs to get some nutrition in his body to get stronger and he is already on copious amounts of nausea medicine, so we’re going to go for it.

We have heard from so many people from all around the world that assure us that they are still praying for Eli. Thank you all so much. Eli needs them now more than ever as we wait to see if this transplant is going to work!

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4 Responses to New Blood

  1. eferin says:

    Keep battling Eli! A shout out from Iowa and the General Mills family, stay strong and keep the faith!

  2. sjwoody says:

    Hi Eli, hang in there little man. We’re all praying for you here in Springfield, Tennessee.

  3. says:

    Precious, strong Eli-what an amazing person you are! You give so many people encouragment and my prayer is that you will be encouraged both physically and mentally!

  4. maryj says:

    An former Ames High teacher’s little boy went through a bone marrow transplant in 2006. It was extremely rough, but he pulled through. The family is now living in Ankeny. if you would like contact information, let me know.

    To Eli,

    You are a big strong hero and even those of us who have never met you think of you all of the time. Take care and kick cancer’s butt.

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