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Hi Everybody,It…

June 2, 2012

Hi Everybody,

Its been a month of waiting but I finally got another CT scan of the lungs yesterday  to see the progress of my  little lung beastie.  Needless to say, I held my breath with anticipation and was rewarded with good news.  All that patient anxiety ridden waiting paid off.  It looks like a scar.  We still don’t know what it was but at least it seems to be gone.  They gave me the clearance to proceed with the transplant and I immediately called the City of Hope to get the ball rolling.  Since it has been 3 months since doing the original pre transplant workup, they’re checking to see what needs to be repeated.  But, it looks like we have a tentative date for beginning the process Monday, 6/11.  This opens up a whole new Pandoras’s box.  Will there be more surprises and detours?  If not,  chemotherapeutic conditioning may begin late June and the actual transplant of my brother’s stem cells at the end of the month.  But, I’ll need to wait till early next week to see how the folks at the City of Hope actually schedule this.    Why so long of a wait, I don’t know.  The masters never explain their resoning to the peons.

Now I can go from months of worrying about the lung lesion to the actual transplant with all its challenges.  I’ll be in the hospital for a month while my immune system is attenuated and my brother’s stem cells are establishing themselves in my bone marrow.  Being a doctor in this case is a mixed blessing.  On one hand, I know a bit about the process so I have more realistic expectations but I also know some of the potential problems that can occur as well.  I’m almost guaranteed to have some problems.  Pulmonary infections and  C. Dif Colitis are high on the list but that is only the tip of the iceberg.  If all goes well, I’ll move to one of their cottages on the hospital grounds for the next 3 months.  This is when all sorts of other problems can present themselves like graft vs. host disorder.  This is where the donor’s cells attack the host, me, and produce all sorts of havoc.  The closer the match, the less likely this will be a significant problem and my brother and I are a “perfect” match.  This just means it is as good as it gets for not having an identical twin.  The likelihood of a significant problem is probably less than 15%.   I hope his cells don’t remember how mean I was to him when we were kids growing up.

During that 3 month period, I have to have a baby sitter with me 24/7 because I can crash and burn quickly.  Claire and my mom will probably be the predominate care givers.  Hopefully we won’t drive each other nuts.   I’m told my diet is severely restricted and if it is not from a can, well sterilized, I can’t eat it.  Doesn’t that sound good.  I guess I’ll buy stock in Campbell’s Soups.

If all works out, I’ll be able to come home in mid October or so.  I’ll still have to stay away from sick people.  That puts a bit of a damper for going back to work for a while.   It is one of those things that we’ll just have to see how things go but my plans are to return to work.  Anyway, like Steinbeck said, “The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray” so I’m keeping an open mine while staying optimistic.

If anybody happens to find themselves in LA, come on by.




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  1. Ann S. permalink

    Doc E, wonderful news! Forward movement is always good – take it from one of your most impatient patients. Ann S.

  2. Marilyn H. permalink

    The H Club is VERY pleased about your update and news. Please know that you are on our minds. Keep the blogs coming.

  3. Shonkoff Alan permalink

    My thoughts and prayers are with you, Jim. Your tremendous goodness and inner strength will hopefully translate into full physical health and recovery. Keep those blue meanies away. I don’t have current plans to be in LA, but if I am and it’s appropriate for you, I’d love to stop by for a visit. Looking forward to seeing you strong, healthy and full of your usual zest!

    Very best to you, my friend,

  4. Sarah Engelman permalink

    Jim, Bob and I return to LA on June 11th and will be happy to be Your second string team, behind Betty and Claire. See you in LA!
    Love, Sarah

  5. Dante Brown permalink

    Hi Jim, definitely keep us updated. We’ll be here all summer & happy to keep you company. We’re glad to hear things are moving forward!

    Hugs, Dante & Mike

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