Steven and Sean on the Polar Bear Cam
Steven and Sean on the Polar Bear Cam

Sunday, February 29, 2004

Cycle 2, Day +17: A great weekend comes to an end

On Friday the 27th, we spoke to Steven's bone marrow transplant doctor about the possible chicken pox exposure. He decided to go ahead and give Steven a VZIG shot.

The disadvantage of having this shot is that they now consider that Steven was exposed, and on day 8 after the possible exposure (this upcoming Thursday March 4), he will go into isolation, which is basically a quarantine where he is separated from other St. Jude patients. The quarantine would last 21 days, and Steven wouldn't be able to stay at Target House, and would have to use a special entrance at the hospital and be separated from other St. Jude patients.

The doctor also said that since Steven's bone marrow transplants are considered "mini" transplants and they don't completely destroy his bone marrow, there is a possibility that he still has chicken pox antibodies left from his immunization 4 years ago. If he does have antibodies, then it would not be necessary for him to be isolated.

So, on Friday, first they drew blood from Steven's line to test for antibodies, then he got the VZIG injection, which was three shots, two in one leg and one in the other. Dr. Mark, the behavioral medicine doctor came in and helped to calm him for the shots, it wasn't perfect, but wasn't too bad, nothing like putting in an IV.

We are hoping he will have antibodies and that the VZIG injection was unnecessary, but it takes several days for them to get the results on the antibodies, and if they wait for the results, it will be too late for the VZIG. The main concern we have is the delay of his next bone marrow transplant.

My sister Janet flew into Memphis Friday afternoon and we all enjoyed a great weekend, went to the zoo, out to dinner, to the Children's Museum where Sean got to sit on a real Memphis Police motorcycle.

Tomorrow, March 1st, is also Steven's MRI of the brain, where he gets to lay absolutely still inside a small tube for over an hour while they take pictures of the inside of his head with and without contrast. We have no expectation of bad news, but I always have a bad case of PMS, or "pre-MRI syndrome", sitting there in the room watching his feet protruding out of the tube for an hour with my earplugs on, it's always like a bad flashback to the day he was diagnosed.

Tuesday he gets an MRI of his spine, Wednesday a lumbar puncture to test his cerebrospinal fluid for any possible metastasis.


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