(Photo credit: Turner Classic Movies)
I had the annual follow up appointment on Friday, August 10 at MCV. When the pre-transplant coordinator saw me sitting in the waiting area, she asked, "Why are you here?" I told her I was there for the annual oil change and tire rotation.
The appointment is the final round of check-ins and exams for now. Six months from now is blood work and check up with regular oncologist and that is it. No scan, bone marrow biopsy or pulmonary function test until a year from now.
Between now and then, I will be going through a regimen of childhood vaccinations. During my appointment, I received 6 vaccinations for Tdap ( Tetanus, Diptheria, Pertussis), Haemophilus Influenzae Type b, Hepatitis B, Meningococal and Polio.
When I asked why the protocol had changed regarding vaccinations for autologous patients, I received the following answer (and I paraphrase): The stem cell transplant protocol has only been utilized for 30 years. Therefore, as new data is collected, protocols change. In the past, survival rates for the procedure were lower than they are now. As a result, patients were rarely (if ever) at risk for contracting any of the ailments that childhood vaccinations are intended to prevent. Since polio, whooping cough, measles, mumps, etc. still exist in the world due to several reasons, those with immune systems that were severely compromised need to be protected from them. As I said to the doctor, "It would stink to die from cancer, but even more to die from meningitis after you were cured of cancer."
So, there are more vaccinations to receive down the road, but it's OK by me.
RE: The Carolina boys, Bo and Hunter; they are doing well. Bo had his most recent round of testing last week and he remains cancer free. Hunter has his coming up, but in Facebook pictures that his mother posts, he looks great!
I have to share this comment from Bo. His mother sent it to me last week. "Bo said to the lady at registration, 'Sometimes I’m glad I got cancer because I got to meet some really awesome people because of it'. Made me proud and sad at the same time."
Well done, Mr. Baker.