Bottoming Out

bottoming-outJustin has officially been living with his new stem cells in his body for a week. To say the first week post-transplant was a rollercoaster would be an understatement.

The transplant itself, as I mentioned last week, is rather uneventful. The two days following transplant were also rather uneventful, medically speaking. Justin had a great couple of days after the procedure, his sister stayed with him over the weekend and he had a rotating list of visitors to come and keep him company. We even celebrated his new birthday with dinner and cake – Justin was feeling well, but both of us knew that just around the corner would be when the real fight started.

In the world of bone marrow transplants days are measured based on their relation to the actual transplant day. Transplant day is Day 0. Everything before is a negative day, everything after is a positive day. Around day +2 his counts started to drop slowly, and by day +5 he had pretty much hit rock bottom in terms of the numbers. This is all to be expected, bottoming out is a very important part of the engrafting process.

As Justin’s body begins to build itself back up using his new immune system he has experienced fevers upwards of 103 degrees – spiking and breaking on a continual rotation. Low platelet counts means infusions in the early morning hours after the fever breaks. Headaches, body aches, nausea, mouth and throat sores, frequent diarrhea, and overall fatigue are all par for the course, and he’s had them all. Justin’s team treat each symptom as they arise and are constantly monitoring his progress and condition.

Over the next couple of days Justin’s counts will slowly begin to start rising as his body begins to repair itself with the help of the medications and patient protocols to protect his body as it rebuilds. Every day Justin is expected to brush his teeth (twice), rinse with salt/soda (every time he goes into the bathroom), take a shower with anti-bacterial soap, take three 10 minutes walks, and drink at least 4 large cups of water. This is all in addition to resting, eating, and well…just living. This protocol is designed to help his body heal and prevent as many side effects as possible.

Currently, Justin is in his most vulnerable state – with virtually no immune system he is susceptible to infections that could compromise his recovery. Due to the nature of this process we have been told to limit his visitors during this time, the fewer people coming in and out of his room, the better chance his body has to heal. 

Justin’s room is covered in the cards that everyone has sent, thank you so much for the thoughts, prayers, gifts, positive vibes, and well wishes. I am literally running out of space to hang up all of the sweet things that have come our way in the last two weeks. I am a firm believer that a positive attitude, a little humor, and comforts from home aid in the healing process.

I will update again next week as Justin continues to make progress and gets closer to his discharge from the hospital to continue his recovery at home. (Yay!)


About Emily

My goal is to create an environment to inspire people to be the best version of themselves by connecting them to people, ideas, and resources. Just like my tiny home office space, The Corner Office is a collection of stories, creativity, inspiration, and ideas that I aim to share with anyone needing the motivation to maintain their best self.
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9 Responses to Bottoming Out

  1. Valda Schramme says:

    Thank God and pray for Justin’s body to heal Quickly
    Much Love
    Steve, Valda Ashley

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Marcia Spear says:

    Please let Justin know he is in my prayers. Glad to hear things are on track.


  3. I love reading your writing! You help me understand so many things. Even though I talk to you daily. Love ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Tamara Kahler says:

    Thanks for explaining it all. Hope it’s steady healing from here on. Love to Justin and you from Mark and me! XXXOOO

    Liked by 1 person

  5. wow keep at it

    we are sorry you have to endure this

    we love you


  6. I didn’t read any blog posts this weekend. I am so happy that I popped on your page first thing this morning to read this. I am sorry that this is what you are going through, but it seems like it is all just the way things go and what is to be expected in the process. Continually thinking and praying for you guys. Love you both!


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