Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplant
Since my peripheral blood stem cells had been harvested and frozen for my use when I needed them, I was prepared for an autologous stem cell transplant. The process included several steps:
- Conditioning in preparation for the transplant. This included RICE (Rituximab, ifosfamide, carboplatin, etoposide) chemotherapy treatments with a goal of getting the cancer into remission before moving forward with the transplant.
- Starting the RBEAM (Rituxan, carmustine, etoposide, cytarabine, and melphalan) high dose chemotherapy agents which killed my bone marrow and many other cells within my body.
- Inject my stem cells back into my body so they could en-graft and rescue my bone marrow.
- Recovery from the entire process.
After several months of monitoring my progress it was determined that the transplant failed to achieve remission (chemotherapy-sensitive disease). The cancer was only in partial remission.
In order to establish the next course of action an exploratory surgery was performed. During that procedure biopsies were taken that ultimately indicated that I had an area of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. It was time to move forward to Plan “D.”