September 10, 2009
John Kark sent a message to the members of John Kark is going to kick cancer’s ass!!!
Subject: Operation Transplant – First Force Recon
Round 3 of chemo was a high dose treatment that was predicted to be the toughest round of all. I am thrilled to report that I floated through the round effortlessly like Mohammad Ali when he would be way up on the score cards. I experienced no fevers, rigors, tremors, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, dehydration, mouth sores, infections, drug rashes, bone pain, congestion, fatigue, dizziness, confusion, weight loss or seizures.
I had two days of rest after the high dose chemo and the stem cell transplant is scheduled for today. The doctors tell me that this will be the most risky and challenging stage of the treatment but I fear not. My brothers USMC combat trained stem cells have been frozen waiting to be deployed and called into action. My brother Frank said to give him a call when they start the transfusion so he can give the battle order to fix bayonets and attack!
The whole process is actually pretty tricky. Once the donor cells are in my body they will “engraft” and turn into white and red blood cells and platelets. These cells may recognize my body as being foreign and start to attack my vital organs. This is called Graft Versus Host Diseases (GVHD) and happens about 50% of the time. They will be administering medications to help prevent this dangerous process and try to protect my vital organs.
As bad as that sounds there is a positive side to the aggressiveness of my brothers hardcore Marine stem cells. It is called Graft Versus Tumor (GVT) effect, or in my case Graft Versus Leukemia. If my brothers cells are aggressive enough to attack me, then they will also recognize the cancer cells as being foreign and attack them also. In cases where GVHD doesn’t occur, neither does GVT, which results in an unsuccessful treatment. So the bottom line is we can’t have a bunch of peace loving hippie stem cells floating around my body with no purpose. I am confident that my brothers USMC stem cells of First Force Recon will be aggressive and get the job done. Semper Fi!
After the transplant I could be out the hospital in weeks or months depending on how this internal battle plays out. It is all about managing the side effects of the GVHD which will be similar to those that were expected with the high dose chemo. Once again, my immune system and counts will be wiped out for some time limiting visitors and they must recover again before I can go home. But I do expect to finish this battle in weeks rather than months.
Expect good things,
“You know, I am sure, that not numbers or strength brings victory in war; but whichever army goes into battle stronger in soul, their enemies generally cannot withstand them.”
– Xenophon (430 – 355 B.C.)