Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Hey everyone,

I wanted to give you an update on how today went for Greg.

When I arrived at the hospital around 10am, Greg was already getting his second plasmapheresis treatment.  He slept through the whole thing - so exhausted from being up until nearly 5am Tues. night - it's not easy to sleep in a hospital!  They ran the procedure slowly to prevent his blood pressure from dropping or him feeling nauseous and everything went well. 

Next he had an EKG and ultrasound of his heart - just to make sure everything looked okay.  They aren't expecting any problems to show up on either of them, but just wanted to make sure they weren't missing anything. 

He slept for a good portion of the early afternoon and then his brother Tim arrived from PA.  Tim was definitely the highlight of the day and he kept us both laughing and really helped pass the time.

Around 5pm they started Greg's IVIG (immunoglobulin) drip, but after about 15 minutes he started having a burning and tingling sensation across his chest and arm, along with nausea that ended in him vomiting.  They stopped the IVIG treatment, gave him an injection to get rid of his nausea, and called the transplant doctor in.  After a lot of discussion, they decided to give Greg a few hours break from the IVIG and then to try again, but this time to administer the IVIG at a slower rate and to give him some benadryl and anti-nausea medication to help him handle the treatment.

Apparently IVIG can cause nausea in 25% of people, though vomiting is not typical.  However the doctors don't think it was an allergic reaction to the treatment, which is good because he really needs to be able to have it in order to protect his heart.  The doctor explained IVIG as a wide-spread attack on his immune system to knock out anything that is causing problems with his heart.

When I left the hospital tonight, Greg had already been back on the IVIG treatment for around 45 minutes and he wasn't having any problems with it.  Hopefully it'll continue that way all night!  He'll be on the drip for around 12 hours, and then the only thing left for this hospital stay is the chemo drug that attacks B cells.

Originally they thought he'd go home sometime on Friday, but because of the IVIG treatment having to be stopped and then administered more slowly, he might end up being in the hospital for an extra day.

We found out that by the time he leaves the hospital he will be as immunosuppressed as he was immediately following his transplant and he'll have to go back to the precautions he had at that time (no crowded places, mask out in public, etc.).  He'll be that way for at least 4 weeks afterward while he goes in for continued treatments with the chemo drug.

Hopefully all of that makes sense - I'm nearly falling asleep as I type so I might not be writing very clearly.

Please pray for Greg as he continues to get the IVIG treatment and especially for when he begins the chemo drug (which might be Thursday).  I leave for Pittsburgh tomorrow morning and Greg's brother, Tim, will be keeping him company in the hospital.  We're really grateful that there's someone here to be with him while I'm away for 2 nights.

Thanks for your prayers,

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