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  • Dani Fontanesi

Medical Update

Today was off to a bit of a rocky start. Matt didn't sleep too well because of the persistent fevers (it's been two and a half weeks of persistent 103+ degree fevers!).

Between waking up with the fevers, and the nurses constantly floating in and out of the room changing his IV bags (he had about 6 bags hanging up there at one point today!), and the scheduled vitals checks, etc, it's hard to sleep for more than an hour or two at a time.

When he woke up this morning, he was feeling a bit better than yesterday, but that doesn't say much. He was still a whitish-grey color and was constantly battling fevers, stomach issues, and rigors (violent shaking/convulsions that happen with the high fevers).

The rigors have gotten so bad that it's starting to deteriorate his muscles from all the spasming (which is leading to a high content of blood and protein in his urine). They give him injections of demerol to stop the shaking, and it has been pretty effective for the most part.

He still has no white blood cells and no immune system and is still fighting off the remnants of a virus (probably a leftover cold from the Wellington winter) which is wreaking all sorts of havoc on his body, so everyone has to wear funny outfits when they're around him (masks and protective robes).

The good news is that his white blood cells are expected to start returning any day now and once they do, he'll start feeling better each day!

We're 7 days out of the "induction chemo" now (which is a really gnarly, high potency chemo that lays you out for a couple weeks) and then we'll move onto consolidated chemo and/or possibly a stem cell transplant (blood/bone marrow transplant).

On another topic of great news, the chemo is doing an amazing job wiping out all the leukemia!! They did another bone marrow biopsy about a week ago (when he was about 3 or 4 days into his chemo) and about 99% of the leukemia cells have already been destroyed! (They expect the two-week biopsy to show zero leukemia cells in 70% of patients after the induction chemo so it looks like we're right on track for that! If his cells aren't showing zero leukemia cells at two weeks, he'll likely have to repeat the induction chemo before moving on to consolidated chemo.)

His platelets were low again today, so he received another platelet transfusion. His red blood cells are also down again, so he's getting another blood transfusion in the next hour.

We also got in a shower today! Hurray for little victories!

We're being transferred to UCSD soon (a major cancer center), so we'll be on a life flight to San Diego in the next day or two.

It's a tough battle each day, but we didn't expect anything different. We have no doubt that we're going to beat this. We just have to get through the tough days in the meantime...

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