Sunday, March 24, 2013

Post transplant (Day +2)

I apologize to those not on Facebook who may have been awaiting an update. The transplant went well overall, minus the allergic reaction Tom had.  He received 8 million cells (the max you can receive) and his donor produced enough to have an additional 8 million frozen and on reserve should they ever be needed again.  That's actually quite remarkable! Not everyone's donor can produce enough to receive 8 million at transplant (as they always save some too or try to) and then have the maximum transplant amount on reserve too!!!

So the transplant was only about five minutes. They hung the bag of cells and just let them free fall into his trifusion.  Tom began to turn really red in the face and one of the nurses said he looked like he'd just drank a bottle of tequila.  His head started to really pound and his heart rate went up to 170!!! After the cells were done infusing his hr came down to about 150 and he was super hot, so hot that you could feel the heat rising off of his skin!  Everyone was stood around watching and then Tom said, "how long do we have to do this for?" to which the doctor said, "well its done" and took that as his cue to leave.

Long story short, we quickly realized that toms entire body had turned very red and was swelling, his heart rate still not coming back down to normal, and his head pounding.  The nurse said it didn't look like hives, but then again there was no way for it to look patchy and raises when his entire body was swollen and covered red and he couldn't stop shaking.  The doctor came back in and said it was in fact an allergic traction and put him on some IV Benadryl and cortisol.  After a few hours his skin cleared up, the shakes continued intermittently for awhile longer, and his feet and fingers were the last to return to normal color and unswell.

He woke up yesterday feeling much more sprite! Was able to go on a few walks, started eating again, but not much.  He was so sick the days leading into transplant from the chemo that his stomach is still a bit fragile.   He has found that he's now exhausted his available choices with the hospital food to the point that now its a "mental" thing and anything arriving in that blue covered dish now makes him physically sick after a couple bites.  Chefs Laura and Helen to the rescue, he will be going back to all food being prepared by us.  Before some of you smart Alec's say it... Our cooking IS most definitely better than the hospital's!  On a bright note, he felt so good yesterday he said he wanted to check himself out of here and go home, don't worry we didn't let him.

On a more dim note, he's expected to feel crummy around day six.  His counts are already starting to go down and apparently day six-ten is where the vast majority of people spike fevers, get infections, are sick in all sorts of ways, get mouth and throat sores and general loss of appetite. So let's keep those prayers going that for once he ends up in the small favor that don't get sick :)  but know that if he does, it's unfortunately normal and expected.

We have had some company from Tom's brothers over the weekend :)


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Day -3

In terms of notating where Tom is in his treatment, they do day -x until transplant day and then from there they go upward so that when someone is at 80, it's known that it's 80 days post transplant. So today is day -3, meaning three more days until transplant!

To be perfectly honest, Tom is feeling incredibly awful today.  He's been sick, he feels like he's been hit by a truck, he's incredibly weak and exhausted.  Today is a rough day.  None of this is out of the ordinary though.  Dr. Carroll told Tom on Saturday (when Tom was feeling really well for being on chemo) that around day four or so it tends to catch up with people. 

On the bright side, when he finishes with this bag that's going right now (of cyclophosphamide), he will only have one bag left which is tomorrow and then he's forever done with chemo!!!!!  The doctor says that hopefully by Friday or Saturday Tom should start to feel okay again.  He also started the cyclosporin today which is the anti-graft vs. host medicine. 

I have been staying at home overnight apart from one night and tonight, in order to not leave Izzy completely on her own and Tom's been ok for the most part.  Tom is really looking forward to having his family visit, as am I of course.

In other news, the wonderful Huddersfield Giants have put an article on their homepage for Tom :) So wonderful, click here to view it! Isn't that amazing!?  A GIANT thank you to them! So awesome.
They also featured an article in their home game program this last Saturday, which Tom did end up watching from the hospital thanks to some creative thinking and an iphone. I'm told they will be featuring him in their next home program as well for their Giants On Tour section.  Seriously, so cool!  Helen gets here late tomorrow night!!! I'll be sure to include a photo of the article from last Saturday's game on the next blog!

This photo was taken by Kris Kirby yesterday when she stopped through to say hello! Thanks for coming by!!! It totally made the day that much better! Otherwise we sit and stare at the walls.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Tomorrow is Admit Day

Tom at the Sacramento Zoo 03/14/13
Tomorrow Tom is due at the hospital for 7:30am where he'll get his new portocath put in which will be a tri-lumen implanted in his chest like his port is and will be used for the transplant and then any further infusions necessary.  It will stay with him for 3 months so chances are that he will have the PICC line removed possibly upon discharge of this stay since he will have the new thing as well as his port which they can access on the daily. 
He is scheduled to receive chemotherapy every six hours for six days to wipe out his marrow in order to have it cleared for the new guy's marrow stem cells. The donor will be going to his place of "harvesting" on Saturday and I believe Sunday to donate the stem cells.  From there they will go to a cryo center to be processed and will be considered "fresh" when received next Friday and infused Friday afternoon (March 22nd). So to recap, chemo tomorrow-wednesday of next week, a "breather" day on Thursday, and then the transplant will take place on Friday.
While the actual "transplant" is simply a hanging of a bag of blood stem cells to be infused in less than an hour, the complications that can be associated with transplantation are rather serious.  Without getting into too much detail, it's rather frightening and has Tom extremely nervous (understandably).  Any words of encouragement are of course welcome.  If you find yourself in the Sacramento area this weekend, please stop by! The hospital is located right off of the Business 80 loop it's Sutter General Hospital and he will be on the 4th floor in the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit.
Tom has found a way to watch the Giants game on Saturday (after the doctor of course told him he could not in fact delay treatment to watch a rugby game on televison haha), so many thanks to the Hayles Family! If you would like to skype, our skype account is: laura.mahutga please send me a "friend request" and we'd love to chat if he's feeling well :) 
Today we went to the Sacramento Zoo as sort of a last hurrah before he's hospital and then house bound for months. It was much smaller than my nine year old self remembers, but it was just perfect for Tom who's back was aching and new meds were kicking in and causing drowsiness.
Thank you again to everyone for being so wonderfully supportive for us during this time! We greatly appreciate it.  Did you know you can also leave comments on the blog? I highly welcome them as means of encouragement or messages for Tom during the next few weeks.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Lots of Love!
ps. if you require our new address please let me know and I'll be sure to give it to you :)

Monday, March 11, 2013

The week of admit is here and Tom would like to DELAY!!!!

Greetings everyone!  I am currently sat on our couch in the living room of our new apartment.  Very spiffy!  Izzy is especially impressed with the patio that allows her to sunbathe and spy on the ducks.

So Friday is the day Tom goes in to begin the chemo that will ready him for transplant.  So this week we have his consent signing tomorrow at 3:00pm (labs at 2:00) and other than that just settling in at the new place until he has to show up at 7:30am Friday.  That said, Tom I think plans to ask the doctor tomorrow if a Saturday noontime admit is possible so he can stay home and watch the Huddersfield Giants play (it apparently only airs on tv here a couple of times a year).  He plans to use the tactic of, "it'd put him in a better place going in" haha. No big deal, it's only a bone marrow transplant!!! I'll keep everyone posted on that

In other news, it sounds like Team US has got a date and location locked down for the fundraising event.  A raffle, silent auction, and dinner to take place Saturday April 6th, 2013 from 4-8pm Dinner served at 5pm. Be there or be square!

I'd like to again extend a large thank you to all whom have donated to us via the paypal account or mailing checks, etc. Sincerely, we really really appreciate it! We feel so incredibly blessed to have such amazing friends and also friends of friends who are just so giving.  Hopefully some day we will be able to personally thank everyone or possibly return the favor in some manner or another.  So grateful!  Please, keep sharing our blogs/story and know that in any manner of giving, whether it's sharing our story, sharing knowledge you may have, money, meals, HELPING US MOVE (Yes, the army that helped us move... MANY MANY THANKS!!!! You guys saved us a world of trouble/hurt), all of it is so amazing!

The moving brigade: Special thanks to everyone who showed up! Sean, your team of guys were true movers and shakers... so thankful you guys were able to make it!  Thank you to Arlette and Brian Crane- Arlette I enjoyed contributing to your pile of items haha, The Carey's for driving (and gasing, sneakie sneaks) the moving truck, Thank you to Kris and Marc Kirby who drove up and also rented the truck for us :), and lastly thank you to my parents and Jennifer for helping Tom with the tank and for helping us get our kitchen and beds set up!!!  You guys all made this move so much easier than I ever thought it would be! 

So, that's the update for now. I'll let everyone know how Tom goes on with convincing Dr. Carroll to allow him an extra day and a half.  My thoughts are doubtful for him, but we can't fault him for trying.

If we happen to finish setting up camp here this week, perhaps I'll post some photos... especially for those who had to deliver all of the boxes and saw the work we had cut out. ;P

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Photos from Team UK's Pig Races & A Giant Thank You!!!

Pig Race Night

Auntie Cheryl
Pig Race- Frank

Helen and Vicar David

Capturing the Crowd
Rona and Vicar David

Wendy and Friends


I've been sent some photos of the night to share with everyone!!!! If I'm reading the email correctly, the night raised a successful £2,000!!!! Well done!!!! Sounded like a wonderful turnout and I hear everyone is asking when the next one is!!!!

For those in the US who are wondering what this is for, a group in the UK was formed by friends and family to help raise funds to pay for Tom's medical bills. They can also be found on facebook under The Tom Walshaw Medical Fund Appeal. They've had various fundraisers and these are pictures from the most recent "pig race" fundraiser. Wind up pigs were "purchased" for various races and also bet on. 


In other news, Wanted to extend a gigantic THANK YOU to everyone for all of the incredible support we have received.  We more sincerely mean it when we say we couldn't do it without you!!!!  Thank you SO much, for either sharing our link , donating to us, donating to the fundraiser they'll be doing here in Corning in a few weeks, and to those who've sent us encouraging/informative emails! Thank you so much!!! Please, keep sharing and spreading the word!   

For more information about the Corning fundraiser, please visit:  Also, if you would like to donate to the fundraiser via money, gift basket, gift certificates, etc. Please feel free to contact me and I will definitely put you in touch with the lady in charge, my awesome friend Leslie.   

Currently, we are just awaiting a final decision tomorrow night by the fire hall as far as a venue and date goes, but planned in the works are a dinner, silent auction, and raffle. I will make sure to keep everyone posted via the blog so that you can find out how to attend or assist. :)  This fundraiser also has a facebook group and it can be found by searching Fundraiser Planning for Tom and Laura Walshaw

Again, thank you! We are so lucky and blessed to have such amazing people around us and even people who don't even know us, but are willing to help us out. We have been so humbled by everyone's willingness to give in one form or another.