Approaching Day -5

The theme for today is Panicky Packing. They want me to check in at MSKCC at 10 am tomorrow, which in their dramatic fashion they call Day -5. The chemo starts tomorrow night — Fludarabine. I get that until Day -2 when they add Melphalan. Then after my immune system is pretty well wiped out by the chemical carpet bombing, with nothing green growing, I get the transplant itself on Day Zero. It is not surgery, as many people think, but a transfusion of stem cells from an anonymous donor. Then the process begins to help these little fellows thrive and multiply — and to prevent the dreaded Graft vs. Host Disease.

I am optimistic, thanks to our very professional Transplant Team and especially to the amazing support I receive from my wife and so many friends and family. I was not ready for that, and it is quite moving. I will miss all of them, and my dog Louie, who is filling out the forms to be admitted as a support animal.

I am loaded up with books and music — thank you for the recommendations! — and my first-ever set of over-the-ear, noise-canceling bluetooth headphones from Bose. Will be tuning in Monty Python as soon as I can.