So Now What?

Me and my new stem cells
Me and my new stem cells

I’ve Got My New Cells! 
Today I received my new stem cells.  I knew what the process would be like, but it was still fun to go through.  I was able to hold the bag of stem cells before they infused it.  It’s not every transplant where you get to hold what is going into you.  Bet Uncle Jim didn’t get to hold his new liver, now did ya?  Lindsey and my mom were in the room with me.  We also had a staff member from Church pray with us before the transfusion.  All in all it went well.

The Process
This pretty much followed the same process as when I received blood.  The lab brought up my bag of stem cells and they checked my armband to make sure they had the right person.  I then held them for a bit while the Tylenol and Benadryl they gave me took effect.  I take both of those because I’ve reacted to blood transfusions before.  They then hung the bag and hooked me up.  The cells transfuse via gravity instead of through the pump.  They watch the drips coming from the bag to make sure I’m getting the right rate.  I started out at 25 drips a minute and finished at around 50 drips a minute.  The whole process was around 90 minutes with my vitals taken a few times to make sure I wasn’t reacting.  After that I went for a walk on the unit and ate lunch.  Almost like nothing even happened.

Next Steps
Unfortunately next steps are probably feeling crappy and side effects.  When I was admitted, I was told mouth sores would probably show up around Day +2.  Today being the day I got my cells is Day 0.  I’m also still experiencing nausea.  Another expected side effect has reared it’s ugly head.  Let’s just say if you listen outside my bathroom door, it will sound like I’m peeing, even if it’s not coming out of Winky.  We expect my WBC to bottom out which puts me at risk for infection.  I may also get a neutropenic fever.  Basically 10 days or so of not much fun.

But What is Going On Inside of You?
Inside of me Dom’s cells are circulating through my blood and settling into my bone marrow.  Think of a nice empty lazyboy recliner that you see.  Looks like a good place to sit and stay awhile.  That’s what the stem cells are doing.  Getting all cozy in my  marrow.  Once they are all cozy and engraft, they will start producing new blood cells.  I’ll save you from any LazyBoy analogies on that one.  But suffice to say, as they produce new blood cells, we should start to see those cells in my blood stream.  That’s the sign that the transplant worked and we are on the right track.  The tricky thing is we monitor this through a daily blood draw.  Don’t see any cells today?  Wait 24 hours for the next blood draw.  So it can be a long waiting game.  I imagine I’ll just be laying here in bed a lot and running to the bathroom as well.  They put a nice pad under me in case I don’t make it to the bathroom, but hopefully it doesn’t come to that 🙂

And The Powerball Is:
Counts should start to get more interesting.  If my Hemoglobin drops to 7, I’ll get packed red blood cells.  If my platelets drop to 10, then I’ll get platelets infused.  The idea is to keep me alive until the new cells get busy in their LazyBoys.  I think that’s a good plan.

10/16/15 (Day 0): WBC 1, Hemoglobin 12.2, Platelet 90

A Duck Dynasty Prayer
Father God, thank you for this day.  Thank you for getting me here and getting me through it.  There is a long journey ahead, but it is a journey we take together.  Cancer is but one part of this journey. It’s a word I hope to not use again.  Now we move on to recovery.  To getting better.  To dealing with new side effects and challenges, but moving forward.  Thank you for helping me to move forward.  Thank you for another day.

14 thoughts on “So Now What?

  1. Hi Rob! So grateful to hear if your transfusion today! We will continue to pray for your recovery and that your side effects won’t be too bad. We are thinking of you every day and keeping you in your prayers!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Rob,

    So good to hear the stem cell transplant is complete. Praying there are minimum side effects and all goes according to plan. Hope you can rest well tonight so the healing process can work its “magic”. Blessings and peace be with you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Congrats on you and Dom becoming one. May you be lifted up into His being and be a part of His everyday. Way to go rob!!! Continued prayers for you and no mouth sores.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Finally, the day we have all been waiting for has arrived. This is hump day. The last (w)Recking Rob day is past. And now it’s Rebuilding Rob time (sure am glad you’re not named Quincy). For you stem cells, it’s Nike time. J-U-S-T D-O I-T ! (in the Name of Jesus. Amen.)

    Love, Uncle Claude

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Dear Rob,
    Mary Beth Darling is the daughter of my best friend Pat Susalla. I want you to know that I am praying Catholic prayers for you everyday here in Lockport, NY. (Not that these are better than anyone else’s because our loving Father welcomes them all! 🙂 ) Anyway, Pat sends me your posts, and I want you to know that you inspire me! I can see God’s grace at work in you, not only in healing you, but in the courage and strentgth evident in your soul. I think that someday you should take your journey and put it into a book. I’m a writer myself and I can you see that you sure do have a marvelous way with words! Sprinkled with your delightful sense of humor, it makes for encouraging reading for all of us.
    God bless you, dear Rob. Hang in there. You with the Big Man by your side are going to make it!
    Del Levesque

    Liked by 2 people

  6. How EXCITING! AND your wife and Momma were there with you. Praying too that your side effects are not long lasting and that those stem cells get comfy in there and begin doing their job quickly! How wonderful there are people like your DOM who so selflessly give of themselves to help save another. You have so many things in life to look forward to and to be around to help your family through. I love reading your updates and happenings! I have sure learned alot through your journey through all this. Thank you for sharing to help educate us all. Will be waiting for more good news and reports. God Bless each of you as you take this new path to longer life!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m reading this Saturday morning, so that means you are +1! You have moved from negative to positive!! That has to be a good thing, right? You are on track to the rest of your life! Praying for the side effects and that no matter what the next 100 days brings–the end result is a complete success!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Praying for you, Rob. Praying for your beautiful family. Praying that those stem cells in their lazy boy do their job with few side effects! You know you hold a special place in my heart, and God and I converse frequently about you……….and will continue to do so. (Even though you tried to put me in the dumpster one night at LIFE) Love you!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Praise God for His miracles and His everlasting love and care. His,hand has been there throughout this process. Hope the side effects aren’t too bad. Rest and let thise little guys do their work…

    Love and hugs to all of you!
    Aunt Liz

    Liked by 2 people

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