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.
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.
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.