Nov 17

Stem Cell Collection

Stem Cell Collector 0317, originally uploaded by Buck Cash.
So, I’ve been pretty busy since the last update!

With my memory like swiss cheese lately, I completely forgot to collect the urine for testing starting on the 8th, so that will actually start tomorrow, Sunday, 11-17-2012, to be turned in on Monday morning at The Dresdin Clinic at Karmanos.

I’ve been giving myself Neupogen injections twice per day since last Saturday (Friday? – Swiss Cheese…). They were 2 shots in the morning and 2 more in the evening, totaling 1560 mg per day. I did my last 2 this morning.

On Tuesday, 11-13-2012, I had surgery to remove the port and install a triple line catheter in its place. That left me feeling pretty bruised and tender for a few days up on my right collarbone area. We were hoping stem cell collection could begin the next morning.

The routine then for the last few days, since Wednesday, has been to get up at 5:am, leave for Karmanos at 6:am, arrive there at 7:am and spend the day doing what needs to be done, ending about 7:pm, getting back to the house at about 8:pm. In other words, long days.

The Neupogen shots were to build up my white cell count to the point where they could collect my stem cells, so each morning first thing upon arrival, I’d get LABS drawn and tested. That would take about 3 hours to get the results back, time spent in the family waiting room watching TV.

If the results come back with the white count too low, I’d have to hang around to get a shot of Mozobil at about 6:pm, then get monitored for reactions for an hour. Thus the long days; the first few days labs came back with low counts, so no stem cell collection.

Finally, on Friday, my counts were up enough to proceed with stem cell collection, and into a bed I went, and the stem cell collection machine operation was explained to me, which I found fascinating.

Fresh tubes are installed for each use. One tube brings the blood out of me, another tube introduces an anti-coagulant so that it doesn’t clot in the tubes or machine anywhere, a third puts the blood back into me, and a fourth introduces a bit of anti-coagulant again before it goes in me for a smooth flow.

The pumps move the blood and anti-coagulants in a totally regulated manner in and out of me and through the machine. The blood never actually touches the pump mechanisms in any way.

Inside the machine, the blood goes into a centrifuge, which separates the components of the blood by weight into layers. The layer of stem cells is then pumped out into a collection bag, and the rest of the blood is pumped back out of the centrifuge through a tube that wraps about a dozen times around a device that re-warms the blood so that it doesn’t shock my system or be uncomfortable as it’s returned back into me.

The process takes several hours from start to finish. All I had to do was relax in an almost lying down position, read, watch TV, surf the net, etc., while it ran the process. Then it’s back to the waiting room to wait a few hours more for the bag of stem cells to be counted. If there are enough, I’m done with that part of it. If not, another shot of Mozobil at 6:pm, monitor till 7:pm, then repeat the whole thing the next day.

It took two days of collection, Friday and Saturday, which is today. So, the collection part is over.

I was told that this part of the process could lead to fatigue, cramping, easy bruising and bleeding, so I’m not to exercise or bend over or do anything stressful, etc.

So far, I feel just fine, as usual. A little tired maybe, and have had night sweats the last couple of days, so I’m sleeping with towels again. But that’s about it.

I think I covered about everything. If I remember anything I left out, I’ll edit or include it in the next update, which will be after I check into the hospital on Monday and get all set up and settled in and have anything new to talk about.

Till then, see ya on FB or something!!