Thursday, July 24, 2014

Overachieving In Stem Cell Collection (Robert and Peter Do Not Look At This Post)

*There are photos of a medical nature in this post.  If you are squeamish this might not be for you...hence the disclaimer for my brothers.

Last Friday I started getting shots called Filgrastim to make my bone marrow produce tons and tons of stem cells.  I had them Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday morning.  On Monday I started another shot, called Mozobil, which actually forces all the stem cells that my bone marrow produced out into my bloodstream so that they can be collected.  The thing you should know about Mozobil is that they INJECT IT INTO YOUR TUMMY!!!!  But that turned out to be not a big deal.  I might ask to get all my shots that way from now on.  I know.  I'm shocked by this turn of events.  Before this if you'd told me I was getting an injection in my stomach I would have told you that if you tried it you'd be getting an injection in your eye.  I'm really not kidding though, shots in the stomach don't hurt as much as shots in the arm or your rear end.  Promise.

In related news on Tuesday Michael bought me some new bling.
He really spoils me.
I had a double lumen catheter placed for the stem cell collection and I will tell you what--you get the red carpet treatment when you're a Bone Marrow Transplant patient.  When they placed my port I had to wait in a waiting room and then wait in another pre-op area where they had everyone waiting in beds in stalls and when it was your turn they wheeled you in.  I did also need some sedation for that one because they mess you up a lot more to get the port in since it's totally under your skin.  Well, for this one they just walked me right into the operating room or procedure room or whatever they call it and I hopped on the bed myself.  I got all arranged and thought they were still doing all my numbing shots and the guy was like "Ok, 2 quick stitches and you're done."  Wow.  That was easy.  It felt tight and weird where it was and I couldn't wait to get it out, but it wasn't too big of a deal.  Anyway, they used that to hook me up to an Apheresis machine that collects my stem cells.  I'm hooked up for 4 hours, it's pretty easy except that you can't move it around like an IV pole so if you have to use the restroom you have to just hold it.  Actually, if you have to use the restroom there is a commode, so...I have to hold it.  I just do.  Luckily I didn't have to live under the threat of the commode for long.  I'm a stem cell overachiever.  The goal for me was to collect 2-5 million cells per pound of my body weight and the first day they got 6 million and change.  Nailed it.

I had to be collected one more day to be absolutely sure we have enough.  Yesterday I finished that and had my line removed which is really nice.  I have about 7 days untethered before they put another different line in for the BIG chemo and transplant.  Why do they have to change lines?  Well, the one for collection has to be really wide so that we don't damage any cells as they come out.  This line has 2 lumens (or feathers, as I prefer to call them) just one for the blood to go out and one for it to come back in and it is not the coziest thing I've ever had sticking out of a hole in my chest.  When I'm admitted I'll have a new catheter put in that has 4 or 5 feathers but it will be thinner and more flexible.  That's thinking too far ahead right now.  I took a pulmonary function test and as far as I know I did fine.  I'm not too worried, last time I crushed it.

For the next 6 days, aside from some meetings at the hospital where nobody pokes me, I'll be resting and spending time with my family.  Please pray for Michael and the kids, this is so hard on them.


  1. Nella, you continue to inspire me with your fighting spirit. Way to knock this one out of the park! And you are so gorgeous while fighting, too! Absolutely radiant. Prayers heading your way for you, Michael and the kiddos!

  2. Our family prays for you every night, Nella! We'll start praying for your family, too!

  3. You look beautiful even when aphere-sizing. Really. Prayers continue always...

  4. Praying for you! You are a fighter.

  5. My prayers are with you, Nella.

  6. So good to "see you"! You look awesome as always - I think those hospital gowns need some bedazzling!!!


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