Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Lots and lots and lots of information

Today was a bunch of meetings: My transplant coordinator (even though I'm not having a transplant right now, I still have a transplant coordinator), Dr. H, and the surgeon who will be placing my line on Friday. I got a bunch of information today, so I'll probably forget to tell you something important. Here's what I remember, though:

I get my first growth-factor injection tomorrow at 9 a.m. For those of you interested in detailed medical info, it's officially called Neupogen or G-CSF, Granulocyte Colony Stimulating Factor. (Yeah, I'm cheating off of a sheet that they gave me. I really don't remember all this stuff off the top of my head). This is what gets my bone marrow to produce more stem cells and spit them out into my bloodstream by the millions. That's the only thing that's on my schedule for tomorrow. I continue getting injections once a day on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. On Sunday morning when I go in for my injection, they'll also draw blood to see if I have enough stem cells in my blood stream (Again, for you medical folks: My pCD34 count must be above 10.0). I'll call Sunday evening to get the results. If my cells are ready to go, I'll start the harvest on Monday morning at 7 a.m. If I don't have enough cells, I'll continue with the injections. Nurses keep warning me to not get disappointed if I can't start on Monday, so this must happen a lot. They also keep warning me that I could feel kind of flu-ish and achy as my bone marrow fills up with all of these extra cells.

Friday morning, I have surgery to get my line put in. It is officially called a Mahurkar catheter (and, yeah, I'm cheating off the sheet again. I can't even pronounce it, let alone spell it). This is what it looks like:




The long white part goes into a vein in my neck, and the two little tubes stick out. A machine will suck my blood out of one little tube, filter out the stem cells, and return the blood to my body through the other little tube. When I'm done with the harvest, the nurses can just pull it right out of me. So they say.

Anyhoo. All of my test results were fine. They tested me for every possible virus there is. My West Nile results are still pending, so everybody keep your fingers crossed.

My M-spike is up a tiny bit (2.4), and I freaked out a little bit, but Dr. H said she wasn't worried. She expects the numbers to eventually start going down again once I start back on the drugs. Anyway, she said the goal of the harvest is 9 million cells.

"Spit them out so you can go home," she said.

That's what I'll do.

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