Daylight come and me wan go home!
Actually, daylight came and I reported for my tests. The first was a blood draw -- the Mother of All Blood Draws. The lab tech took (dramatic pause) TWENTY-THREE VIALS OF BLOOD OUT OF MY ARM.
Yes. Twenty-three. I'm not making this up.
Even the tech seemed a little shocked, although he did tell me that his record was 28 vials. Part of me secretly wished I could have broken the record. Maybe next time.
After that, I staggered over to the Gonda Building for my bone-marrow biopsy. This sounds like a really scary procedure, and, depending on who does it to you, it really can be. The way they do it at Mayo is great, though. I was completely sedated with very pleasant drugs, so I didn't feel a thing. They gave me cookies and a Diet Coke afterward. The actual procedure took less than 15 minutes. I have a giant band-aid, and my hip's a little sore, but it wasn't that bad.
Next, I had x-rays of every bone in my body, which is always a really long, boring test. At least I got to wear the little foam slippers with happy faces on them.
In the afternoon, Jay and I met with a nurse who works in the stem-cell collection department. Her first task was to look at the veins in my arms to see if the cells could be harvested via my arms instead of through a central line, which has to be implanted surgically. I didn't even know the arm thing was a possibility, so I got a little bit hopeful, even though the techs at the KC Cancer Center complain endlessly about my teeny, hidden veins. Sure enough, the nurse took one look at my arms and said, "Yeah, you're gonna need a line." Dang. Couldn't she tell that these powerful veins can spit out 23 vials of blood? Anyway, the line will be put in by a surgeon, probably on Friday. It sounds like I'll get the same kind of drugs I got for the biopsy, though. Yay, drugs!
Then we got a tour of the area where the harvest will take place. I'll be confined to a hospital-type bed and hooked up to a machine for five hours a day, usually 7 a.m. to noon. I won't be able to get up at all. "Let us know if you have to go to the bathroom," said the nurse, "and we'll bring a commode to you." Oh, good. They do have free snacks, though.
My last test of the day was an EKG. Very fast and easy.
Tomorrow is a day off: I have NOTHING except Pee Pod Dropoff. Wednesday is a bunch of meetings/consultations with the transplant nurses, Dr. H, and the surgeon who will implant my line. After that, I start injections to stimulate the stem cells. If all goes well, collection starts on Monday.
What am I going to do with my day off? I'm not sure. I've already been to Barnes and Noble twice.