Monday, July 20, 2015

Successful Harvest (Day 11)

The weekend was spent managing bone pain. It was all worth it. The procedure requires 2 million stem cells and I collected (drum roll) 12.62 million.

It was a long day, started at 5:30am and returned us to our hotel room at 7:00pm. May I just state here that Dana is a rock-star. She coordinated and managed every detail of this 14 hour day and didn't even get a comfy chair out of it.

First stop was Interventional Radiology where they place the catheter using x-rays and ultrasounds
What a great staff they have! They make sure you are well informed of every step of the process. They even offer to stop informing you of details at any time. They said I was a 12 on a patient scale of 1 through 10. (I am a charmer - however, it's common sense to be nice to people putting things in your jugular)
cath from my clavicle to my heart

Once catheter secured I went to the blood center where the harvest takes place.
Rhonda was our nurse for the day and she was lovely.

**if you get woozy over the sight of blood, you may want to skip this post**

I was connected to a pheresis machine, that filtered the blood in my body three times in 4 hours. It pulled out the stem cells and some plasma. There is no disconnecting once you start, so food and drink is well planned. This went from 11:45 - 4:00 pm

hooked up to my "R2D2"

eye patch was a must for a nap

My catheter was a little leaky forgive the not so delicious view.

I was delighted when an HSCT veteran Michele stopped by. She is here for her 6 month post transplant evaluation. I had followed her story back in Dec-Jan and was excited to finally meet her. She is a beautiful soul....and I was happy to see her healing progress.

When the time came to take the sucker (aka catheter) out Dana knew just what to do. I suddenly felt rubs on my feet and calming words.

cath up on the pillow-not tiny!

In the end I collected ten times more than needed. Just extra buddies to aid in the healing.
plasma (yellow) stemmies (red)

happy once it was out

So grateful to have had Dana here for this phase. She was with me for my first spinal tap, and was able to calm me down dramatically. She is good at the tough medical stuff, and I am lucky to have her for this. Now we can relax and watch a good movie together before she leaves.
D and I many years ago..before I got sick

Next few days will be spent resting. I am physically and emotionally beat. This next week is about rest in preparation for admittance to the hospital on July 28th. Once admitted there are 6 days of chemo and other medications, and on Aug 3rd I receive my stem cells back to aid in healing.

I will not leave until sometime mid-August, when my blood counts are safe for me to return home.

If there is anything to report I will add a post.  Thanks for the messages, emails, texts. They all make me smile (sometimes a good cry even). Thanks for understanding when I don't reply. You wouldn't believe how much I sleep in a day. It's what I love about having a blog, so you have the latest when I am too tired to respond to an email, text or call.

Your love and support is overwhelming and wonderful....keep it coming.


  1. I am so glad you are progressing. Thank you for sharing. Stay stong and continue to fight hard.

  2. Stephy-poo - oh how I love you. Just know that we are all thinking of you and all pulling for you virtually every day. Please let me know if there is anything you need. Love you to pieces. Hang tough girlie!!! XOXOXOXO

  3. You're radiant even after all that's happen. Amazing! Look forward to seeing you and hoping you get some good zzzzzzzzs!

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  5. You are amazing Steph, hang in there! xoxo

  6. After this is done, you can do a comic routine because it's really humor that gets us through this crap! Amazing Steph! 12 million cells? Its like your body is saying here, let me barf up 50 times more than you need because dammit, this thing is gonna work!! Lol! Keep it going Step, you are almost to the finish line!

  7. Your comments are awesome, they bring happy tears to my eyes. I feel like you are all right here with me. Xoxo

  8. You're a rock star!!!

  9. 12.62 million - look at you go girl. Well done. Rest, recuperate, rest recuperate and rest, recuperate. Gear up for the next phase. Gentle hugs, much love xxxx

  10. "(I am a charmer - however, it's common sense to be nice to people putting things in your jugular)" Haha on point! Dang that is so gnarly, you're officially tougher than me. Rest up Baby Big Sis. Love you!

  11. Stephanie your amazing. We believe in you and know you can do it. Praying for you.

  12. What a procedure!!!! You are so amazing, my darling god child! I feel so blessed to have you in my life!!!
    You are THE inspiration of courage and determination!!!!