Tuesday, April 15, 2014

29.  Time to Put up or Shut Up - Stem Cell Apheresis, Day 1

На зе́ркало не́ча пеня́ть, ко́ли ро́жа крива́.                                                                                              

                                                                              All hat and no cattle.

 Literal: On the belly there is silk, and in the belly - just a click.

ADDED NOTE: POSTED 4:33 pm, Moscow:  Collection for day 1: 1 million stem cells - better than I dreamed. So perhaps just 2 days to get to the 2 million we need, after all.  Okay, the rest is written earlier:

Ok, you can't really have yourself a stem cell transplant if you don't make the stem cells. That's all hat and no cattle, essentially, right?  So that's where I am.

Well, I had hoped to be a really great stemmie builder, but after a 5-hour apheresis today it looks like I might need not only a 2nd day but even perhaps a 3rd to get enough. We'll see when the numbers come in tonight, but as I asked Dr. Fedorenko about what seemed to me to be a small draw (what in the world do I know, however), he said there is a name for it and there is some genetic situations that make it slower to gain the stem cells. So whatever, I've got time - I can do a 3rd day or a 4th, comes to that. I'm also older than most, so perhaps age has a little to do with speed in production of stem cells. We'll see.

And maybe when the numbers come in later tonight, I'll be surprised that they're higher and fine, too. Dr. F. says he never knows 'til the lab counts, either, and guesses wrong often. Just a little anxious. You know what an overachiever I am (at least in my own mind).  haha.

BUT first: here's what I wanted to show you (Dr. F. made a point of showing me this). I'm not so far from home. The machine being used is made in the good ol' USA (this will make my Dad happy). Haemonetics Corporation, 400 Wood Road, Braintree, MA  02184.  There you have it:  (smile)

I believe it's basically the same machine used for kidney dialysis, though I am probably totally wrong on this, too. But similar, as it runs the entire supply of my body's blood through twice in that 5-hour session, filtering out the tiny stem cells that I've been feverishly producing under stimulation of Neupogen these past days.  The rest of my blood and cells of various types in the blood pump right back into me. No side effects I could tell. No dizziness, no discomfort at all. Just lie there and snooze a bit, try not to need to pee.  Yes, these are the 'diaper days' some talk about. I braved it, having foregone my breakfast, coffee, etc., and did just fine sans diapers. Not to worry.  (Sorry to be blunt here, but this is meant for those coming along after me and we have this type of questions, don't we!). 

That bag on the right contains a choir of angels, perhaps not enough yet, but a choir just the same. Stem cells - imagine that. So many cures on horizon if we can get rid of corporate greed in the pharmaceutical world and go for the cures, instead.  Activists, ignite!

So, surely another day of this for me, and perhaps a 3rd, but here I am, gotta put up the cattle. Can't just go wearin' the hat.  I'm in for the long haul and for the full cure.  And I've got this! 

NOTE: Another IV of Solumedrol and I think more neupogen tonight, too. All good.  

Above: Dr. Fedorenko dismantles me afterward, while also helping someone else out via phone (busy times). So good to answer every question. All confidence in him!  He's such a good guy!

Two more American MS patients arrived this morning, sisters at that. I have not yet met them as they're on 2nd floor for a couple of days, in spite of the new plan for everyone to be on 3rd floor (rooms not quite opened up here on 3rd floor with 2 chemo patients not quite released in time).  But the group of hopeful HSCT'ers that are here are all just wonderful. All type-A - otherwise they would not have made it this far. You really do have to be your own best advocate to make this journey. And these are strong people, committed to healing! I'm pleased to know them for this little moment in time as our paths cross.


  1. Hi Susan. So good to read how and what you are doing. I love these detailed reports from you. So much better to know what to expect. ;-) Commenting now that I know you have all the stemcells you need! Woho!! I reacon you are glad not to sit for another five hours..... and you can have your morning coffe again. :-) About the dipers, and yes we do have those kind of questions, he he, cant they bring you a bedpan if needed? Or does it have to be dipers?

  2. Gro, yes, they have bedpans should you need it. Someone said to pack diapers for apheresis day/days because you must lie flat for 5+ hours. Pretty much all of us here just skipped breakfast, coffee, etc., and toughed it out just fine without intervention of either sort. I say pack more candy bars, leave the diapers home. Still have not located peanut butter. Pack peanut butter! ; )

  3. Thanks Susan, good to know. ;-)