Went to Christies on Monday for my 4th chemo.
First I had blood taken, and my stitch taken out - so now my line doesn't need to be dressed anymore, and I can shower normally!
I saw my consultant, and discussed side effects........and I have been taken off one of the chemo drugs, called Vincristine.
After the last chemo I developed numbness and pins & needles in both arms and legs - and i've now had it for 3 1/2 weeks.
Because I had the same drug 7 years ago, the doctors have stopped it, otherwise the damage to my nerves could become permanent.
I'm feeling pretty sick and weak, and have had a massive headache.
I'm also on nightly injections of something called G-CSF (Granulocyte colony-stimulating factor).
It stimulates the bone marrow to produce stem cells, and release them into the blood.
I'm having these for 10 nights, then on the 27th August I go back to Christies and have a blood test, and hopefully will have my stem-cells harvested - if there are enough!
28th August - Stem Cell Collection
It was a long day - I had to arrive early for a blood test.
First they needed to see if I had enough white blood cells, when they found I had, we had to wait for results which were a 'prediction' to how many stem cells I had in my blood.
Both results were positive, so we went ahead with the harvesting.
I was hooked up to a machine - blood coming out of my arm, through the machine, and back into my body through my central line.
The machine would process all the blood in my body 2 1/2 times, but only about 200ml would be out of my body at once - which is why it takes about 4 1/2 hours!
At the same time as taking the blood, they add an anti-coagulant, so the blood doesn't thicken/clot, and when this goes back into your body it strips you of calcium, which can make you feel a bit sick/tingly - this happened to me, so they gave me a drip with calcium in.
I had that done, and they said they would call me within about 1 or 2 hours and let me know the results.
If they could not collect enough that day, I should return the next day for them to try again.
On the way home from the hospital I got the phonecall - They needed to collect 2 million stem cells per kilo of my body weight.
Great news........they collected 4.2 million cells per kilo of my body weight .