My History

I've been wanting to write a blog about my experiences for a while, but never did get around to it.
I've finally decided to sit down and sort it all out, so i'll start at the beginning, and add some blog entries from my diary.
Apologies if some entries are long, and also written in different tenses - it depends when I actually wrote them!

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

August - More chemo and Stem Cell Collection fun!

17th August
4th Chemo.
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 .

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