One million stem cells per kilo (Day -2)
Here I am, sitting in the apheresis room with all five of us in Group 1. We are each hooked up to our own apheresis machine via the catheters we had inserted several days ago. The catheters go right into the jugular vein.
Being a mechanical engineer, I can tell you that these are the coolest machines I have ever seen in my life. I bet they cost a pretty penny. When I was here in February, I saw only one machine, and now the clinic has five. This room was the old chemo room. They’re growing.
Dr. Priesca is running the show in this room with two other doctors. Dr. Ruiz-Arguello came by to shake everyone’s hand and chat for a moment with each of us about our medical condition. He’s a very friendly and jolly man.
Some people experience bone pain as a result of the mobilization chemical, which we’ve been receiving twice-daily for the last week. Mine has been only a persistent headache over the last couple of days, which I was just told was not only typical, but is actually bone pain. A couple of days ago, I woke with a fever. All the above is normal and easily managed with Tylenol. There have been varying levels of discomfort throughout the group, some experiencing none.
The goal here right now is to collect one million stem cells per kilo of body weight. I’m looking for about 165 million. I’ll be hooked up to the machine for a few hours; then they will take the collection bag to the lab and measure it. If I reach my goal, then I go right to chemotherapy. If I miss it, then I must come back tomorrow and try again. In that case, my Day Zero will be delayed.
This next, two-day round of chemo will be strong enough to destroy my immune system. It’s sure to make me a little unsettled, but that’s what I’m here for. A few days after that, theoretically, the MS will be gone from my body! Yay!! Then I’m on to recovery.
Dr. Ruiz just came in to tell me that I harvested 175 million stemmies!
Onto chemo now.
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