Friday, August 13, 2010

Harvesting and mixed results

Ok so the idea of being harvested was a little weird for me to get my head round. More the process than the actuall principle, always one for the mechanics of a situation I wasn't keen on my blood leaving my body........

Any way the morning blood count was excellent, they look for a count of above 10 with something they call CD34, well my count was 285! This meant that the GCSF injections I've been having and the bone pain that was a side effect had been worth it. The GCSF stimulates the bone marrow to produce more stem cells than t needs and therefore they then pass throught he bones and into the blood stream, hence the pains!

After a very quick breakfast and a strange taxi ride to the Hallamshire it was into the extremely busy lift to ride to level O. As normal in Sheffield someone sparked a general conversation into the crowded lift, "smells like cabbage for lunch then" and as normal when I'm nervous I had to respond "oh sorry that was me........" fortunately some people found it funny! As the display changed to O the lift juddered and then dropped to N! got the blood pumping I can tell you, not sure if that was planned but the flipping thing then went all the way down to the bottom again!

The process of harvesting was simple, painless and quite boring. The machine is coupled up to the now clear hickman line and draws blood one way, it then spins the blood in a glorified salal spinner, then it's mixed with an anti-coagulant and pumped back into me. When it's being spun the different parts seperate as they are of a different weight. This allows them to collect the stem cells as they're the heaviest and get flung to the outside ready for collection. Simple really! The only sensation I had was from the anti-coagulant as it affects the calcium levels and gives a tingling feeling in the face and then if left the rest of the body. This is counteracted by, in my case approxiamately 2 pints of milk and a fizzy calcium tablet! Three and a half hours later and it was done, they'd also collected a bag of plasma along with the stem cells to help with storage so looking at the bags I felt a little drained, fine but drained.

So having returned to the ward I was free to return home only to return the next day for the results of the CT scan. Mixed was the best way to describe them.

The stem cell harvest was a success, for it to be successful they need a count of 2.5, well they harvested 22.75 from me! Linda, my consultant had asked them to double check as they're not used to such high numbers! Ooh get me the stem cell king!

The main lump in my chest has responded well to treatment and they're pleased with that.

They've found two really small anomolies in my lung.

Bugger. Lymphoma on the lung is not the results I wanted. I have become able to turn off the expectant part of my brain when it come sto results day, too many roller coaster rides. I go with the attitude it'll be what it is and we go from there, either I'm just tired of it all or it's a self preservation technique. They're only small, 8mm and 10mm but they're there none the less. This meant a change of chemo regime and a more toxic set of drugs.

Oh and go to Wales! Linda was well aware that it's Georgias birthday this weekend and that a large hairy bloke being in hospital on his eldest daughters birthday wouldn't be good for morale and mental health. With this latest news about the lung thing she felt it worth while me having a bit of a break and going to Wales with Wend. I had initial reservations as it meant travelling away from the safety net that is Weston Park. But how could I refuse the offer? I couldn't, the thought of being with all my girls and the hound was too much, the tickets were booked as was the taxi and big Nick was on his way to Welsh Wales with his beautiful and extremely giddy wife.

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