11/11/14 is now my “new birthday.” At least that is what the transplant RN’s tell me.
Today, I will receive back into my body the stem cells I “gave up” to an apheresis machine a couple of weeks ago. Here’s what I understand so far:
9am – begin IV fluids (normal saline)
10:30am – Tylenol and Benadryl
11am – transplant will begin.
I am told there will be 7 bags of approximately 50 mls of stem cells. The color will be red, but that is from pieces of red blood cells. They will arrive in a freezer, packed in DMSO (preservative), and extremely frozen (their words).
They will run them in as fast as my body can tolerate, which they anticipate to be 2 hours. The preservative DMSO will cause me to smell garlic or cream corn. Evidently it is so strong that people walking down the hall or entering the room know immediately when a SCT is underway.
The DMSO preserves the stem cells. As it is infused into the body, it will travel to the right side of the heart, then to the lungs. When DMSO is in the presence of the oxygen exchange in the lungs, it is oxidized or released/changed. Something like that. Hence the odor. I am told it will ooze out of my pores.
A chaplain will be coming to bless the cells. Evidently this is a tradition. Every SCT is reported to the chaplains. If I understood correctly, when Carter Blood Care arrives with the stem cells in a freezer, the chaplain arrives about the same time. I find this comforting and most welcome.
My nurse will be with me the whole time. They set up “shop” in my room. Takes time to verify every bag of stem cells are indeed my own. Then to defrost. Once defrosted, there can be no delay in administration. I think the window is like 1 hour from defrost to infusion. The stem cells are not stable long at temperatures above freezing.
As a side note, not sure I’m going to put out many more videos for the time being. I’m finding the internet connection frustrating and I’m getting tired and less able to focus. I’m still recording the video material, but not finding the time to process it through. I think if I had stable wi-fi, it wouldn’t be too much of a problem. I keep getting disconnected and can’t babysit the computer for 12 hours to make sure the videos are uploading. I’ll get to them when I get home and produce a chronology of videos for you all to witness what I am seeing.
I will keep blogging for you all to keep you updated.
Couple of pictures for you: