Monday, August 9, 2010

Stem Cell Transplant Procedure

(Rose of Sharon)

(Just a note to make sure that y'all know that this stem cell transplant uses my own stem cells. I am totally against the use of embryonic stem cells taken from aborted babies, and would never agree to the use of such stem cells, even if they could save my life. However, it is not necessary at all to use embryonic stem cells, as adult stem cells are more effective).

(This post written Sunday night and prescheduled to post Monday morning).

My medical team already started (last week) doing some of the procedures needed for the stem cell transplant. They have taken lots of blood in order to do many different kinds of tests, making sure I'm strong and healthy enough for the transplant.

They've taken me to the clinic where the stem cell harvest will be done, where they took more blood and had me fill out a lot of paperwork. They showed me the machine that will separate my blood cells into layers and send the stem cells to be stored.

I have to have another EKG, chest xray, a MUGA scan, and visits to the oral surgeon/dentist, a social worker, and the clinical referral coordinator. I'm not sure what the purpose of those last two can be; guess I'll find out when I see them. I suspect the social worker is to find out if I'm psychologically ready for the transplant?

Tomorrow they will put a new line in my chest to use for the stem cell harvest. They said the PICC line in my arm is too small for that procedure. The stem cell harvest could take anywhere from one to three days (four hours each day). They will give me neupogen two times a day beforehand to help develop lots of white cells in my bone marrow. Yes, neupogen--the stuff that made me hurt so much. Yikes. But the more white cells, the more stem cells. When my white cells reach a certain level, that's when they will harvest the stem cells.

The harvested stem cells will be frozen until I've had a round of "super chemo," which will take about a week in the hospital. That chemo treatment will take place about 21 days after the one I'll have this week, so around August 30th, I think. Because it is such strong chemo, they will be keeping a very close eye on me. That's why I have to stay in the hospital so long.

After the "super chemo" is finished, they will return my own harvested stem cells through the line in my chest (I think). The transplant doctor said that recovery will take awhile and I won't feel "well" for quite some time. He expects by the end of the year I'll begin to feel okay again. I'm hoping that I'll be as fortunate with that recovery as I've been with the chemo treatments I've had.

I know that it is thanks to all of you who have prayed for me for all these months that I have done so well. As I come to the final phase of treatment, I continue to ask for your prayers. Thank you all for helping me in this battle for my life.


Sarah Oldham said...

I have to say that this has been an education for me as well . . . and I'm so sorry that you have to do this, but like you said, it is the battle for your life. Thank you for sharing so we can pray for you! Oh, and how I'm praying!!!

aine said...

We are on our knees storming Heaven with prayers for you.

Kalona said...

Sarah & aine, I am thanking God for my praying friends. You can't imagine what comfort you give me. Well, maybe you can. Thank you!

Angela M. said...

Prayers continue!

Anonymous said...

Good Morning sweet sister. I'm praying for you all through the day and sending you my love. Thanking our heavenly Father for the blessing that you are to our family. You are almost done with this and I amazed at what medical miracles are happening. Thank you Father for the doctors and nurses that are taking care of Sharon. The sun is coming up & I can hear the birds - it makes me think of Daddy. :) I know he's with you too.
Hang in there, prayer warriors are everywhere holding you close. I love you! Sandi

Kalona said...

Angela and Sandi, sorry for the delay in responding to your comments. Using my iphone isn't always convenient when I'm in the hospital, so I waited until I got home today. Thank you both for your prayers.