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Update: Good news

Posted Jul 31 2009 11:47am
Yesterday I took John to HUP* to get his Apherysis catheter implanted so they could harvest his stem cells in preparation for the stem cell transplant. We had to be at the hospital at 7am, which meant getting up at 5am for the drive in (groan!) We got there with a little time to spare and they took John in right away.

By 10 am, John was ready to go to the Apherysis Unit to begin stem cell harvesting. They hooked him up to his machine and the harvesting began. It took about 3 hours. He hadn't eaten because they sedated him to get the catheter implanted. So I bought some lunch and we had a picnic on his bed. Watched a few episodes of Law and Order SVU and before we knew it, he was finished for the day.

We made arrangements to go back today (Wednesday) for his second collection. They figured the needed 2 to 3 days to get enough stem cells. Last night John was kind of achy and tired. I think we did too much yesterday, even though it was just a little grocery shopping.

Early last evening, he got a phone call from the Apherysis Unit. They needed to collect 4 million stem cells for his transplant. They were able to collect18 millionstem cells yesterday! So we didn't have to go back today! That was such great news! We slept until 10 am instead of getting up at 6 am, like we had planned.

So today he just has a regular doctor appointment with his primary care physician, since he hasn't seen him in a while. He can go back to work on Monday but his boss offered to give him Saturday and Sunday shifts to make up for the days he's missing (he's been out of work for 2 weeks this time), so he's going to take that.

Next up is a PET scan on Aug 7 and he goes in for the transplant on Aug 12. I'm just wondering, since he seems to be tolerating the chemo so well, and his harvest went so well, maybe he won't be in the hospital for the month or 6 to 8 weeks like they predicted. I guess time will tell.

I sure hope this transplant works! It's very discouraging to see this cancer pop back up repeatedly every 3 to 6 months.

*Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania

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