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Day 12 - Stem Cell Collection

Posted Oct 25 2010 5:30pm

Since the person that was scheduled to get their stem cell collection today did not have a high enough stem cell count they called Chris this morning to see if he could come in and be tested to see if he was ready.

They figured that since Chris was in so much pain over the weekend that it was a good sign that his body was producing a lot of stem cells.
So about an hour later Chris and I were sitting in the hospital while they took his blood for the 50th time in the last two weeks (a bit of an exaggeration). The blood then gets sent to Canadian Blood Services to analyze all of his counts. Two hours later, we got the good news. Not only was Chris ready for the stem cell collection, but his stem cell count was so high (hence the extreme pain over the weekend) that they only needed half the blood, and it would only take 3.5 hours instead of 7 or 8.
The stem cell collection went really well. We had two nurses from Canadian Blood Services that spoiled Chris. He wanted juice, they asked him what kind. His neck was stiff, and they rushed to give him pillows. We were really lucky to have them. They were even willing to work in the dark for awhile, so that Chris could turn off the lights and sleep for a little.
For the stem cell collection to work, Chris is hooked up up to both of his arms, and one of them needs to stay completely still. The blood goes out of his arm into the machine, which you can see in our photos. The machine then seperates the stem cells and keeps them in the bag above (they kind of look like cream of tomato soup). The rest of the blood then goes back into Chris' other arm. All of Chris' blood actually goes though the machine twice, so it was actually pretty neat to watch.
Other than being a little stiff, Chris did really well. His only mishap was when he accidently wet the bed...by squeezing and breaking one of the gloves they had filled with warm water to increase circulation to the insertion sites.

Now we are waitng to find out if Chris will need to go in and do it again tomorrow. Even though Chris had a great stem cell count, when it is processed at the lab they can lose anywhere from 30 to 60 per cent.
We are expecting a call within the next hour, but cross your fingers for us that we don't have to. Stem cell collection normally begins at 7:30 am, so that would be an early morning to get there in time.
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